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USING A CHARCOAL GRILL TO BARBECUE/SMOKE FOOD

 

You can use your barbecue grill to slow cook if it is the type that has a hood that can be used with the barbecue lit, and also has a vent in the hood.

Barbecue, or smoke your favourite foods. All too often barbecue grills are only used for grilling food. This requires that you use the "indirect heat/smoke method" in your barbecue grill. The indirect method requires that you keep the heat and smoke source, i.e. charcoal and wood chips, off to the sides of the barbecue grill so the heat does not directly cook your food. Instead you use low heat to slowly cook your food.

 

Cooking

To start, mound the charcoal off to one side, and place a pan of water on the opposite side. Light the charcoal and let it burn until the outside of the charcoal turns white. Add your desired woodchucks that have been soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes. With the lid on, the heat and smoke will rise up one side of your barbecue, cool slightly, and come down the other side where your food is - a simple sort of convection oven.

It is important that you put a pan of water in the bottom of your barbecue grill and put the coals and wood chips off to one side, or around the water pan. A water pan will help keep the temperature constant and keep your foods from completely drying out. The water pan does not need to be big or deep, a foil pie dish that holds an 25mm or so of water will do just fine. Position the food over the water pan, not the charcoal. During the cooking process you may need to add water to your pan, so check it when you check your food.

 

Keep the barbecue grill temperature down between 90 C and 110 C, see Meat and Cooking Temperatures,otherwise you'll cook your food, rather than smoke, or slow cook it. Keep the bottom vents about 1/2 open and the top 1/4 open. Monitor your temperature constantly and if you start to run out of heat, add more charcoal which you have already preburned outside of the grill. i.e. Don't put new charcoal directly on the fire you are cooking with, as your food will take on that nasty charcoal smoke flavour. As the walls of these grills are thin and the internal cooking space is small, every time you open the lid you lose your temperature very rapidly - so try to resist lifting the lid to just look.

 

How to get the Smoke

You can purchase cast Iron or Aluminium Smoke Boxes made for the job, soak the wood chips for at least two hours before you use them, put the soaked wood chips in the box, then place the box over the hot coals, see All about Wood and Wood Chips

But by far the easiest way is to wrap a handful of soaked wood chips in a couple of layers of Aluminium foil, then just before you use it, make holes in the top and place it on a the hot coals.

If you want more smoke, have several ready, when one has finished producing smoke replace it with the next one, remembering to make the holes in the top first, two is normally sufficient, but this very much depends on the wood used and on your personal taste.

 

 

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