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Smoking Lingo

Speaking the language of the Pit Master

Every craft has its enthusiasts - and enthusiasts create their own language. To know it is to belong to an exclusive club. If you want to impress and confuse your guests with incredible knowledge, then read the cheat sheet below!

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  • Bark - that gorgeous crust that is created on the surface of smoked meat.

    Bark - that gorgeous crust that is created on the surface of smoked meat.

  • Briquettes are a composite charcoal product.

    Briquettes are a composite charcoal product.

  • Lump Charcoal. Unrefined and 100% pure carbon.

    Lump Charcoal. Unrefined and 100% pure carbon.

  • Don't panic! A pink smoke ring on a brisket is a prized result. It's created by chemical reactions between smoke and meat.

    Don't panic! A pink smoke ring on a brisket is a prized result. It's created by chemical reactions between smoke and meat.

Bark - That dark crust that is created from the rub when smoking.

Blue Smoke - This is the optimal time for throwing meat onto the smoker. Blue Smoke is when the smoke coming off the flame is lightly tinged blue.

Boating- This involves a foil tray or taking a few sheets of aluminium foil to make a tray for the bottom half of protein to sit in (typically beef cheeks or brisket). As the meat cooks in its juices, it speeds up the cook while also providing liquid for moisture retention and a part-braise

Boogers - That milky gloopy goo that comes to the surface of salmon and burgers when they are cooked. It is mostly a protein-laden liquid from within muscle fibres.

Brine - The process of adding salt to meat. This can be done as a wet brine (salt mixed with water), or a dry brine is salt applied to the surface of the meat. The salt dissolves and diffuses into the meat. It helps protein hold onto moisture during cooking and enhances flavours.

Briquettes - Charcoal made by combining and compressing carbonized sawdust and binders into little burnable pillows.

Burnt Ends - Also known as meat candy, these are bite sized cubes of crispy, fatty bark bits. See our Burnt End Recipe

Cascade - If you subscribe to instagram, you've seen this! It’s when the juices come out when brisket is done right. Often shown when the meat is pushed down or squeezed.

Charcoal-tarian - If you're reading this, you're well on your way to becoming a Charcoal-tarian. That is someone passionate and enthusiastic about cooking on charcoal.

Curing - This involves the preservation of meat by the heavy application of some or all of the following: Salts, sugars, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, sodium erythorbate, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, liquid smoke, smoke, and other herbs and spices.

Fat Cap - The thick layer of fat between the skin and flesh. Its presence ensures a piece of meat is flavourful and tender.

Glaze - A shiny coating. Glazes get their sheen from sugar. Some sauces are also glazes.

Hot Smoking - When a smoking chamber gets to 55ºC or higher. In the kill zone of microbes.

Indirect Cooking - Indirect Cooking is the opposite of Barbecuing/Grilling. Instead of cooking directly over the heat source, the fuel is pushed away from the food. The convection flow of hot air cooks the food low and slow. Many smokers use indirect heating.

Injection - Marinading your meat from the inside out – infusing meat by injecting is a great way to increase flavour.

Jiggle - A perfectly cooked brisket will 'jiggle' if poked.

Low 'n' slow - When a smoker is kept near 110ºC and the meat is cooked for a long time. The fats and collagens melt, making the meat juicy and tasty. If you cook too hot, the meat gets tough. This is indirect cooking, meaning the meat doesn't sit directly above the heat source but is cooked slowly and indirectly.

Lump - Lump Charcoal. Lump contains only burning wood, with no additives or by-products like sawdust. It burns hotter and longer.

Marinade - A liquid to soak the meat in. Leaving meat to sit in a marinade will let the flavours get deeper into your meat. It has less salt and more acid and oil than brine does.

Maillard reaction - The chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that browns a food’s surface, giving barbecue its bark.

Mop Sauce - Mop sauce is brushing a thin sauce on a piece of meat while it is cooking. Classic mop sauces are vinegar based with black pepper, red pepper flakes or hot sauce. You can also use sugary drinks like beer, apple juice or soft drinks.This adds a burst of flavour and caramelisation.

Reverse Sear - Searing your meat at the end of cooking, rather than the beginning. When the interior is just below the desired temp, sear the meat over high heat to darken the outside. This means the interior of the meat is more uniformly cooked than if the high heat is applied at the beginning, with less shrinkage, more juice, and more tenderness.

Seasoning - Usually, this means adding salt and pepper, now it can include other flavour additions like spices, herbs, and even sauces.

Seasoning a Smoker - Breaking in your BBQ or Smoker before the first cook. The interior and cooking surfaces of a new smoker often have machine oil or other by-products of the manufacturing process on them. See our article on Seasoning your BBQ for it’s first use.

Smoke Ring - That gorgeous pink layer just under the bark of a brisket, resulting from a chemical reaction to smoke.

Stick Burner - Sticks are wood logs, therefore a stick burner is a smoker that is designed for burning logs.

Sugar Cookie - A sweet, crunchy bit of surface fat encrusted with spices.

Tuning - The process of modifying a cooker for optimum and even heat and smoke distribution.