How To Use A Smoker Grill In 8 Easy Steps (With Pictures)

Having read about what a smoker grill is all about, how about some knowledge on how to use it?

Smoking or grilling meat are two of the best ways for cooking meat; smoking takes a slow and longer cooking approach in doing this but retains smoky flavors in the food through indirect heat.

Grilling, on the hand, locks in flavoring spices in the meat and cooks it faster through direct heat.
Explore further to know how to use a smoker grill.

What is a Smoker Grill?

smoker grill is an outdoor grill specifically made to smoke foods.

What is smoker cooking?

Well with regular grill cooking you certainly get some aromatic wood smoke into your food, but the primary cooking is being done by the direct radiant and ambient heat coming off of your charcoal or gas burners. In smoker cooking, the goal is to let the hot smoke alone slowly cook your food so that it is thoroughly permeated throughout by savory wood smoke flavor. The food smokes slowly, becoming tender and intensely flavored. This is usually accomplished by using very low indirect heat and plenty of smoking woods to produce that aromatic smoke.

To accomplish smoker cooking you need a closed cooking space to contain the smoke, a heat source you can control the heat of fairly easily, and plenty of smoking woods such as mesquite, hickory, apple wood or others.

How To Use A Smoker Grill In 8 Easy Steps

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1. Get a smoker grill

First things first, you will need a smoker grill to start off with. Our review shares a guide on what to look out for when getting one. You can choose from the list of smoker grills shared too or any other that suits your needs.

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2. Prepare your smoker grill

Fill the firebox with charcoal pieces and light them. Soak wood chippings (without chemicals) in water for 30 minutes and then add the soaked wood unto the lighted coals to smoke up the grill.

Preheat the equipment to a temperature of 400 °F and then reduce it to 225 °F to 250 °F when ready to start cooking.

This allows the grill to be uncontaminated and ready to use.

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3. Create moisture and extra flavoring for your meat.

Pour water into a hard foil bowl, and add a few herbs and spices to it. Place this bowl under the grill grate, directly under the meat (which will be on the grill grate).

This process will create moist for the meat and will also aid in sitting in the smoky and spice flavors from the wood chippings. It is a rare trick for getting juicy flavored meat. You can try a wood pellet grill for the same smoky flavor, for more information, you can refer this article about Benefits of a Wood Pellet Grill.

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4. Get the meat on.

Place your marinated meat on the grill grate over the spiced water, ensure temperatures are between 225 °F to 250 °F depending on the level of doneness you are expecting to achieve, and the size of the meat.

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5. Close the lid

Afterwards, close the grill and leave the meat to cook. Leave food to cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours per pound. Keep the lid closed during this period to maintain a consistent temperature.

Opening the lid while cooking will cause heat loss which could affect the doneness of the food.

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6. Control temperatures

Regulate airflow while cooking to control temperatures using the dampers at the top and bottom of the grill. Opening the upper damper will release air from the grill and will reduce the temperature while opening the lower damper will allow more air to the fire and increase the heat.

You can also adjust airflow by how wide or narrow you open each damper.

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7. Check food and fuel

Open the lid and check food every once an hour. Use a meat thermometer to check the doneness of the food ensuring that the internal temperatures of the food are right. This is also a good time to refill the water basin under the food if necessary, and also, add some more fuel into the smoker box if the food is not done yet.

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8. Clean and serve

Once the meat is ready, remove it and place it aside to cool.

Clean the grill grate while still warm with a steel brush. Both options help with an easier clean.

Serve the food when cooled slightly and enjoy!


Tips and tricks for getting the best of your smoker grill

Your smoke grill can last you a long time with food always turning out at the right level of doneness and flavors. You, however, will need to know a few things to make these happen:

Always prepare your grill before usage

– Preheat your grill always before cooking.
– After, adjust the heat to your desired temperature for cooking.

Choose the best form of fuel for the perfect result

– Always use brand new charcoal pieces when making your fire. Previously used charcoal will burn down too quickly which will affect the temperatures when cooking.

– Use the right kind of wood – you can ask the butcher for the best options to use, they know better.

– Enhance the aroma of your food with flavored woods. You can find them in various flavors, eg; cherry, apple cider, maple, oak amongst others. Choose the best flavor that sits well with you.

Little trick on managing temperatures

– Start cooking with low fire to high fire to build up the right temperatures needed.
– Always have a bottle of water near you to quench wide spreading fires in your firebox.

Getting the best of your food

– Leave all the fat on the meat when grilling, they will melt and drip into the fire which will create good smoke to improve the flavor of the meat.

– When searing meat, allow the grill grate to sear the meat on one side fully, then flip the meat and repeat. This will create a beautiful look on the meat.

Save the grates and grill from rust

– Inasmuch you may want to retain some flavors in your smoker grill, debris and grease may gather at the bottom. Clean it once every few times to avoid it.

– Oil the bottom and outer parts of your grill with vegetable oil after cleaning it to avoid rust.

Do you absolutely need a smoker grill?

No. If you plan to do cook smoked foods regularly, you may consider investing in a dedicated smoker box or grill. However, if you would just like to occasionally smoke foods then you can get by with other grills. What you want is something with a lid that you can control the heat closely. For charcoal grills, a traditional kettle grill, such as the Weber charcoal grill is an excellent choice. By varying the amount of charcoal used and closing down the vents on the lid so that only a bit of air gets to the charcoal, you can keep them burning slowly. Occasionally adding smoking woods keeps a constant flow of smoke going. It helps if you have a grill thermometer to keep track of the temperature and check the food periodically to be sure it doesn’t cook to fast. Use indirect heat to help assure that the food doesn’t cook to fast. Keeping the temperature controlled and the constant source of smoke can be a bit more difficult in these types of grills than a dedicated smoker grill, but with a bit of practice they can do quite well.

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