A smoker is a great way to add some variety and versatility to your backyard kitchen. It delivers a unique taste, improved moisture and increased tenderness to lots of meats and poultry. Learning to use a smoker is easy. Slowvcooking and low heat are the keys to success. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll soon be smoking your way to new and exciting tasty treats.

Place your smoker on a flat, hard surface outdoors away from enclosures and roof overhangs. There are many different types of smokers available. Find one that best suits your needs and budget and follow the manufacturer’s directions closely.

Fill the charcoal pan with briquettes and douse them with lighter fluid. Let the fluid soak in for a few minutes before lighting. You can also add flavoring wood chips as well to give your meat a unique flavor.

Add water to the water pan. The water helps to maintain the cooking temperature and keeps the air in the smoker moisturized. It’s helpful to line the water pan with foil for easier clean up as drippings will fall into this area. You can also add spices, seasonings or marinades to the water pan to add flavor.

Light the charcoal and wood chips with a long match or lighter. Watch the temperature on the smoker’s thermometer. A steady, constant temperature of 225 to 250 degrees is ideal for smoking.

Place your meat on the smoker grill. If seasoning your meat, use dry rubs only as liquid or sauces will burn during the slow cooking time. You can add them during the last half hour of cooking.

Monitor the temperature of the smoker. You may need to add more coals or wood to maintain it during the cooking process. Keep the water pan full as well. Make sure to rotate the meat often and use a meat thermometer.


  • Let the charcoal briquettes burn until a light ash forms on them before closing the smoker. This will ensure the lighter fluid burns away and your meat gets the best flavor.

  • Experiment with different types of wood chips or chunks to obtain different flavors and tastes.