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Backyard Barbecue - Imparting the Wisdom of Smokology

Updated on July 28, 2009

Best Beginner BBQ Smoker

Smokenator 1000 & Hovergrill Kit
Smokenator 1000 & Hovergrill Kit

If you love slow and low BBQ but only have a Weber kettle, this is the product for you. I can now control the temperature to as low as 185 degrees and have it stay there for up to 6 ½ hours, without having to add any charcoal. The water reservoir does need to be filled approximately every 70 minutes but the BBQ turns out nice and juicy, just like the pros do it.


Getting Your Smoke Rolling

It's sometimes hard for folks to understand just how important a good Barbecue Smoker is to an avid backyard barbecue enthusiast. In truth, it means as much as Slash's Gibson Les Paul Guitar means to him. True fact: If you learn how to get your BBQ smoker rolling out low and slow deliciousness, you'll be the rock star of your next cookout for sure!

Top Tip for Those New to Using a BBQ Smoker

Think seriously about buying a combination grill, this way you can still cook your food with direct heat and work your way up to smoking that pricey brisket you've always dreamed about.

See, the standard manner of grilling out means that you let the food cook directly above the coals - often causing those flame ups that give the carbroiled flavor we always hear about.

Hey, don't get me wrong. I'm always up for a char-grilled hamburger or steak. But smoking a quality piece of meat - a nice brisket or pork shoulder - become another thing entirely. Truth... it's a work of art.

Making the transition from BBQ Grill Master du jour to BBQ Pit Master takes time, but it's a journey you're going to love!

Sooner than you may think, you'll be a pro on how to use a barbecue smoker, heating up the good old fire box, stocking it with your favorite wood -- whether oak, cherry, hickory, or mesquite, to name a few -- and getting your low and slow smoke on.

Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker, Black
Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker, Black

There's nothing better than slow-cooked barbecue, and there's no better way to get authentic smokehouse flavor at home than with this charcoal smoker. An updated version of the Weber 2820, the smoker provides a spacious interior, which makes it possible to cook a whole turkey and an entire ham at the same time--perfect for large gatherings.


Low and Slow - The Barbecue Mantra

It's an awesome scene to behold. BBQ Smokers firing up with a pure lump charcoal, sometimes with hardwood, or a selection of wood chunks.

You'll get some great flavor from hardwood chips as well, as they are placed into the smoker's firebox. When burning, they produce wonderful smokey flavors that are absorbed by the meats being smoked. This not only gets your mouth salivating, but the flavor just can't be beat by regular grilling methods.

The thing you need to understand that, unlike direct heat cooking, smoking meat in a barbecue smoker means letting the hot air and wood smoke do the cooking. It really is more like cooking in a convection oven than it is like using a broiler.

That said, you and your hungry family should note that while this process produces falling off the bone pork and beef, it does take quite a bit longer than the traditional direct cooking method of grilling.

But trust me, the time it takes to create genuine real smoked barbecued pork shoulder, ribs, and beef brisket is so worth it. The process of smoking generally takes about 3-5 hours for most meats, and up to 12 hours for larger cuts. And hey, none of the meat juices will cause fire bursts to reach up and blacken the meat, or your barbecuing reputation.

Part of learning how to smoke meat is learning how to choose the right smoker for your needs.

There are many manufacturers, so you have many makes and models of smokers to choose from to learn how to smoke meat. Some of the most popular barbecue smoker models are made by Weber, Bradley, and Char-Griller. But not all barbecue smokers are created equal, and there are some that are best for the beginner.


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