Clean, rinse, dry, and trim the meat.
You can leave some fat on the meat for added flavor.
But, any silver skin will be chewy and is best removed.
For poultry, be sure to remove the giblets.
With fresh fish you will want to remove the inner organs and outer scales.
If needed, truss or tie the meat so it will hold together.
This is especially smart if your meat is stuffed.
Yes, it is okay to stuff your meat, such as a stuffed and rolled porchetta made with tenderloin and belly meat.
Prepare the meat by brining or marinating overnight, applying a dry rub, or covering with a sauce per the recipe instructions.
Take the meat out of the refrigerator while the smoker heats up.
It is best to have it at room temperature before it goes into the smoker.
Preheat your smoker to the temperature the recipe recommends.
Most smokers have a heat gauge on the lid.
Add wood chips or pellets to the tray.
Place a bowl or tray of liquid in the smoker.
Or, add soaked chips directly to your charcoal fire.
Open the top vent.
Place the prepared protein directly on the wire rack above the wood smoke source and liquid.
If cooking meats and vegetables at the same time, place the meat below the produce so that you don’t have raw meat juices dripping down on to them.
Set a timer for the hours needed.
Every 60 minutes check your chips, liquid, and coals.
Replenish as needed.
Remember to check the internal temperature near the end of the cooking time.
Continue smoking until the recommended temperature is achieved.
Meat can take anywhere from 3 hours to 12 hours to smoke.
After the smoking is finished, remove the meat to a clean cutting board and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
This allows for the juices to be reabsorbed into the muscle fibers. Don’t skip this step.
Slice your meat and serve with your favorite side dishes.
The sides can all be smoked if you have room.
I have successfully smoked a foil pan of macaroni and cheese, trays of tomatoes, whole ears of corn, heads of cabbage, and many more.
These items take approximately 1 to 2 hours and should be placed in the smoker during the last hour or two of smoking the meat.