A Quick Guide on How to Use a Smoker

how to use a smoker

Once you get your hands on your very own smoker, you will finally realize that there is more to learn than meets the eye. It sounds simple to grill meat on your new smoker, but for the ultimate sweet-tasting and well-flavored dishes, you need to learn a couple of things about using a smoker grill.

Depending on the type of smoker you have, whether charcoal, gas or electric, some features may be different. However, overall, the use of a smoker is pretty much similar across the different types of smokers. Here is a quick look at how to use a smoker:

Always preheat before using it

A smoker will give you the perfect results when there is a controlled temperature to work with. Before you place any food on the grill, allow it to preheat for about 10-25 minutes. This time will help kill any present bacteria while setting up a conducive environment for your steak to sear properly. At a high, your grill should be 400-450°F, and 250-300°F for low heat. While at it, set up different heat zones. By this, it means that part of your grill should be super-hot and other parts a little cooler. If you are using charcoal, then concentrate the hot coal in the middle, and leave the outer regions as the cooler hot zones. For a gas grill, you can regulate the heat, with one cooker set at a medium temperature and the other at high.

Oil your grill

In the grilling process, you will need vegetable oil to prevent food from sticking on the grill. You will need to brush the grill grate with oil. Since you have to do this on a hot grill, ensure you use a long-handled brush. Avoid spraying oil when the grill is hot, for safety measures.

Add wood chunks for flavor

It is best if you are using a wood smoker. Wood is a fuel that adds extra taste and flavor to your steak. Where possible, use whole hardwood logs. Consider the different types of wood for different smokey effects and taste. Woods you should consider include applewood and hickory.

Keep it clean

If you have not yet used your smoker, then it is probably clean. However, for every use, consider cleaning it to get rid of any food smudges, charred meat and rid it of any bacteria. Technically, it is better to clean a grill when hot. Therefore, as you pre-heat it, or soon after you have finished cooking, ensure you clean it.

Marinate Your Meat Before Grilling

Marination is commonly associated with adding taste and flavor to food. While that is true, it is not the only reason to marinate before grilling. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), marinating can reduce the formation of potentially carcinogenic HCAs (heterocyclic amines) by as much as 92 to 99 percent.  Take your time to add in as many flavors and spices as you want. Let your meat soak in some of the ingredients properly, noting that as you grill, some of the seasonings is lost.

Taming the flare-ups

The flare-ups are expected in the grilling process, usually, because meat has layers of fat. When these layers are heated up and the drip into the heat source, there is a heat flare. Do not let your meat cook under the flare-ups because they cause carcinogenic PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) to form and accumulate on your food. To tame the small flare-ups, you need a bottle of water on standby. Otherwise, trim off some of the excess fat. Do not strip your steak off of all the fat because the fat also helps in flavoring. When the heat is too much, close the lid of the smoker for a bit.

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