How to smoke slowly and slowly on your charcoal grill – CNET

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Smoking tasty charcoal barbecues at home is not as hard as you might think.

Brian Bennett / CNET

It may not be all spring yet, but it's never too early to start thinking about the barbecue season. If you do it right, grilled meat is tender, juicy, smoky, and ridiculously tasty. The good news is that you don't have to have imagination pellet smoking or an expensive one Big green egg to fulfill that desire at home. All you really need is a simple charcoal grill, a little bit of know-how and some practice.

So if you've always wanted the chops to cook properly smoked grills and do it on a budget, this guide is for you. Here I explain how to slowly and slowly smoke meat on the garden stove. While it is true that mastering grilling is a lifelong pursuit, it is much easier to get satisfactory results than you think.

Barbecue: what's the big deal?

Once you've tried a good grill, it can blow you away. That happened to me and now it has become a strong need that often consumes me. Why? Simple. If you cook a hard piece of meat at low temperatures (107.2 ° C) long enough, something magical happens.

Connective muscle tissue, usually tough and unappetizing, breaks down. This process, combined with smoldering wood smoke, elevates otherwise inedible food into the realm of the fantastic. Baby back pork ribs that "fall off the bone", tender pork or juicy slices of beef brisket are good examples of this type of cooking.

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This is the arrangement of coals for the charcoal snake method.

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A slow burning

Cooking with charcoal is not like turning a gas grill or stove over. You can't just turn a burner knob and turn the heater up or down. Instead, the amount of fuel, volume, and weight of your charcoal is the biggest factor that affects heat. Too much charcoal and your grill temperatures will skyrocket.

However, there is a popular way that reliably keeps the heat in the grill low and stable. The technique is known as the charcoal snake method. The snake will let your grill burn for hours. Because of its round shape, it is easiest to use the charcoal snake in kettle grills like the Weber Classic. It also works in other grills of similar size.

Stack your charcoal briquettes in two rows deep along the inside wall of the grill.

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First, put two standard charcoal briquettes in your grill. Arrange them side by side on the charcoal grate exactly where they meet the inner grill wall. One briquette should be closer to the wall than the other.

Now place two more on the right side of the first pair. Repeat this process until you have a series of briquettes (in pairs) halfway around the curved wall of your kettle. Next, place another length of paired briquettes directly on top of the ones already in the grill. You should now have a charcoal semicircle line, two briquettes deep and two wide.

Add pieces of smoked wood for a particularly smoky taste.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

To add a little more pep To get the smoky taste, drop a few pieces of smoked wood on the snake. Place it near the front of the chain, the place where you light the snake. Meat absorbs smoke best when it is cold at the start of cooking.

Also consider placing a sump filled with hot water in the charcoal bowl. It will work to catch drops of meat on top of the grill. The water pan also helps to stabilize the grill temperatures.

The Minion method provides for burning coals to be covered with unlit briquettes.

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The Minion method is not for me

I know that many people swear by another charcoal burning strategy called the Minion method. This slow and low technique requires that you add burning coals over a larger amount of unlit briquettes. I tried it and personally it was not very successful.

Maybe I need more practice or should optimize my fuel quantities. Whatever the reason, my henchman charcoal fires tend to run away from me. Either they get too hot or they sway and burn out. Regardless, I find the snake method more reliable, even if it requires more work in advance.

Light one end of the snake so it burns like a fuse, low and slow.

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Light the fuse

When cooking, make sure that the ventilation slots on your grill are half open (top and bottom). Next place between 5 and 12 burning coals at the front of the snake. You can use a chimney starter to light these coals. Another way is to ignite your starter coals directly in the grill with a paraffin or tumbleweed fire starter.

You can use a tumbleweed fire starter to fire charcoal snakes.

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No matter how you start your snake, never use lighter fluid. This gives your meat nasty chemical flavors. The same applies to quick briquettes.

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A digital probe thermometer like this provides accurate grill temperatures.

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Monitor the pit

If your grill came with a hood thermometer, ignore it. In my experience, they're all useless, usually about 25 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit from the target. For accurate readings, you should invest in a quickly readable digital thermometer that is equipped with a wired probe. With such a device, you can display the grill temperatures at the food level.

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A grill clip makes attaching probe thermometers child's play.

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I recommend attaching your probe with a handy metal clip. If necessary, you can also stick your probe through a ball of aluminum foil and then drop it directly onto the grillage.

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Place the probe clip directly on the food level grill on the opposite side of the fire.

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The ideal temperature for smoking meat is 22 ° C. However, occasional peaks of up to 250 ° F are no reason to panic. Long stretches of this can result in meat that is drier and tougher than usual.

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Adjust the ventilation slots (shown here above) to adjust the grill temperatures.

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If you find the grill's heat too hot, close the vents slightly. Give the fire at least 15 minutes to react. Do the opposite to raise grill temperatures. Also try to dial in the heat levels by setting only the top or bottom vents. This way you can nail down any effect that the top or bottom vent causes.

Mealtime.

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Harvest your rewards

A semi-circular charcoal snake usually burns for at least 5 hours, and possibly up to 8 hours. Of course, your exact experience will depend on other factors. This includes the outside temperature in the forest neck and the design of your special grill.

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That is why grilling is so worth the time and effort.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

The nice thing about the snake method is that you can always add more coals if you need more cooking time. No matter whether you smoke a rack with baby back ribs (5 hours), St, Louis cut pork ribs or a strong whole beef brisket (15 hours), your reliable charcoal kettle has you covered. Do you fancy a barbecue? I know i am