I have patience for many kinds of elaborate cooking but smoking meats on a grill for hours is not one of them. I enjoy the Chinese approach of tea smoking because it’s easy, fun and fast. I've tea-smoked pressed tofu (see Asian Tofu for my recipe) and most recently, I tea-smoked a chicken for a Lunar New Year dinner with friends. You can spread the process out over the course of days and impress guests. In fact, my friends Mike and Jennifer thought that I’d done it all outside in our grill. Nope, I just used a wok and the smoking took about 30 minutes. Such brilliant Chinese cooking.
American-style smoking is often done when the protein is raw. The Chinese approach is to apply the smoking action after the protein is cooked. You can vary the outcome with smoking mixture. That’s to say, use more or less of the sugar, rice, tea and aromatics. If you didn’t smoke enough, no problem. There’s room for a re-do.