How Slow Smoking Meat Can Equal Fast Moving Profits
By: Seth Davis
A Brief History of BBQ
“No one is really sure where the term barbecue originated. The conventional wisdom is that the Spanish, upon landing in the Caribbean, used the word barbacoa to refer to the natives' method of slow-cooking meat over a wooden platform. By the 19th century, the culinary technique was well established in the American South. Because barbecue doesn't require expensive cuts of meat — why bother when you're just going to slather it in sauce and cook it 'til it falls off the bone? — it became a dietary staple for impoverished Southern blacks, who frequently paired it with vegetables like fried okra and sweet potatoes. The first half of the 20th century saw a mass migration of African Americans from the rural South to Northern cities, and as they moved, they took their recipes with them.”1 In America BBQ can be defined through the various regions in the country. Each style has a unique sauce and preparation method that they claim is the only right way. When it comes to smoking meats commercially without the use of a traditional fire pit or other traditional wood smoking methods, the most affordable and best tasting method is with a commercial grade smoker. Vendors such as Elite Restaurant Equipment have a great selection of smokers that are very reasonable priced.
Why You Should START Smoking
Smoking meats is certainly one of the most practical ways to serve fresh meat dishes. There are several advantages that smoking meats has. First everyone’s criticism that it is extremely time consuming to smoke meats. The analogy of Rome wasn’t built in a day applies to this critique. Although smoking meats can be a time consuming process the difference in taste is well worth the wait. The unique methodology of smoking meats compared to other traditional cooking methods is the low heat lots of hour’s mentality. Usually we are told the quickest and most efficient ways of cooking food for the customers helps utilize time and productivity. Smoking goes against this pre conceived notion however the results of it are incredible. Smoking helps meats cook slower causing them to fall right off the bone. In this method the meat is more juicy and tasty as well. Smoking can also be beneficial financially. Customers are willing to pay more for meats that are smoked resulting in more profits for your business.
Finding the Appropriate Smoker
Before deciding on the right smoker for your business there are several factors that one must consider. Smokers can either have three or four burners inside the unit. These units pack a large punch with 75,000 BTU’s. The quality of the interior is a variable factor when purchasing a smoker. Some of these units have a galvanized interior which makes the unit more cost effective. Other smokers contain stainless steel interior. This interior although more expensive is more durable and can be cleaned more easily than its galvanized counterparts. Smokers can be purchased in a variety of widths. These smokers are available in 24’’, 30’’, and 36’’. The height of all smokers are 78’’. The depth of these smokers can be either 24’’ or 30’’.
Things to Smoke
Once a smoker has been purchased the questions can arise what items can be smoked. Items such as ribs, chicken, pork shoulder, brisket, turkey, sausages, and even Peking duck can all be smoked. Some chefs have even thought outside the box and have started to slow smoke seafood such as clams and shrimp. The smoking process can not only include meats but also vegetables. Recently I made a recipe that called for smoked onions and tomatoes. I put the onions and tomatoes in the oven for about an hour. When they were ready not only was I able to enjoy the taste of the vegetables but the skins peeled off so easily it made it a pleasure.
“The premiere grilled foods during the 4th of July are hot dogs and chicken. During the holiday season, we eat around 150 million hot dogs and 750 million pounds of chicken. That is enough hot dogs to stretch from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. 74 million Americans reported attending a barbecue last 4th of July.”2
Dry Rubs, Wet Rubs, and Sauces Oh My
Once you pick the appropriate piece of meat to smoke the next thing that must be determined is with what marinade to cook with. The four regions in the United States that take claim to have the best BBQ differentiate immensely here. These regions are Texas, Carolina, Memphis Tennessee and Kansas City Missouri. Each region will argue that there sauce or lack of one is boss. A dry rub is a mixture of spices that is rubbed on the meat. Dry rub is mostly associated with the Memphis region of BBQ. Here the meat is cooked with a dry rub and then the sauce is placed on the meat directly before eating it. The meat is not smoked with any BBQ sauce just a dry rub. Kansas City has a different approach to the art of marinating. The meat is made with a tangy tomato based BBQ sauce. These sauces could have sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors. These sauces include the very popular KC masterpiece who calls Kansas City its birthplace. Carolina has a different take on BBQ. Carolina also has a sauce however unlike Kansas City Carolina’s BBQ sauce is vinegar based. In South Carolina they use a mustard based BBQ sauce. Texas finally is knows for a much thicker sweeter molasses based BBQ sauce. No matter which style you decide to cook with, with the compliment of the right smoker you are assured to have an excellent product.
When smoking meats, sauce or rub before smoking then take it out reapply the desired marinade and put tin foil over the meat. The tin foil will help seal in the juices as well as the flavoring of the meat.
Once the meat is prepped and smoked the best is yet to come. The time the meat needs to be smoked varies immensely on the size of the meat. If done correctly the ribs will literally just fall off the bone. There are a few things to remember before purchasing the ideal smoker for your business. First do you requite three or four burners. Second do you wish the interior of the unit to be galvanized or stainless steel. Third get an appropriate width. Lastly make sure to pick a desired sauce style. You may have a variety but often chefs can get confused with high volumes and high variety. The product will take several hours more to make however the taste will separate you from your competition immensely. In addition your customers will be willing to pay more for the same product once they experience the amazing taste of properly smoked foods.