Helpful BBQ Smoking Tips

All true BBQ lovers, would agree with us when we say there’s nothing better than slow-smoked meat off the BBQ right?!
If you’re new to smoking and looking to hone in on your skills, with a few tips and a little practice, you too can cook delicious smoked food on a smoker. We have created 10 simple and helpful tips to get you underway with your next “low n slow” smoked piece of meat. Be sure to tag us with your end result, we always looking to see how our happy customers are progressing with their BBQ skills. Or simply use our hashtag #smokeandbbqnz.
Remember folks, you don't have to be a BBQ expert to smoke some food – Just equip yourselves with the basics, as set out below. Why? because real grill masters deserve real flavour.

1. Selecting your Smoking Wood types

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You get various Smoking wood types, but your more commonly used ones here in New Zealand would be your wood chips and chunks which come in a variety of flavours such as Hickory, Apple, Pear and so on. However be mindful though that different woods create different flavour profiles in your meat. Since you'll be smoking/cooking your meat for a long period of time, it’s always a good idea to ensure you are well stocked-up with the wood you plan on using that day. If you are using a conventional wood smoker, your wood chunks are the more appropriate choice than chips because they are denser and will last longer.

2. White Smoke is Good Smoke

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When smoking your meat, you want that clean white smoke rather than dark thick smoke which will leave your meat tasting bitter which taints the flavour of your food. You want clean white smoke that layers your food with incredible aromas and smoky flavours. To do this, ensure there is sufficient ventilation within your BBQ smoker. Opening up your smoker or grill's vents will help you get better airflow and more complete combustion. You would have to play around with the vents until you get it right.

3. Never Over Smoke Your Food

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A major contributing factor a lot of novice smokers do when building or maintaining their fire is adding to much wood, which is a big no no. This can cause the food to taste bitter (see tip No.2 for a recap). All you need to do is add a few chunks or chips at a time — you want your smoke to flow out gently rather than causing it to thicken.

4. Using a Spritz (spray bottle) to Keep Meat Moist

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During the smoking process your meat’s surface becomes dries and forms a barrier that prevents smoke infusion. Spritzing your meat with apple cider vinegar or water while smoking keeps the meat moist. Feel free to experiment with certain flavours here, just don’t overdo it you still want to taste the Smokey aromas. 

Hot tip: Use Maple syrup & water in your spritz bottle as an alternative.

5. Calculate the Smoking Time

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Ensure you to use the right amount of wood for the desired smoking time. The general rule of thumb is, you’ll burn roughly one wood chunk of wood for every hour of smoking give or take.

6. No Peeking, Keep That Lid Closed

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Opening your lid every so often can significantly lengthen the cooking time of your food as the heat escapes your smoker every time, this results in the smoker having to build up all that heat and smoke once again. The only time you should lift the lid is for spritzing the meat or checking the internal temperature. 

7. Use Red or Peach Butcher Paper (optional)

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When wrapping your meat it’s recommended you use Red or Peach butchers paper instead of aluminum (tin) foil to wrap meat while smoking. The butcher paper will keep your meat moist while still allowing smoke to penetrate its surface for that smoky flavor you looking for. 

8. Use a Water Pan (optional)

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Placing a aluminum foil tray with roughly 1-2 cm of water inside over the heat source will help keep your smoker at the ideal temperature for most cooks, between 108°C and 135°C as the water evorprates.

Hot Tip: Using a water pan increases condensation under the smoker lid. So why not be a little creative here by adding in some spices, beer or wine to the water pan as this method infuses an added layer of flavor into your food.

9. Collect Drippings

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By placing a drip pan (aluminuim) under your meat, will collect the drippings during the cooking process. This can then be used to make a gravey or sauce. Theres an abundance of flavor from the drippings.

10. Use a Marinade Injector (optional)

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Before you begin your “Low n Slow” cooking process, try injecting large pieces of meat such a brisket with sauces that contain herbs, beef or chicken broth by using a marinade injector. The injected liquid will addsome great  flavor to your meat and keep it juicy, especially for long smoking times.

Hauling that BBQ of yours out from the shed to smoke meat is one of the most delicious and time-honored ways to cook – Low n Slow. The key take-away from this is, practise makes perfect. Experiment with these tips for smoking meat and see what works best for you. But most important, have fun with it. Good Luck. Remember, everything tastes better when smoked!

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