Smoking is a popular cooking method, favoured not only for the flavour it imparts, but also for its abilities to preserve and tenderise tough cuts of meat. Smoking uses low temperatures over long periods to break down the connective tissues that make meat tough. For those in a hurry, a pressure cooker provides tender results in a fraction of the time, but lacking the smoked flavour. You cannot use a pressure cooker to smoke, but you can achieve very similar results by adding liquid smoke to your cooking liquid.
Find a basic recipe that will supply the necessary amounts of liquid and cooking times that should be used with your particular type and size of meat. Follow the recipe instructions regarding preparation steps, such as trimming and browning.
Prepare the pressure cooker by adding the liquids and some liquid smoke into the pan. High-quality liquid smoke is a natural product that is made by concentrating distilled, condensed smoke. To avoid overpowering your meat, start with just a few drops. You may also add aromatics such as onions, garlic, celery and carrots to your mixture. Avoid adding salt or salty ingredients to the liquid at this stage because they tend to dry out the meat.
Place the rack inside the pressure cooker, to allow the meat to sit above most of the liquid. Arrange the meat in an even layer. Lock the cooker cover in place.
Cook the meat on high heat until the cooker has reached full pressure. Reduce the heat and cook for the time indicated in your recipe. Remove the pressure cooker from heat and allow it to return to normal pressure before opening the lid.
Rub the cooked meat with seasonings and/or sauce, and finish cooking it on a grill or in the oven to caramelise the outside of the meat. Using a smoker box on an outdoor grill can add more smoke flavour at this stage. Enhance the smoke flavour by adding liquid smoke or other smoked ingredients, such as bacon and chipotle peppers, to your rubs and sauces.
If you are willing to invest in true pressure smoking, there are several hybrid smoker/pressure cooker devices on the market.
Always tilt the pressure cooker away from you as you remove the lid, to avoid being burnt when steam escapes.
Tips and warnings
- If you are willing to invest in true pressure smoking, there are several hybrid smoker/pressure cooker devices on the market.
- Always tilt the pressure cooker away from you as you remove the lid, to avoid being burnt when steam escapes.