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Cooking food with a smoker has become hugely popular, and learning the ropes is not too difficult. If you’ve ever manned a grill, you can cook using a smoker. Typically, grilling is fast. Cooking with temperatures of 400 degrees or higher. Smoking involves slow-cooking food at lower temperatures over longer periods of time.
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If you like a smokey taste to your food then cooking with a smoker is for you.
Smoking involves slow-cooking food at lower temperatures over longer periods of time.
Smoking, temperatures are usually between 225 to 250 degrees and this method works best for cooking large cuts of meat.
The temperature can be regulated using the dampers found at the top and bottom of the smoker.
By regulating the airflow, you can adjust the temperature up and down.
Opening the lower damper will allow more air to flow to the fire and increase the heat.
Opening the upper damper will allow more heat to escape and lower the temperature.
A good rule of thumb is 1 to 1 and a half hours of smoking for each pound of meat.
Cooking times will vary based on the exact temperature, the type of meat and the particular smoker you’re using.
It’s easier to maintain a consistent temperature using an electric or propane smoker than it is with a charcoal or wood pellet smoker.
The heat generated by these natural fuels will fluctuate more than the steady, consistent heat generated on an electric or gas smoker.
The charcoal models will take a little longer to light, but will add that char-broiled taste to your food.
To get the most flavorful food, try adding wood chips to the hot coals and a pan of water.
The wood chips will add a smokey taste and the water will keep the food from drying out over the long course of cooking.
Soak the chips in water for 30 minutes, strain them… and add them to the preheated coals before cooking.
For added flavor, mix herbs and spices into the water pan and place the meat over the water pan so the drippings fall in.
Try to resist the urge to check on the food often. Remember, keeping a constant temperature is the key to successful smoking and each time you open the lid, heat and smoke will escape.
Check the food about once an hour with a meat thermometer to ensure it’s cooked to the proper internal temperature.
The needed temperature range will vary depending on the meat you’re cooking.
This is also a good time to check and refill the water pan if needed.
Wood chips can also be added every hour or two to generate smoke and charcoal may need to be added when cooking for more than four hours.
When your food is ready, clean the cooking grate with a steel brush while it’s still warm.
This will make it much easier to remove any food.
To find out more about using a smoker, check out our full guide on homedepot.com or to browse our wide selection of grills, click below