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Smoking vs. Grilling

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So you’ve mastered the basics of grilling. Make this the year you earn your Smoker credentials.

Smoking vs. Grilling

Smoking is truly a labor of love. It takes patience and a little practice, but it’s well worth it. Here’s the difference. The typical barbecue enthusiast places the meat directly on top of the flame, adjusting the height of the grill to suit the task. A few minutes per side and the main course is ready. But because smoking uses indirect heat instead of placing the meat directly above a flame, it is a more lengthy process. The whole idea of smoking your meat is to cook it slooowly so it can absorb the aroma and flavor of the smoke Because of the longer cooking process, meat that’s smoked instead of grilled, is always more tender. And here’s the kicker, the smoke helps infuse the meat with a unique flavor that many grill masters say is well worth time invested.

What You Need To Know

You’ve got your water smokers, box, barrel, and pellet smokers. There are models for all types of fuels from charcoal and wood to propane and pellets. All of them will do a fine job smoking your meats and seafood.

A water smoker is a specialty smoker that allows you to smoke meat at temperatures well below 300°F for many hours. Typically, these are an upright bullet-shaped unit with three sections. Some, like the Napoleon Apollo Charcoal Grill can be used either as a water smoker or a standard charcoal grill. The meat sits on a rack in the top section. The water sits in a pan in the middle section and will prevent any meat fat from dripping onto the coals in the bottom section. But its most important job is to keep the temperature nice and low. The charcoal burns in the bottom section. For that smoky barbecue flavor, a few chunks of Smoking Wood Chips can be added to the coals.

Box and barrel smokers simply refer to the shape of the barbecue. Most have sliding air vents located at the top and bottom so you can control the burn rate and temperature of the coals. Temperature eyelets allow you to monitor temperatures at different levels within the each chamber for increased precision. When you notice that your heat or smoke levels are dropping, just pop open the easy access door of the bottom chamber and add more charcoal or wood chips.    

There are also many gas and electric smokers available, both of which offer “set-it-and-forget-it” convenience by using heat sources that remain consistent throughout the long cooks. Many of these models offer more cooking area than their charcoal counterparts.

What do you get for your patience? Meats that are juicy, smoky, tender and full of smoked-in flavor. With a little practice, you could soon overhear your friends and neighbors using the term Master Smoker when talking about your next cookout!

At Tevis Home we have a wide variety of BBQ equipment available in our showroom. We are your one stop shop for your barbecue supplies. Click here to tour our store.


Tevis Home Fireplace Pellet & Grill Store

410-239-3900 • 717-632-3403

Located at 1616 Hanover Pike, Hampstead MD, on the left as you head north from downtown Hampstead.