The Art of Smoking Meat
The Art of Smoking Meat
The practice of smoking meat was initially used to preserve food and dates back many generations to before refrigeration, and chemical preservatives existed. Nowadays, we smoke meat to craft perfectly flavoured, fall-off-the-bone, carnivorous taste sensations.
Smoked meat versus grilled meat
Smoking meat aims to cook it slowly on a low heat of between 80 to 125 degrees Celsius. Otherwise, the outer parts of the meat will cook too soon, forming a barrier that the smoke cannot penetrate. The meat is cooked by the smoke from the smouldering wood, rather than the gas or charcoal heat source. By comparison, when grilling meat, the temperature is typically between 200 to 300 degrees Celsius, and the process is much faster. It stands to reason, therefore, that smoking meat requires the most expertise and patience.
The ‘Smoked’ effect
The low temperatures and the long cooking time will render big and tough cuts of meat meltingly tender. Cooking in a smoker can achieve a range of flavours, from smouldering chunks or chips of hickory, mesquite, apple or cherry wood – in a nutshell, think of the wood as a seasoning, and mixing different types of wood can create interesting new combinations of flavour. During the lengthy smoking process, tenderness is achieved by breaking down proteins in the meat and melting away the fat, yet keeping the flavours alive. Smoking removes moisture in the meat, acting as a natural preservative. When smoking, you are also assured that the meat is cooked entirely through, and the natural preservatives created by smoking and the dry environment prevent bacteria from entering.
Smoked meats often have a pink layer directly below the surface – called the smoke ring. Not to delve into the science of it, but rest assured, it does not mean the meat is under cooked. This pink smoke ring is a natural by-product of the smoking process and has absolutely no effect on the flavour of the meat.
Health pros and cons of smoked meat
- Less artificial preservatives.
- Fewer fats and oils – with smoking, you can firstly achieve great flavour in leaner cuts of meat and additional fats, oils and sauces are not required. Fats are also melted away in the smoking process, resulting in healthier cuts of meat.
- On the negative side, smoked meats can have a higher salt content, and you need to be aware of PAH exposure caused by the combustion of wood. So, like all things, it is recommended that you consume smoked meat in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.
How we do it
While personal preference is a significant factor, smoking meat provides unique flavouring, enhanced tenderness, and a much longer shelf life for consumption than other cooking methods.
At Noir, we have a leading brand of industrial smoker, specially imported from Texas, USA. We use it primarily to smoke USDA brisket, pork belly, chicken and Iberico ribs using our signature rubs and wood combinations that add a unique element of flavour to our meats. In addition to constant monitoring of temperature, the preparation process of the meat is critical in achieving the perfect result. It is not a quick process – our brisket and pork spend about 12 hours in the smoker, and it takes about 4 hours for chicken and ribs until the flesh falls from the bone.
Smoked beef brisket is our signature dish. We select the best cuts with a thick layer of fat and marbling that will yield the best result when it melts away. The more the meat can ‘bend’ when held, the more tender it will be when smoked.
Good things come to those who wait. We treat smoking meat as an art, with a fair amount of chemistry and science. We want you to be able to taste and appreciate the meat flavours and tenderness that took so long to develop under our chefs’ attentive care.
If we have managed to whet your appetite after reading this, why not book a table at Noir.mt and give one of our options a try? Alternatively, our range of smoked meats are available to order in bulk by the kg, provided you give us 24 hours’ notice.
For reservations click here: Reserve a table, or kindly call us on +356 2097 0255
or +356 7928 6730.
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Noir by Sciacca, Triq Santu Wistin, Paceville