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Smoking Foods

Smoking With Charcoal
Cooking on the grill infuses food with some smoke flavor, but, using indirect-heat grilling, you can add more flavor and aroma with wood chips or chunks, fresh or dried herbs, or grapevine cuttings.

Soak wood chips, dried herbs, and grapevine cuttings at least 30 minutes; wood chunks at least 1 hour.  Add a handful of drained chips or chunks directly to the coals.

You can also put the chips in heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Fold a 12- X 18-inch rectangle of foil in half and place the chips in the center.  Fold to create a packet, and punch several holes in the foil to allow the smoke to escape.  Place packet directly on the coals.

If you’re grilling large items, such as a whole bird or roast, which spend more time on the grill, you may need to add additional wood chips or chunks. Add more soaked and drained wood chips about every 30 minutes and wood chunks about every 45 minutes (times will vary depending on food and recipe). Read up on barbecuing if you plan to smoke longer than 2 hour.

Add charcoal through the holes under the handles as needed to maintain the temperature (breaking up large chunks of hardwood charcoal, if necessary) if you’re going to cook food for longer than an hour. Some grills come with hinged cooking racks. Position the hinged areas over the coals and add coals as needed during cooking.

Smoking With Gas
Wood chips are the most popular flavoring material to use when smoking, but you can also use herbs such as rosemary sprigs or dried basil stems. Do not soak wood flavoring materials if using them in a gas grill—soaking can hinder their ability to ignite.

To add smoke flavor on a gas grill, enclose dry wood chips or other flavoring material in a smoker box. Place the smoker box directly over a heat element to ignite. If you’re cooking a roast or whole bird that requires considerable time, replenish the smoker box when the smoke begins to diminish. Remember to keep the grill cover closed when replenishing the smoker box to preserve the heat.

If you don’t have a smoker box, you can improvise with heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Fold a 12- X 18-inch rectangle of foil in half and place dry chips or other flavoring material in the center.

Seal the 3 open sides and tear open the top.  Place the packet directly over a heat element to ignite.   Once lit, you can top the dry chips with soaked ones for extra smoke.