There’s tender meat, as smokehouse restaurants show.

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Tough cuts like brisket come apart easily, after being smoked for long hours on low heat.

There’s tender meat, as smokehouse restaurants show.

Slowly does it is the new trend in smoking food, with smokehouses Meatsmith, Red Eye Smokehouse and Decker Barbecue introducing low and slow cooking here. This technique is best for secondary cuts like brisket and chuck roasts, which come from parts with more heavily used muscles and connective tissue.

“These cuts break down very nicely when smoked at low temperatures over long periods of time. The collagen and fats melt and give the meats a rich, creamy texture,” says Jan Yeo, co-founder of Red Eye Smokehouse. At these three restaurants, the meat is usually coated with a spice rub, then left in a wood-fuelled smoker to cook for hours on low heat. A musthave on the menu is brisket, which takes about 14 hours to cook at a temperature of about 108 deg C.

What comes out of the smoker is a glistening slab marked with a light pink smoke ring and a crust as black as charcoal. Don’t mistake the crust for burnt bits to be scrapped off , though. This sticky sweet dark rind, otherwise known as the bark, is the result of a chemical reaction between the smoke and the spice rub, and is meant to be savoured. Tangy fruit-based sauces work best to complement the robust flavours of these meats, as well as sides like coleslaw or beans.

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