Why would you smoke it? No, I’m NOT talking about marijuana.
Cooking food with smoke (and no I’m NOT talking about marijuana) is the origin of barbecue. It is one of the oldest cooking methods, used in just about every culture around the world. There must be something to this!
Smoking is such a versatile cooking technique. You can smoke any type of meat, vegetables, sugars, salts, oils, fruits, and spices. Here are 5 major reasons why smoking food is amazing.
1- Smoking is a simple, primitive method of preserving food.
The most logical reason our ancient ancestors smoked food was to keep bugs off of it. It didn’t take long to figure out the second benefit. The process of smoking dries food out, which makes it uninhabitable to most forms of bacteria. This is why beef jerky can be kept in the pantry and not the fridge!
2- Smoking adds a charred, earthy, and resinous depth of flavor.
Hundreds of years ago, when basically everything was cooked over open fires, this flavor was the norm on everything from meat to bread to apple pie. Nowadays, smoked foods (and I mean foods smoked with wood not scented with synthetic “smoke” flavor) are considered craft, boutique, and upscale. What a 360!
The flavor of the food is enhanced by the smells of smoking, kind of like how salt enhances flavor. Smoking foods creates the Maillard reaction, when heat on the surface of food breaks down sugars and amino acids. This results in a sweet and bitter flavor combination that you experience with the charr of a steak, the golden crispy exterior of a cookie or biscuit, or a roasted marshmallow.
3- Smoking makes meat fall-off-the-bone tender. Don’t chew the fat, melt it!
Food is smoked at a low temperature, around 225-250F. And, for excellent smoked food, it’s smoked for hours. This low and slow cooking method breaks down collagen (a tough muscle tissue protein) into gelatin (yes, the stuff needed to make jello). Can you say tender?
4- The abundance of gelatin in smoked meat enhances the health of your joints, brain, skin, and more!
Gelatin has a unique amino acid profile. It provides strength and structure for tissues throughout your body. It is also rich in glycine, which is important for brain health. Gelatin has also been shown to improve sleep and gut health and reduce liver damage.
5- Smoking food is fun! It keeps your life exciting and your taste buds stimulated.
Miller’s certainly likes to keep things fun and interesting. This week, we’re introducing some seriously yummy new products - smoked beef sausages!
The new smoked sausages come in 5 varieties - plain, sage, maple, kielbasa, and chorizo. They are naturally smoked over apple wood. I’d have to say, they are delicious!
They are wonderful grilled, sautéed, or baked. Eat whole or slice and add to pasta or veggies.
Have any experience with smoking food or enjoying smoked food? I’d love to hear it!
PS: Miller’s also carries another stellar smoked product - raw wood smoked A2 cheddar cheese!