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Graduate from the grill

Graduate from the grill

Maybe you are the grill master. Your steaks are seared to perfection. Your burgers are of backyard legend. With the right temp and the right turn, you’ve even made hot dogs a delicacy.

So what’s next? You, friend, need to get a smoker. It is without a doubt the best path to BBQ superiority. Your friends and family will only stop worshiping your results to worship your talents. Tender, juicy, succulent and full of flavor-smoked meat is a higher level of barbecue.

Here’s what you need to know:

Slow and low.

Smoking is perfect for getting wonderful, tender, mouthwatering flavor out of larger cuts of meat. A pork butt or a brisket is made to deliver its best flavor over a low, slow heat. This form of barbecuing specifically uses 200 to 250 degrees of heat to deliver a great, slow cooked result. This method allows the smoke to be absorbed into the meat for that terrific BBQ flavor.


Grilling is quick and action oriented. The temperatures are high, somewhere between 400 and 500 degrees. You’re at the grill for a matter of minutes. Smoking on the other hand requires much more time. To properly smoke a rack of ribs, we’re talking 5-6 hours.

You man a grill. You set a smoker.

Grilling often requires all of your attention. A smoker is very labor intensive at the beginning and in preparation, but involves long periods of down time to let the flavor sink in. While smoking a rack of ribs, you’ll need to mop the rack every 45 minutes.

The trick is to change your mindset. You’re not waiting you’re relaxing. Have a drink. Chat with a friend. Smoking involves a lot of downtime so make good use of it.

Be prepared

Before you smoke your meat, ribs for example, you’ll need to add the flavor you’d like. A good BBQ rub will allow you to get the right taste. You’ll also need a bonding agent to make sure the rub sticks. Mustard or olive oil are good options.

If you’re smoking a brisket, most like to inject the meat with flavor. If planning to smoke fish, say some salmon for example, a marinade or brine will do the trick. No matter the meat or the preparation, this is your opportunity to be creative. Mixing different rubs or other different options is half the fun.

Why not use my grill?

You can use your grill to smoke your meat. You can also use your feet to drive your car. It can be done but it’s not the best way for premium results.

Smokers are custom made to get your needed low and slow temperatures — and keep them. Most grills will have spikes in temperatures and require a lot more work. Grills also aren’t designed to keep the smoke from your fuel in the primary location. Smoking on a grill? It’s just a common crime on a good cut of meat that you don’t have to commit.

In short, give BBQ smoking a try. You’ll taste the difference and so will your guests. Concerned about handling these huge pieces of meat? Fear not. Smoking is easier than you think.

And look at it this way. If things don’t work out, you can always order a pizza.

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