Have you been neglecting to use your smoker over the last few months? You may love eating home-smoked meats, vegetables, cheeses, and other foods, but it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life and end up leaving your smoker collecting dust on your patio. If that’s the case for you, summer is the ideal time to make a change and embrace the chance for smoking. Read on for the top 5 reasons why summer is the best season to use your smoker.
1. You have extra time on your hands.
Life often takes on a slower pace in the summer. The kids are out of school, you may be able to get more time off of work, and you don’t have to worry about external obligations like the back-to-school frenzy of the fall, the holidays in the winter, or spring cleaning. With this excess of time, you have more opportunities to use your smoker--so take advantage of the moment!
Not only is it easier to find the hours in the day necessary to do the smoking itself, but you also have time to figure out which type of firewood you want to use to smoke different types of foods. As we discussed in an earlier post, the firewood chunks that you can use for in your smoker or griller--which include hickory, cherry, pecan, and oak smoking chunks--have different attributes and confer different flavor profiles to the food you’re smoking. With the extra time you have in the summer, you can plan out new, innovative smoking strategies that utilize the different types of firewood for cooking in creative ways. Want a sweeter smoked ham? Try using cherry smoking chunks. Looking to add a more robust flavor to an otherwise somewhat bland smoked fish like halibut? Opt for pecan smoking chunks. In the summer, you have time to experiment!
2. The summer weather is ideal for smoking outside.
Summer in the Atlanta area means warm days and well-lit evenings--perfect weather for smoking your meats outside. During cooler seasons, you might find yourself shivering over your smoker in the dark after work, trying to get it started as soon as possible so that you can get back inside. But in the summer, you can take your time to set your smoker up right, reducing the chances that you’ll make a mistake by rushing through the process. Plus, once you get the smoker going, you can sit outside and enjoy the tantalizing smells that waft from your smoker when you choose to fuel it with firewood chunks.
3. You can smoke summer vegetables.
In the summer, it always seems like everyone is trying to figure out what to do with the abundance of summer vegetables like zucchini, squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and eggplant. Maybe you have a big garden yourself, and you have to find ways to cook up a seemingly endless daily harvest of fresh vegetables. Or maybe you’re part of a food co-op, or on the receiving end of a friend or neighbor who has a big garden and drops a bundle of veggies on your doorstep every morning. Initially, it’s fun to use summer vegetables for kebabs, stir fry, quick breads, or pizza topping, but in the late summer, you may start to run out of ideas--and smoking the vegetables is your answer! When you use smoking chunks in your smoker, the smoke imparts a unique flavor to your vegetables, so you’ll get to enjoy a new twist on the summer flavors that might otherwise have started getting a little boring.
4. You can stock up on smoked foods for fall and winter.
In the fall and winter, smoked foods can provide just the right comforting flavor to keep the chill away. And if you take advantage of the time and good weather you have in the summer, you’ll be able to build up a stockpile for future use. That way, when life gets in the way of smoking in the latter months of the year, you’ll still be able to pull out flavorful smoked meats to serve to your friends and family.
5. School’s out--so you can pass the smoking tradition on to your kids.
There are certain family traditions that are worth keeping, and using your smoker to prepare flavorful foods is undoubtedly one of them. Because summer means a reprieve from school, it’s the best time of the year to teach your kids how to use the smoker. Not only are the kids available during the day, but you also have to worry less about bedtime, which is helpful, since smoking can take hours (depending on the food), and you may not be able to finish until late in the evening. By taking advantage of this summertime opportunity, you can ensure that your family will continue to enjoy firewood-smoked foods for generations to come!
Cutting Edge Firewood offers high-quality smoking chunks, so visit our order page now to get everything you need for the summer. And don’t forget to tag us on Instagram when you take photos of your fun smoking experiences and delicious culinary creations!