If you are wondering about grilling some meat having a smoky feel, then know how to use a smoker box. It is a guarantee that you shall become an expert in doing so.
These are small-looking rectangular metallic boxes made of either steel or cast iron as well. These boxes are designed in a way so that you can use them for barbecues. Their function is to provide the facility for smoking or to put the smokiness flavor on a regular grill.
Wood pellets or chips are put inside the smoker box. The hole at the side of the box ignites the wood. It also has a hinged or removable lid which is either perforated or slatted. Some smoker boxes are hollow inside, and there are even some that have channels inside them that control the burning rate.
Reasons for using a smoker box
Adding a smoky or charcoal flavor to food brings authenticity to them. When you use a smoker box with a gas barbecue, you can either be able to smoke food or even add smoky flavor to the grill. Instead of putting chips and chunks directly on the coal, you can even use a smoker box on charcoal. Another of the advantages of having a smoker box is its slow release. The chips do not get directly exposed to fire, so they burn for longer.
How to use a smoker box?
Following the instructions, you can easily use a smoker box.
- Cleaning it before using it for the first time
After you buy the smoker box, clean it first before using it. There is a possibility that residues such as grease or oils are stuck on it after being manufactured. You shall certainly not want that smell to get with your food. Clean the smoker box using mild dish soap. Rinse it well. Bend it high and then put the smoker box over the grate. Leave the lid open. Keep it in its place for about 20-30 minutes so that any remaining industrial chemicals left over it shall burn off. Flip over the box so that the lid heats up too.
- Preheat your grill
Prepare the grill and get it heated. You shall require a high temperature so that the wood starts smoldering. If you are using a gas grill, then turn on one burner. In the case of a charcoal grill, open up the vents so that oxygen can pass freely.
- Would you soak the wood chips?
No, you shall not soak the chips. There is no advantage in doing so. Since no hole is made at the bottom of the smoker box, the smoking wood or the chips never gets exposed to fire directly. They shall only smolder but will not burn.
Make sure that the chips do not catch fire. If so, then the barbecue has turned extremely hot. If such is the case, then you must remove the smoker box and put out the fire. Then reduce the temperature on your grill.
- Filling the smoker with chips
Measure the chips that you are going to use for smoking. Do not overfill the box, or it shall stop the oxygen from flowing between the chips. Then close the lid and place the smoker over the grill.
- Putting on the grill
The fuel you are using will determine where you will put the smoker box on the grill.
If you use a charcoal grill, remove the grate and put the smoker box over the charcoal directly. Never surround the smoker box with charcoal. It shall make the chips catch fire.
If you are using the gas grill, either put the smoker box over the flavorizer bars or the heat detector, which lies above the burner.
Smoking the food
It shall take about 10-15 minutes for the smoker to produce smoke. Once you get the smoke, reduce its temperature. For smoking, it usually requires 250F, but to roast with smoke, you shall need around 350F. Either keep the heat low or close the vents until you meet the required temperature.
As you put the food on the grate, close the lid so that the smoke remains trapped inside. Keep a check on the food using the smoker thermometer so that it gets cooked perfectly.
Refilling the smoker box
While your food is being cooked, you may require to refill the smoker box with chips. One of the ways by which you can get sure about this fact is when you no longer see the smoke coming underneath the lid.
Wear heat-proof gloves, and bring out the smoker box using a pair of tongues. Open the lid and put chips in the box. Close the box and then put it back again where it was. You must be quick to do it so that not much hat gets lost. If so, then your time to cook shall further get extended.
Cleaning the smoker box
It is very important to clean the smoker box. After the box gets completely cool, remove all the unused chips. You can use them again later. Put the ash into the disposal can. If you wish, rinse the smoker box with the garden hose. Then wash it using mild dish soap and warm water.
How to take care of the smoker box?
Taking care of the smoker box shall make it usable for longer.
- After you have washed the smoker box, dry it well using a cloth so that it does not catch rust.
- While using, keep it indoors.
- Rub the iron smoker box with cooking oil. It shall prevent it from turning rusty and also stop the ash from sticking over.
- Rub cooking oil inside the stainless-steel smoker box too so that you can easily remove the ash from it.