Horn BBQ chef shares tips for smoking meat at home like a pro

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from “Horn BBQ: Recipes and Techniques from Master of the Art of BBQ” (Harvard Common Press) by Matt Horn, chef and owner of Horn BBQ & Copper in Auckland. In the book, Horn offers 70 recipes with tips and tricks for perfectly smoked meats, including the following basics:

My style of barbecue is a blend of Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas traditions, all of which showcase their own characteristics and flavors. Regardless of the regional peculiarities of barbecue, you have learned some basic tips that cover all types to ensure successful barbecue in your backyard.

Do not wash the meat. Washing meat is generally not a food safe practice; Any water that splashes off the meat can be teeming with bacteria, contaminating everything that lands on it. So, don’t do that. Washing the meat also dilutes the flavor of the meat because it causes the protein to sink in. Use paper towels to get excess moisture off the meat, discard the towels, and wash your hands. Then season the surface and you are good to go.

Do not over-season the meat. When you smoke meat, poultry and fish, the goal is to achieve that distinct smoky flavor and, of course, savor the natural flavor of the protein. Why compete with that by adding so many spices? My go-to seasoning is a salt-and-pepper base with granules of onion, garlic and maybe a touch of sugar, depending on what I throw in the smoker. The sugar enhances the Maillard reaction (a chemical reaction between hot protein and carbohydrates) that produces color and browning — flavor — as the protein in the meat reacts with the sugar.

temperature controller. Most meats smoke beautifully between 225°F and 245°F (107°C and 118°C), so keeping the smoker’s temperature in this range is critical. A remote thermometer can be a lifesaver—especially if you’re a novice smoker—because you can adjust the parameters to ensure the meat turns out just the way you want it to. If you need a higher temperature, you can vent some air by lifting the lid slightly or opening the vents (if this is a feature of your smoker). If you need to lower the temperature, close the vents or close the lid.

Let the charcoal heat up. The charcoal must burn until it is completely white in order for the charcoal to burn. The black charcoal will produce a tough-tasting meat rather than the smooth, smoky flavor required for successful grilling.

BBQ Century: Recipes and Techniques from an Expert in the Art of Barbecue

Harvard Combined Press

Smoke control. Not all smoke is created equal. You are looking for pure white smoke from those white coals and the temperature controlled inside the smoker. There should only be a small stream of white smoke coming out of the smoker, not billowing. If there is thick smoke, reduce the temperature (see above). The meat will dry out with excessive smoke, and the flavor will be too strong, which is unpleasant. The lack of smoke spoils the purpose because you won’t get that distinct smoky taste. Try replacing the wood in the smoker. Either it is burnt out, or there is not enough.

Don’t crowd the smoker or flip the meat too early. There must be a flow of air throughout the protein for the Maillard reaction to occur. If the pieces of meat are stacked together, this reaction will not occur. Meat needs its own outlet to the heat source. Leave the meat alone until it has a dark, charred outer crust; Then flip it over. Patience is the key.

Do not continue to open the smoker. Of course, you will need to add more wood, wipe the meat, or fill the bowl of water while smoking, but do these tasks as quickly as possible. Each time the smoker is opened, the heat is lost and the temperature drops. This increases the cooking time. Be active!

Let the meat rest. If you want meat and poultry that is rich in juiciness, you need to allow it some time after cooking to reabsorb its juices. If you cut the grill immediately after cooking, all you will get is a dry product and a lot of tasty juice spilling onto the cutting board.

Matt Horne tends to eat meat in his smokehouse, as shown in

Matt Horn tends to eat meat in his smoker, as shown in “Horn Barbecue: Recipes and Techniques from an Expert in the Art of Barbecue.”

Harvard Combined Press

How to turn your grill into a smoker

You don’t need an expensive fancy smoker to make delicious meat. The bells and whistles on pellet smokers and other types of smokers take some guesswork out of the process, but it’s not necessary. Basically, to smoke, you need time and an indirect method of cooking with heat. You will likely need a thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the unit, and when buying meat, be aware that your space is limited – so you don’t get a huge brisket.

