Admit it: The real reason you haven’t used it is because you don’t quite know what you’re doing and the last thing you want to do is spend even more money in an unsuccessful attempt. Honestly, you would be surprised at how easy it is to use your smoker, even if you’ve never grilled out or smoked foods before. Just follow the steps below and you’ll be sitting down to mouth-watering food before you know it.
Prepare Your Smoker
This is a two-step process. Whether you purchased your charcoal barbecue smoker fully assembled or had to put in some elbow grease yourself to make it operational, it is a good idea to season or prep it according to the manufacturer. Follow these instructions as closely as possible. If none are available, use your own judgment. Generally speaking, this is going to mean burning off any chemicals and/or foreign substances used during the manufacturing process or that have accumulated during the storage, handling, and shipping of your grill. Bring it up to the recommended temperature and be patient while it burns for the required amount of time. Skipping this step might result in your meats tasting awkward. Next, you want to add the appropriate amount of oil or animal fat to surfaces your food will come in contact with and allow it to remain for the duration of your initial burn off.
Choose Your Fuel And Smoke
Again, using manufacturer recommendations as a guide, add the appropriate amount of high quality charcoal made specifically for your smoker. Determine how much you need to add based on the amount of meat you plan to smoke. Although your charcoal will produce heat, you’re still going to need wood chips or pellets to produce the smoke you’ll need. Your selection will be made solely on your own preferences and tastes. If you want your meats to be on the sweeter side, a nice mesquite wood will be perfect for imparting that flavor. For a more traditional flavor, hickory chips are the most popular for achieving that taste. Pair the type of meat you’ll serve with the type of flavor you want to select the perfect type of wood.
Prepare Your Meats
This step might seem like a common sense approach to cooking, but remember, you’re not just slapping a burger on grill or in a pan to be flipped moments later. It might take hours for your food to absorb the amount of heat and smoke it requires to thoroughly cook it. Therefore, you’re going to want to use ingredients and methods that hold up well under high heat and long cooking times, unless you plan to add them later on in the process. Usually, when you are smoking meats, it’s not necessary to cover them, so keep in mind that whatever you use on them is going to be subjected to the heat and smoke directly. On the other hand, it’s not going to come in contact with direct flames, so the taste will be different as well. Make sure that all of the food you intend to smoke is ready to go at the same time. Be ready to put it all on your smoker at once so as to retain the heat and smoke levels.
Start It, Regulate It, And Tend To It
One of the more difficult steps in using your charcoal barbecue smoker is starting it. Make sure your coals are arranged so that they produce the maximum amount of heat. If necessary, use long stem matches that will give you a flame for the amount of time needed for the charcoal to catch fire. Once it is lit, it’s time to add the wood pellets or chips to your smoke box or pan. Have plenty of water ready to add to your pan. This is how your smoke will be produced. After all is said and done, you need to make sure that you adjust the heat and smoke levels to a nice, regulated level before adding your meats. Then, tend to it. Adjust the water in the pan, add more chips, or add more charcoal, but do not, under any circumstance, start poking around your meats and flipping them. This is not necessary. It’s going to take patience, but if you plan on having juicy meats, you cannot pierce them. Also, in order for them to acquire the smoked flavor, they need to sit still. However, you can still make sure they are getting enough heat and smoke.
Many people believe that once they’ve used their smokers successfully that they will continue achieving great tasting foods. This simply is not the case. For your meats to continue receiving the best, you have to smoke them on the best. Cleaning your charcoal barbecue smoker after each use just isn’t sufficient enough to continue having flavorful foods. You must maintain more than just the cleanliness of it. If it is necessary, use food grade oils to prevent rust, the main issue plaguing grills. Keep it out of harsh weather conditions or make sure it’s covered fully. Use your grill. If it is allowed to sit idle for an extended period of time, you might find that your preparations for maintaining it have worn off and defeated the purpose. Don’t use any abrasive soaps, acids, or harsh cleaning utensils.
While there is a lot more to smoking meats than just throwing it on the grill and letting it sit for hours, you shouldn’t be afraid to use your gill, even if you’ve never used on before. There are various units on the market that are specifically designed for the more advanced and even professional griller, but with the steps above, you will be able to use yours without anyone knowing you’re not a pro yourself.