Smoking Foods Article -
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Smoking Foods

Satisfy the desire for something more than standard grilled fare.

Low and Slow

Smoking food is very simple--and it makes even the toughest cuts of meat just fall apart to the touch.

Go Get Your Smoker

There are many types of smokers available on the market in all price ranges, but they all yield the same results--quality smoked food. For home use, a $40 to $100 smoker will be fine; the main difference between smokers is their storage capacity. There are also different smoking methods: some are electric, some use water and steam, and still others use charcoal and indirect heat. All yield great results if operated properly.

If you have a good kitchen exhaust fan, you can smoke indoors: stovetop smoking pans work well for relatively quick cool-temperature smoking, for foods like trout or cheese.

Using a BBQ Grill

No smoker? No problem. Use your grill as an outdoor oven: you want a moderate, even temperature rather than searing heat. Arrange the coals on one side of the grill only--depending on what you're cooking, you may use the empty side for a drip-pan. When the coals are covered with white ash, add a handful of damp wood chips. Add more wood chips any time you add more charcoal.

  • If you don't have a thermometer on your grill, buy a cheap, large dial deep-fat frying thermometer. Poke it through the vent on the grill's lid to gauge the temperature inside.
  • Aim for the temperature listed in your recipe--usually below 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)--but don't get hung up on a perfect and constant reading.
  • Cook the food over indirect heat (not directly over the coals) as directed in the recipe, or until meat reaches a safe internal temperature.

