How to Use a Smoker Box When Smoking Meat

If you're serious about smoking delicious meat, you should consider investing in a smoker box. This otherwise small accessory will enhance the flavor of your meat by exposing it to more smoke. Whether you're planning to smoke meat in a traditional grill or smoker, you can use a smoker box. First, however, you'll need to familiarize yourself with this accessory and how it works.

What Is a Smoker Box?

Not to be confused with a firebox -- an offset drum or compartment found on smokers -- a smoker box is a removal, square- or rectangular-shaped container in which smoking chunks or smoking chips are placed. The bottom of the smoker box is typically solid, whereas the top contains a uniform pattern of punctured holes. When smoking chunks or smoking chips are placed inside, smoke will rise out through the punctured holes and into your grill's or smoker's main compartment where your meat is located.

Benefits of Using a Smoker Box

The purpose of a smoker box is to protect your wood smoking chunks or smoking chips from being exposed to too much heat. Wood typically releases the most flavor-rich smoke when burned at roughly 550 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that this refers to the temperature of the actual wood, such as smoking chunks or smoking chips, and not the temperature of the air inside your grill or smoker. But if you place your wood directly on the charcoal or even next to the charcoal, it could reach well over 750 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a smoker box, however, you can control the temperature of your wood to maintain low, stable heat that allows for maximum flavor-rich smoke.

You can also use a smoker box in just about any outdoor cooking device, including a charcoal grill, gas grill, smoker and offset smoker. Most cooking devices don't come with a smoker box, so you'll need to purchase one separately. With that said, they are fully reusable, and you can use them in most all cooking devices.

Preparing Your Smoker Box

To use a smoker box, you'll need to fill it with high-quality smoking chunks or smoking chips. Don't use just any wood in your smoker box. To a delectable smokey flavor, you need to use high-quality wood chunks for smoking or smoking chips, such as those offered here at Cutting Edge Firewood. White oak smoking chunks are an excellent choice for beginners because of their mild, though still incredibly delicious, flavor. Regardless of which type you choose, fill your smoker box about three-quarters full, after which you can close the lid.

Grilling with Cutting Edge Firewood Cooking Wood

Add Smoker Box to Grill or Smoker

After filling your smoker box with high-quality smoking chunks or chips, you can add it to your grill or smoker. If there's enough space inside your grill or smoker, you can place the smoker box next to your charcoal. Not all smokers and grills have a spacious fuel compartment, though, in which case you'll need to place the smoker box on top of your charcoal. But even when placed directly on top of charcoal, the smoking chunks or smoking chips in your smoker box will still burn slowly and at a lower temperature because of the protective metal shell in which they are encased.

Refill Smoker Box As Needed

When using a smoker box to smoke meat, you may need to refill it with fresh smoking chunks or smoking chips. Wood doesn't burn forever. In fact, it usually burns more quickly than charcoal, meaning you'll need to add more smoking chunks or smoking chips to your smoker box. If you discover your grill or smoker is no longer producing a significant amount of smoke, carefully remove the smoker box while wearing heat-resistant tongs -- and while using a pair of tongs -- at which point you can refill it with more smoking chunks or smoking chips.

No Smoker Box? No Problem!

If you don't own a smoker box -- and don't plan on buying one in the near future -- you can use a mediums-sized foil pan instead. It's an inexpensive alternative that works almost as well as a smoker box. Just place your smoking chunks or smoking chips in a medium-sized foil pan, and then place the pan next to or on top of your charcoal. The only difference between a smoker box and a foil pan is that the latter is uncovered. Smoker boxes have punctured holes on top that allow some of the smoke to escape while simultaneously trapping most of the heat, so they tend to work better than open and uncovered foil pans. But if you don't have access to a smoker box, a foil pan is a viable substitute.

Find the best deals on premium smoking chunks by visiting our online store today. Cutting Edge Firewood offers a variety of high-quality smoking chunks, including white oak, hickory, cherry, pecan and whiskey, all of which will allow you to smoke delicious meat.

About The Author

Leroy Hite

Leroy Hite is the founder and CEO of Cutting Edge Firewood, an ultra-premium firewood and cooking wood company located in Atlanta, Georgia. Leroy's mission is to give people the experience of the perfect fire because some of life’s best memories are made in the warmth of a fire’s glow. He founded Cutting Edge Firewood in 2013 with a goal to provide unmatched quality wood and unparalleled customer service nationwide. The company offers premium kiln-dried firewood, cooking wood, and pizza wood in a wide variety of species and cuts to customers around the country.