Introduction: Smoking in an Apartment
Second Prize in the
Meat Contest 2016
I live in a country where 82% of people live in apartments, where the concept of having a backyard or any space to smoke meat is most uncommon. So I set out to try and see if it is possible to do this indoors without involving fire-fighters, hazmat suits or N95 masks. As it turns out, stove-top smoking is not that unusual in many countries, but looking for the necessary equipment here would definitely be challenging. Hence this instructable, and hopefully more foolhardy souls can give it a try too, that smoking meat in relatively confined spaces is not impossible...
This instructable will NOT be covering how to dress or marinade the meat; I use various rubs and mustards myself, here I will focus just on the smoking part.
Step 1: Start With Wood Chips or Pellets
Aluminium foil with a handful of pellets (if you use wood chips, soak them first). A 12" x 12" piece will suffice.
Step 2: Make Your Smoke Pouch
Fold the aluminium foil (with the pellets inside) into a pouch, and vigorously puncture the top with a fork. This will allow the smoke to escape.
Step 3: Smoke Prep, Part 2
Place aluminium pouch into the centre of a deep grill pan. My grill pan is about 4" deep.
Step 4: Prep the Drip Tray
Aluminium foil again, over a small baking tray that should fit just at the bottom of the grill pan. This is for easy cleanup. You can also use those disposable aluminium trays.
Step 5: Prep the Grill
Drip tray goes over the pouch with wood chips, and then a baking or oven grill goes on top of the drip tray. In order to keep the smoking environment moist, i usually pour some apple cider vinegar and beer (well, save at least half the beer for yourself) into the drip tray. Other combinations: pear cider, apple cider (the main reason is to just pour out a bit for the smoking and drink the rest yourself. It's an excellent reason to smoke meat)
Step 6: Meat On!
Slap your marinated meat right in the centre, stick an oven safe thermometer deep into the meat. I use a digital thermometer so that i can monitor the temperature of the cooking meat better.
Step 7: Build Your Tent
Grab some large aluminium foil, and build a tent over the whole setup. Scrunch up the edges as tightly as possible; you want minimal smoke escaping into your apartment.
Step 8: Start Smoking!
Turn the heat up high, and wait for the chips/pellets to start burning. Due to the low availability of O2 in the smoking chamber you just built, you will quickly generate loads of smoke. The moment you start to see smoke escaping from the edges, you have just started smoking meat.
Let this process continue for about 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, turn the heat down low, and continue cooking/smoking for about an hour or two (i usually buy about a kilogramme [that's 2.2 lbs for you imperialists] of meat). Monitor the heat as much as possible. I sometimes have to turn off the heat for a while to reduce the temperature. You will want to stop when your meat thermometer hits the minimum safe temperature for your meat.
Main point about this is, you want the cooking part to be as slow as possible, to stretch the time it takes to get the meat from room temperature to the safe (USDA, etc) temperature.
Oh. Open your windows. Wide. Full blast on the fans.
Step 9: You Are Smoked!
At the right temperature, you know you are done. Turn off the fire, netflix and chill a bit, and open up your masterpiece. This part is important: let the meat rest for at least 30 minutes, for the juices inside to mush around a bit more.
Step 10: Crisp It Up Just Before Serving, If You Wanna
If you like, you can slather on some BBQ sauce and crisp your meat out in the oven on high (around 200 C) until you see fat bubbling or severe 3rd degree burns over at least 80% of your meat. Remember that your meat is already done, so don't take too long for this.
Rest your meat a little more, cut and serve, smug that you have just provided a neanderthally processed meal for your family.
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