Food, Wine & Just Good Living With SaucyJoe

It started with a love of food, wine & fun and blossomed into a maddening pursuit of the best recipes, techniques, grills, smokers, wines, crafted beers, rubs, marinades and sauces... We do more than play with our meat though -- we review and discuss all things cooking, drinking, reading, laughing and living at SaucyJoe's.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Finish in the Oven!

Last night reminded me once again that the oven can be an integral portion of preparing smoked meat.

The Sullivan family got home after an 8 hour drive back from northern Ohio (Thank goodness the speed limit in Illinois is pretty much regarded as a mild suggestion!), and smoked pork chops sounded awfully good. They were soon in the smoker. However, it was getting late, and the chops weren't done. They had plenty of smoke, but not a lot of heat. This is one of the risks of smoking in winter. So, I preheated the oven to 350 deg F and baked the chops for another half hour.

The result was very nice. The chops were very moist, and they had their full smoked flavor.

While smoking purists may disagree, the strategy of Finishing in the Oven has pretty wide acceptance. After all, the goal is to provide a smoke flavored meal in as little time as possible, right? And while I thoroughly enjoy sitting by the smoker drinking some beer and nurturing a nice cut of meat to full smoky doneness (doneness?), the experience is not as pleasant when the outside temperature is 20 degrees F and the wind is blowing 20 mph out of the north. So, 1-2 hours of smoking, depending on the cut of meat, followed by a 1/2 to 1 hours in the oven at 350 deg F works for me.

This strategy is advocated by the Cooks Illustrated authors of Steaks, Chops, Roasts and Ribs who have smoked pork butt for 3 hours and finished in the oven for 2 hours, effectively cutting the time in half. Their pork butt pulls apart for sandwiches just like one which has been smoked all day.

I have tried this strategy when I want to provide a large cut of smoked meat for a party, and don't have a lot of time just before the party. I smoke the meat on the weekend before the party, not going for being fully smoked, just getting a full smoke flavor. Then I wrap the meat in aluminum foil and put it in the freezer. The day of the party, I thaw the meat in the fridge. I bake the meat while still in the foil for 2 hours at 325 deg F, and it is ready for a hungry crew!

So remember, if you don't have the time required for a full smoking experience, Finish in the Oven!


Blogger Saucy Joe Sullivan said...

As nice as would be to hold true to the purist way of smoking meat, us amatuers need help sometimes. I see no problem with enlisting the help of the oven.

Ya got to get the food to the table, but it's tough to do when you're frozen solid!!

Mon Jan 01, 04:47:00 PM CST  

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