Most barbecue lovers will agree that there is no better taste than Meat slow cooked in a smoker. While there are numerous smoking options available on the market, purchasing a smoker can be costly. However, you can learn how to smoke on a charcoal or gas Grill in a few steps by building a basic wood smoker that can work just as well as most purchased varieties.
EditPreparing a Charcoal Grill
- Soak of smoking chips in cold water. Fill a large bucket full of cold water. Then, pour in worth of wood smoking chips, making sure they're completely submerged. Wait for 1 hour before placing them in the smoking grill later on.
- There are many different types of wood chips that you can buy. Each lend a distinct flavor to the smoke. Mesquite chips are especially good with beef. Maple chips are great for vegetables, cheese, and steak. Apple wood chips go great with poultry and fish.
- If you have the time, an overnight soak will yield the best results for flavor.
- Remove the large grill grate and grill lid, then open the vents. To convert your grill into a smoker, remove the large grilling grate and the grilling lid. Most charcoal grills will have 2 grill gates, 1 large grate in the middle and a smaller one below. Remove the larger. Then, open the vents on the grill as wide as they'll go.
- Place 4 to 5 large handfuls of charcoal on 1 side of the grill. To prepare the smoking process, you'll need to divide the lower grill grate into distinct sections. Choose 1 half of the grate and lump 4 to 5 handful of charcoal into it. Try to keep them bunched up.
- Heat the charcoal with an electric starter iron. Place an electric starter iron on the charcoals. Then, plug the device in. The iron will begin to heat the charcoal up. This process should take approximately 8 to 10 minutes. You can tell if the charcoal's heated when you can hear the coals crackle and can see smoke rising from the mound. Once you see smoke, remove the starting iron from the charcoals and unplug it.
- If you don't own an electric starter iron, you can light paper under the charcoals or use firestarters to heat it instead.
- Fill a foil drip pan with water and place it in the grill. Fill a foil drip pan approximately 1/4 full of water, and set it on the other side of the grill, beside the heated coals. Close the grill and let these components heat for around 20 minutes.
- Although the charcoal will provide enough smoke to cook your food, it's best to add some water to improve the flavor of the smoke and regulate the temperature. If some of the charcoals have slid to the other side of the lower grate, push them away with tongs to make room for the water.
- Remove the soaking wood chips and layer them on the charcoals. Open the grill and cover the heated charcoals with the soaked wood chips. Cover the charcoals completely, but leave some wood chips for later. Then, place the large grate back on the grill. The charcoals, wood chips, and water should be between both grates. Close the lid again.
EditPreparing a Gas Grill
- Submerge of wood chips in cold water. Purchase a large bag of smoking chips weighing at least . Then, pour them all into a large bucket full of cold water making sure that they're completely covered. Let them soak for at least 1 hour.
- Apple wood chips are designed for poultry and fish. Mesquite chips are known for the complimentary taste they lend beef. Maple chips work best for accompaniments like cheese and vegetables.
- Take off the grill grate and adjust the vents. A gas grill only has one primary grate propping the food up from the flame. Remove this grate entirely and place it to the side. Then, open up the vents as wide as you can. This will allow air to circulate as we heat the grill later.
- Wrap the soaked wood chips in a foil bag. Once the chips have been soaking for at least an hour, pour them into a foil bag. Make sure the bag is sealed, then pierce the top several times. Place this bag of wood chips directly on top of the burner.
- Place a foil drip pan filled with water into the grill, then heat it for 20 minutes. Fill a foil drip pan approximately 1/4 full with water. Then, decide which side of the gas grill you are going to ignite the flame under. Place this foil pan on the other side. Ignite the flame and close the lid, letting the chips and water heat up for around 20 minutes.
EditSmoking the Meat
- Prepare chicken, sausage, brisket, or fish. Smoking works best for tough pieces of meat that don't cook quickly. Lay your meat out on a flat surface and sprinkle it with a pinch of salt, pepper, and any other spices you'd like. If your meat is just out of the freezer, you will need to let the meat defrost first before smoking.
- If you're working with raw chicken, do not let any other foods touch a surface raw chicken has touched.
- Sausage usually comes pre-spiced so you don't need to worry about adding anything else unless you'd like to.
- Brisket benefits from a proper glaze or rub to enhance the smoky flavor.
- Fish is generally a tender or lighter meat so it cooks faster. However, go light on the spices. Fish has plenty of taste on its own. But if you want to add flavor, use table sauces like tartar or dill after the fish is done smoking.
- Check the heat of the grill is in the to range. Most grills, whether they're charcoal or gas, will contain internal thermometers. Before you begin smoking the meat, ensure the interior is hot enough to do so. Generally, the temperature needs to be between to .
- If your grill is too hot, the temperature will decrease with time. If it's too cold, add more chips or charcoal, or increase the temperature on the gas knob.
- Place the meat over the water pan and close the lid. With a pair of tongs, lift the meat onto the grill. Place it over the pan of water, no matter whether your grill is charcoal or gas. If your grill isn't very large, you may need to smoke the meat in several batches. Once all the meat is on the grill, put the lid back on tight.
- Closing the lid will lock in the smoke, letting your meat absorb all the flavor.
- Close the grill vents fully for a full smoke or halfway for a light smoke. The vents on top and below a grill help expunge the smoke building up inside. If this is your first time smoking food, rotate the vents so that they're half open. The less smoke you let out of the grill, the smokier your food will be.
- Let the meat smoke for 30 minutes to 6 hours. The length of time it takes to smoke meat greatly varies. If you're cooking several different types of meat, think ahead so that you're cooking the longer meats first and the shorter meats later.
- Chicken should take approximately 30-45 minutes per to cook.
- Sausage can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes to properly cook.
- Brisket takes longer than other meats, usually somewhere between 4-6 hours depending on how smoky you like the meat.
- Most fish take around 2 hours to cook.
- Add a handful of wet wood chips on top of the pile every 30 minutes. More wood chips will add more fuel to the grill. For a charcoal grill, add a handful of saturated wood chips over the charcoals every 30 minutes. For a gas grill, remove the foil bag with a pair of tongs. Remove the old chips carefully and fill the bag with new ones. The more wood chips you add, the more smoky the meat will be.
- Insert a meat thermometer after the smoking time has elapsed. An experienced smoker will be able to eyeball when their meat is ready. However, if this is your first time smoking, it is best to err on the side of caution. Pierce the meat at its thickest point with a meat thermometer and take a note of the temperature to see if it's ready.
- Chicken should read at least internally.
- A thoroughly cooked sausage will internally read around .
- A well done brisket will have an internal temperature of .
- Different types of fish will take different times to smoke. However, as a general rule of thumb, make sure the internal temperature reads .
- The meat's thickness and size will determine how long you need to smoke it. Most roasts and whole chickens, for example, take approximately 5 hours to fully smoke, while smaller steaks, fish, and other meat generally require less time. Check the internal grill temperature as indicated in the last step, but you can also use a meat thermometer to determine if the meat is fully cooked.
- There are a number of different styles of hardwood smoking chips available on the market. Popular styles include oak, maple, and cherry wood. Each will lend a slightly different flavor, so experiment with each variety to find what works best for your tastes.
EditThings You'll Need
- Kettle-style charcoal grill or gas grill
- Natural lump charcoal
- Gas canisters
- Electric starter iron
- Drip pan
- of hardwood smoking chips
- Large plastic bucket
- Meat thermometer
- Buy an Indoor Grill
- Smoke or Barbecue Meat Using a Weber Grill