Beginners guide to using a BBQ smoker

Learning how to use a BBQ smoker enables people to create their own delicious ribs, bacon and other smoked meats. To ensure good results on a BBQ smoker, beginners should carefully research their fuel type and wood choices before committing. Read on for tips in each of these areas.

Beginners guide to using a BBQ smoker

1. Picking a fuel type

  • The type of fuel a smoker uses will greatly affect the taste of the meat it produces.
  • Electric smokers are easy for beginners to use, but many seasoned BBQ enthusiasts believe that the flavour they produce is inferior.
  • Gas smokers are also easy to use, and they produce more flavourful meat.
  • They don't require constant monitoring, and smokers that run on propane are also inexpensive and easy to find. For this reason, they're a great choice for beginners.
  • For people interested in producing competition-quality BBQ, charcoal or wood is always recommended. Smokers that use these fuels can be more difficult to control, but they allow the user to better customise the flavours that they are creating.
  • Charcoal smokers with built-in temperature control are slightly easier to use than wood-powered smokers.

2. Choosing wood

  • Wood for smokers is available in chunks or chips.
  • Wood chips must be soaked in hot water prior to use. Otherwise, they will burn too quickly to impart enough flavour into the meat.
  • When smoking, wood chips will have to be added more often than wood chunks.
  • Wood chunks are cheaper and easier to use. They burn more slowly, which allows the smoke to permeate the meat.
  • Some people prefer to remove the bark of the wood before adding it to their smoker. Other BBQ enthusiasts don't believe that the bark impacts the flavor.
  • Each type of wood will impart its own unique taste to the smoked food. Mesquite gives meat an earthy flavor, while hickory will create a sweet flavour that tends to mimic bacon.
  • Applewood creates a milder, sweeter flavour than many other woods, while walnut wood can make smoked meat taste bitter if it is overused.
  • There are more than a dozen different woods used for smoking meat, so beginners should be prepared to experiment.

3. Loading a BBQ smoker

  • Before adding meat, beginners should make sure that their smoker has reached the appropriate temperature. While the smoker heats, they should season and prep the meat, then add their pre-soaked wood chips or wood chunks to the smoker.
  • Finally, the meat can be added to the smoker. The meat should be placed on the racks without crowding.
  • If several types of meat are being smoked at once, the most delicate meats should be placed towards the top.
  • Once the meat has been added, beginners may be tempted to constantly adjust the position of the meat or the temperature of the smoker. It's important to resist these temptations and allow the meat to smoke slowly and undisturbed.
  • Monitor the temperature to ensure that the meat cooks thoroughly, but be aware that some temperature variation is normal. Once the meat has smoked for approximately 30 minutes per pound, it can be removed and enjoyed.

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