Anyway, when smoking these cuts of meat, some like to wrap them in foil after a few hours in the smoke to make them more tender and to control the amount of smoke flavour in the meat. Normally if using a smoker burning charcoal briquettes and just a bit of wood added for smoke, there is no need to wrap to avoid over smoked meat. You simply control the smokiness with the amount of wood chunks or chips you add to the coals. However, if using a smoker burning only wood, wrapping the meat is a good precaution to avoid over smoked meat. If using an offset smoker like this, you need to keep a clean combustion with good airflow. If not, you might get over smoked meat. Opposite to a drum type smoker fired with charcoal/briquettes, where you control the temperature with the air intake, you need to keep a clean burning flame going in the offset smoker. To keep a clean flame, I mean there really need to be a flame, not just smouldering wood. So how to control the temperature in an offset smoker? By the amount of fuel! So you have to actually babysit it and put on one small log on at the time, depending on what temperature you like to maintain.
There is also quite a difference in what type of wood you use for fuel. I am still a bit inexperienced using an offset smoker, so I have basically used only oak so far because I read that is the most popular. And I think I know why; Oak is quite mild and do not easily over smoke your meat if you keep a clean combustion. At least that's my short experience so far.
So this last Sunday, I had all day to babysit my offset smoker so I wanted to try the difference in wrapping in the most commonly used aluminium foil and the slightly less used butcher kraft paper. So I started with both pieces of meat just in the smoke and heat, no wrapping. After three hours, I thought they looked OK and I thought they'd had got enough smoke so I wrapped them.
Below are photos with more explanations.
And remember, in BBQ, not all always go as planned. At least not if you don't pay attention!
|A bed of hot charcoal briquettes is good for starting the wood fire. 5:30 in the morning...|
|I drilled a hole for a thermometer with wireless transmission some time ago.|
|Here's the wireless receiver from the thermometer.|
|Fire getting started.|
|1,5 kg pork to the left and his big brother to the right.|
|Nice day for a barbecue!|
|Meats been on for 3 hours and I think they had enough smoke. Colour is good. |
(Note the wireless temp probe)
|The 2 kg piece looks nice.|
|The 1,5 kg piece looks a bit pale but I decide to wrap it as well.|
|So here we are with the minor test. After 3 hours in the smoke, one got wrapped in butcher paper and one in aluminium foil.|
|Smoking, stoking and drinking beer....|
|After totally 6,5 hours, this is the core temp in the big piece (82), so I thought I needed to check on the smaller piece by now.|
|Ooops, too hot! 90-92 is the goal!|
|The bigger meat to the left had the meat thermometer but the smaller did not, as I thought I would check that one on the feeling according to the temp of the other. Well, I failed a bit...|
So the aluminium wrapped, overcooked small piece was set to rest a bit in the smoke stack, where the temp is around 60°C.
|Small pieces of oak burning. Temp control.|
|So this is the internal temp of the bigger piece that got attention.|
|The 2 kg pork was done now after 8,5 hours and 92°C internal temp.|
|Biggest in paper and the smaller in foil|
|Sorry, but due to me not paying 100% attention, this smaller got too tender and almost mushy. And the smoke flavour was very mild.|
|This bigger piece was in the butcher paper. But it deserves to be in the newspaper as well! :-) Very nice bark.|
|Totally more smokey and better BBQ taste of this one!|
|Bonus; Cornbread with cornmeal from Bob's Red Mill. Yum! |
(Not cooked in the smoker, though).