A meat smoker is a distinct instrument or device that is used to cook food using the smoking technique. Here, the food is cooked slowly and at a low temperature (around 220 Fahrenheit), with some moisture content in the device and the smoke from the wood. A smoke flavor of the wood gets induced into the meat, which gives it a unique and barbecue flavor.
This appliance is different from the barbecue grill. Barbecue grills do produce heat to cook, but they do not produce as much smoke as these appliances. However, it can be converted into a smoker by making some modifications. The source of heat in it can be gas, electricity, or charcoal. Manufactured ones are available, but you can build your own as well.
Commercial meat smokers come in a wide variety of patterns with different shapes, sizes, and the fuel used for cooking. So, you will have a number of options available. But, try to build your own which will fulfill your needs of cooking the meat, and that too, at an economical price.
Here is what you will need to build it:
- Wood Chips
- Hot Plate
- Trashcan with Lid
- Food Grate (that fits in the Trashcan)
- Drilling Machine
- Meat Thermometer
This appliance can be made out of anything, and includes cardboard, metal cans, etc. Here, the material will be a metal trash can. Arrange for a trashcan that is large enough to hold a hot plate inside. Drill a hole at the bottom of the trashcan to pass the power cord of the hot plate through it, later, file the edges. Ensure that you use a metal drill.
Now, place the hot plate at the bottom of the trashcan and pass the power cord out of the hot plate through the hole you made earlier. Take a skillet made of cast iron, and place the wood chips in it. Before placing the wood chips, soak them in water for about half an hour. You can cover the skillet with aluminum foil. Keep this skillet on the hot plate.
Now, find a food grate that will fit in the trashcan. If you do not find a grater that fits properly in the trashcan, drill four holes evenly placed and at same height near the top of the trashcan. Pass two steel rods through these holes and place the food grate over these steel rods. Your appliance is ready.
Place the food on the grate, and cover the trashcan with its lid. Turn on the hot plate and ensure that you maintain a proper constant temperature, by adjusting the hot plate. Insert a meat thermometer so that you can keep a watch on the temperature. You should maintain the temperature between 220-230°F.
Homemade meat smokers are equally effective as manufactured ones, and building one is quite easy. If your friends and family members love the smoked meat recipes, you should consider making this meat smoker at home.