In any type of smoking project, the key for a successful and delicious outcome is to have control over the temperature and the time. One of the best ways of accomplishing this is to use a 2-zone setup, which will provide a direct heat zone for browning the surface, and a cooler zone with indirect zone to cook the food by a convection airflow to gently warm the food’s interior.
A useful addition that you can make to the cooking environment is water pans. Water pans help to absorb and re-radiate heat to manage the temperature fluctuation, as well as make the air humid to reduce water evaporation from the food, which could leave the meats dry. This is the same moisture that will combine with the smoke and gases to give you ‘bacony’ flavors that you are so fond of.
Before you use your grill, you need to understand that each smoker and grill has its own unique design. You need to master majorly three temperatures on it- 225°F, 325°F, and Warp 10. First, you need to calibrate the grill without adding any food inside it to test its performance. Once you know that, it will only be a matter of few minutes
There are many ways of starting charcoal fire, but using a chimney is amongst the more popular ones. A chimney is nothing more than a tube that has a lower and upper compartment. In the lower compartment, insert some newspaper; and in the upper compartment, add charcoal. Then light the paper, and within 10 to 15 minutes, there will be a good quantity of charcoal. Doing it like this every time with exactly the same procedure will help you develop consistency.
Making a ‘Burnt Offering’
You can set a 2-zone cooking that we just described earlier, keeping meat on the indirect side. However, in this setup, replace the water pan that is on the top grate with some meat trimmings, hamburger or fat trimmings. When those trimmings of meat fall on coal and incinerates, it will form flavor molecules that will fall on the meat you are cooking- which will add a distinctive character to it.
The meat trimmings will burn, causing flare-ups- but the meat that you are cooking will be off the side, so you need not worry about it burning. This burnt offering will cause an increase in the inside temperature however, so you will have to compensate for this by dampening the intake vents at the lower side.
Controlling the Temperature and Maintaining Consistency
When you are cooking with charcoal, two fuels are involved- one of which is obviously charcoal, and the other one is oxygen. Even those who know a lot about how to use a smoker grill do not consider oxygen as a fuel. However, if there is one thing that you must remember as you learn how to use a charcoal grill- it is this. Oxygen is as important a fuel as charcoal, for without it, there would be no fire. The heat is controlled by the oxygen supply through the intake vents & the exhaust vents with the damper.
First, open the bottom vents half-way. Then, put the lid on to position the vent holes on the meat, opened at least half the way. This will allow the smoke to travel from the food for escaping. Keep the thermometer probe on a cable with the lid over it, or inside a vent hole anywhere on the lid to keep track of the temperature. Ensure that the probe is kept next to the meat and is not inside the dome, since the temperature is different at both places.
For a Long Cooking Session
If you are finding tips on how to use a smoker grill for a large cooking session, then the fuse method is one of the best ways to go about it. Around the lower grate’s outer rim, create a C using the coals, but be careful to leave a gap. At the start of the fuse, keep some wood chunks. The meat is kept on the grate that is atop the largest water pan. This water pan is what will not only protect the meat from any direct heat, but also add humidity and stabilize the temperature.
Slow n Sear
You can use the Slow N Sear method as well. This method works with Weber Kettle grills, and you can convert it to a smoker that will create restaurant like pork, smoked ribs, turkey or whatever it is that you are trying to make. It will help you get a 2-zone cooking setup on a limited budget, without purchasing a standalone smoker.
When You Really Need High Heat
If you want to sear a wet surface like a burger or heat, then first, you need a high degree of heat to evaporate the moisture. Then proceed to darken the surface through the Maillard effect. Slow N Sear is a great method for this.
Thus, with these methods, you know the best things regarding how to use a smoker grill. Try them out today and make restaurant quality food at your home!