How to Use a Smoker

Using a smoker is one of the easiest ways to bring additional flavor to meats, chicken and BBQ. Regardless of the smoker you have, slow cooking and low heat are always recommended.

Location is Important

Set your smoker on level ground outside the house. Make sure it isn’t in the way. Do make sure though that its location is convenient as people will be coming and going around it. Follow the recommendation in your smoker’s manual.

Preparing the Smoker

Add charcoal briquettes into the pan. Pour in the lighter fluid. You can use wood flavored chips also. When using a smoker, it’s a good idea to let the fluid settle down for a few minutes before lighting it up. The amount of charcoal briquettes you put in will depend on the smoker and also on the food you’re cooking.

Pour water into the water pan. This is important for two reasons. One, it keeps the air moist. Second it helps keep the cooking temperature regular. Lining it up with foil will assist in cleaning
up afterwards. You can also put in some spices and seasonings for more flavors. This is also where you put in the marinade.

Light the Smoker

To start using a smoker, use a lighter to ignite the charcoal. You can start cooking when the temperatures remain steady at 250 degrees.

Cooking the Meat

When the meat is prepared, place it on the grill. Dry rubbing should be used. Sauces will burn up due to the slow cooking time. Adding them during the final half hour is recommended.

When cooking, always keep an eye on the coals. Add more if necessary. Always make sure the water pan is filled. Turning the meat over is necessary.

To get accurate readings, use a digital meat thermometer. This will let you determine if the meat is already cooked. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you’ll need to cut the meat to see if it’s cooked. This will cause the juices to come out. Even if you’re using a smoker properly, this will reduce the flavors.

When the digital thermometer gives the right temperature, you can
stop cooking the meat. The correct temperature will vary depending on the food. It will also depend on how well you want the meat done. There are also no hard and fast rules for seasonings.


For best results, keep the coals burning ash appears. This doesn’t just mean more flavor; it also means the lighter will burn better. Do some research on the coals and wood chips. There are many types available.

Try different types to see which best suits your recipe. Mesquite and hickory are two of the most popular and they both bring unique flavors to food.

The amount of wood and heat to be used will vary per recipe. If you’re experimenting, it might take a while to find the right combination. Be patient.

Using a smoker can be a lot of fun. It can be a brand new cooking experience for those new to grilling and cooking. The time you spend learning it will not be wasted.

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