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A meat smoker is an equipment used in cooking meat at low temperatures in controlled, smoky surroundings. Meat smokers come in a variety of sizes, and they use several fuels such as electricity, natural gas, wood, charcoal, pellets, among others. When smoking meat, it is the duty of the person smoking it to maintain a stable smoking temperature of roughly 225°F or 110°C. That person must make sure that smoke is present. It is the traditional meat smokers that use wood that requires wood heat and smoke to cook your food. For electric meat smokers, they need to have timber placed on their heating chambers to produce smoke.

How to use a smoker grill effectively?

It is the smoker grills that are good in the process of meat smoking. Grills have the qualities of a good meat smoker. Grills can dial into fewer temperature ranges more efficiently and enable longer and slower cooking over a long period. This slow pace of smoking is the one that produces soft and tender meat that is ready for eating. The following are the steps to help you in using a smoker grill:

Keep watching the grill temperature as it should be at 225°F. Legendary barbecue expert and author, Meathead Goldwyn, discourages the use of using built-in cheap smoker grill thermometers that are usually inaccurate and only measure the temperature at the grill top. This barbeque expert instead encourages buying two digital air probes, which work as thermometers and accurately track the temperature fluctuations as the charcoal burns down, airflow is adjusted, and more fuel added.

Since the temperature inside smoker grills changes from end to end with the side near the firebox more hotter, Goldwyn encourages you to drill a small hole in the door at every end of the cooking chamber, as near to where the food will be to let you insert the probes without lifting the lid. In case you prefer to choose a cheaper option, Goldwyn encourages mounting two of these thermometers that posses 4-inch stems to measure temperature using an installation kit. Probes will give a good indication of heat, although it is only digital thermometers that do provide more accurate results for an extended period of meat smoking. 

Light the charcoal in a chimney starter: Cold meat is more smoke absorbent than beef at room temperature. If your chicken is ready to be cooked, you can then fuel up your smoker grill. Begin by lighting a full load of charcoal in a chimney starter until ash begins to form for about 15 minutes. Goldwyn emphasizes the use of charcoal as compared to wood since wood fires are complicated to manage in a smoker grill and can easily lead to wastage of meat as they produce a lot of smoke, creosote, soot, and ash.

Open up the intake and chimney baffles and include lit charcoal: Oxygen is a fuel that your grill smoker utilizes to form heat. Once you control the amount of oxygen to the grill, you are also managing the temperature of the grill. One of the qualities of a good meat smoker is its ability to use oxygen in the heating process. Many smoker grills possess both an intake baffle and a chimney baffle. Make both baffles fully open before including the fuel. You will adjust the intake baffle after the smoker heats enough. 

Insights on using the grill

Dump the charcoal in the firebox and give time for your smoker grill to reach your preferred temperature before adding the meat to the smoker. Ensure that you maintain the smoker and firebox doors closed very well because opening the firebox doors encourages the unnecessary escaping of heat and smoke. If the temperature probes indicate that the smoker has attained the desired temperature, add the meat to the smoker, and close the door.

Maintain the meat grill temperature: Here, you will desire to change the intake baffle to start controlling the heat as it is this baffle that controls the amount of oxygen that flows to the coals. The chimney baffle controls the flow of smoke and the temperature differential in the cooking chamber to a specific degree. Maintain the chimney baffle wide open and close the intake baffle halfway and more while gradually adjusting it until the temperature is more stable at a range between 225 to 250°F on the smoker’s smoking section. As the meat cooking goes on, the temperature will drop with the fading of the charcoal. Where the need is, fill up more charcoal stones to the grill to make the meat more ready.

The significance of including wood chunks & moisture

it is good to use large pieces of wood instead of small chips because the large wood chunks smoulder more slowly and consistently. Goldwyn says that you may need a chunk or two for every cooking cycle to incorporate wood smoke into your meat. Hardwoods, fruitwoods, and nut woods majorly intended for smoking burn more and provide the best flavour. There is no need for you to soak the wood chunks before adding them to the charcoal. Goldwyn is of the view that wood rarely absorbs any water, and the moisture may tamp down the burning coals. 

Including moisture to the smoke and the meat enables your barbecue to absorb that super delicious smoky flavour. Use two ways to do this. First, place a metal rack over the coals in the firebox and include a water pan on the grate to enable the humidification of the smoke that enters the grilling chamber. The second way is to spray the meat with some water or apple juice in the later cooking stages when the meat appears dry to help it absorb smoke and remain juicy. Do this moderately to avoid washing away the existing smoke coating. 

Properly timing the barbecue

Good barbecue requires time. You will need to leave the large meat pieces for up to a full day until that meat is soft and tender. For chicken, it is usually grilled at 165°F, although you may increase the temperature to get a delicate chicken meat piece to excite your taste buds.

To produce ready and soft barbecues, always consider the qualities of a good meat smoker that contribute to your enjoyment and comfort when using any meat smoker. These qualities may be in terms of material and durability, energy and efficiency of a top smoker, temperature control, uniform heat, and high heating capability. 

Meta- The meat smoker you’ll use for cooking meat delicacies will define how it will taste. You must know the qualities of a good meat smoker before going to buy it. This is a must to come home with the best product in your hand. 

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