Things to consider before using your smoker
Defrosting--The meat you use needs to be completely thawed out before being placed in a smoker as the temperatures used in the smoker are too low to properly thaw and cook the meat.
Marinating--As with any other type of meat marinade, be sure to soak the meat in the refrigerator instead of on the counter to avoid spoilage and do not reuse marinades from raw meat onto cooked food.
Cooking--Make sure your smoker is made of materials that have been approved for use on food items. Be sure to avoid using galvanized steel cans for smoking, and instead use charcoal briquettes or aromatic wood chips. Keep your smoker in a well-ventilated area and away from anything that could cause a fire if it came into close contact with the smoker.
Temperature Control--Developing good temperature control is a must, as meat smoking should be done between 200 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit and the meat needs to be cooked thoroughly for safe eating. Use a meat thermometer to ensure your meat has reached its proper temperature.
Pre-Care and Maintenance of the Smoker--The best barbeque comes from a clean smoker, and to take the best care of your investment, be it the investment of time spent developing a homemade smoker, or money from a purchased one, you need to start the caring process before you even use it for the first time. A smoker more than likely needs to be seasoned before use and will need reapplication after every use. In addition to reseasoning, a smoker needs to be periodically repaired and repainted and it should be a given that it should be thoroughly cleaned after every single use.
Types of Smokers--There are various types of smokers on the market including charcoal smokers, electric water smokers, wood smokers, and more. There are also a variety of ways to make your own smoker, but be sure to do careful research before embarking on an adventure like this, as the danger of developing a fire hazard is very real. Be careful no matter which type of smoker you end up using.