Smoking is a great way to impart grilled meats with an added fiery taste and aroma, and for this purpose, you can either purchase a charcoal smoker, or invest in a grill that has a smoker box built into it (like a Blue Ember grill). These grills and smokers need to be wood or charcoal fuelled, to create maximum smoke and thus impart maximum flavour.
Wood chips are among the more popular and more flavourful options. There are specific wood chips for different types of meats, as different woods are needed to flavour particular types of meat – e.g. hickory chips work best for red meats like beef and for pork. Make sure you choose the appropriate kind of wood chips before you commence the smoking procedure.
- Charcoal smoker or grill with offset firebox
- Large bag hardwood chips or chunks
- Electric charcoal starter
- Large bag natural lump charcoal
- Large plastic mixing bowl or bucket
- Water, beer or wine
- Desired meat
- Dry-rub seasoning or marinade
Firstly, start by seasoning your meat the night before the grilling. This will ensure that the flavour penetrates deep into the meat. Apply dry-rub seasonings, or steep the meat in a liquid marinade – wrap it in plastic, and allow it to stay in the refrigerator overnight, so that the seasonings can seep into the meat and cure it.
Next, an hour before you commence the cooking, put all your wood chips into a bowl or bucket, and then pour in enough water, beer, or wine to cover them entirely. Let the chips soak in this for around an hour – this will ensure that they are infused with liquid, and will prevent them from burning.
Now, thirty minutes before you start cooking, put four or five handfuls of lump charcoal into your smoker or in the firebox located on the side of the grill, and light a fire using an electric charcoal starter. The size of the fire should be fairly small, but you will need to make sure you maintain this size throughout the cooking and smoking process.
After thirty minutes have elapsed, and the fire has been built, proceed to put the meat in the smoker’s chamber, or on the rack of your grill, and then, to create the smoke, add a fistful of the wet wood chips to the hot coals, to get the smoke going. Now, seal the lid tightly – this will ensure that all the smoke stays inside, and flavours the meat.
The duration of the smoking process will depend on the thickness and the cut of the meat, but make sure you keep adding more wet wood chips after every 30 minutes, and more lump charcoal as and when necessary, to keep the fire going. The natural smoke from the wood will seep into the meat and flavour it, and once it is done, you can remove it and serve as desired.