Important Things to Know Before Buying Gas Smokers
Smoking foods has been one of the most popular methods of cooking food in the past, and it’s all but lost in modern society. The Indians, for instance, used to smoke fish and meat wrapped in leaves over the coals of an open fire. In recent times, however, modern appliances such as grills and stoves have made smoking a thing of the past for most Australians. People who have tried smoked meats know that nothing can replace the taste of a smoked steak. If you’re someone who loves the taste of smoked food, then you’ve probably considered getting a gas smoker that you can prepare tasty dishes in.
How Do Gas Smokers Work?
There are many different types of smokers on the market today and the most popular option is vertical gas smokers. They allow you to smoke food year ’round as they use direct heat to smoke and cook the food. The fire inside the smoker is located in a separate chamber from the food, and while it can take more time for the food to cook this way, the slower cooking with smoke gives the foods a unique taste. Gas barbeque smokers operate similarly to charcoal and electric smokers. The fire source will heat the moist wood chips you place in the wood chip tray.
Different types of wood chips provide different flavours. For instance, apple and almond wood are great for smoking all types of meats; cherry and hickory are great for pork and beef; fruitwood and maple are great for pork and poultry, and oak is great for red meats, ribs, fish and game. You can soak the wood in water for 30 minutes while your meat is marinating in order to create the smoky flavour in the smoker. There are special woods on the market just for this purpose that come either flavoured or unflavoured. Avoid using treated plywood and lumber, as they contain chemicals that can be harmful when transferred to your food. For even more flavor, you can add herbs of your choice in the water pan located above the wood chip tray. The water pan is responsible for storing and regulating the smoker’s heat, and preventing the meats from drying out in the smoking process.
Why a Vertical Smoker?
Vertical gas barbeque smokers are small compared to their horizontal counterparts, and they’re easy to use and dependable. They’re mobile, and the only drawback is that you’ll have to take the gas tank with you, which can be sometimes cumbersome, depending on its size. These smokers also offer a great range of cooking temperatures, and all you need to start one is gas, which is readily available almost everywhere. Vertical smokers are more affordable, and you get the benefit of being able to prepare smoked foods that you would otherwise need to pay a lot of money for.
How to Use a Vertical Gas Smoker?
I briefly touched on this subject when talking about how these smokers work. Besides adding wood chips and water with herbs for extra flavor, you’ll need to secure the knobs on the gas cylinder and the connection to the smoker. This needs to be done properly in order to prevent leakage. Open the chimney and vent halfway so that there’s good circulation of air inside the smoker, and so that the bad smoke can escape through the chimney. Once you’ve done all of this, release the gas knob on the cylinder to let the gas out and light the burner by applying the ignition on the smoker. This will light up the fire inside the smoker, which will start heating it up.
How to Smoke Meat in a Gas Smoker?
You want your meat to be out of the fridge for at least thirty minutes before you smoke it. Preheat the smoker for about ten to fifteen minutes before you put the food in it. This not only disinfects the smoker, but it also creates an environment for the meat to begin cooking properly right off the gate. Marinade and prepare the meat, put it on the grill grates located about the bowl with water, and smoke it on a temperature of 100°C-125°C. Close the smoker’s door and don’t open it for at least two hours. If you open it prematurely, the heat will escape the smoker, which will affect the cooking process. After two hours have passed, you can open the door and reduce the heat using the regulator, add more wood chips and more water in the water pan. After you’ve done all of this, close the door and let the smoker do its thing. In order to check the food’s readiness, you can get a meat thermometer. Once the meat is cooked to your liking, you can remove it from the smoker.
How to Clean and Maintain the Smoker?
When you’re done smoking the food, turn off the burners immediately and close the gas knobs on the cylinders before you go and enjoy your smoked food. Gas can be dangerous if mishandled, and it can easily become a fire hazard. Follow the manufacturer’s guide to cleaning the smoker, which should be as easy as throwing the ashes from the wood chip tray and removing the water. However, keep in mind that all of this should be done once the smoker has cooled down, otherwise you risk burning yourself. Other than that, gas smokers don’t require any special treatment to be kept in proper working shape.
What Are Some Useful Features for the Smoker to Have?
Nowadays, gas bbq smokers come with a wide range of features. Some of the most important ones to be on the lookout for are safety shut-off valves that shut off the burner if the fire is extinguished., thermostat-controlled temperature, push-button ignition, an air damper for temperature, smoke and moisture control, and temperature sensors that allow you to maintain the desired temperature. Some models have a separate door for the wood chip tray so that you can refill or try different flavours of wood without losing the heat inside the smoker.