You love to grill or barbecue your favorite foods to enjoy your day at home with family after a hard-working week. If you want to make your meat more delicious and more well-cooked, you can learn to know how to use a smoker box on a grill. Though a smoker box may cost you little, it can bring you many benefits. More specifically, it can help you serve yourself professional and safe as in the restaurant. And you don’t need to buy a dedicated smoker, which saves you lots of money and space.
Therefore, owning a smoker box on a grill is very convenient and worthy. All you need to do is to be skillful to use a smoker box on a grill. It is important to learn carefully before buying it. Thus, in this article, read down underneath that we have analyzed how a smoker box works and some good, deep and correct ways to learn to know how to use it on your grill.
- Some useful information
- 5 steps for using a smoker box on a grill
Some useful information
What is a smoker box on a grill?
To know how to use a smoker box on a grill, you need to distinguish some parts and understand clearly about it and its function. A smoker box is totally different from a firebox, a barrel or a part designed on some smokers. To be specific, a smoker box is a container which is usually rectangle or square and easily removed in which smoking woods such as chunks or chips are set up.
The underpart of the smoker box is usually solid while the top comprises an unvarying design of drilled holes. When you put into some smoking woods including chunks or smoking chips, smoke will easily exasperate the drilled pinholes and your grill one or smoker’s capital section place where your food is set.
The aim of the smoker box is to be schemed to safeguard your wood chips or chunks from being displayed too much heat. Wood specifically discharges much flavor smoking once burned at about 540 to 760 degrees Fahrenheit. If you put directly the woods on the charcoal, the temperature of smoking can hand over around 740 degrees Fahrenheit. So, using a smoker box can help you to manage and low down the temperature with steady heat.
Types of smoker box
The best and appropriate smoker boxes are able to sit on your kinds of grill’s deflector bars. As your own grill is hot, the bars or the holes will move heat to your smoker box, which will lead your chips to release smoke. However, there are usually two kinds of it.
This style of smoker box is v-shaped and sketched to place between the burner and the grates of a grill. This type is suitable on any propane grill when there is enough clearance to set in the space between the bar and the grate. The pros of this under-grate smoker is their feature to help you be easy to smoke towards your meat directly.
This kind of smoker box is placed on top of the grill grates directly. They are usually shaped in rectangular or cubed. Some are metal that you place with wood pellets while others are empty metal trays which you fill with wood chips.
Benefits of using a smoker box
A smoker box can bring you many benefits, which helps your meat taste much delicious with controlled heat. It can prevent the submission of the smoking chips to overwhelmingly hot temperatures. Those chips are often made from wood because it is designed to create the best flavor for barbecued meats when they burn until 600 to 740 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, this temperature is suggested one in a smoker box to preserve a low as well as steady heat level for your flavored smoking.
Aside from using it on a charcoal grill, a smoker box can be used easily with different types of grills such as smokers, gas grills, offset smokers or propane grills. Noticeably, because most charcoal grills do not include smoker boxes, you will have to buy it distinctively. However, there is the best part of a charcoal box that is agreeable with different grills kinds, certifying you can work for it for a long period though you replace your grill.
Notice the materials of the smoker box
Be careful when you choose the materials of a smoker box because it can help you to use it for a long time without replacing it often. It can be made from a variation of components and you can select whatever kinds you like to use. Noticeably, most people prefer a cast iron smoker box and heavy thick materials like large capacity stainless steel because the heat which is picked up in the cast iron is better than any other different materials.
After all, it is popular that cast iron holds onto heat very well and makes the chance of its warping much less likely than with other products. Moreover, a super thick layer can prevent the discoloring helping your box as new as possible. If you want to avoid replenishing often the number of wood chips, you can choose the model going with the hinged lid to keep the time for smoking longer and make your meat have a smoky flavor.
In addition, with good materials of the smoker box, you can control the temperature better when smoking. You can use it as long as you can with stable heat. And some high-quality smoker boxes can be suitable for almost any outdoor cooking device such as a charcoal grill, gas grill, smoker or offset smoker. The totally reusable function of a smoker box is also a great point for you to choose to start your day with flavor-rich smoke foods.
Steps for using a smoker box
Depending on your kind of grill, you can follow these basic five steps to know how to use a smoker box on a grill. However, you can carefully check your smoker box and some accessories whether they are available or not. And buying a high quality grill can help you to enjoy your foods more delicious. If you still do not know how to choose the good one, just select one of these best grills that can save your money and time.
