Smoking Technique and Tips for Better BBQ

July: The Fourth of July, picnics, beach excursions, camping trips and relaxing afternoons in the backyard with friends. Barbecue goes hand in hand with beer and is perfect for this time of year. When turning on the oven during those hot summer days seems counterproductive to staying cool, go back to your roots and cook outside. Get primal!


General Smoking Instructions:
If you have a wood-fired smoker, start two pounds of charcoal in the coal box. In a medium-sized bowl, add 3/4 a pound of wood chips or chunks, and top with enough water to cover them, letting soak for 30–45 minutes. Place a water (or beer) pan under the grill rack. This will help maintain a moist environment, making for juicy barbecue. The coals are ready when they start to show a light layer of white ash on the surface. Add the prepared meat above the water pan. Adjust your air intake and amount of coals to keep the temperature between 225°F | 107°C and 275°F | 135°C, depending on what is being cooked. Check the coals, adding more charcoal and soaked chips/chunks periodically (usually every 45 minutes to an hour) until the meat is done.

A few tips to consider when smoking:

1) Think about what type of wood would complement the meat the best. There are several varieties to choose from: apple, cherry, hickory, fig, mesquite, peach, oak and wine/bourbon barrels. These woods are best if first soaked in either water or beer.

2) If you are planning to barbecue, then use the entire grill space. Make dinner for a few days with one fire. Try smoking tomatoes, garlic, peppers, chilies, eggplant, salmon, lamb, chicken, duck, game and so on. Take advantage of that smoke! Don’t waste it.

Note: When cooking in a smoker, each time the door of the smoker and coal box is opened, heat is lost and it takes extra time to fully cook what is on the barbecue. Follow these instructions and barbecue techniques to achieve mouth-watering, lip-smackin’, great barbecue.



Blind Pig Injected Smoked Pork Butt

Cherrywood Smoked Moroccan Spiced-Rubbed Leg of Lamb with Kriek Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce

Kahlúa Pig

Porter Beer Brined Pork Shoulder

Smoked Beef Brisket – Texas Style

Smoked Porter & Tomato Barbecue Sauce

Beef Brisket Rub

Home Brew Chef All Purpose BBQ Rub

Pinto Beans with Smoked Ham Hock

Bastard Black Beans with Smoked Turkey Leg


When looking for a beer to pair with barbecue, the new Union Jack IPA from Firestone Walker Brewing Co. would do justice to its smoky, grilled flavors. “Light American lager is the white bread of the beer world, pairing well with hot dogs, while American-brewed craft IPA is the pain de montagne or vollkornbrot of beer … and pairs well with like flavorful dishes,” says Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. I couldn’t agree more!



Adapted from BeerAdvocate Magazine: Cuisine à la Bière | Jul 2009 | Issue #30 & Issue #31

Sean Paxton

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