2.05.2008

Oven Smoking

While this doesn't directly relate to beer, I use beer throughout the processes (processi?!), so I think I'm safe.

I've always wanted to try smoking, meat of course. I'm a huge fan of grilling and outdoor cooking, in general, from the simple hot dog to the more creative, grilled pizza. I have multiple (yes, more than one) gas grills, but have yet to expand beyond that medium into charcoal and wood.

Still, not letting that stop me, I've come up with a pinch-hit method to smoke meats in my oven. Its not a very elaborate process, basically I take a large aluminum pan, add my soaked wood chips and then levitate the meat above it in some fashion.


Pork Ribs Above Wood Chips, Unwrapped.

The first cut I used with this method was a beef brisket, weighing in at a little under 5 pounds. Big enough to feed a crew, small enough to be manageable. I rubbed the brisket with a cocoa-ancho pepper rub that I found in The Best of American Beer & Food book by Lucy Saunders, that link being the online companion. I'd repost the recipe but I don't have the book handy and perhaps it will encourage you to seek it out. More on that handy text later. Into the oven in went, at 250°F for most of the day, all wrapped up and sitting in a Pyrex above the wood chips, hickory soaked in North Country Brewing's Catherine the Great Imperial Stout. The meat turned out very tasty and rather tender, though I think I could have gone lower and longer. The leftovers ate very well thinly sliced and made into sandwiches. Note for next time: make sure I drain all the liquid before starting, so it creates more smoke than steam.

Super Bowl Sunday the meat of choice was two racks of pork ribs. I had made a full recipe of the above spice rub so I went that route again, followed up with bastes of Yuengling Lager Sauce. Again at 250°F, this time for about 6-7 hours, all told. This time I used mesquite as the chip of choice and poured in some Rivertowne Pour House (easily heading toward my favorite western PA brewpub, more on that later, too) Espresso Porter and propped the meat over top using a baking rack, which worked wonderfully to infuse the flavors.


Super Bowl Meal: the Above Ribs, Beans and Oven Fries

Kim, lovely wife, said they were the best ribs she's ever had, so there's an endorsement for you. The Espresso Porter was a nice match for the eating, too.


Rivertowne Espresso Porter

Forgive the above faux pas, that is a Rivertowne beer in a Red Star glass.