BBQ myths

Does Adding Smoke To Barbeque Grills Make Food Taste Better?

There are several products to add smoke to barbeque grills. Do these products work, or is it all a smoke screen?

Friday, May 26, 2017

As barbeque grills continue to increase in popularity, more and more accessories and products for the grill are developed. Some of these products and accessories are intended to help backyard chefs add that smoky flavor that so many of us love. But do these products actually work?

Here are some tips to help you evaluate whether a smoke product for barbeque grills is likely to be worth your money.

Authentic barbeque involves slow cooking large cuts of meat over a wood fire. Not only does this make meat more tender, it adds that thick smoky flavor that makes taste buds tingle. Many different types of wood are used; from maple to pecan, hickory or apple, and each add a different flavor to the meat.

Because grilling involves a much higher heat and shorter cooking times, it has been difficult to get that same flavor. And gas barbeque grills don't even use wood to cook, so the smoke just isn't the same.

Use a Smoke Box

Several products have been developed to provide ways to add smoke to food cooked on barbeque grills. One of the most popular is a smoker box. This device can either attach to the side of your grill or be placed directly in with the coals. It allows you to place wood chunks or chips in your grill while cooking to produce smoke. You can create a similar effect by using a metal can that is shallow enough to fit under your grill grate.

Because a smoker box actually adds smoke to your barbeque grill, in much the same way as a wood fire does, it is effective in adding smoky flavor to your foods. But it takes about 20 minutes for food to absorb a noticeable amount of smoke, so you may not notice a difference in foods that cook for a shorter amount of time.

Buy Pre-flavored Meats

Another option is to purchase meats that already have the flavor you crave. Many grocery stores and specialty meat markets offer hot dogs, brats, chops, ham, and other meats that had smoke flavor added, either through precooking or other methods.

As might be expected, those that had true smoke flavor added when they were cooked taste better when they come off your barbeque grill. It's best to try a few different products and brands to determine which you like best.

Smoke Flavoring Without the Smoke

You can also add smoke flavor yourself with rubs, marinades, and sauces that contain smoke flavorings. Many fans of true barbeque say that the result is just not the same, but if you have limited means of adding real wood smoke to your barbeque grills or you are cooking foods that take less than 20 minutes, these liquid or powdered flavoring additives may be your best bet, and some say they are healthier.

Ever since humans first discovered that wood smoke adds distinctive and delicious flavors to food, we have been experimenting with ways to reproduce and improve on that feature. Barbeque grills are a fast and easy way to cook food outdoors, and by using some of the products and accessories available, you can still have that great smoky flavor that defines good barbequed and grilled foods.


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