Summer is fast approaching, and with that, cooks all over the U.S. are breaking out their grills. But anyone who grills seriously should consider purchasing a smoker box, especially if you’re someone who likes to smoke meats.
Below we’ll talk more about what a smoker box is, what kind of materials you’ll need to purchase, and how to use your smoker box.
Table of Contents
What Is A Smoker Box?
A smoker box is a small, metal box used on top of your grill that allows you to smoke your food to create a pleasant, smoky flavor. Smoker boxes can also be used to indirectly cook your grilled items, although it’s more popular to use a smoker box to create smoke to flavor your food.
When wood burns at extreme temperatures (550 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit), it releases smoke rich in taste and flavors the desired food.
The smoker box is typically made up of two levels: one level where you insert wood and another where you insert food.
The bottom level has a solid base, and this is where you put in the wood to be burned. The level above is where you put in the foods you wish to smoke, whether it be meat, vegetables, or tofu. This top-level has punctured holes at the bottom, so when the wood burns, smoke rises and smokes the food.
Besides the actual smoker box, the only other materials you need to purchase are the wood that burns at the bottom of your smoker box.
You’ll need either wood pellets or wood chips. Depending on personal preference, either option is a good choice, so long as you use quality materials. If you decide on wood chips, you’ll need to soak the chips for an hour or more to ensure that they will actually burn instead of just smolder.
On the other hand, pellets don’t need to be soaked (even though they’re wood). As a result, most people tend to purchase pellets since they take less time to prepare.
Another element to consider is different chips give you different flavors, so it’s essential to use high-quality chips so that your food marinates in the best, full-flavored smoke. A common wood type to start with is white oak since it’s so mild but still gives you a nice, delicious flavor.
Using The Smoker Box
Once you have the wood, pour the wood into the bottom container of your smoker box and fill it up about three-quarters of the way full. After that, put your meat (or whatever you’re smoking) into the top level of the box. Then, place the smoker box on your grill or smoker.
Because wood burners faster than charcoal, when you use a charcoal grill, chances are your smoker box will run out of smoke before you finish grilling. If you run out of smoke before you’re done, remove the smoker box (with heat-resistant tongs) and refill the bottom compartment with wood. Repeat until finished.
The key to using a smoker box is not to overdo it on the smoke. Similarly, to oversalting your food or using too much seasoning, too much smoke can be overpowering and can ruin your food.
Smoker boxes are easy contraptions used to smoke your meats and other foods. While it can take a while to figure out what type of wood and how much smoke to use to get the best flavor, once you figure out how to best use your smoker box, you’ll be able to make restaurant-quality smoked food in the comfort of your backyard. Ready to dive into the search for your ideal smoker boxes? Check out some of our “Smoker box recommendations here.”