The mere sight of a plate of smoked ribs or chicken breasts served on the table takes your appetite to a different level! Isn't it? Have you ever tried to analyze the secret behind meat dishes tasting utterly delicious when they have been smoked in an oven? Smoking meat is indeed a time taking process because it entails cooking under low heat. The meat is completely tenderized when smoked in an oven, that further leads to development of a wonderful taste.
To attain the perfect taste, you need to know certain tricks of smoking or else it might end tasting disastrous. The rich flavor develops only when the smoke penetrates uniformly into the meat, thereby making it soft and tender. Follow the tips explained below before you put the meat in the oven for the purpose of smoking.
Tips for Smoking Meat in the Oven
- The temperature of smoking depends upon the nature of the meat. Generally, the temperature ranges between 200-250 °F. For smoking chicken, fish or turkey, you can maintain the initial temperature within the range of 145-165 °F. Raise the temperature when the meat has been almost smoked.
- Never start smoking any kind of meat at a high temperature. When the temperature is kept low, the meat gets soaked in the smoke uniformly and the tough fibers break down completely. Even hard cut meat containing collagen fibers get cooked when the temperature is kept low for a long duration.
- The flavor is enhanced when the meat is surrounded by a thick layer of smoke or steam. You also need to spread the smoke so that every part of the meat is exposed adequately to it. The entire process takes at least one hour to get perfect results.
How to Smoke Meat in the Oven
Now that you know the tips and tricks of smoking meat, you can try preparing versatile smoked dishes of meat. Pulled pork, smoked brisket, beef rib steaks, chicken breasts, salmon, fish fillet, etc. are some common dishes that everyone loves to savor when smoked well. The process of smoking in an electric oven is explained here.
The oven is first prepared before placing the meat in it. How would you prepare the oven? Ovens are usually equipped with aluminum baking pans. The best source of smoke would be mesquite wood chips. Dampen the chips with water and let it remain soaked for one hour. Dry the wood before placing it on the pan. Place enough mesquite chips (you can also use hickory wood chips) on the bottom of the smoking pan, so that a dense cloud of smoke is formed.
Electric ovens are also provided with a baking or a grilling rack, which is placed just above the pan. The meat is placed on top of the rack and the smoke infuses from the bottom. Make sure that there's enough space between the rack and the wood to avoid the meat coming in contact with the wood, initially.
Setting the Temperature
You can preheat the oven to a temperature of 250 °F. Check the temperature of the oven with a thermometer. The temperature of the oven is kept at 300 °F, while smoking ribs. Pulled pork chops could be smoked in apricot or oak wood at a temperature of 275 °F. You can understand the oven temperature better once you have prepared smoked recipes for a couple of times.
Placing the Meat
Marinade the meat according to the flavor of your love. It's always suggested to soak the meat in the marinade for one hour before cooking. Arrange the baking racks as per the instructions provided in the manual. Now place the meat over the baking rack and allow it to soak in the smoke for at least half an hour. Then you can lift the aluminum pan directly on the top of the baking rack and place the meat over the pan so that it comes in direct contact with the smoke. The duration of smoking will range from 1-6 hours, depending on the nature of the meat.
Smoking meat is definitely a tedious process and it requires a lot of patience. However, you will be utmost satisfied when you relish the smoked dishes with immense pleasure.