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March 02, 2023 3 min read


Although it does take some talent, you don't need to be an expert in BBQ to smoke some food. If you have never used a charcoal grill before and are unfamiliar with it, scroll down below.


How to Use Charcoal Smokers in 8 Easy Steps


If you've never used a charcoal grill to smoke meat, follow the steps below:


1) Get Your Fuel Ready

 black burnt coal

Credit: Envato Elements/ Studio_OMG_


The first thing you must do before using a charcoal smoker is to get your fuel ready. When choosing charcoal for your smoker, make sure you get standard charcoal briquettes. Additionally, you'll need wood chunks and chips for a smoky flavor. Before turning on the grill, make sure to soak your chips for about 30 minutes.


2) Light the Charcoal


The next step is to light the charcoal in your chimney starter. If your smoker doesn't have a charcoal chimney starter, you can achieve the same effect by stacking your coals in a pyramid pattern. The charcoal must be burned until it starts to ash over and turn white (this will take about 15 minutes).


3) Add the Meat to the Grill

 adding meat with tongs onto grill

Credit: Envato Elements/ raffinboy


After lighting the charcoal, you can now add the meat to the smoker grills. When placing the meat, make sure to leave some distance (at least an inch) between eat cut of meat. Additionally, if you have multiple racks, place the meat on the topmost rack to maintain a constant temperature.


4) Shut the Lid


Next, close the lid of the cooking chamber and refrain from opening it frequently to stop heat loss. In addition to altering the temperature of the grill, constantly opening the lid could contaminate the meat.


5) Regulate the Temperature

 cooked meat on bbq grill

Credit: Envato Elements/ Beachbumledford


With cooking anything, temperature control is the key to success. For offset smoker grills, the desired temperature at which you should smoke meat is between 220 and 275° F. You can regulate the internal temperature of your grill by using the vents or dampers of your grill. Additionally, you can also use a meat thermometer.


6) Add the Wood Chips


The next step is to add the prepared wood chips to the smoking chamber along with the lit coals. You can add the chips halfway through the smoking process.


7) Place a Water Pan

 placing a water pan into a grill smoker

Credit: Envato Elements/ The Online Grill


Although optional, this step is recommended. Adding a water pan to the grill grates is guaranteed to give your barbeque that mouthwatering smokey flavor. As an alternative, you can try spritzing the meat with some water or apple juice.


8) Give It Time


To smoke your meat to softness, you'll need to set aside several hours from your day. Depending on the precise temperature, the type of meat, and the type of smoker you're using, cooking periods will vary. A good rule of thumb is to give each pound of huge portions of meat one to one and a half hours to cook.




Now that you know how to use a smoker grill, you no longer have an excuse not to go make some delicious barbecue. To take your charcoal smoking to the next level, shop at Pepe Nero to buy your own set of professional grill tools.

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