DENVER — The traditional gourmand’s rule of thumb is to drink wine when eating meat (and to drink wine when eating), but at Rocky Mountain Barrel Company we suggest taking it to the next level by cooking the meat in a wine barrel to infuse the flavor directly into that steak or pork chop or turkey. Use an oak wine barrel — previously the aging vessel of fine Napa wine — to create a smoker for roasting meat in your own backyard. The oaky barrel, the absorbed wine varietal and the smokiness of barrel-cooked meat create a flavor trifecta.
Other smokers on the market are not as ornamental as the wine barrel smoker and they are made of metal, which requires users to take extra caution during preparation to avoid any contamination of the meat from the metal. This is particularly true if the smoker is made from galvanized metal.
How to make a DIY meat smoker from a wine barrel:
- Secure the wine barrel’s staves to the rings by drilling the rings on the top of each stave ¼” into the stave.
- Cut an opening 1-1.5 feet just above the barrel’s bottom ring to make a door for the smoker box. Reinforce the inside of the door with metal if needed. Add hinges and a latch to the door to allow it to open and close securely.
- Place the heating element in the bottom of the barrel.
- Using bolts for support, add three grates inside the barrel. The first grate should go above the heating element, the second grate is to be used for a drip pan and should be inserted in about the middle of the barrel, and the third grate will be toward the top where the meat will be placed. We also recommend using a thermometer on the top grate. Temperatures should reach around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add a handle and hinge to the cover of the barrel to create a door to add the meat.
- Use extreme caution and make sure your smoker is secure and test your smoker before use. It should never be used indoors or left unattended.
How to Use Your Wine Barrel Smoker:
You can slow roast beef ribs, steaks, or any cut of meat that will fit into your barrel and it is also ideal for smoking poultry and fish. A dry rub can be applied if desired but is not necessary because the unique smoker adds a flavor of its own.
Begin with the meat at room temperature and light the fire in the firebox. Let the fire burn for up to 30 minutes before adding the meat.
Cooking slowly in low temperatures (200-230 degrees Fahrenheit) is the secret to tenderness. Cook for approximately 1 hour per pound, rotating the meat periodically. After cooking, let the meat rest to absorb juices before serving.
Rocky Mountain Barrel Company has wine barrels of varying sizes that can become excellent smokers for cooking gourmet meals. For instance, in our inventory are 59 Gallon Wine Barrels for that big-time outdoor chef, and 15 Gallon and 25 Gallon wine barrels accommodate for those with smaller appetites. Of course, we have these wine barrels in stock for people wanting to become wine-makers, so if smoking meats is not your goal, we’ve got you covered. And with special orders we can find new and vintage wine barrels of just about any size and for any purpose.
For Napa Valley Wine Barrels to create your own wooden barrel smoker or for other creative barrel uses, barrels for sale and barrels for rent, contact Rocky Mountain Barrel Company at 720-220-5184. We are located at 1441 West 64th Avenue #18 in Denver, CO. Our hours are Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment on Saturday and Sunday.