I recently purchased a 1/2 cow. That allowed me to acquire the cuts of meet that I wanted, not just what the butcher offered. Sunday is "smoker day," and I have a barrel pit wood smoker. I was put to the challenge of smoking the whole flank. It is about 10 lbs. Any suggestions? I do not want the outside to get dry/chewy.
The flank, contains cuts like beef skirt and these are great for slow cooking in liquid. I've never done it in a smoker but that doesn't mean it's not worth giving it a try. Certainly the low and slow process on the smoker (with a water bath) is going some way to mimic the slow cooking in liquid.
My concern is that it doesn't have as much connective tissue as some other cuts and when smoking low and slow it is this gentle breakdown of the fat and connective tissue that keeps everything moist and tender.
Within reason, if there is any fat on the flank, keep it on. After that it's only a matter of timing.
I recently tried a shin of beef (again lean and normally used as a stewing cut) smoked it for 6 hours and it came out fibrous and dry as a bone. So my advice on timing would be less rather than more once you've hit a safe temperature for eating:-
Medium rare - 145°F (62.8°C)
Medium - 160°F (71.1°C)
Well done - 170°F (76.7°C)
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