Select Your Smoking Method



Select Your Smoking Method

The great food cultures of the world have a variety of smoking methods. These differences range from region to dish and technique, but they all share one thing: The use of smoked meat in cooking! 

There’s no right way when it comes down to how you should prepare your next barbecued burger or what kind of fish would be best suited by being cooked using this method; there really isn’t any wrong answer either because everyone tastes differently so adjust according to yourself with whatever flavorsome spices seem most enjoyable based off personal preferences alone. Here’s everything you need to know about smoking methods and what each one is good for!

Cold smoking is an old technique used to preserve food and give it a smokey flavor. The process typically starts at less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (usually between 65-85), which helps the meat retain its moisture as well! Classic examples include Scandinavian Salmon or Scottish Smoked Salmon; Italian Speck Ham, etc.

pork shoulder

Hot smoking is a time-honored tradition that has been used to cook food with the added benefit of acquired smoke flavors. Hot smoked dishes include Kippered Salmon, Slam Dukkah Brisket, and Chinese Tea Smoked Duck just as examples! You can achieve these delicious results by smoking at different temperatures suited for your dish needs. The hot-smoking process can be divided into:

  • Warm smoking is a type of cooking that can be done at low temperatures with minimal heat to cook food. This technique has been used for millennia and is primarily employed in the production of bacon, beef jerky as well other meats such as steak or chicken breast where you want more tenderness without sacrificing any flavor qualities.
  • Low and slow smoking is a classic way to cook some of our favorite foods, like pastrami or kippered salmon. This technique involves using low temperatures (between 225°-275 °F) for an extended period of time so that the proteins denatured by heat can bond more easily with flavor molecules in your meat mixture.
  • Barbecue is a type of hot smoking that’s been done at temperatures ranging from 225°F to 300 ° F. Texas brisket and Kansas City ribs are both examples of true barbecued food, but North Carolina pulled pork also qualifies as one.
  • Smoke-roasting is great for chicken and other poultry when you want to crisp the skin. (Low and slow smoking produces moist meat but rubbery skin.) It’s also good with vegetables like hash browns, which are cooked in this manner at high heat before they’re crispy on top thanks again for all that delicious smoke.

Specialized Smoking Techniques 

Knowing a few specialized techniques for smoking will make your experience more enjoyable.

Smoke-braising is one of the most popular ways to cook meats, especially when you want them soft and tender. Pork butt (the fatty part) works well with this technique as do lamb shanks or even pig feet. The gentle smoke from an open pan will gently cook these meats while they retain their moisture in stew form.

Rotisserie-smoking: What is the best way to cook a whole chicken or a turkey? You could rotisserie-smoke it, of course! This cooking technique involves smoking chickens and other meats on their own but usually in much smaller amounts than they would be cooked through otherwise. The rotisserie smoker is the perfect tool for anyone who wants to make their food more interesting and flavorful. Unlike traditional spit-roasting, which only utilizes internal heat from fire pits or ovens without any smoke treatment at all (and thus produces less flavor), this type of cooking with smoked flavors results in barbecued meats that are juicy on the inside as well crispy browned outside – just like you would get if they were cooked over an open flame.

The ember- or burner smoking technique is a centuries-old practice that has been used to preserve and flavor vegetables such as eggplants, peppers, etc. popular throughout North Africa and the Middle East. The process of roasting whole eggs, peppers, and other veggies on a bed of hot embers produce some really incredible flavors. The skin gets charring which drives deep smoke into the flesh making it taste amazing. If you want to achieve an authentic Middle Eastern taste, then this technique should be used. The eggplants or peppers are charred directly on the gas/electric burner of your stove and they give off a very smoky flavor.

Hay-smoking is a centuries-old technique used to create some of the world’s most delicious foods. Italian cheesemakers would smolder their mozzarella in hay for hours on end, creating an aromatic compound that goes great with delicate dishes like freshly grated parmesan cheese and ground beef sandwiches! A French variation on this idea calls for mussels cooked over burning pine needles.

The plank-and-stick smoking of salmon is a classic technique that can be tweaked to create some interesting flavors. The secret? Don’t soak your wood chips or pellets in water to prevent them from catching fire as most recipes call for. By encouraging smoldering, you can control when and where a fire will burn. The technique of smoking food using pimento (allspice) wood has been used for centuries in Jamaica to enhance flavor. The heat from the fire cracks open pods on these fruits, releasing their essential oils that provide a rich scent when burned as an integral part of this process known colloquially by many names such as “smoking” or “Jerk Chicken”.

Smoked Planked Trout

Tea-smoking: The process of smoking ducks has been around for centuries and it’s still popular today in China, where they use the technique to flavor their tea. A traditional Chinese dish called “tea smoking” involves pouring black tea leaves onto white rice while adding spices such as cinnamon sticks, star anise, orange, brown sugar, etc.

Stovetop smoking is a great and easy way to add flavor to smoked food. This technique requires some hardwood sawdust, which you put into an old metal box or a pot.

Salmon ready for smoking in a stovetop smoker.

