With summer in high gear so is BBQ season! And I’m not talking about grilling I’m talking about slow
and low lip smacking BBQ.
If you have ever been to the joints in BBQ hot spots like North Carolina, Kansas City, or Austin you’ve no doubt smelled the BBQ Pits out back!
Or maybe you’ve seen some of those BBQ competition shows where experienced pit masters square off cooking ribs, pork, chicken, and brisket on their massive pit smokers.
Most of us don’t have room for a grill and a smoker or pit, but you can still get a bit of the flavor you would with a true low-temperature wood burning smoker using the tips below.
For some background, a basic barbecue smoker is much like a large grill with a small cylindrical shaped firebox attached to one end. A fire is started in the firebox, and airflow allows heat and smoke to enter into the grill, cooking and flavoring the meat before leaving the smoker through an exhaust vent. Think of it as a convection oven with fire as the heat source.
The wood used for the fire is one critical element of smoking BBQ. There is a wide variety of woods used in smokers and pits, but the most common are hickory, apple, and pecan. You can buy wood chips on-line or the big box home stores.
Now here’s what you need do to bring that smokey flavor to your grill.
1. Soak the wood chips for at least 30 minutes prior to lighting up the grill. The added moisture in the wood gives off more smoke as the wood chips heat up.
2. Preheat the grill for 30 minutes. Whether using a gas grill or charcoal, the process for indirect cooking is the same and for good slow and low ‘cue you want to keep the temperature somewhere between 225 and 250 degrees.
If you’re using a gas grill light one side of the grill’s burners while leaving the other side off. I have three burners so if I light the right burner and set it to medium my grill’s temperature reaches about 250 degrees 30 minutes.
For charcoal grills pile the coals on one side of the grill using just enough to heat to 250 degrees.
3. While the grill is preheating drain the wood chips, wrap them in aluminum foil and poke holes in the top if you are using a gas grill.
For charcoal grills just distribute the chips on the coals after the grill has preheated.
4. Throw your food on the cool side of the grill and you are ready to smoke! Meat thermometers come in handy during the long cooking letting you know the doneness of your food and they can also tell you where the grill temperature is away from the heat.
Check out the Food Network’s Alton Brown’s lively take on smoking on the grill!