A selection of smoked meats from 8 Hands Farm and smoked fish from Hook & Net. (Photo Credit: David Benthal: Food Styling: Alice Falcone)
I feel in control in my kitchen, but the grill has always intimidated me a little. High heat? Low heat? How do I know when something is done? Turns out, all I needed to learn was how to turn my grill into a smoker. It’s easy, hard to mess up and there’s plenty of control. Once you get it down, you can smoke just about anything you can eat. And chefs on the North Fork do. I got their tips and tricks for embracing an old-fashioned cooking technique that is trending in a big way in 2021.
Set up your smoker
At 8 Hands Farm in Cutchogue, Erik Morgan smokes the farm’s own pork shoulder, spare ribs, chicken legs, hot dogs, kielbasa, bacon and charcuterie twice a week in a propane-fueled behemoth made by Myron Mixon. “The propane setup fires flames, below a large pan of water,” he said. “That helps whatever you’re smoking stay moist.” The giant black box smoker uses a mix of technology and old school, as Morgan put it. A high-tech panel monitors the temperature and regulates it so the burner cuts off once it hits 250 degrees. The wood is the old school. A chamber off to the side is where it’s stoked for smoking.
Fortunately, you don’t need a commercial Myron Mixon to smoke at home; a large grill that