Using the Smoker

Before You Cook--If you've never used the smoker before, it is a good idea to fire it up without food in order to get the feel of using it down, to figure out the temperature, and also to take care of anything leftover from the production of the smoker.

Read the Manual--Don't assume you know how to operate your smoker, even if you've used one before. There are variations among smokers and manufacturers, and to be absolutely sure you know how to operate yours, READ THE DIRECTIONS!!

Seasoning the Smoker--Think of your smoker as a cast iron can, as seasoning a smoker is done in much the same way. The entire inside should be coated with oil and can be just about any kind: cooking spray, peanut oil, bacon fat, etc. After you apply the oil, heat it up high enough to allow it to soak into every possible porous area inside the smoker. The goal of this is to create a shield to deflect water and prevent the smoker from rusting. You don't want to go any higher than 275 degrees as anything higher can damage the finish of the smoker.

Skipping the Seasoning--Even if you don't need to season your smoker, you should still heat it up to a temperature just above 250 degrees in order to get rid of any possible contamination and also to give you some practice before you begin the real thing.

About the Smoke--At the risk of stating the obvious, smoke is the most important part of this type of cooking process. You need it in order to develop a layer of protection over the surface of the smoker to help prevent repel water and prevent rust. When using smoke, you need to be certain you have plenty of ventilation to both maintain your fire and also to prevent your smoker from developing a layer of creosote which is very bad if it builds up inside your smoker. You want to avoid this altogether.

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