July 10, 2019

Does your smoker leak smoke? If so, you might be worried that it will affect the flavor, tenderness and overall quality of your food. This is a common concern shared by countless pitmasters. In this post, we’re going to explain whether it’s normal for a smoker to leak smoke.

The Basics of Smokers and How They Work

Before we reveal whether it’s normal for smokers to leak smoke, let’s first go over the basics of this common outdoor cooking device. Smokers are designed to cook food at a low temperature over a prolonged period of time by exposing the food to smoke. They typically contain one or two fuel compartments in which you can place charcoal and/or smoking chunks. Experienced pitmasters usually add both charcoal and smoking chunks to their smoker. As the charcoal burns, it produces heat that releases flavorful smoke compounds from the adjacent pile of smoking chunks.

While all smokers rely on flavorful smoke to cook food, the way in which they operate varies depending on the type. Some of the most common types of smokers include the following:

  • Offset Smoker: The most common type, an offset smoker, is a type of smoker with a firebox attached to the side. The firebox in offset smokers is the main compartment in which charcoal and smoking chunks are added. Since the firebox is located away from the cooking grate, food is exposed to less heat.
  • Drum Smoker: Also known as a barrel smoker, a drum smoker is an alternative type of smoker that’s characterized by a drum-like design. In fact, many drum smokers are made of real drum barrels. Drum smokers are available in a variety of sizes, ranging from just 30-gallon drums all the way to 85-gallon drums.
  • Bullet Smoker: As the name suggests, a bullet smoker is a type of smoker that’s shaped like a bullet. It’s essentially a variation of the drum smoker, with the only difference being that bullet smokers have a water pan or bowl below the cooking grate.

Photo: Eric Kilby

Yes, Some Smoke Leakage Is Normal

Although it sounds alarming, it’s normal for smokers to leak some smoke. Whether you have an offset smoker, drum smoker or bullet smoker, it will probably leak some smoke. If the lid, for example, doesn’t create an airtight seal, smoke will inevitably escape. This is particularly true when speaking about new smokers.

Contrary to popular belief, new smokers are more likely to leak smoke than old smokers. When a smoker is still new and hasn’t been used many times, it will have a smooth and clean finish. If you frequently use your smoker, on the other hand, it will develop a layer of carbon on the surface. This layer of carbon acts as a seal to prevent smoke from leaking. As a result, smoke can escape new smokers more easily than old smokers.

All Smokers Must Release Smoke

It’s important to note that all smokers must release smoke. You can’t smoke or grill food in a completely closed and airtight environment. If there’s no air flowing through the fuel compartment, the charcoal or smoking chunks won’t burn. And if the smoking chunks don’t burn, they won’t produce the flavorful smoke that’s responsible for cooking your food.

To allow airflow through your smoker’s fuel compartment, you must adjust the dampers. Dampers are the adjustable air vents that you can open or close. Most smokers have two dampers: one on the top and another on the bottom. Normally, you should keep the top damper open and the bottom damper closed. With the top damper open, your smoker will release smoke out the top. At the same time, it also allows air to flow in and out your smoker, ensuring that your smoking chunks continue to smolder at a low temperature.

You can use the bottom damper to adjust the temperature of your smoker. Keeping the bottom damper creates a cooler environment by minimizing airflow. Assuming the top damper is open, your smoker will still have enough air to keep your smoking chunks smoldering. With the bottom damper closed, though, only a small amount of air will flow into and through the fuel compartment, thereby keeping the temperature of your smoker — and your food as a result — in check.

Excessive Smoke Leakage Is Not Normal

You can expect your smoker to leak some smoke, but it shouldn’t be leaking an excessive amount of smoke. If you see large amounts of smoke pillowing from seals or between the lid, you may struggle to cook delicious food. The lack of smoke means your food won’t have the same smokey flavor as it normally would. You can still cook delicious food using a leaky smoker, but it comes at the cost of less flavor.

Furthermore, smoke does more than just enhance the flavor of food; it makes food more tender. The smoke compounds break down the otherwise tough tissue of meat to create a superior level of tenderness. But if your smoker leaks too much smoke, you won’t be able to cook tender meat. For the best flavor and tenderness, you need to expose your food to lots of smoke from high-quality wood, such as smoking chunks.

Again, it’s normal to a small amount of smoke to leak. What’s not normal, however, is for thick plumes of smoke to roll out the sides and seals.

How to Prevent Your Smoker From Leaking Too Much Smoke

If your smoker is leaking an excessive amount of smoke, there are a few things you should do. First and foremost, try using your smoker more frequently. As previously mentioned, the inside surface of a smoker will develop a layer of carbon over time. Each time you use your smoker, some of the carbon-based particulate matter from the smoke will stick to its interior walls.

When using your smoker, make sure the lid — the top piece — is properly positioned over the bottom piece. If the lid is tilted just slightly to the left or right of the bottom piece, it won’t create an airtight seal. The lid must be aligned with the bottom piece. Otherwise, smoke will escape through the gap between the two pieces.

You can also minimize the amount of smoke that escapes your smoker by adjusting the dampers. For most smoking activities, only the top damper should be open. If you open the top and bottom dampers, smoke will escape out both these air vents. Keeping the bottom damper closed ensures that smoke only escapes out the top, which is necessary to keep fresh air flowing into the fuel compartment.

When all else fails, you may want to upgrade to a different smoker. Cheap, low-quality smokers are more likely to leak than their higher-quality counterparts because they are poorly constructed. By upgrading to a high-quality smoker, such as a Primo Oval, you shouldn’t have a problem with smoke leakage. With their ceramic construction and premium craftsmanship, Primo smokers are universally recognized as being some of the best smokers on the market.

