Smoking meat has blown up in the UK over recent years with more and more people getting into smoking meat at home. Some may be under the illusion that they need a dedicated smoker or a huge offset smoker to achieve smokey greatness but truth be told, you can get started right now with the BBQ you have in your backyard. So today we’re going to take a look at smoking on different styles of BBQ
Smoking on a Charcoal BBQ
Smoking on a charcoal BBQ is probably my biggest recommendation for a beginner. I’m sure you all know by now that the Weber Kettle is my go to for beginners as it is so versatile. You can set it up for many different styles of cooking, including smoking.
To turn your charcoal BBQ into a smoker you only need one thing……Wood!
Adding some wood chips to the coals for a lightly smoked flavour or 1-2 wood chunks for a longer cook with a slightly stronger flavour. This is all that is needed to turn your charcoal BBQ into a smoker.
I first dabbled with smoking on my Weber Kettle and it was a great way to learn about different wood flavours and how much smoke to add to my food. Temperature control on a Kettle BBQ can be a little more difficult than on a dedicated smoker but there are methods to make it easier which we will look at later this week.
Smoking on a Gas BBQ
A bit of a taboo subject in the BBQ world but yes, you can add smoke to a gas BBQ. I’m not ashamed to admit that I have done it. It is actually how my journey into BBQ started! The first BBQ I bought was a Weber Spirit Original E310, a decent sized 3 burner BBQ.
To add smoke to a gas BBQ, you can buy a metal smoker box which will hold wood chips. The box is placed directly on top of the flavourizer bars ( or on an area of the cooking grate directly above a burner if your BBQ doesn’t have flavourizer bars) and the chips will slowly begin to smoulder and produce smoke. You can also make ‘smoke packets’ using wood chips wrapped in foil with a few holes on top.
The smoke flavour will more than likely be less intense on a gas BBQ but it’s a great way to add an extra depth of flavour to your food.
No matter how you get started with smoking, all paths will eventually lead to a dedicated smoker. It’s not always a great idea to buy a dedicated smoker as your one and only BBQ as they aren’t designed for grilling etc (See Weber Kettle Statement above) but if you are enjoying the smoked food you are producing on your regular BBQ, then maybe a dedicated smoker is for you.
They have the benefit of being specifically designed to maintain low steady temperatures for a long period of time making temperature control a lot easier to manage. There are lots of different styles available (See my article on different styles of smoker) so do your research and talk to people in groups like Barbechoo and Country Wood Smoke. These groups are great for gathering opinions on many different types from the people who have used them.
No matter what type of BBQ you have sitting in your backyard right now, as long as it has a lid, you can use it to get started with smoking. In the next article we’re going to look at a couple of different charcoal setups to help you keep a low, steady temperature in your charcoal BBQ, ideal for smoking!