If you love grilling, smoking is one of the best ways to make delicious, well-cooked meat at home. If you take meat smoking seriously, it is important to consider investing in a smoker box. This small accessory can be added to your charcoal grill to be able to smoke your meat. To be able to smoke meat successfully, you need to be familiar with how a smoker box works. This way, you will be able to make the most of your charcoal smoker at home.
Here is everything you need to know about using a smoker box.
What is a smoker box?
Most people confuse a smoke box with as firebox, which is a compartment found in a smoker grill. A smoker box is a removable, rectangular or square-shaped container into which small smoking chips are placed. The smoker box is characterized by a solid bottom and a uniformly punctured top. Once smoking chips are placed in the smoker box, smoke rises through the holes at the top to the main grilling compartment of your smoker or grill where your meat is cooking to give your meat a smoked flavor.
The advantages of using a smoking box
A smoker box is used to prevent the exposure of the smoking chips to too much heat. These chips are usually made from wood, as it is known to produce the best flavor in smoked meat when it burns at 550 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the recommended temperature needed in the smoker box if you want to maintain a low and stable heat level for maximum flavored smoking.
Apart from using it on a charcoal grill, smoker boxes can be used with other types of grills, including smokers, offset smokers, and gas grills. Since most charcoal grills do not come with smoker boxes, you will need to purchase it separately. The best part is that a charcoal box can be compatible with different grills types, ensuring you can use it for a long time even when you change your grill.
Preparing the smoker box
For you to be able to use a smoker box, you will need to fill it with high-quality smoking chips or smoking chunks. You cannot use just any wood in a smoker. To attain the best delectable smoky flavor, you will require the best smoking chunks. For beginners, white oak smoking chips are the best choice. The most commonly used smoking wood chips are the mesquite and hickory types. Even though these are excellent hardwoods for maximum aroma and flavoring, there are other options in the market. You can get other options in your local grill and barbeque supplies store. Other amazing options you can pick from include almond, pecan, alder, and apple-flavored smoking woods. Fill the smoker with your preferred smoking chips to about three-quarters full and close the lid.
Once the smoker box is filled with smoking chips, you need to mount it on your charcoal grill. If you have a charcoal grill that is large enough, you can place the smoker next to your charcoal. If there is no enough space, you can place the smoker box on top of your charcoal. This will still allow your smoking chunks to burn slowly in the required temperature. This is because smoker boxes are encased in a protective metal shell.
Refilling the smoker boxes
Depending on how much meat you need to smoke, you might need to refill the smoking chips a few times. Wood burns faster than charcoal, which means you will need to refill the box often. You can tell that your smoker needs chunks refill by checking for a for reduction smoke being produced. Use heat resistant tongs to remove a smoker box and refill with more chunks before placing it back on your grill.
To soak or not to soak
Some people prefer soaking wood smoking chips before using them in the smoking box. The theory behind this practice is that dry wood burns quicker, which may not expose your meat to the required amount of smoke per cycle. When chips are soaked, they take longer to ignite, and they release a flavor-rich smoke over a longer period. If you want to use less smoking chips, soaking them would be a good idea. The other option, if you prefer not to soak, is to add dry chips often in your smoker box to maintain a steady supply of smoke.
To soak your chips, submerge them in water for at least half an hour before use. Ensure the floating pieces are submerged in water by placing a plate or cup on top of the water.
Cooking your food
Once the smoking box is safely placed on your charcoal or beside the charcoal area, you can now grill your food. It is ideal to wait for 10 to 20 minutes after adding the smoking box before you can start cooking. When smoking, ensure you leave the grill lid closed as often as possible. This allows smoke to accumulate around the cooking area on the grill for maximum saturation into your foods. Foods that are quickly smoked over an open grill cannot acquire the same rich smoked taste when compared to foods smoked over a closed lid grill.
If you are grilling foods that require a long time on the grill like large roasts or many ribs using indirect heat, you can add smoking chips to keep the supply of smoke going.
Replacing a smoker box
The greatest disadvantage of smoker boxes is that they warp fast. When choosing your smoker box, ensure you go for one made with extra thick heavy-duty material like stainless steel. This will ensure it gives you longer service before you need to replace it. The best smoker box sellers will give you a guarantee on the product. This way, you can replace it or get your money back if the smoker box you get does not serve you as you expected.
With the steps highlighted in this guide, you are sure to enjoy delicious smoked meat each time.