Cooking with a Smoker

A smoker opens the door to a host of exciting new food flavours for your family to enjoy. This guide to cooking with a smoker will help you master this classic Southern BBQ technique.

Cooking with Smokers 101

The practice of slow smoking meats to tender perfection is one you can easily master in your own backyard. No other style of food preparation combines the pleasure of being outdoors, the rich aroma of smouldering wood and the sense of accomplishment you feel when the finished product melts in your mouth. Low and slow are the bywords of smoked meat culture. Your family will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere when you're slow cooking as much as the food itself. So turn on your smoker barbeque and let the process work its magic while you spend quality time with your family and friends.

Smoking vs. Grilling

Smoking cooks your food at low heat for a long period of time, while grilling involves short periods of high heat. Smokers, in general, don’t use a direct flame to sear the surface of your hamburger, steak or sausage. Instead, they apply indirect heat together with hardwood smoke. This allows the food to absorb the smoke, producing distinctive flavours and aromas. The result is moist and tender meat that’s been slow roasted in its own juices. To create hardwood smoke while grilling, simply scatter some wet wood chips on the hot coals.

Charcoal Smokers

Charcoal smoking works on the simple principle of burning hardwood charcoal or briquettes, so the equipment involved doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Charcoal smokers are usually made of coated steel and come in various shapes and sizes, including small, portable models for day trips or tailgating. A classic kettle-style BBQ grill with a vented cover is an affordable option if you’re just starting out. A BBQ with an offset smoker box separates the smoking chamber from the burning charcoal to eliminate flare-ups. Pricier acorn or egg-shaped smoker grills offer greater versatility and heat control once you’ve mastered basic smoking techniques. 

Electric Smokers

Electric smokers are the ultimate in convenience and no-fuss smoking. Give your barbequed meat a delicious smoky flavour every time without the need to monitor your fire or add more wood or charcoal. An electric element heats a small amount of wood just to the smouldering point. These machines can be set and left on their own to gently and slowly smoke any meat or food item according to your settings.
chips on the hot coals.

Smoker Grills

If you’re like most enthusiastic backyard chefs, your ideal barbecue is one that allows you to grill and smoke food without needing separate appliances. A smoker grill can do both: it allows direct cooking with charcoal and indirect cooking with a smoker box. It also lets you sear burgers, sausages and steaks while adding a handful of soaked wood chips for that pleasant, smoky aftertaste. Smoker grills range from inexpensive, basic models to high-priced ceramic units with precise heat control and the flexibility to switch seamlessly from direct to indirect heat or rotisserie cooking.

Smoker Accessories

Prior to firing up your smoker, make sure you have all the BBQ tools you'll require before, during and after the smoking process. Here are some of the essentials every backyard chef should have:
• A BBQ meat thermometer or meat thermometer will both work to check meat for doneness and ensure safe consumption
Tongs: a pair of long-handled tongs allows you to handle meat at a safe distance from the heat source
• Basting brush: a silicone brush is essential for applying sauce or basting meat
• Special racks: rib racks, chicken sitters and grilling baskets save space on your grill and position meat for even cooking
• Charcoal starter: chimney-style and electric starters are foolproof and save time
• Smoker box: a reusable iron or stainless steel container that houses your soaked wood chips inside the grill or smoker

Flavours & Rubs

Half the fun of smoking is experimenting with different sauces, rubs and seasonings for greater flavour and variety. There are plenty of store-bought options for premixed spice rubs, but feel free to blend your own smoker recipes and refine them through trial and error. Brining is the process of soaking meat in a salt water solution for extra juiciness. Marinating is another way of adding an extra layer of flavour before food goes into your smoker. Coating meats before smoking adds colour and creates a delicious crispy surface.

Wood Chips

Just like sauces, rubs and seasoning, smoke also adds flavour to barbequed meats. Gourmet smoking starts with choosing the right type of wood chips. Smoking experts recommend oak and hickory for dense cuts of beef and pork. For chicken and fish, consider lighter fruit and nut woods like apple, cherry and pecan. Peach, maple and alder are good options, too. Soak your wood chips in water before scattering them on hot charcoal or loading them into a smoker box. Wet chips burn more slowly and produce more smoke.

Smoking Suggestions

Standard cuts of beef, pork and chicken yield juicy, delicious results on the smoker, but don’t stop there. You can add a delightful smoky flavour to many different foods on your smoker. Here are some ideas to get you started:
• Beef brisket: slow smoking turns this fatty cut into a moist and rich treat
• Fish: fatty fish like trout and salmon are famous for absorbing smoky goodness
• Wild game: smoking adds another level of depth and richness to venison and game birds
• Nuts: smoked pecans, almonds and peanuts are a great holiday treat
Cheese: this works best in cool weather. Try Gouda or other firm, mild cheese
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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