Smoking makes meat distinctively tender and juicy, but not everyone's willing to invest in a dedicated smoker. Serious Eats' Grilling Guide shows us how to smoke meat on a standard charcoal kettle grill instead. It takes more effort, but the rewards are high.Photo by Matt Baume
Since smoking is slow cooking the meat at a low temperature while burning hardwood, doing it with a charcoal grill when the temperature is difficult to maintain can be tricky — but not impossible.
One of the key tools for this job is an aluminium pan placed on the charcoal grate next to the coals. Filled halfway with water, the pan helps regulate the temperature of the grill and keep the meat moist over the long cooking period. The meat is placed over the cool side of the grill.
To get to and maintain the 107C-120C temperature recommended for smoking, you'll need to manipulate the bottom and top vents of the grill, checking the heat about every 15 minutes throughout the process.
It can take 4-7 hours for pork ribs and 14 or more hours for beef brisket, so you'll be tethered to your grill for quite a while. But that's what long three-day weekends are for, perhaps. Whenever you want that slow-smoked meat goodness, give this grilling technique a try. See Serious Eats for the full instructions.
Smoking on a Charcoal Kettle Grill [Serious Eats]