Step 1: Preheat the grill and clean the grate
It is the first step that is necessary for other later steps. You need to preheat your grill for about the length of 10 to 20 minutes. You can place your burners high during those times. This method will help you to take up the time to create a normal and right temperature for your grill.
You do not have to use lots of tools or extra accessories to smoke your meat. A smoker box for grill aim is abundant and often gives good results for both sides of your smoky foods. Moreover, you can realize that preheating your grill firstly helps it to smoke more quickly when you place it in the smoker box next.
Cleaning the grate in this step can make your flavor of foods better without any chunks of previous time. You can use a brush to clean the grill grate immediately. After that, make sure your brush is clean for next time better and faster. Especially, avoid using toxic chemicals to clean your grate grill because they can transmit spoiled taste to your foods or meats. Thus, you just need some warm water, grease-cutting dish soap and a plaster made of vinegar and baking soda.
Step 2: Preparing your smoker box
Let’s start with another important way to know how to use a smoker box on a grill. It is a good preparation for other later steps. To start a smoker box on a grill, you have to load it with some good-quality smoking woods such as chunks or chips with an average amount. You should not use any kinds of wood you find in your garden to put in your smoke box. Moreover, don’t add some fuels like lump charcoal or briquettes.
Just pick up good quality, or old-fashioned and dried wood chunks. More specifically, oak woods are an amazing choice for some beginners due to their mild, but still give you much delicious or smoky flavor. Whatever type you select, fill up your smoker box on your grill about three-fourths the amount of smoking wood, which you can close the cover after sealing it.
When the smoker box is filled with smoking chips, you have to launch it on your grill. If you possess a charcoal grill which is big enough, you can put the smoker box on top of your grill. This way can help your smoking chunks burn with slow in need temperature.
Step 3: Place the smoker box on the grill
After preparing your smoker box, this step is to place it on your kind of grill that you have. If you possess a gas grill with two or more burners, you should lower the smoker box on top of a burner. And with one burner you don’t need to do that option.
And if you are charcoal grill users, just ensure to put your smoker box on the top of the coals, and always use the best charcoal grills to protect your box as well as other parts of the grill.
You have to put the smoker box to be as near to the heat source as possible. Don’t mass much charcoal that is too close around the smoker box when setting it up because the embers from the fire can enter low through holes on the top of the smoker box and make your chunks or your wood chips on fire. In addition, if having electric grills, just shield the smoker box with a foil where you can punch some holes in it.
Step 4: Turn off the burners when the box is smoking
When you realize the wood chips are smoking, we suggest you to decrease your burners on your gas grills or other grills to the normal cooking temperature of 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit. This method is sketched to establish your grill for indirect cooking and help you control the degree better.
Step 5: Place your foods on the grill and close the lid
This is the final step to enjoying your food in just a few minutes. Put your meat directly on the cooking grate over a burner on your gas grill or other grill and then close the lid. The cooking time can fluctuate depending on your kinds of foods such as the beef, fish, or ribs. However, you need to let it burn slowly to receive the delicious smoky flavors. Thus, this way can usually take up to 1.5 hours for each pound of meat.
You can cook chicken or duck or turkey on a temperature of up to 160 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit and red meats with temperatures from 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Especially if you realize the smoking chips burned all, you may open it, take out the smoker box with your heat resistant tongs, and refill it. Usually wood burns more quickly than charcoal, so you need to check and look at it to fill some ingredients again.
How To Adjust Smoking Temperature And Duration?
To prevent deficiency with food flavors, this is the suggestion to know how to use a smoker box on a grill about how much temperature and how long you should smoke for each kind of food. However, it is good to consider another important factor is the quality of your grill and the usage of it. For example, there are some people who like to barbecue their food outside or when camping. If so, they can choose one of those high- quality kinds of camping charcoal grill to make the smoker box easy to adapt and use.
Most beef cuts need almost about 6 to 8 hours to smoke. But, the fillet may require 10 to 20 hours. Thus, to save time and refill smoking chunks, you can cut into smaller steaks and can get smoked well just in less than two hours.
However, the perfect temperature is around 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, with temperatures to finish fluctuating between 165 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most all poultry need to have their finished temperature between 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. However, depending on kinds of poultry, the smoker temperatures may diverge for each type.
More specifically, from 275 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for chicken or turkey, with smoking duration ranging around 1 to 3 hours for the normal or small cuts and from 2 to 5 hours for smoking the food as a whole one. Meanwhile, quail, cornish, or ducks can finish smoking less than those above.
Fish and other seafood need less heat than other kinds of protein. Specifically, about 200 to 225 degrees Fahrenheit of smoker temperature will be sufficient when you might control the finished temperature around from 140 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Noticeably, because these types of foods are easily flimsy, you should not smoke them longer than 60 hours.
Some kinds of vegetables taste superb after having smoked with ideal temperature such as cherry, tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, eggplant, asparagus, and other different types.
Every sort of veggie has a various standard temperature and duration. But as a whole, the normal temperatures are differing between 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit in almost 1 to 2 hours.
Choose Smoking Woods Based On Their Size And Shape
What is wood for smoking?
Selecting smoking woods is essential to learn how to use a smoker box on a grill. Smoking woods are the cuts of woods that you use to burn to create smoke for grilling your food. They are much different from other fuels like charcoal. They are kind of solid hardwood.
Charcoal only burns effectively to the dish while hardwoods make the smoke which is plentiful in much flavor and aroma. Moreover, smoking your food with hardwoods like this will help you to improve the elegance of your foods and your level in serving yourself as in a restaurant.
The best woods for smoking
There are different kinds of woods to use for a smoker box on a grill. However, you can choose the best ones for you to smoke your foods in good qualities. Moreover, it may help you to refill less time and make yourself safer. However, don’t be tempted to buy unfamiliar and strange wood from branches which have fallen in your own garden or from unreliable sources due to many reasons. First of all, it may be contaminated with poison switch-ivy or chemicals that you are not sure about. Secondly, some soft woods such as pine are not appropriate for smoking because they will sparkle and explode when they burn, which leaves behind a blackened residue.
Therefore,purchasing wood chips which are designated specifically for cooking and smoking is a good choice. They are easy to buy and typically affordable. You can choose any best woods to use for your smoker box depending on your favorite flavor for your foods.
Strong, Southern-Style Flavors
For a beginner user, you can use oak as it can bring you a mild to a powerful aroma for your meats and other kinds of foods such as lamb, beef, fish, game meat or sausages. In addition, another kind of wood is hickory, one of the popular woods, which can smoke your foods in different ways. Check out, though, as too hickory ambience will make your meat have a little bitter flavor. Some suitable foods for this wood are ribs, pork, along with almost poultry or beef.
If you get familiar with grilling or barbecuing, mesquite is also good wood for this. It is a hardened wood owning a deep flavor. You can use it for grilling with smaller quantities. Moreover, it is reputable for its tasty, passionate, and atypical. The most appropriate meat for smoking with this type includes almost all red meat.
Ultra-Fine Layers Of Character
Nut woods like pecan are another one that you can buy to produce a good and subtle layer of flavor for your smoking foods. To be specific, it will bring you a strong, cherished and nutty flavor. Indeed, this wood is so favored and demented that you might want to add an admixture of it with another kind of harder wood to stabilize the best flavor. Breast or lower chest of beef or different types of ribs are good choices for smoking with this wood.
Alder is also good wood that goes well with poultry, pork, fruit and veggies. It has a flavor of sweetness which is ideal for fish too, especially salmon.
Sweet Smoky Goodness
Most fruit woods can create you a comfortable and cosy flavor which is suitable for children and the old. So, you can choose applewood if you want your meat clement and special because this wood possesses a golden flavor. Apple smoking smell can take a few minutes to fill the food, thus preceding quite hours of smoking. You can select some suitable foods for this type including chicken, pork and wild foul. The last choice is cherry wood. Cherry is a great all-purpose wood that can bring you a mild with fruity flavor and familiar to use. Especially when it is combined with other hardy woods such as hickory, those two flavors accompany each other can lead to an interesting result. And you can mix it with maple and oak to add nice undertones to make your foods own stronger flavors but still have a sweet taste.Chicken, turkey or ham is a suitable ingredient to grill with this wood.
Select woods based on their size and shape
Smoking woods are accessible in the market with different sizes and shapes to go with various kinds of smoking.
