Smoke Is A Necessity Of Great Barbecue.
Anyone Who Tells You Otherwise Probably Puts Steak Sauce On A $30 Filet Mignon.
Today's methods of smoking foods has evolved from ancient processes of preserving meats. Long before refrigerators and chemical preservatives, smoke was used to extend the shelf life of food, particularly meats. These days, smoking, as it relates to barbecue is so much more. Smoking adds flavor, it tenderizes, and it turns some of the worst cuts of meat into a finger licking feast.
Most people know about smoked ham, bacon or fish. In the world of traditional barbecue, whether it is Texas, North Carolina, or Kansas City style; smoking means something else. In barbecue, smoking takes anywhere from 1-2 hours up to 20 or even more. Really long smoking requires the right kind of equipment. Our equipment is especially created for bringing out the best flavors from whatever cuts of meat or fish are being prepared for you.
The source of the smoke is typically hard wood. There have been people who assert that what you burn to make the smoke really doesn't matter. The truth could not be further. ZBQ smoke is generated by burning fruit woods (the fresher the wood, the smokier and tastier the food). We cut and burn cherry, apple, mulberry, plum, and apricot wood. Since the majority of the meat is pork based; we found that there exists a strong synergy between pork and smoke generated from fruit bearing trees. We respect the pitmasters who swear by hickory, maple, and oak. All have their place in the world of competitive barbecue, but experience dictates that wood that comes from fruit bearing trees has less density. This means that the heat coming from the wood is of lower temperature which is one of the secrets of great barbecue; Low'n Slow; low temperature controlled over a long time.
There are two reasons to keep the temperature low. One is to give the smoke enough time to sink in and the other is to naturally tenderize the meat. Slow cooking gives the natural connective fibers in meat time to break down, become tender, and change into basic sugars. This last part is an integral part of barbecue. Collagen, the tough connective tissues in meat (think gristle) breakdown when cooked slowly into several types of sugar. This makes the meat sweet in flavor.
Another basic rule of smoking is to place the meat inside the smoker so that it is surrounded by smoke. You want a good thick stream of smoke around the meat at all times to give it the kind of exposure you need to enhance the flavor. The smoke needs to be moving, always moving to maximize exposure and prevent the smoke from making the meat bitter because of a build up of creosote.