Sep. 11, 2009 12:35 pm
would you find receipes for smoking chicken wings?
Jan. 30, 2010 12:10 pm
I'd like to thank you very much for the information I just read. I had no idea that this information would be in here. I really appreciate what you've done for me.
Mar. 19, 2010 11:23 pm
Can I have instructions to smoke meat and fish in a regular woof and coal barbecue? Thanks very much. A.
Apr. 11, 2010 9:32 pm
I just got done with my first smoked turkey, BEST bird i've ever had hands down. Will smoke another one
Aug. 10, 2010 10:26 pm
there are 2 types of smoking food. hot method and cold method. hot is with or with out steam and temps should be around 200-225F in the smoker. cold is just what it says the fire is seperated and insulated from the smoker box ie: smoked bacon
Aug. 11, 2010 4:23 am
I tried smoking a turkey but had an awful time keeping it lit.
Aug. 11, 2010 4:59 am
One thing that was left out of the article is what not to use for smoking wood. Here is my short list: DO NOT use wood that is cedar, cypress, elm, eucalyptus, fir, pine, spruce, redwood and, sweet gum. In addition, DO NOT use lumber scraps, old pallets (may have been chemically treated), and wood that is covered with fungus or mold.
Aug. 11, 2010 10:02 am
For complete information and lots of help on smoking, go to the I have just started smoking and did some ribs for my wife's birthday last Saturday. All our guests said they were the best ribs they had ever had, which made me very happy and of course, my wife thinks I'm a great cook; too bad for me because now I'll be cooking every weekend! Please remember, if you are going to smoke, give yourself LOTS of time. Smoking cannot be rushed.
Aug. 11, 2010 11:43 am
I have a smoker grill, but have been unsucessful in the smoking process. Do you have any tips for dummies on how to use a smoker?
Aug. 18, 2010 12:13 pm
A few tips to start smoking and have bbq come out right. Beyond that is trial and error, learning your smoker or grill, your oven, etc. So simple bbq method for ribs or pork butt goes like this. Start by soaking the store bought wood chunks in water for at least an hour. Then light a few charcoals and place them to cause indirect heat to the grill surface where you will put the product. When they start to turn grey, add a couple of smaller chunks of the wood, close the lid and watch the smoke. You want a nice steady light haze to come out, not thick clouds or barely anything. When you have it right, place the product on the grill surface. (if using dry rub or marinade apply it to the product first, but do not add bbq sauce) Leave it alone for at least an hour, only maintaining the wood to emit that haze of smoke. After that, mop the product with a combination of olive oil and vinegar, apple juice, etc every 45 minutes or so. I use a spray bottle, you want the hood open as littl
Sep. 25, 2010 2:48 pm
I had bought a wet smoker years ago and tried it once or twice, I had success but the labor intense maintaing of the charcoals was not the method that I prefer. The Brinkman sat under the deck for years long enough to produce rust holes in the pans, both water and charcoal! I was ready to give it the heave ho when I thought about an alternate heat source. I have been deep frying my turkey's for a number of years, the gas pot stand was the perfect fit to the bottom of the smoker, the three legs had small pieces of metal bent at right angles to hold the charcoal holder which was perfect for sitting the smoker on. (it makes the bottom of the smoker legs about 3 inches off the ground, use bricks or suitable non combustable material to support it, while those right angles supports the smoker its self when you fill it with product and water they bend easily and it comes crashing down!) I found another pan to fit into the water pan so now its double insulated lowering the direct heat to th
Oct. 26, 2010 9:38 am
What is the best brand of smoker to buy? (i would be smoking just for family an friend gatherings, no huge crowds or anything like that)
Oct. 29, 2010 5:28 am
I just ordered a Masterbuilt smoker from QVC. It looks great. You can go to the QVC website and watch a video on it.
Nov. 20, 2010 2:55 pm
Go to Lowe's or Home Depot and grab one of their $150 gas smokers. It's very easy to control the temp and you will not have to constantly watch the meat.
Nov. 21, 2010 10:23 am
I added a pellet smoker to my outdoor kitchen. Very convenient and there is no guesswork about temperature. All functions are digitally controlled, with temp display. We did a turkey last weekend. When we cut into it, the juices were puddled under the skin. Tender, flavorful, and convenient with little room for error.
Jan. 25, 2011 11:42 am
I just purchased a Brinkmann electric smoker yesterday. I have Venison Tenderloin on the racks right now with red wine in the water pan. Smells fantastic! I am going on a Hog hunt in 2 weeks and want to smoke my own hams and bacon. Can't wait.
Mar. 13, 2011 1:12 pm
I started with a Brinkman. Great starter. Moved up to a Green Egg. My hobby quickly turned into a part time job catering. Now I have two Meadowcreek Cookers. Just another level of fun. The best recomendation is go to a BarBQ competition and ask a lot of questions from the people that have been doing it a long time. They usually like to brag. Great people having tons of fun doing something they love to do. There are many ways to smoke and the type of meat, fish, chicken, sausage, cheese, veggies, etc effects how to smoke, how long to smoke, and types of woods and other fuels to use. Q-holic above was very right in the types of woods. In northern NY we use apple, pear, hickory, cherry, and some oaks. Don't be afraid to experiment. Just as you pair food with wine, I pair the wood to the meat and the wine to the wood. Example if I smoke a Top Round for Beef on Weck, I like to use a cherry wood and soak the wood in a nice deep merlot. A turkey I use apple or pear wood with the chips soak
Mar. 24, 2011 9:10 pm
The best way to smoke meat is to have it as far away from the heat as possible. I use a 2'x 2'x 8' 3/8" plywood smoker that I made my self.I have 3-4 1' vent holes near the top of the smoker. I place my smoking racks at the top 2' and my smoke tray on the bottom of the smoker. I use 1-2 briquets and only Green Apple shavings. You can get them at most any orchard. Just ask the owner for some of his prunings.Place the briquets in a heavy pie pan, put 2 steel bars across the edge. Use a 3lb coffe can with both ends cut out and stuff it as tight as you can with the green shavings. When it starts to smoke it is very very thick and barely warm. It will swirl around for 30 minutes or so until you need to refill. It takes a while but it is the best way for salmon and such. Smoked, not cooked..It does not dry the meat at all..Great for hotdogs, hams etc.
May 20, 2011 8:40 pm
I use a Weber Smokey Mountain. It has two grates and a water pan for moisture. Its easy to use but it is charcole fired with chunks of wood for smoke. For a long smoke (13 hours for pork butt) I use the minion method of putting down unlit charcole and put lit charcole on top. A good recipe for smoked wings use tangy Italian dressing and what ever your favorite hot sauce in a non reactive bowl and marinate the wings for at least an hour. Smoke wings for about 2-3 hours at 225 degrees. If you want crisper wings you can throw them on a grill with bbq sauce or hot sauce. I've made these for work and they don't last very long. The recipe I found on this web site. The Weber site for smoking is
Chef Daddy 
Jul. 23, 2011 5:26 pm
sfbr-Plywood is a compound sheeting process that employs the sap of the wood(usually pine) to remain in the wood. If you do indeed have a successful smoker made from plywood could you tell us what the origin of the wood is. There are many types out there and I would hope that some unwary soul doesn't grab a slab of Georgia Pacific construction Plywood and start making a homemade smoker.
Aug. 10, 2011 8:07 am
I am going to try cooking some wet wood chips in an open foil liner in my gas grill,wonder if it will add any more flavor to my meats??I have used foil many times (doubled)to cook vege's alongside my meats for side dishes and they came out perfect.
Jan. 14, 2012 4:11 pm
A good rule of thumb for selecting wood for your smoker, or grill. If it doesn't grow Nuts or Fruits don't use it. There are other woods you can use,but do your research.
Mar. 7, 2012 10:09 am
I have owned an electric Masterbuilt Smoker for about a year. It is AWESOME!!!!!!!!..I've smoked ribs, pork butts, fish, pork loin and beef brisket. It's all great!!!!!
May 14, 2012 3:12 pm
Hubby and I bought a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker last year and LOVE it! Takes all the guesswork out of smoking food. So far our faves are ribs, pulled pork and salmon. Next on the list to try is the Smoked Standing Rib Roast mentioned in the article.
May 16, 2012 6:05 pm
using a basic brine with the citrus and herbs of your choice will create a great flvored smoked wing. I like using misquite with a charcoal base. For a spicier wing I also use serronos or sirachi in the brine. I let them marinate 36-48 hours
Helen McEver 
Aug. 20, 2012 10:37 pm
Just purchased a Masterbuilt Smoker and should be smoking this weekend. Cannot wait to try it with some ribs first, and then when the rib roast go on sale,it will be my next adventure into the world of GASTRONOMICS.
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