Smokin’ Stuff: Tools for the BBQ Smoker

Posted on August 5, 2011
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Smoking meats

Backyard barbecue warriors and commercial smoking professionals alike have one very savory thing in common…a love for transforming  cheaper cuts of meat into tender slabs sopping in flavor. The origins of smoking meat came from necessity: preserving food and keeping bugs away from outdoor food preparation. This, of course, was well before the advent of refrigeration and preservatives. Today there is a certain art form to smoking beef, pork, chicken and fish. This style of cooking style requires patience and a few important tools.

The Smoker

Counter top food smokers are a great solution for portable cold and hot smoking. These bad boys are great for commercial operations and on-site catering as they are portable and durable.

Large outdoor smokers for residential or commercial use are typically large and heavy and are not intended for moving around from location to location, unless properly mounted on a food truck or trailer. These smokers are capable of cooking anything from pork shoulder to whole hogs.

The Tools

Creating flavorful smoked meat that is soft and full of soppy goodness is the goal of every smoker aficionado. Using the right tools will bring you closer to heaven on a plate.

Pastry and Basting Brushes

Saturate meats to tenderness with thick pastry brushes made with boar bristles. Wood handles that are at least eight inches long (measured from the end of the handle to where the bristles begin) are ideal for working with a large hot zone. Heat-resistent rubber and plastic handles are some other decent choices for hot surfaces, but wood handles will likely have the best bristles for holding sop. Boar bristles will retain thick sauces for an even application.

BBQ Tongs

A great pair of BBQ tongs for the smoker will be at least 12-inches long. Holding with the same principle as the basting brush, the length of the tongs will assist in keeping a safe distance from the fire. Look for tongs that are both light in weight and sturdy. This style will ensure a good grab and even control for handling meat as it increases in tenderness. Observe how wide the tongs can open. You will most likely be working with whole chickens and large pieces of meat. Make sure the tongs will grab onto a large area firmly for the best results.

Oven Mitt

When you select an oven mitt keep two important factors in mind: heat resistant to temperatures of 250°F and up and dexterity. The prior being a bit more obvious, and the latter is just as important. Remember that you will be working the tongs and transferring  food with the mitts on. Prevent dropping or smashing food with a pliable and heat resistant pair of mitts.

BBQ Meat Thermometer

Smokers cook meat slowly with low heat. It is important to keep a watchful eye on how well the meat is cooking to ensure safe handling and tastiness. Use a bbq meat thermometer to monitor the surface temperature of your smoker. Work with heat resistant oven mitts on as you place and pick up the thermometer from the grill’s surface.

Enjoy smoked meat and fish cooked from your commercial smoker or backyard set-up. Keep these key tools nearby and relax while the food cooks to perfection.

photo credit: joshbousel via photopin cc

FSW Staff FSW Staff (139 Posts)

The writing team at FoodServiceWarehouse is dedicated to bringing you the freshest tips, tricks and trends for your professional or home kitchen.

1 Reply to "Smokin' Stuff: Tools for the BBQ Smoker"

  • Curt
    August 9, 2011 (5:48 pm)

    An art form is absolutely correct. It takes a lot of practice, and tweaking your skills. Basically through smoking the same meats time and time again. Each time getting better with experience. Thee’s nothing better than to cook up some baby backs and have them fall off the bone tender without any pre-cooking. All from smoking!

    I have 2 digital thermometors right now. I just mentioned to my wife I needed another one. She gave me that look. The way I see it, if you’re cooking on 2 racks, you need 2 thermometers for each rack, right?

    Knowing her, she’ll buy it for before I get it anyway. She’s a gem!

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