Many people have no idea how to use a smoker box or how it works; right since the Paleolithic times, the majority of our ancestors has in the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s do smoke meat.
Back then, the house will get covered with thick unpleasant plumes of fumes and smokes whenever our fathers try to smoke meat, but now with the enhanced smokers, smoker boxes, and grills now available, smoking meat will be more pleasant, in a way, stress-free.
Outdoor meat cooking methods went back in time for a long, and some of the methods are still the same, like barbecuing meat or grilling meat. However, barbecuing with charcoal has been influenced by modern findings of improved gadgets by smoking meat with a more innovative gadget such as the smoker box.
What is a smoker box?
A smoker box is a metal box that is built to be a heat resistant box that holds little pieces of wood chips in its chamber; the amount of wood chips that are needed to smoke meat successfully is added into the smoker box, and when placed near the heat source, the wood chips burn and release smoke that begins to cook the meat.
How to use a smoker box
Using a smoker box is actually a straightforward process and easy to learn. The first thing to do is put the needed amount of wood chips into the smoker box, then put the smoker box near the desired heat source. Next, you add your cut of meat to the barbecue, leave to smoke and refill the smoker box with more wood chips when needed.
The further process is listed below if you use your smoker box with a gas, stove, or charcoal smoker. A list of the usual principles govern how to use a smoker box.
However, there are a few slightly different steps depending on the type of smoker box you have because some smoker boxes differ from others.
The best wood chip to use in a smoker box
People who do not know much about smoking meats may also not know that there are different available types and options for wood chips to use; some may know that wood chips are available but do not know there are different qualities, and some are better than others.
Some people will tend to get confused on which wood chip to use because many wood chips are available, from Apple chips, oak chip, cherry chip, alder chips, grapevine, maple chip, and many more.
Below are a few wood chip options you can choose from;
1. Grapevine Wood
Grapevine wood chip is perfect for smoking pork, poultry most especially lamb. Grapevine wood chip has a tart and sharp flavor with a fruity taste and aroma. Grapevine wood chip shoulder is used sparingly because of the strong flavors they have.
2. Hickory Wood
Hickory wood chips have a bacon-like flavor which is very strong and sweet. These wood chips are the best for big chunks of pork meat like chest, ribs, and shoulders. However, to avoid too much flavor getting into your meat, you should try to use it sparingly, just like the grapevine wood chips.
3. Maple Wood
Maple wood chips have a partially sweet taste and a subtle flavor; these properties are perfect for a smoking game like fowl meats, turkey or chicken.
4. Oak Wood Chips
If you are looking for the perfect wood chip that is either too light, e.g. mesquite, or too strong, e.g. apple chips, oak wood chips are the ones for you; it is directly between apples and mesquite chips. In addition, Oakwood chips have just the right amount of smokiness and will be good for smoking sausage, beef, brisket, and lamb.
5. Mesquite Wood Chips
Mesquite wood chips are perfect for smoking all types of red meat, especially; mesquite wood Chips have an earthy flavor coupled with a powerful and intense aroma and flavor, so you will need to be watchful of the number of wood chips you add into the smoker box.
6. Apple Wood Chips
If you use applewood chips, you should be patient because it will take a lot of time since they release slow, gentle smokes when smoking. Aside from that, it is perfect for smoking wild birds meats, pork or chicken, because apple wood chip has a unique flavor that is light and mild, plus it has a sweet after taste on the smoked chicken or pork.
7. Alder Wood
Alder wood chips are the right guy for smoking fish. Most people like to smoke meat, but some fraction of people enjoy smoked meat, and alder is the best option, especially for smoking salmon fish.
And it has a type of flavor that is almost delicate and blends well with almost all types of fish. In addition, Alder wood chips have a flavor that is sweet and soft.
8. Cherry Wood Chips
If you want something mildly sweet with a little bit of fruity flavor for what you’re going to smoke, cherry is the right choice; it suits perfectly well with ham, turkey, and chicken and can also be used in smoking most meat or beef.
9. Pecan Wood
If you need something from the woods, pecan possesses a nutty, sweet, and rich flavor to its wood chips. It is good with poultry and can also be used on some meat.
Whether or not to soak wood chips before using
The majority of the smoker boxes built are built to avoid totally the catching alight of wood chips. However, some people want to make sure they are extra careful to avoid wood chips catching alight by soaking their wood chip option.
Soaking of wood chips is almost an unnecessary thing to do because it is unlikely for the wood chips to catching alight. You should also be aware that when the wood chips are wet, they take longer to start burning and even longer to start smoking than dry wood chips when lit in the smoker box. Anyway, you can decide whether you want to soak your wood or not.
How to properly soak wood chips
If you have decided to soak your wood before using them to be on a safer side, below are a few ways to soak your wood chips properly;
Choosing a good soaking agent: There are different liquids you can use as smoking agents. Usually, people soak with hot water, but if you desire some extra flavor to your wood chip, you can use whiskey, wine, lemon juice, and even beer.
Soaking your wood chips: The time taken to soak the wood chip is totally dependent on how strong the soaking agent you are using is; the stronger your soaking agent is, the lesser the soaking time. For example, if you soak the wood chips in soft agents like water, you should soak for about one hour before draining. And when soaking in a strong agent like wine or whiskey, you should soak for about 15minutes, nothing more.
Draining your wood chips: After the soaking time is done, you should drain the wood chips using a filter; after draining, leave the wood chips to dry until they do not drip any form of liquid anymore. Do not drain until completely dry; the wood chips should still be damp.
Smoking with the wet wood chips: When the wood chips have been dried until it’s no longer dripping liquid, place the damp wood chips into the chip chamber of the smoker box and then place them next to the heat source.
Can I smoke other foods apart from meat?
Yes, you can smoke other foods apart from meat using a smoker box, although most people do not know about this. But if you like some smoky foods, you can grill vegetables, eggplant, cabbage, corn, and even zucchini using a smoker box to get the quality smoky flavor.
How many wood chips are to be used?
You can use as many wood chips as desired; the more wood chips you used, the thicker the smoke of the wood chips will be. The more wood chips you use, the longer the smoke will last. Usually, the smoker box is designed to be filled with wood chips to the brim so enough wood chips would be used and not too little and having to refill the smoker box chamber from time to time.
When considering the number of wood chips to be used, you should also consider the type of wood chips you are using and the type of meat you are smoking.
With all this said, a Smoker box is the easiest to operate and less stressful; you no longer need to get a smoking grill if you don’t have one to smoke your meat to your perfect taste. Instead, you only need to get a smoker box and a barbecue. And a smoker box is very cheap and affordable, available in stores, and easy to maintain.
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