Before refrigerators were invented, smoke served the same purpose. It was used to extend the shelf life of meat and other food. From the perspective of a BBQ restaurant, smoking is so much more. It tenderizes and adds flavor, transforming even a bad cut of meat into something to be savored. What is the magic behind the smoking process and how is it accomplished? Until now, these have been well-kept secrets.

The smoking process can take as short as one or two hours or as long as 20 hours or more. Special equipment is required for the longest smoking process and a smoker can cost as much as $20,000. Smoking requires a source for smoke, something to contain the smoke, and food. Hardwoods usually serve as the smoke source and apple, oak, and hickory are commonly used. Ribs, pork shoulder, and brisket are the most popular smoked meats. However, nearly any food can be smoked, including cheese.

Smoking meat is an art and as such, it requires patience and practice. In a nutshell, it involves slow cooking tough meat at lower temperatures until it is tender and filled with flavor. The best temperature range for meat smoking is between 200 and 220 degrees Fahrenheit. For food safety purposes, most meats should reach a 145-degree Fahrenheit internal temperature and poultry should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. To get a tender result, the final temperature should be about 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

By maintaining a low cooking temperature, the smoke has time to seep into the meat. Low temperature cooking also acts as a natural tenderizer. By cooking meat slowly, the connective fibers (also known as gristle) have time to break down and become tender. They then convert to basic sugars, which are important ingredients in any barbecued food. They provide the meat with a sweet flavor that cannot be achieved through other cooking methods.

Some smoking equipment is designed to make the temperature control process easier for restaurant workers. For example, Southern Pride makes an SP-1000 smoker that delivers precise temperature control, ensuring consistency in results. Restaurant owners do not need to train employees to barbecue because the pit temperature remains constant. In addition, this equipment accepts fireplace-sized logs, enabling it to create an unparalleled smoked color, flavor, texture, and aroma.

Meat should be surrounded by smoke while in the smoker. The smoke should constantly be circulating to prevent creosote buildup and maximize exposure. This enhances the flavor, creating a tastier result. The SP-1000 smoker features a convection system that continuously recirculates heat and smoke through the entire pit. A subterthermic flue system achieves maximum smoke intensity, which increases the smoke flavor and reduces wood usage.

The best BBQ restaurant views the smoking process as something to be savored. It takes time to create a tender piece of meat that is loaded with flavor and ready to fall off the bone. Diners flock to an establishment like this because they love the tasty food and would rather pay for it than endure all that is involved in creating it.

If you crave the taste of flavorful foods and are looking for a quality BBQ restaurant, Look no further than Can't Stop Smokin' Bar-B-Q Smokehouse. Our chefs have perfected the art of slow cooking ribs, steaks, and anything else you can throw in a grill at a BBQ restaurant. For more information, menu's, and locations, visit CantStopSmokin.com today!