Charcoal smokers cook meat with the steam that is produced by the heat that comes off of charcoal. They’re a little more temperamental than electric and gas smokers, but they’re a little quicker and they really give your meat that smoky flavor that you’re looking for. If you’re considering buying a charcoal smoker, here are some things you should know about them:
About Charcoal Smokers
Charcoal smokers are a little more difficult to hand than electric and gas smokers, but electric smokers have temperature and heat settings, and gas smokers have an ignition button. If that’s too easy for you, then it’s definitely a charcoal smoker that you’re looking for. If you want that classic smoky flavor that you get from charcoal, then here are some things you should know about charcoal smokers that might interest you:
- If you’re using traditional coals, you’ll definitely want to make sure you’ve got lighter fluid. Getting coals to light can be a bit of a struggle, so make sure you’ve got plenty of lighter fluid to get you charcoals flaming
- Make sure you give your charcoal enough time to heat up properly. Just because your charcoal has caught fire, it doesn’t mean they’re producing heat. The fire is hot, but the charcoals aren’t. Make sure you give your coals at least 20 minutes to heat up
- Charcoal smokers use steam to cook your meat, so you’ve got to make sure your meat is placed properly within your smoker. Keep your meat far enough apart so that the steam can get between the meat. It’s important for the steam to get between the meat because that will ensure that it is cooking evenly
- When you’re using a charcoal smoker, make sure you know how long your meat should cook. Charcoal cookers usually cook at about 225 degrees Fahrenheit, so depending on the size of your meat, you should cook it for around 45 minutes to an hour per pound
- When you finish cooking with your charcoal smoker, don’t try to clean up right away. It’s hard to just leave the mess, but you’ve got to be sure that your charcoal ashes are cooled down enough to handle. Make sure you’re really careful when you clean up the ashes
Different Brands of Charcoal Smokers
Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker
Weber Smokey Mountain Smokers are large enough to cook an entire ham and a full turkey at the same time. They are made of porcelain enameled steel in order to keep your smoker sealed. They have water pans, a thermometer, vents on the bowl and the lid, and the handle is heat resistant to keep you from burning yourself. The water pans allow you to steam your meats, allowing them to stay moist and juicy. If you marinate your meat beforehand, the acids in the marinade will break down the connective tissues in your meat, allowing it to be even more tender.
Brinkmann Charcoal Smoker
Brinkmann charcoal smokers can hold up to 50 pounds of food, allowing you to host large gatherings. It is important to remember, however, that it takes roughly 45 minutes to an hour to cook each pound of meat, so you should keep that in mind when you’re preparing a large gathering. The handles on the smoker are wooden, so they won’t get too hot for you to handle. All of the steel and aluminum that it is made of is top of the line, but it has a lightweight design that makes it very portable.
Char Broil Offset Smoker
Char Broil Offset Smokers are a little bit different than most other charcoal smokers. They are horizontal smokers and they look more like a grill. There is a door that makes it very easy to clean out ashes, and it is made of porcelain coated steel. It is more of a cooker for those who don’t entertain often, as they are smaller. They are very easy to operate, and they cook on very low heat settings to ensure that your meat is nice and tender.
Keeping Weber Smokers Clean
The Weber Smoker provides you with several different ways to cook your food. You can smoke, barbeque, and even steam your meats and vegetables. When you choose to smoke, you can smoke your meat with different flavored woods, such as hickory, mesquite, maple, and even apple. If you want the perfect kind of smoky flavor, however, you’ve got to make sure you take care of your weber smoker. Here are some tips to help you keep up with proper maintenance:
- For the sake of the walls of your home, make sure you keep your charcoal smoker a little bit away from the walls. You should give your smoker a little room away from the walls so the steam can escape into the open air
- The outdoors aren’t a very clean place, so make sure you clean the outside of your smoker every once in a while. It may seem silly since you only use the inside of your smoker to cook food, but bacteria can very easily get into where your food is
- Always clean your water pan with each use of your Weber Smoker. This will avoid greasy buildups that can be really tough to clean
- With each use, make sure you clean out excess ashes. Don’t ever try to clean them out when they are still hot; not only can they burn you, but if you drop them in dead grass or leaves, it can very easily start a fire in your backyard
- Make sure you’re operating your vents properly. If you’re barbequing, keep the vents open. If you’re steaming or smoking, only keep them open partially
- Always leave vents wide open when you start your fire. Fire requires plenty of oxygen to get started
- Don’t use water or any other kind of liquid to extinguish your coals when you’re done cooking. It can damage your cooker; simply close all the vents to deprive the coals of oxygen