There’s nothing quite like the feeling of starting a BBQ fire and watching your meats and veggies sizzle over the charcoal. That said, as much as grilling and barbecuing your favourite BBQ food will bring the satisfying flavour all barbecue-lovers crave, smoking your meat and veggies will deepen their flavour even more, as well as creating an irresistible aroma.
Smoking is, in a way, a more extreme version of barbecuing: The cooking comes from the smoke itself rather than just heat, aided by BBQ wood chips and compressed hardwood chunks. Smoking requires a lot less heat than grilling or barbecuing, so you can expect much longer cooking times to allow your food to be fully infused with that distinctive smokey flavour you love.
The question is how can you get your barbecue-favourites smoking without investing in a smoker? Smokers are designed for smoking meat, veggies, and fruit in a horizontal chamber, placed alongside the heat rather than right above it.
The way BBQ smokers work is quite different from how a regular BBQ operates, but if you want to save money on buying yet another appliance and still enjoy a good smoke, we have the perfect solution!
Even the most passionate BBQ enthusiasts might not know that you can easily turn a BBQ into a smoker, following three easy steps:
Build Your Fire with Lumpwood Charcoal
The first step to turn a BBQ into a smoker is to build your fire, just like you would when barbecuing.
Start by lighting a fire of high-quality lumpwood charcoal inside your BBQ, making sure to wait until the coals turn white before you do anything else. At the same time, you’ll want to soak your BBQ wood chips for smoking (either apple wood chips or cherry wood chips) for around 15 to 30 minutes.
Create Your Smoker
Once your coal has cooked down, you can place a handful of unlit hardwood charcoal on one side of your barbecue and place your soaked wood chips on top, recreating the “heat alongside” structure of a traditional smoker.
Fill a heatproof container with water to regulate your barbecue’s temperature and place it on top of the hot charcoal, so to create the low temperature and slow cook you’re after.
Add Your Favourite Foods and Cook Away!
The last step to turn a BBQ into a smoker is to start smoking vegetables, meats, and fruit inside the newly-created BBQ smoker, closing the lid to let the smoking process begin.
How long smoking will take will depend on the recipe you’re going for, so if you’re out of ideas or unsure of how long you should keep your meats and veggies cooking in your BBQ, you can check out our smoked vegetable and smoked fruit recipes.
To guarantee the right temperature is maintained throughout, you might want to use a thermometer to check the heat stays at a comfortable 110 to 130 C. The water you’ve left in your heat-proof container will cool down the chamber if it gets too hot, but if you find your smoker is not running as hot as it should, you can add more cooked-down coals to get it up to speed!
Find Your Next Go-To BBQ Wood and BBQ Wood Chips for Smoking
So, you now know everything you need to turn a BBQ into a smoker in no time — but where can you find all the restaurant-grade charcoal, BBQ wood chips, and firelighters you need to start the fire and get the smoke going?
From Natural Firelighters to light up your charcoal to the best BBQ Wood Chips on the market, we’ve got you covered for everything BBQ and smoking!