Real barbecue is bragging food. Maybe it’s the great smoky flavor or maybe it’s the praise of the eaters, but somehow all pit masters develop into natural boasters. They learn to tell tall tales, wear odd clothes, act in wacky ways, and otherwise promote themselves as magicians of meat.
When asked about their secrets, they often dance around their answer, hinting at mysterious ingredients in their own special dry rub, marinade or sauce. It’s all part of the fun of barbecue, but beginners shouldn’t be deceived about the main secrets of success. As long as you know your equipment and understand some barbecue basics you’re well on your way to becoming a master barbecuer. For the newcomer to smoker cooking its important to get yourself a good cookbook on the subject. One that describes the different types of smokers and the other equipment you would need to get started. Having some basic recipes for rubs, marinades, and sauces is also a good place to start, then you can begin to modify a recipe to make it your own.
While visiting in North Carolina over the holidays, I was fortunate to experience this succulent flank steak that was marinated over night and then cooked in a smoker with Jack Daniels-flavored wood chips to produce the smoke and flavor. Tender and flavorful don’t begin to describe the texture and flavor of meat that has been slow cooked in a smoker. You must experience this for yourself to appreciate how great it was.
SOY MARINADE AND GLAZE
- 3/4 cup soy sauce, preferably low sodium
- 1/3 cup hot pepper sauce
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar, or more to taste
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons oil, preferably sesame
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 flank steaks, about 2 1/2 pounds total
1. The night before you plan to barbecue, combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl or lidded jar. Whisk or shake to combine. Place the flank steaks in a plastic bag or shallow dish and pour the marinade over them. Refrigerate the steaks overnight.
2. Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 200*F. to 220*F.
3. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator. Drain them and reserve the marinade. Let the steaks sit at room temperature for 25 minutes.**
4. In a heavy saucepan, bring the marinade to a boil and boil it for 5 to 10 minutes, until reduced by one-third. Keep the mixture warm for glazing the meat.
5. Brush the glaze over the steaks and transfer them to the smoker. Brush the steaks with the glaze again after about 25 minutes. Cook for a total of 45 to 55 minutes, until the meat is rare to medium-rare.
6. Let the steaks rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain. Serve the slices with additional glaze on the top or on the side.
**Allowing the food to come to cool room temperature before barbecuing promotes quick and even cooking, and with meat, fowl, and fish it reduces the chance that a cool center will harbor bacteria.
The flavor of this steak was deep throughout the meat, not just on the surface. The smoky flavor from the wood chips penetrates evenly through the meat. Some of us like our steak med-rare, others like theirs rare. Using a meat thermometer helped to know the level of doneness, and when it was sliced it was perfectly cooked. We all got slices that were cooked just the way we like it.
Having meat prepared this way was a special treat for me, as I’ve only had meat prepared this way only once or twice before.
Photography done in someone else’s home doesn’t always produce the same quality picture as what I can achieve at my home because of the difference in lighting. However I hope you got a good idea of what this meat looked like. So sorry you couldn’t taste it also 😀
SOURCE: Smoke and Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison