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It's officially BBQ Season! Turn your charcoal grill into a smoker!

May 31, 2013 -- 1:23pm

It’s hot enough to bust out the BBQ this weekend! Here are great tips to help you give your food that undeniably delicious smoky flavor. 

Things You'll Need

2 charcoal grills (1 with lid)

Fire tongs

Charcoal briquettes


Choose the type of wood chip based on what you are cooking. Alder chips have a light flavor good for salmon, chicken and pork. Apple or cherry chips provide a sweeter, fruity flavor excellent for pork, poultry and other birds. Hickory chips are very popular with a strong flavor used for smoking beef, pork and ham. Maple chips have a sweeter smoky flavor good for game, poultry and pork. Mesquite chips are similar to hickory but sweeter and good for lamb, beef and duck. Pecan has a rich, but subtle flavor excellent for poultry.

Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes before they are used.

Place about 25 to 50 briquettes (depending on the size of your grill) into a pyramid and add about 1/2 cup of lighter fluid. Wait until the fluid has soaked into the charcoal before using a long-handled lighter or match to ignite the coals. Wait 10 minutes or until the flame dies down.

Set up your charcoal grill up for indirect cooking once the flame has died down. Use your fire tongs to rearrange the briquettes in the grill around the drip pan. You can place a drip pan in the center of the grill with about half the briquettes on either side, or place the drip pan to one side of the grill and place all the briquettes on the other side.

Wait about 20 minutes until most of the coals are covered with a white ash. The briquettes will look ash gray during the day, but will be glowing red at night.

Fill your drip pan two-thirds full with liquid. You can use apple juice, wine, beer or water. You can also add spices, herbs or vegetables to the liquid. This will prevent the smoke from dehydrating the food and give the food extra flavor.

Place a handful of wood chips directly on the charcoals. For more smoke, you can wrap a cup or two of wood chips in aluminum foil, poke a few holes in the foil and place it on the coals.

Spray the food grate with nonstick cooking spray and place it on the grill.

Place the food directly over the drip pan and replace the lid to the grill.

Tamper the air vents so they are partially closed. Keep the top vent open or you risk making the food bitter by oversmoking it. Adjusting the bottom vent will help you adjust the temperature of the grill--close them when the temperature gets too high, open them when it gets too low. You want to keep the temperature between 225 to 250 degrees F. Place a stemmed grill thermometer in the top vent to monitor the temperature.

Wait about 20 minutes, and then light about 15 charcoal briquettes in your second grill. Once they turn white, transfer them to the main grill and add another handful of soaked wood chips. You may also mop your meat at this time, but you do not need to turn it. Replace the cover on the grill.

Repeat Step 11 every 45 minutes until your food is fully cooked.


Happy Summer, everyone!! 

Let's eat! 


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