Handheld smokers are the perfect way to smoke cocktails. The sawdust creates an earthy flavor that you can’t get with other methods, and it’s easy enough for anyone in your group who doesn’t have much experience making drinks at home.

Smoking on a Gas Grill 

The number one question I get from non-smokers is “How do you smoke on a gas grill?” My advice: don’t. While they work well for direct grilling, indirect cooking, and spit roasting – most do not perform well at all when it comes to smoking food. The Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill is an exception to the general rule. If you want to get the most out of your grill, make sure that it has good ventilation in the back. The wide vents on gas grills are usually culprits for allowing smoke before tasting any food—and this is certainly true when compared with smokers which give us beautiful bark and savory flavorings instead.

However, you can get a partial smoke flavor on your gas grill by using certain techniques and devices.

The built-in smoker box on many higher-end gas grills allows you to give your food a mild-smoke flavor without having any additional shelters. You can fill it with wood chips or pellets and light the burner below, which will cause some of those delicious smells from escaping through holes in its lid as well.

Adding soaked drained chips to a gas grill’s smoker box.

Freestanding smoker box: These innovative devices work like built-in units but you position them on your burners so that their mild smoke flavor complements whatever food or liquid is being cooked.

Arrange the wood chunks on the heat diffuser bars below the grate and under the food.

Wood chunks added under the grate: One of the most popular ways to smoke on a gas grill is with wood chunks. Simply remove your grate and place about six or so pieces between heat diffuser bars (Flavorizer Bars if you’re using Weber) over some fuel source like ceramic briquettes, then wait for wisps of flavorful smoke before putting food onto them.

Smoke rising from a freestanding smoker box loaded with wood chips or pellets.

The under-grate smokers are a great way to get more smoke flavor while smoking your food. They can be used with both gas and charcoal grills, as well! These V-shaped boxes fit between the heat diffuser bars on any type of grill so you’re able to position it right below whatever dish needs some extra attention when cooking away at its optimum level – this includes things like pork but also chicken breasts if they’re going straight into an oven without anything else added first.

Aluminum foil smoker pouch: This is a great way to smoke your food without all the hassle. Just wrap 2 cups of wood chips in heavy-duty aluminum foil and make yourself an easy smoker pouch! Place it under one grate over flames then place another on the opposite end so they are both lit with ease when needed – no need for complicated methods or recipes anymore because this tool does everything automatically while giving off delicious smells along every step of the cooking process.

1. Place 2 cups wood chips in the center of a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
1. Place 2 cups of wood chips in the center of a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
2. Bring two sides of the foil up over the top of the chips and fold it closed.
2. Bring two sides of the foil up over the top of the chips and fold it closed.
3. Pinch closed the two sides.
3. Pinch closed the two sides.
4. Pierce the top of the smoking pouch with a sharp implement to make a series of holes to release the smoke.
4. Pierce the top of the smoking pouch with a sharp implement to make a series of holes to release the smoke.

Over-grate smokers: These are the type of smoker that has grates on them. You can use metal mesh pouches or perforated tubes to hold wood pellets, and other shallow trays for chips only – no hardwood woods like oak required.

Place the wood chips in the metal box under the grilling platform. Place the smoker on the grate over one of the burners.
Place the wood chips in the metal box under the grilling platform. Place the smoker on the grate over one of the burners.


Hot smoking is the process of cooking meat at low temperatures with smoke. This can be done on its own, as in cases where you want to add some extra flavors but don’t have time for an oven cookbook; or it could form one component out of a larger recipe that requires longer smoking times. 

The following is a list of some meats that can be hot-smoked. These include items such as ribs, brisket, and pork shoulder but not just those—it includes all sorts like turkey or ham which have been cooked using the same process.

Unlike hot-smoked foods, cold-smoked delicacies are not cooked through. Instead, they rely on the use of smoke to flavor and preserve their meat for enjoyment at a later time – a perfect dish if you’re looking for something light yet flavorful.

Cold-smoking is a process where the meat or fish will be smoked at temperatures no higher than 100°F and more often between 65° And 85 ° Fahrenheit. The time that it takes for this food item can vary, depending on what type of product you want to create; some examples include Italy’s mozzarella affumicata which requires only several minutes while others might require days in order to achieve their desired taste.

Cold smoking is a great way to preserve food by keeping it cold. It’s sometimes combined with hot smoking, like in this case where the ham was first chilled and then burned for added flavor before being cooked through via heat.

The discovery of how to smoke food came about in a surprisingly modern manner. Our prehistoric ancestors are likely responsible for this innovation, as they noticed that the smoke seemed to repel mosquitoes and other pests from gathering around their fire – someone thought up hanging strips or racks filled with meats next door so these delicacies wouldn’t spoil while waiting patiently on an already cooked meal.