If you have a charcoal grill: Lay the charcoal on one side of the grill and set the drip tray on the other side. Light the charcoal and raise the grill temperature to 250°F (120°C), and do not overheat. Fill a drip tray with 1 cm diameter of the liquid and lay a layer of wood chips over the hot coals. Place the prepared meat on the drip tray and close the lid. If the grill has holes, leave them open; If it does not, leave a gap in the bottom of the cap for ventilation. Next, monitor grill temperature, meat temperature, and smoke volume, adding charcoal and wood as needed.

If you have a gas grill: Heat the grill with all burners on for 10 to 15 minutes. Next, turn off the burners on one half of the grill and lower the burners on the other side until the grill temperature reaches 250 degrees. This may take some tweaking. Since you cannot place wood chips directly on gas grill stoves, place them in a metal pan and place the pan on the grill above the lighted burners. Also, place a saucepan filled with 1cm of liquid in the middle of the grill. Place the prepared meat on the empty side of the grill and close the lid, allowing a gap for ventilation or opening the vents. Monitor the temperature of the rotisserie and meat as well as the volume of smoke; Adjust the heat with the burner dials and add more wood chips as needed.

Triple end smoker

6. Preparation time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 25 minutes, plus 20 minutes for rest.

Tri-tip steak has been around for more than 70 years in Santa Maria-style open pits; It is often associated with this area of ​​California so you can order it as “Santa Maria chunk” or “California chunk.” My strategy here is to treat the steak to my brisket style and create a juicy smoked steak that’s perfect for a family meal.

2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt

2 tablespoons coarse black pepper

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 1 tablespoon of dried oregano leaves

1 (3 to 5 lbs., or 1 to 2 kg) Triceps Steak

olive oil for steaks

Instructions: Preheat the smoker to 300 degrees. Make sure you are burning a clean, oxygen-rich fire.

In a small bowl, stir together salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano until well combined.

Get rid of any loose sebum from the triangular head. Rub the meat with olive oil and rub evenly on all sides.

Place the triangular end into the smoker and smoke for 20 to 25 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees, checking periodically. Once cooked, remove the meat from the smoker, wrap in aluminum foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.

Remove the meat and cut it into slices opposite the grains, to serve.

This version of the classic potato salad is one of Horn's first and favorite side dishes.

This version of the classic potato salad is one of Horn’s first and favorite side dishes.

Harvard Combined Press

Nina potato salad

Serves 6 to 8. Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes

Potato salad is one of our first and favorite side dishes. This is our classic recipe that goes perfectly with barbecue!

lb red potatoes, cut into cubes

mayonnaise cups

¼ relish cup

1 mustard spoon

1 teaspoon horn rub (see recipe)

1 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

¾ 1 teaspoon garlic powder

¾ teaspoon onion powder

½ Teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ 1 cup (50 g) chopped green onions, white and green parts (from about 4 green onions)

4 large boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

Instructions: Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with 5 cm of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, partially cover the saucepan, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 8 minutes, until the potatoes are completely cooked. Drain the potatoes, wash them in cold water and set them aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, pickle, mustard, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper until well blended.

Add the cooked potatoes, green onions, and eggs and mix gently until smooth and blended.

Horn rub

Makes about 3/4 cup

If you spend a lot of time grilling, you’ll experience literally hundreds of rubs, not to mention cooking sauces, table sauces, mops, binders, and pastes. Eventually, you’ll settle for an all-purpose rub that will add plenty of flavor to whatever you put in the smoker. This is my favorite massage, which kept close to me at all times.

4 tablespoons of dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons coarse salt

1 tablespoon coarse black pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions: Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir well with a whisk, fork or spoon.

When ready to use, rub generous amounts of the rub onto the surface of the meat, rubbing and pushing hard to fill in any cracks or pores and to make sure the rub sticks to the meat.

Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, shaded place for up to 6 months.

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