smoking food at home

The ultimate beginner’s guide to smoking food at home

Wondering how to smoke food at home? 

Figuring out how to smoke food at home is a skill most of us have considered taking up at one point or another—especially if we’re smoked meat enthusiasts.

Smoking meat is a great way to infuse those classic smoky flavours into the meat. While there is a lot of effort and expertise that goes into creating the perfect smoked meat, achieving this at home isn’t as difficult as some may imagine.

Once you’ve nailed the basic steps involved in smoking meat, you can create the best smoked meat dishes right in your backyard.

Selecting the right smoker

The first step in smoking is to make sure you have the right accessories. Getting the right accessories will ensure that your smoking process goes smoothly and that you have the best chance of getting a flavoursome piece of meat.

There are hundreds of smokers out there to choose from, but the best smokers are the ones that can be used with wood pellets. This means you can use flavoured wood pellets to infuse unique and complementary flavours into the meat as it smokes. 

You should also avoid getting any complex smokers—especially if you’re just starting out. It’s easy to get excited and make an impulse purchase, but advanced and complex equipment isn’t always the better option; you may have a tougher time smoking if you’re not a seasoned pro.

Choosing your preferred flavoured wood pellets

Wood pellets come in a range of flavours. Once you’ve nailed down the meat you want to use, it’s always a good idea to find out which flavoured wood pellets will complement your meat.

For instance, if you’re smoking pork, you can’t go wrong with apple flavoured pellets—since apple has always been a great flavour to pair pork with. Beef is another popular meat to smoke and goes well with mesquite, which is known for its intense flavours. 

Checking the smoker

Before you start smoking food at home, you’ll need to check the smoker—you can do this by building a fire. Allow the smoke to reach 400 degrees and then let it reduce to around 250 degrees. Once it has reached this temperature, it will take about 3-5 hours until it starts to smoke.

This will also let you determine how long the meat needs to be smoked until it’s cooked and allow you to gauge whether the smoker’s in-built thermometer is working properly.

Smoking meat at home

Once the smoker is set up it’s time to start smoking your meat. 

Season your meat using your favourite rubs and seasonings well in advance and place it in the refrigerator. 

While the meat is marinating, it’s time to prepare the smoker. Heat up the smoker to 400 degrees and let it settle at 250 degrees. Once the desired heat is reached, you can drop the meat on the grill inside your smoker.

If you have used a marinade, be sure to wipe the excess marinade off to avoid it dripping on the flames and creating flare-ups.

While it’s important to keep an eye on the meat, do not open the grill too often as it will reduce the heat inside the smoker and you may have to spend more time smoking it until it’s cooked.

Start rotating the meat after it’s been on the smoker for 2-3 hours. You can also add some more marinade or sauce on it for that extra flavour.

The final step is to remove the meat from the smoker when the meat has an internal temperature of 180 degrees. 

After you remove the meat, wrap it in aluminium foil and let it rest for 1-2 hours. This is an important step to ensure that you retain the flavours in your meat without the essence oozing out. 

Once you start smoking food at home your dishes will never be the same

If you’ve never smoked meat before, these steps will help you get started and kick off a whole new chapter in your culinary journey.

Smoking food at home may seem like a tedious task, but once you’ve nailed the basics, you have the perfect foundation to build on your smoking prowess and create some truly mouthwatering smoked meat dishes.