Smoke is the key to some of our world’s most prized foods. But what about those who can’t or don’t want heat? There are six different ways that you could use to smoke without heat:

  1. One such method is through smoke cooking – a process where woods are burned at different angles to create channels for the woodsmoke that will carry its flavors into whatever food or drink you’re preparing. The smoke from a fire can be channeled by using pipes or tubes to carry it away from the burning wood.
  2. If you’re looking for a new way to cook your food, then the smoker generator is what will make it taste like nothing else. Smoke Daddy and Smoke Chief both offer their own individual features so there’s no need in investing more than necessary when buying one.
  3. To add some extra smoke flavor to your food, use a commercial cold-smoker or attach one of many attachments for barbecues. For example, with the help of Horizon’s Ranger model, you can enjoy a vertical smoking chamber that will give off perfect condensation every time.
  4. If you’re looking to smoke your food, then use a handheld smoker like the Smoking Gun or Aladin. Have everything put into a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap and pump in some nice smoky air through a rubber tube until it’s ready.


  1. Instead of a traditional barbecue, use an electric cold smoker to create smoke without heat.
  2. When you’re ready to create some serious smoke, attach a charcoal-colored smoker generator and place lit coal at the bottom.
  3. Next, add some unsoaked wood chips to the smoke generator. 
  4. The generator pumps in a steady stream of smoke.

top left

Fill the chamber of your handheld smoker with sawdust. Turn on its fan and light up wood chips, then you’re all set!

  1. Cold-smoke food on your charcoal grill by using pans of ice. This is an excellent way to keep the temperature down, making for better-tasting meats and seafood.
  2. The best way to keep your food safe and delicious while you’re smoking is with a refrigerated smoke chamber like those found in high-tech smokers from Enviro-Pak. Some people have been known to turn their old but still functioning refrigerators into smokers, achieving the same effect.

The idea of smoking food dates back to ancient times. Smoked salmon and prosciutto are two popular examples that have been preserved using this technique, though there’s also a lot going on in different parts of Europe with other types of preservation methods like curing or salting which often involve lengthy processes involving various ingredients such as spices (pepper), sugars/sodium nitrite+nitrates. Cold smoking has been around for centuries and was traditionally done next to a fire. It’s the process of preserving meat by drying it with smoke.

The last step in cold-smoking is to rest your food so that its flavor can set.

How to define that the cold-smoked food is ready? 

  • The food will be handsomely browned with a woodsmoke patina.
  • The surface feels tough and leathery.
  • The meat will have a velvet-like texture, not being too tough or raw.

Key Smoking Temperatures

The Smoking Process Hour By Hour 

Grilling is the perfect cooking method for when you have a quick meal to prepare but need something more than just fast food. It’s efficient, requiring little time and only high heat (which means there will be less fat). While smoking may seem like an opposite approach with its requirement of patience as well as persistence because these foods require longer periods at lower temperatures before they can even become tasty. Here’s your smoking schedule.

Before Smoking 

  • 1 to 2 weeks before your smoke session, salt cure or brine large pieces of meat like pork bellies and raw hams. Turn them in every 24 hours while they’re in the refrigerator so that all parts are thoroughly seasoned with even distribution for optimal flavor profiles.
  • 24-48 hours ahead: The salmon is ready to be salted or cured.
  • 12 to 24 hours ahead: This is a great time for marinating meat, or if you plan on using your rub as well. You can also brine and cure small pieces of chicken breast or salmon fillets.
  • 2 to 4 hours ahead: Make sure you prepare your mop sauce, glaze, or barbecue sauce in advance so it’s ready when needed. You can inject some meat into the grill if desired for an extra layer of flavor.
  • 1 to 2 hours ahead: When you are ready for the next step, rinse and dry your food. Place it on a footed wire rack onto a rimmed baking sheet in the refrigerator until a pellicle (skin) forms; this will ensure that smoke adheres better when applied later.
  • In about half an hour, you’ll want to light your smoker and heat it up. Soak some wood chips in advance so they can get smoking hot when we need them.
  • Just before smoking your meat, salt and pepper it or rub it with a spice mixture.

During Smoking 

  • The longer you smoke, the smoother your jerky will be. So allow enough time for this process—a few hours or even a day if possible.
  • A good rule of thumb is to replenish your fuel source, usually once an hour. You can check with yours for specific information on how often it should be done in order not to have too many unburned pieces sitting around while you’re trying to use them up.
  • After an hour of cooking time, start applying the mop sauce or spray. Mop up spills once per hour until your food is ready to be served.
  • When you’re done cooking, make sure to wrap your brisket or other food in butcher paper and aluminum foil for the last two hours of the session.

After Smoking 

  • Place your tender smoked meats like pork shoulder, spare ribs, or beef loin on a cutting board and cover them with aluminum foil for 10-20 minutes. This will allow the meat time to rest.
  • For the best results, let your tougher smoked meats rest after they are done cooking in an insulated cooler for 1-2 hours.

The Importance of Moisture in Smoking 

Successful smoking requires a generous amount of moisture. According to Justin Fourton, a 600-pound loadout will release 200 pounds of water when heated over time and during the cooking process. To avoid drying out the meat, Hugh Mangum from Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque (NYC) doesn’t open his pits for 12 hours after putting out brisket on fire because he knows how important it is that all meats stay juicy while being seasoned with spices.

To keep the smoking environment moist, you need to:

  • Fill a large bowl with water and place it in the smoke chamber.
  • The food should also be sprayed with apple cider or wine to enhance its flavor.
  • Mop the food using a mop sauce.

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