Lately I am into hot smoking with my kettle BBQ. I don’t like to follow a set recipe and I just like to improvise and experiment with everyday stuff around home and test my image.
My BBQ is pretty consistent with my choice of cars or shoes. I am more interested in basic practicality more than the high spec features and the glitz and glam of high end brands. Of course there are the things that can’t be compromised, for example, I really prefer coal to gas. Hence, the Bunnings $50 kettle works just fine along with a simple fan to accelerate the lighting. Same with the smoking method. Basically you are holding the food at a particular temp and infusing smoke. Can’t be that hard? IMHO, You shouldn’t need to get special imported cherry wood for an everyday meal on the barbie.
Recently I tried some corn husks, coffee grind, and some dragon leaves from the yard.
The dragon leaf did create too much of an insense kind of smoke and didn’t agree too well with sausages (of course not that bad and still enjoyable but a lesson learned).
Note: I got a heads up from my pro smoker friend and he said to me using green leaves is always a no-no. Even with wood, the drier the better and evergreens are never used. I agree that pine needle aromas probably won’t go too well with smoked meats. Anyway, some grass or leaves might produce poisons and are never used in smoking. So my experimenting with yard leaves ends here..
Sure I enjoy my rib fillets too but feeding a family of 5 requires a bit more creative thinking. My family and I don’t mind a bit of texture in beef and so when I go for an everyday steak, oyster blade steak is my favourite. Marinate in miso, salt and sake for 48 hours, put it on the Bbq for a sear, that’s another winner too.
Man, beef chuck, on the other hand is a bit trickier… looks so nice and marbled but put that sucker on for a simple grilled steak, you are going to be chewing all night. It’s a cut recommended for slow braising but I would much prefer cheeks for braising and chucks can get dry quickly. But as you can see, smoking for a couple hours might very well be one of the best ways to enjoy this cut.
I simply salt and peppered the chunks, smoked with about 10 heatbead briquettes (the best briquettes!) and the coffee and corn husks with a humidifying water tray for about 2 hours, coat them with sauce (Bbq, soy and left over homemade apricot jam) smoked again on higher heat for 30 min and done! Look at this! Most of the gristles have tenderised and the smoke infusion is heavenly and the Bbq sauce is spot on!