The first thing that comes to mind when we thing of cooking with charcoal is to use a grill. This involves putting the charcoal on the bottom, set it on fire, and place the items to be cooked on a rack to cook over the fire. Some people do not know that there is another way to cook your food using charcoal. This can be done by using a charcoal smoker and uses a very different technique.
Cooking by using smoke?
This method of cooking still burns charcoal. But, you keep the flame lower than during normal grilling. With a low fire, smoke is created and this is what will cook the meat. This method takes longer and happens as the smoke slowly soaks into the food. Charcoal smoker cooking is done by having a low smoky fire, place the food in the smoker and close the lid. The lid should not be be opened except to check on the fire or to remove the food when it is ready. Since it is the smoke that does the cooking, you will have a very distinct and interesting flavor.
If your charcoal smoker is tall enough, you can place a container of water over the fire but under the food. This will create a stem inside the smoker that will help keep the food moist. You can also place other fluids into the container (wine, pinapple juice, etc) to help enhance the flavor.
How Is This Difference?
One of the big differences between grilling and using a charcoal smoker is that food will contain less fat. The cooking method is very slow and uses heated smoke. But, the biggest thing that you will notice is the different taste. There is nothing that comes close to the taste of food slow cooked in a charcoal smoker.
To get the best experience from using your charcoal smoker, here are a few tips:
1. You will need to allow more time for the meal to cook. As it uses a lower fire, the cooking time is longer.
2. To make sure your food is moist, place a pan of water or other fluid on a rack over the fire.
3. You can enhance the smoke flavor by adding ‘smoking wood’ to the fire. If you soak pecan or mesquite wood in water for a day or two and then place it on the fire, you will have a different flavor.
4. Be open to a new taste experience. The end result from charcoal smoker cooking is like nothing else you will experience.
For a new and enjoyable backyard cooking experience, get a charcoal cooker. You will be able to create a meal that will have your ‘customers’ coming back for more.