Steven has a website (www.bbqu.net) and a blog. (Please do not tell anyone that I am reading blogs.) He is the President of Barbecue University, which airs a show on PBS where he grills and Bar-B-Q’s on a plethora of grills. (Did I just say plethora?) Anyway, a bunch of grills. Plus, he has a Facebook page and a weekly email to update you on all things Bar-B-Q. What a life!
His recent proclamation of 2016 being the Year of Smoke is great news. I am not sure he will have a big parade like the Chinese do when they declare the name of their New Year, but the idea of a parade with flying pigs and brisket does sound intriguing! Maybe with a side of macaroni and cheese flying behind it. That’s a foodies dream!
If you are a lover of smoking or Bar-B-Q, then you need to follow this guy on social media. Steven has a way with cooking. During his PBS show he usually is set up on the grounds of a beautiful estate and cooking on every grill surface known to chefs. But with his new endeavor, smoking is the king. What Steve did for grilling at Barbecue University he is now going to do for smoking.
After a short retreat from his public TV show, Bar-B-Q University, Steven is coming back strong! His new show concentrates on all things smoked! He is highlighting many areas of smoking that most “home grown grill masters” have had no experience in. You will learn the best techniques for cold smoking, smoke roasting, and more. Usually when you think of smoking the first things that pop into your head are “slow and low”, “fire up the big green egg”, set the temperature at 225 degrees, and drink a cold beer! Now, with the cold smoking method we are going back to how the early settlers preserved meats. This is a totally different concept than most of us amateur pitmasters are familiar with. You can convert some smokers to do cold smoking, but if you want to do it right you need a smoke house.
I have long admired the slow processing of meats. This goes back to my days in Kentucky and the process of curing a ham to make it a country ham or old ham, as we sometimes called it. There are salt cured and sugar cured, but the way I see it, if you sugar cure a ham you may as well be buying one from the Honey Baked Ham store. And we all know that really ain’t ham! It is flavored meat! If you want ham, then you either smoke it or salt cure it – period!
Now I go back to the main topic at hand, cold smoking. This usually happens with temperatures anywhere under 110 degrees. Typically, you’ll be smoking for a few hours, up to even a full day in the range of 65 – 80 degrees. That is right – little to no heat, just smoke. Cold smoking can be used for cheese, spices, cured meats, fish, and vegetables. Most meats will still be needed to be cooked at a normal temperature later before eating, such as bacon. Specialty meats like salmon would be prepared at much lower temperatures (40 degrees) and are best done in a smokehouse or a re-purposed refrigerator. Yes, a refrigerator. I once saw Alton Brown convert an old filing cabinet into a three-drawer smoker, so all appliances can be recycled!
For many of you home grown pitmasters that are wanting to take your game to the next level, this is it. You must be committed. To take a whole day just to smoke some meat that in turn needs to be cooked again takes a dedicated chef. I know I have my work cut out for me, but I see an unusual out-building in my future. I never wanted a tool shed in my backyard, but a smoke house. Now that can add resale value to any homestead!
For more info on cold smoking and other techniques that Steven is using, visit his new website at www.projectsmoke.org