Season your smoker cooker. Spray the cooking area with vegetable oil or PAM (walls, doors, grates, – everything inside the smoker cooker). Fire up your smoker pre-cook in it by letting the oil sizzle and sear and pre-grill for about 35 to 45 minutes or longer. Like a cast iron pan, the longer and hotter the better.
Low and Slow- You ain’t competition cookin’ here. Stick that food on there, close the lid and leave it the hell alone. Go play catch, jump in the pool, grab a cold one. But take your time.
Use a water pan. If your smoker or grill doesn’t have one, an aluminum foil pan will do. This will help keep the heat stabilized and add humidity. Check occasionally to make sure you don’t need to add water.
In general, you should smoke food for no longer than half its cooking time. Also, the smoke should flow like a gentle stream, not like out of your grandfather’s car in the 60s.
White smoke good. Black smoke bad. Generally, this happens if your ventilation is off. Or you made the mistake of putting the food over the fire.
Try not to peek. Keep that heat consistent. But DO check your wood, temp and water occasionally.
Don’t over marinate, sauce or season. Let the wood do the work.
Black is good- If the outside is forming a nice “bark” let it ride. That means you are hitting that smoke nirvana.
Hickory chunks mixed with a nice apple or peach wood is usually best. If you are gonna use mesquite, know what you are doing. DO NOT go out in the woods looking for cheap fresh cedar. Improperly used the sap can be toxic.
Keep the coals hot- keep a backup of coals and add occasionally to keep it going. Ideally, hot coals. NO lighter infused coals.
Remember when it comes to coals and temp- You can always add heat, you can’t take it away. Try and keep that 225 consistent. But, no more that 250.
I prefer a simple rub over brining. DO NOT do both. There are plenty of rub recipes out there. But, most contain salt, pepper, lemon pepper, chili flakes.