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How to Smoking on a Charcoal Grill

smoking on a charcoal grill

What is smoking?

smoking on a charcoal grill is a method of cooking meat at very low temperatures. As a rule, for smoking, they use shavings or chips of deciduous trees, as well as logs for smoking (our stores offer a full range of products for grilled smoking ). For smoking, choose brisket or ribs, since the smoking process destroys fat and connective tissues, so the meat turns out to be tender, juicy, with a haze aroma. In order to learn how to smoke on a regular charcoal grill, we need to learn how to set it up so that the grill maintains a low temperature at all times.

Setting up the grill for smoking

A good charcoal grill is primarily designed to cook steaks and hamburgers at extremely high temperatures. Therefore, it will take additional work and practice, as well as vigilance, in order to create an optimally low temperature inside the grill!

The first step to proper smoking is to properly position the charcoal and meat. For perfect smoking, we must achieve a fairly low temperature. This can be done by creating a dual-zone indirect fire. Such a fire can be made by placing the charcoal on one side of the grate and meat on the other side.

So, open the smoke dampers, let the coals burn until they are covered with gray ash, and place them on one side of the grill. Then place a disposable aluminum pan on the opposite side of the wire rack and fill it halfway with water.

What do we need water for? Firstly, the water will help to collect the excess fat that is released when smoking, and you will not have to wash the grill for a long time. Secondly, the water will help stabilize the temperature inside the grill. Third, as the water evaporates, it adds moisture to the grill, helping the meat retain its juiciness.

Once the coals and the water pan are in place, you can add the wood chips and wait for them to smoke. Now it’s time to bring the grill temperature up to the desired level.

How to keep the temperature low?

One of the reasons the air in the grill gets as hot as possible is because the air circulates: the more air, the hotter the fire is. Therefore, in order for the smoking process to take place correctly, it is necessary to restrict the access of air to the grill.

To start a gradual decrease in temperature, you need to close the grill lid and completely close the upper and lower air vents. Then open the air outlets by 1/3. From high to medium or medium-low temperatures will drop fairly quickly. And to the desired 100C – 85C, the temperature will drop rather slowly.

As soon as the temperature drops to 100C, you can put the meat on the wire rack away from the charcoals. Close the grill cover and open the upper air outlet halfway – this way the smoke passing through the meat will be kept out for a short time.

Going to a low temperature is pretty easy. It is much more difficult to keep it. If you are just learning how to smoke on the grill, then you will need to monitor the fire almost constantly so that it maintains the required temperature (by the way, if your grill is not equipped with a thermometer, see ours).

The temperature should be checked approximately every 15 minutes throughout the smoking process. Use the bottom vent to control the temperature. When the temperature rises, it should be closed, and when the temperature drops, open it.

The temperature inside the grill will fluctuate approximately every 60 to 90 minutes. At this point, add wood to the coal and turn the meat over so that it is evenly smoked.

Method to grill on the smoker grill

Smoking on a charcoal grill is really easy, especially if you’ve already mastered the indirect cooking method.

  1. Fill the bowl with briquettes about a third of the usual volume. When all the briquettes are hot, move them to one side of the wire rack or spread them evenly so that the coals are on the sides of the grill pot and there is enough room in the middle for indirect cooking. If necessary, you can use special charcoal baskets that keep the hot briquettes in a limited area very close to each other. This way they take up less space and last longer, which means you save money.
  2. Place a disposable aluminum pan in the empty area of the bowl – the indirect grilling area will be directly above it.
  3. Pour 2-3 cups of water into the pan to help maintain a stable temperature inside the grill and later, when the food hits the wire rack, it will be enveloped in the gentle aromatic steam. This keeps the meat juicy even after long cooking.
  4. Cover the grill with the lid for 30-60 minutes, depending on the temperature required to start cooking (this should be indicated in your recipe). For most products, the optimum smoking temperature is 107-121 ° C.
  5. Don’t waste time waiting for the grill to warm up – soak the wood chips. If desired, you can add wine to the soaking water, this will give the dish a special refined aroma. If you are using whole wood, you do not need to soak it.
  6. Has the grill temperature already reached the desired temperature? It’s time to send the soaked wood chips or wood directly to the hot charcoals.

How do you know if a dish is ready?

Now that you know how to keep your grill at the optimum temperature, you need to learn how to check the cooking level. In fact, this question is quite difficult. Because each piece of meat is unique in its own way. We recommend purchasing several thermometers with your grill to measure the temperature of pork, beef and poultry. If this is not your option, here are some simple tips for the most popular grilled foods we smoke:

  • pork ribs: the cooking time of the ribs over low heat is 4-5 hours. Finished ribs should easily separate from each other
  • Pork (whole piece): Cooking a whole piece of pork at 85C will take about 12-16 hours
  • beef brisket: cooking time at 85C is 14-18 hours.

You might think it takes a long time to keep an eye on the fire and keep the grill at the right temperature. But trust me, you will be rewarded with great smoked meats that go well with beer.
Tested and proven in our showrooms: Kamado Joe grills perfectly smoke any meat, all of them are equipped with thermometers to control the temperature and dampers to limit the air supply. We also offer a more affordable Weber charcoal grill small. In the end, no matter what you cook on, with an effort, sooner or later you will start to get delicious, juicy smoked dishes. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


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