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In this Instructable I will show how easy it is to make a large batch of smoked dog bones at a very low price compared to dog chew toys and other dog treats.
For only about $12 you can prepare a months worth of dog treats that your favorite dog will love. If you and your dog are not best friends yet... you will be after throwing them one of these bones!
Step 1: Tools of Smoking the Easy Way
The Masterbuilt 30 inch smoker was a gift from about 5 years ago. This model can be found at many big box stores ranging in price from $189 - $229 I have smoked countless pounds of meat in this smoker. It has a digital thermostat and timer. Some models have a window feature. But, from what I have read that is a useless feature as the window will just become blackened over time from the smoking process. So... save your money on windowless. This model uses wood chips.
Because I usually smoke the dog bones with people food, I used flavors we like in our meats. I don't think your doggy will mind much what flavor smoke is on the bone. Many big box stores also carry the wood chips. I prefer using fruit tree wood such as cherry or apple. Of course you can go chop your own wood if you wish.
Wood chip soaking pan: Wood chips should be soaked in water prior to placing in smoker.
I cook my bones for 1-2 hours depending on what else I have in the smoker. I don't think you can overcook your bones as all you are doing is cooking a little gristle on the outside of the bone and the marrow inside. As you can see from the image, I pulled mine out at about 165 degrees F because my pork loin was ready at that time. I believe beef is at RARE at about 142F.
My recommendation to anybody starting off smoking meats is to get a quality cooking thermometer. Beginners should not rely on recommended cooking times when smoking meats. It is all about TEMPERATURE of the meat, not time. I repeat... it is all about TEMPERATURE I learned the hard way by turning my first batch of jerky into tree bark.
Chip Soaking Pan: Any container will do that holds water where you can soak your would chips.
Step 2: Got Bones?
Where to get the bones...
Go to your local butcher and ask for beef soup bones. In our local grocery store they are usually not in the display case. We have to ask at the counter. Cost in our area is about $1.50 a bone.
Prepare the bones...
At our store the bones are frozen, so we need to let them thaw overnight before placing in the smoker. If they are just refrigerated, then let them set out for an hour or two to bring to room temp. This will help lessen the time in the smoker. Other than that there is no prep. No need to add flavoring. The SMOKE is the flavor! As well as the gristle and marrow.
These 8 bones will last us about a month depending on how often we throw our dog a bone.
By the way, these bones are 100% Labrador Retriever Approved! A great treat for our Lab once in awhile that keeps him occupied for at least 2 hours to clean the gristle and marrow.
Step 3: Prepare the Smoker
- Start soaking your chips! If you have the bagged chips you will want to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to placing in the smoker. Longer soak times are fine as well. By soaking them in water it allows the chips to smoke rather than just burn up to ash.
- My smoker has a water/drip pan. I fill mine about 1/2 way with water before placing in the smoker. The water in the pan steams and helps keep the meat from drying out during the smoking process. Keep in mind when you smoke meats it is for an extended time. So without the water you can turn meat or bones into a dry piece of leather or tree bark.
- Set your smoker temperature. I like to smoke low and slow at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Close the door and let the smoker get to your cooking temperature.
- FYI... for some reason my camera was not able take a picture of the actual digital reading of the display. It should read 226F and not 26F as the image shows.Just remember when you are smoking foods.... LOW (heat) and SLOW on time.
Step 4: Add Your Bones and People Meat!
As I mentioned earlier I am usually smoking other meats at the same time of smoking bones for the dog. Hence all the other meats in the smoker.
Pack your smoker with bones and meat!
If you have freezer space, pack your smoker full.
Eat some now, save some for later!
Keeping in mind the DONE TEMPERATURES of the meats, I place the beef bones at the top. The beef bones will be done first at about 145-150F. Because pork done temp is about 165F, I put pork below the beef.
Why do I care? The meat will drip as it cooks. I do not want the uncooked drippings (unsafe) from pork dripping on the bones. Keep your canine safe and place bones at the top if cooking with pork or poultry. Both pork and poultry need longer cooking times for safe consumption.
Step 5: Add Wood Chips
- Pull the wood chip feeder out from the side of the smoker.
- Grab a handful of chips from the soaking pan and squeeze excess water from chips.
- Add chips to feeder.
- Insert chip feeder into smoker and turn to empty chips into the chip pan.
- Check to be sure your smoke vent is completely OPEN!
- Go find something to do for about an hour.
- After one hour, repeat procedure to add one more handful of wood chips to feeder.
- Enjoy the aroma of your meat and BONES smoking. By this time your dog will be going crazy from the aroma!
- Go relax for another hour.
Over the full cooking time, I only use wood chips to smoke the first two hours. The rest of the cooking time is just that. Slow Cooking!
Step 6: Check the Bone Temperature
When using your digital thermometer check the temperature of the marrow inside the bone. If the center marrow is at 160F or higher they are DONE!
For other smoking desires... Here is a nice Smoking Time Temperature Chart
Remember Time is only a guide line. Check the temps.
Time will differ based on your smoker. Also, you will need to learn the difference in temp in your smoker. Stuff at the top of my smoker will cook faster than stuff on the bottom rack.
Step 7: Let the Bones Cool
Pull your Smoked Dog Bones out and let cool for a couple hours. While the gristle and marrow will cool quickly, the bone will stay hot for a while.
Warning: Let your bones cool somewhere your dog can't get to them. Learned the hard way once when I let them cool on the kitchen counter. Guess what? Zeke decided bones were cool enough and helped him self to one. No harm.. no foul. :-)
Step 8: Serve Your Treat!
After a couple hours of cooling...
Throw Your Dog a Bone!
You are officially BFFs!
Zeke will work on this bone for at least 2 hours before walking away. After a couple hours of chewing and gnawing the bone is white as can be. I can usually get a few days of interest out of a single bone.
Other bones pack in the freezer as needed.
Would love to hear how your best friends love the bones!
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Smoke 'em if you Got 'em