What with all our beef, I got it into my head that I ought to try smoking some of it. So I messaged the people — all men — in the little corner of my universe who were most likely to mess around with large hunks of meat. They all had smokers and they all said I could borrow them, sweet guys.

I decided it’d be easiest to borrow from the two guys who lived closest to us, so I messaged the third guy to let him know that I’d found two smokers closer to home and that I’d not be needing his smoker after all. He messaged me right back. “Hmm…but are they good smokers though? I can tell you that my smoker is fantastic.”

Well, alrighty then! 

So on Saturday, my husband went to pick up the smoker and now the made-to-order monstrosity sits in the shed.

For the past two days, I have been obsessively watching youtube videos, reading recipes, and taking notes. Which kind of wood chip for which type of meat? Best dry rubs! Solutions for injecting the meat! (I need to get a meat injector. Wait, will one of my daughter’s hypodermic syringes work?) Glazes! (Do I even need to glaze?) Meat temps and when (if) to wrap and how long to rest, and so on and so on.

We have the smoker for a couple weeks, so I want to make the most of it. My plan is to smoke a brisket one day this week — it feels extravagant to run the enormous smoker with just one piece of meat in it, but I need to start somewhere, right? — and then, if all goes as planned, this weekend we’ll load up the smoker with stew meat and short ribs and roasts and another brisket or two. (Also, it occurred to me that we still have some piggy stashed in the freezer — smoking might be the perfect solution to large cuts of pork that bake up unbearably dry!) Afterward, I’ll have a whole bunch of ready-to-eat meat to stash in the freezer for future stews and curries and sandwiches. (Don’t worry, Mom. After this week, we’ll limit our carcinogenic intake. Moderation, moderation…)


Mildly terrified, too. This foreign world of smoked protein is intimidating!

Now tell me this: Have any of you ever tried smoking meat? What are your cautionary tales-of-woe, must-make recipes, and crucial how-to tips? I’m all ears!

PS. Oh, cheese! I COULD SMOKE A CHEESE. And flour! To add to pizza dough! And onions and peppers and, and, and..! FORGET MODERATION.

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (10.21.16), listening, watching, reading, stuffed peppers, apples schmapples, light-as-air hamburger buns and sloppy joes, how to roast squash.


  • Lana

    We have been smoking for decades. The big thing is to not overcook. There is no redeeming a dry over smoked piece of meat. But really we hardly do anything to the meat itself. The smoker does all the flavor. Try smoking a ham. Sounds strange since it is already smoked but oh my work is it good. Just smoke it long enough to get it thoroughly hot or it will be stringy and dry. My Dad smokes the Christmas ham since they live in Florida.

  • Melodie Davis

    I can offer you a pretty nice meat injector we've never used. We'll want it back of course, and probably will continue to not use it. 🙂 Your excitement is invigorating–good luck!

  • JJ from Central VA

    Smoked cherry tomatoes are amazing! Add a few to taco meat or spaghetti sauce for out of this world taste! No recipe that I’ve ever been able to find to replicate myself but we buy them from our farmer’s market and can’t get enough. I can’t imagine it would be too hard to figure out ��

  • Margo

    SMOKE ALL THE THINGS. Smoke makes everything amazing! We have smoked pecans from Koinonia that are addictive. And smoked black tea – so so so good. Of course smoked cheese! I have personally never smoked anything, but I'm so eager to hear what else you stick in there besides beef. Please tell all and SMOKE ALL.

    My uncle smokes a turkey every Thanksgiving – it's amazing, but I've got no tips for you (unless you want me to ask him – I can!).

  • dr perfection

    I don't know much about smoked meat, but I'd be happy to eat some. I'm so sorry you wont be around at Thanksgiving. I've heard that a smoked turkey is pretty good.

  • Karren

    I smiled as I read your post. Two years ago, my husband built a smoker and every now and then he fires it up. Each time he does, he has requests for more from those who have tasted the results. For three days, he's been marinating pork loin strips, then just yesterday, he smoked six of them into Canadian bacon over maple wood. Yummm, so much flavor packed into lean meat. Just a little packs such flavor. You're opening the door to a whole new world of yumminess! Have fun.

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