Learn how to use a smoker and how to smoke meat.  Also, the best site for learning how to become great at barbecuing.

how to use a smoker

If you can light a barbecue grill, you can learn how to use a smoker and how to smoke meat. Anyone who comes to your backyard parties will look to you as their barbecue king. You will get your name in lights, your face in the papers. You will...okay, so you may not become the next Food Network star (then again, maybe you will), but you will become the star of your neighborhood during the summer, all by taking the time to learn how to use a smoker.

A smoker is a piece of barbecue cooking equipment that cooks meat slowly over a long period of time.  It can be fueled by electricity, propane, or charcoal.  By learning how to use a smoker, you will open your taste buds up to a whole new world of taste.

So, what is the secret of how to use a smoker like a rock star?  Different wood creates different flavors in each type of food. Use mesquite in your salmon and you'll see what I mean. Try oak or hickory and it is a whole other ballgame on your tongue.

Using a smoker takes time, so you will want to find a place where no one will disturb it, like kids or animals, who could get hurt or knock things over. You also don't want the smoke to find its way into the house or where your guests are sitting or playing.

Step 1:  Almost all great barbecues start with a good dry rub.  A typical rub consists of 3 parts brown sugar, one part chili powder, one part salt, and one part other spices.  It is good to be generous when applying the dry rub to the meat.  For other great tasting rub recipes see this great BBQ book.

Step 2:  Have your smoker preheated to between 200 and 250 degrees.  This is the best temperature range for smoking.  If using charcoal or lump charcoal, (which I prefer due to no chemical additives) an easy way to light it is with a chimney starter. 

Step 3:  Many smokers come with a water pan which you fill with water to help maintain a consistent temperature and keep the meat moist. 

Step 4:  Put the meat on and check the smoker periodically to make sure the temperature is correct.  From time to time you can add flavoring smoking chips to the charcoal.  They can be soaked in water to burn more slowly.  The length of time to cook your meat varies, but a rack of ribs should take about 3-5 hours.

Step 5:  Read up on various techniques and recipes that other people use.  I have personally found This Book very helpful in understanding how to use a smoker and for barbecuing in general, and it is great for anyone who is not a grilling master.  Enjoy those great smoked meals you will be eating shortly. 

There is a lot to know about how to use a smoker, but like anything worth doing and worth doing well, learning how to use a smoker is a skill that is teachable. Just don't expect to be perfect the first time out.  Whether you want to learn how to smoke ribs, how to smoke a pork roast, or how to smoke fish, it all starts with the basics.


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For more information about types of fuel for a smoker click here.