A beginner BBQer who is just learning to smoke their food with wood might find it tricky at first. Learn the art of using smoke as an ingredient for cooking with these tips for smoking your own food.
You’re not an avid BBQer until you’ve used wood to smoke your meat.
Beginners smoking their food with wood might have difficulty finding the right balance between smoke and heat. Don’t get frustrated; learn more about how you can make this process easier on yourself!
Tips and Tricks: 5 BBQ Beginner Tips for Smoking Your Food With Wood
The best way to smoke any food is slowly over a long period at a lower, indirect heat.
The reason you want to go low and slow when you’re using smoke as an ingredient is to keep the juices in the meat to have a more tender bite. When you’re incorporating the flavors of wood smoke, place the food on the opposite side of the grill from where the flame is.
Find Suitable Wood
Not just any kind of wood will do for cooking—it needs to be a specific wood species, and you must properly season it before using it.
There has long been a debate about whether kiln-dried or naturally aged wood is better, but both are appropriate for smoking meats and foods. As long as the wood is dried out, not green, and from a nut or fruit tree, you’re in the clear!
Mist or Baste Your Meat While Cooking
Smoke lingers and sticks better to wet and cold food than dry and warm food. It’s impossible to keep your meat wet and cold while also cooking it.
To ensure you incorporate the smoke into your food, mist or baste the meat every hour or so to help enhance the flavor and keep the meat juicy.
You can also add a pan of water next to your meat to help keep the grill humid.
Don’t Forget About Airflow
The wood must combust at the proper temperatures to create the perfect smoke for cooking. Without airflow, your wood could burn an acrid smoke that will ruin your food.
Use the vents on top of your grill or smoker to adjust the airflow and temperature of the meat for a more successful end result.
Don’t Over Smoke Your Food
Adding too much wood to your grill will create too much smoke for your meat, and instead of making it more flavorful, it could make it taste bitter. Nobody wants to bite into a juicy pork chop only for it to taste like soot.
When you’re smoking your food with wood, add a few chunks at a time so that the smoke flows evenly and gently.
Using smoke to cook your food is a delicate process that takes a lot of trial and error. Don’t lose hope if your first encounter with this ingredient doesn’t pan out the way you’d like.
Keep a journal of everything you smoke so that you know what to adjust for your next cooking session—good luck, and have fun with it!
Recipes to Try:
- The Best Loaded and Smoky BBQ Baked Beans Recipe
- BBQ Pulled Pork Taco Recipe with Apple Salsa
- Easy Preserves: The Best Bacon Jam with Caramelized Onion Recipe
Stacey is a Southern girl with a taste for travel, thriving on the discovery of the world through food. After spending many years traveling and living overseas, she’s now back home in her beloved deep south enjoying life with her three little ones and loving the adventure. She’s a food stylist and food photographer, as well as, the creative behind Little Figgy Food, where she loves to inspire others to try new flavors and foodie techniques.