With Winter’s arrival, there is no time like the present to try your hand at cooking your own delicious BBQ smoker meat. Due to the lengthy process and patience involved, our guide is here to prepare you with all the information needed to smoke tender, delicious meat at home with your own BBQ smoker.
A BBQ smoker is a cooking apparatus that generates a smoky environment while also allowing you to cook at a controlled and low temperature. When used correctly, you can enhance the flavours of your meat tenfold and have them so tender the meat falls off the bone! When it comes to smoking at home there are several factors to consider including the type of smoker to purchase, the woodchips you should use, the types of meat that are best suited for smoking and the preparation and cooking of your ingredients.
At Maraboon Tavern, we are renowned for our BBQ smokehouse meats,which is why we have decided to share some of our top secret tips and tricks to smoking your own meat at home like a pro.
Types of Smokers and Preparation
Before you rush into purchasing a smoker, you really need to determine your budget and for those of you that are beginners, remember to go for a cheap model to learn on. Once you have locked in a budget, you will need to decide which type you would like to buy. There are six main types of BBQ smokers available which include stick burners, electric smokers, pellet smokers, gas smokers, charcoal smokers, and kettle grills. Each are different in their own way and of course have their own pros and cons which will help you to decide which is most suitable. We have taken the liberty of doing most of the groundwork to source three of the best value smokers available on the market for beginners; and while investing in one can be an expensive exercise, it will be worth your while.
- Weber 18-Inch Smokey Mountain Cooker
This charcoal smoker is fantastic for beginners and the size makes it easier to control the temperature. Being a Weber, the quality is also of a high standard and is said to last forever.
- Pit Barrel Cooker
The vertical Pit Barrel Cooker uses a hook-n-hang type cooking method, which allows even cooking of your meats. The juices that drop onto the coals below also create a more intense flavour which is a bonus!
- Z Grills 450A Wood Pellet Smoker Grill
If you don’t want to pay for a brand name, then Z Grill is the answer. Wood pellets tend to burn cleanly which makes them extremely fuel efficient, plus they are a lot easier to keep clean.
When purchasing a smoker, you will also need to consider the type of wood chips that you want to use because different woods will develop different flavours. We have included a wood smoking chart below that shows a range of meats and which types of wood are best to cook them with.
Image Source: Barbeques Galore
Selecting and Preparing Your Cuts of Meat
The best part about using a low and slow cooking technique is you don’t have to fork out (pardon the pun) on expensive meats, instead you can opt for cheaper cuts because eventually the meat will break down and become extremely tender. This leads us to our next question, which cheap cuts should you go for? The go-to meats include beef brisket, ribs and pork butt/shoulder; but if you like the idea of using poultry, pork belly, beef tri-tip and even bacon and sausages, then why not?
If you can, try to purchase your meats from a butcher as their cuts are usually fresher and there is always the bonus of supporting local business. In town at Emerald, you may want to pay Fair Dinkum Meats or Highland Meats a visit. While you are out shopping for ingredients, don’t forget to add a few essentials such as rubs, seasonings, oils and sides.
In true Americano style, we recommend serving corn on the cob, coleslaw, mac ‘n’ cheese and bread rolls alongside your smoked meats and a beer or two from Maraboon Liquor Drive Thru to truly balance out your meal.
Let the Smoking Begin
When it comes to smoking meats, the rule is to keep it low and slow which in turn delivers tender, flavourful meats. There are thousands of recipes and tutorials online that you can follow for your first cook-up to ensure best results, so make sure you check out websites like BBQ Pit Boys, Barbecue Bible or subscribe to Aaron Franklin’s Masterclass for expert advice.
Of course, when you don’t have the time up your sleeve nor the budget, you can always feed your cravings by ordering one of our famous Maraboon Tavern smokehouse dishes to takeaway or make a reservation to dine in. If the sound of 14 hour smoked grain fed beef brisket basted in a sticky BBQ sauce does not make you salivate, we don’t know what will!
The Maraboon Tavern kitchen is open 7 days a week from 12pm and we have even launched a brand-new menu which is just another reason to visit. For more details on our Dining offering, head over to our Food & Drinks page.
Banner image source: Jess Pryles