In the main, the larger the size is the longer it will take to burn and the longer it will burn. They are typically
- The biggest woodcuts are logs. They are round about 18 inches, which shows that they can take the longest time to burn about almost 45 minutes to an hour and a half. This kind of woodcut may be too big for a household. Thus, wood logs are general for commercial use when people need to make smoked meat in bulk.
- Wood chunks are approximately 2 to 4 inches, about the size of a meat hook. These kinds are usually used together with charcoal, where the bed of hot coals provides the heat when these wood chunks are put on top to burn slowly and produce smoke. They can help to add a little more heat inside the smoker. Their time for burning is often about 2 to 4 hours.
- Wood chips are about a quarter to one inch wide. They are used to produce light and stable smoke. They can give rise to a lot of smoke very fast. They can burn for almost 20 to 40 minutes. However, they are inclined to burn much faster, so you need to replace them often.
Therefore, the last two kinds of woods are the most well-known woodcuts to use for smoking as they own high quality and good burning duration.
People often use wood chunks for smoking large and hard foods like ribs, lamb or turkey because it might take some hours to smoke them thoroughly.
On the contrary, wood chips are the best ideal for smoking some ingredients that cost a shorter duration.
Apart from these three kinds above, there is also another type that is called wood sawdust. It is a groundwood in the form of powder. Wood sawdust can be pressed into wood pellets and wood disks. However, these types will not perform much well on barbecue smoking boxes as they burn too fast and are regarded as economical quality. Thus, they are more appropriate for electrical smokers.
Soak or not to soak the wood before putting it in the smoker box?
Most people like to soak wood smoking chips before using them in the smoker box.They think that dry wood burns faster, which might not display your food to the essential amount of smoke every cycle. Once chips or chunks are soaked, they can take longer to burst into flames and they let out a plentiful smoky flavor with a longer period. However, if you want to use less smoking chips, it is a good choice to soak them before putting them in the smoker box. To sink your chips, immerse them in water for at least half an hour before using. Make sure that the floating pieces are overflowed in water by putting a heavy plate or a cup on the top of the water. And another choice is not to submerge, so you have to add dry chips or chunks often in your smoker box to keep a stable stock of smoke and control the heat for your foods.
What if some wood chips catch fire in the smoker box?
Usually there are no holes on the bottom of the smoker box. Thus, if your wood chips catch fire, it shows that they have to blaze without directly touching any flames. The typical flash point of wood is about 600 degrees Fahrenheit. The normal temperature fluctuation used for the smoking procedure for foods is about 220 degrees Fahrenheit or 104 degrees Celsius. Therefore, if your wood chips are quick to catch fire in the smoker box, which means your grill is over high and you stack up too many charcoals around the smoker box. In case you are afraid of this thing happening, it is good for you to soak your wood before using it and slow down the temp at the same time.
Will the smoker box work on “X” model or homemade grill?
This is a popular question for many people. Because there are some who create their own fire appliance to create their own styles or own usage. However, the important thing is that you can heat your smoker box. Thus, it is not very vital to look for other model grills.
Will my smoker box quickly warp?
The greatest disadvantage of the smoker boxes is that they easily and quickly warp. Thus, when choosing your smoker box, make sure that you select one made with extra thick heavy-duty material such as stainless steel. This will guarantee you to use it in a long time and good service before you have to renew it. The good smoker box sellers will provide you a warranty on the product. By this, you can replenish it or have your money back if the smoker box you possess does not serve you as the way you expected.
How many wood chips do I need?
It depends on how much quantity of your foods. The more wood chips you put the longer your smoker box will smoke that makes your smoke be thicker. So at first you can use a little amount of wood chips and then add gradually throughout the smoking process.
Conclusion: How To Use A Smoker Box On A Grill
You are a barbecue enthusiast, there is nothing more flavorful than smoking meat and other ingredients. And it is good when owning a smoker box to make your desire come true even at your house. Moreover, you can choose the best grills to enjoy your foods even outside the backyard.
Therefore, with five basic steps to know how to use a smoker box on a grill above, I hope you have found the right way for starting your own smoker box on your grill. Begin from the easiest way like to preheat the grill and clean the grate until you place your foods and smoker box on the grill, you will realize that owning a smoker box for your grill is worth investing and not as time-consuming and difficult as you think. Besides, you can refer to this article to select yourself a good quality smoker box if needed!