Smokin’ hot

Main Story:
A Global Guide to the BBQ

As the saying goes, where there’s smoke … there’s a mouthwatering barbecue.

Smoking is one of the most popular ways to barbecue. In fact, many purists would argue that it is the only way to barbecue.

At its basic level, the process involves cooking meat by exposing it to smoke from burning materials, such as charcoal or hardwood. It is a slow method, one that involves extensive preparation and cooking time. But, as those smoking devotees maintain, it is well worth the effort. 

To start your barbecue, the first step is deciding what to smoke. Pork is one of the most popular meats, although you can also smoke beef, ribs, brisket, chicken and fish.

Then, you need to find a container for the smoke, which can be anything from a state-of-the-art smoker to a pit in the ground. Smoke can be generated by burning wood or charcoal, although, again, many purists prefer the former because it is believed to imbue more flavour into the meat.

Different types of wood will produce different flavours. Spend time discovering the right wood chips for your needs.

Of all the wood chips available, mesquite has the strongest flavor and is best paired with pork, beef and lamb. Milder wood chips, such as apple wood, are more suited to chicken and fish.

Most varieties of fruit wood can be used to impart unique flavours into the meat. Some woods to avoid, however, are conifers, such as cypress, pine and cedar, as well as treated wood, poison oak, eucalyptus and fir.   

Add a handful of soaked wood chips directly onto the hot coals just before you begin cooking – if you are cooking with gas, wrap up your soaked chips in foil, poke a few holes in the top of the foil and place directly on the grill.

Now, the fun begins.

The meat is then hot smoked in a temperature range of 165°F to 185°F, no more, no less. Cooking time can vary from a few hours up to 24 hours. It is recommended that you invest in a thermometer to ensure your barbecue is kept at the right temperature throughout the cooking process. After patiently waiting for your meat to cook, and spending hours salivating over the tantalising aroma, it’s time to enjoy. But not before the special ingredient – the sauce.

Everyone has a preferred barbecue sauce, whether you enjoy sweet or spicy, tomato-based or vinegar. Simply choose your favourite and you’re ready to feast.