For the best quality smoking chunks, visit 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.

Wood Chunks Vs Chips - Which is best for smoking?
June 27, 2019

When grilling or smoking meats or veggies, you’ll want to use a flavorful variety of wood. Unlike charcoal, wood contains natural flavor compounds that are absorbed by food. As the wood begins to smolder, it will release smoke that both cures and enhances the flavor of your food.

You’ve probably noticed that there are two common types of wood used for smoking and grilling: wood chunks and wood chips. In this article, we make the strong case that wood chunks offer a superior flavor and experience over wood chips. Let’s get to it.

What Are Wood Chips?

Wood chips, also known as smoking chips, are small pieces of wood meant to release flavorful smoke. They typically come from hardwood trees like oak, hickory and cherry. The wood is essentially pulverized into small, thin pieces, which are colloquially known as wood chips. You place the wood chips inside your smoker — preferably next to the charcoal so that they aren’t directly exposed to the fire — at which point they’ll begin to smolder and release flavorful smoke.

What Are Wood Chunks?

Wood chunks, also known as smoking chunks, are larger pieces of wood. Like wood chips, wood chunks originate from hardwood trees, and they are also used to create delicious smoked food. They are called “wood chunks,” however, because of their significantly larger size. Wood chunks are also placed in your smoker and should be spread evenly around the smoker. It’s fine to expose them directly to the fire because they will burn for much longer than wood chips.

How to Tell the Difference Between Wood Chips and Wood Chunks

Wood chunks and chips both usually come from hardwood trees, and people use both to smoke meats and veggies. The main difference is size, which makes it very easy to distinguish between wood chips and wood chunks.

Wood chips are very thin, with most chips measuring less than 0.25 inches thick. In comparison, wood chunks from Cutting Edge Firewood can measure up to 4 inches thick. Wood chips are essentially wood thin shavings, whereas wood chunks are thicker blocks of wood. By inspecting the thickness, you should be able to tell whether a piece of smoking wood is a wood chip or wood chunk.

Wood Chunk vs Wood Chip

Just because wood chunks and chips are made from the same source material, doesn’t mean they offer the same level of performance for smoking. The nuances between their varying sizes can affect the outcome of your smoked foods in several ways.

Why Wood Chunks Outperform Wood Chips

If you’re serious about smoking or grilling delicious meats and veggies, you should choose wood chunks over wood chips. With their larger size, they outperform wood chips to provide a superior smoking experience.

Here are some of the top reasons to choose wood chunks over wood chips:

  • Because they are thicker than wood chips, wood chunks offer a longer burn time. With wood chunks, you won’t have to continuously add new wood to your smoker.
  • Wood chunks produce more smoke and, therefore, better flavor. Although they come from the same varieties of hardwood trees, most pitmasters will agree that wood chunks are more flavorful than wood chips because they burn and smolder for a longer period of time. Wood chips are so small that they turn to ash very quickly and do not add much flavor.
  • It’s also worth mentioning that using wood chunks will trap more flavorful smoke inside your smoker. Their long burn time means you won’t have to open the lid to regularly add more wood. You can keep the lid on your smoker or grill closed so that the smoke remains trapped inside with your food.
  • You may be able to reuse wood chunks. Wood chips will almost always burn to ash when placed inside a smoker. Wood chunks, on the other hand, may still be intact after being used in a smoker. If some of your wood chunks are still whole, store them in a safe area so that you can reuse them the next time you smoke food.
  • 2-3 is all you need: Because wood chunks are so large, 2-3 pieces is all you will need for a flavorful cook.
  • More Variety in flavor: Wood is¬†composed of both heartwood and sapwood, and the best possible flavor is only achieved when both of them are together. Chunks provide both in a single piece.

Can I Use Wood Chips?

This is a free country, so you can use whatever you want to cook your food, but don’t expect wood chips to work as well as wood chunks.¬† Since they are thinner and smaller than wood chunks, they will quickly turn to flavorless ash. With a shorter burn time, they won’t release as much smoke.

For the best flavor and overall smoking experience, you should use smoking chunks. They have the perfect size for smoking in popular kamado style smokers. They aren’t as big as full-sized wood logs, but they are still thicker and larger than wood chips. This size makes wood chunks the perfect choice for smoking delicious meats and veggies.

Do Wood Chunks require soaking?

One very popular myth is that you should soak your wood chunks. The truth is, wood chunks never need soaking.

Many people claim that soaking the wood chunks enables them to create more smoke, when they actually just create steam. Furthermore, wood is very resistant to soaking up water – there is a reason they build ships out of wood! The only thing you will achieve by soaking wood chunks is to cool down the temperature of your fire, delay the release of flavor, and add a bitter taste.

Don’t waste time soaking wood chunks, use them when they are dry!

Can you use Wood chunks for Grilling? Or just for Smoking?

Another popular myth is the idea that wood chunks should only be used for low and slow cooking. Some people have argued that wood chunks won’t add flavor when grilling steaks or burgers because there isn’t enough time for the meat to absorb any flavor.

Cooking with Wood Chunks

Clearly, those people have never tried cooking with some Cutting Edge Smoking Chunks in their grill! Next time you decide to grill, try throwing a couple chunks of hickory on the fire and see if you can taste the difference.

Choosing the Right Wood Chunks: What You Should Know

The evidence is clear: wood chunks outperform wood chips when grilling or smoking meats and veggies. They burn longer, produce more smoke, offer better flavor and more. To reap these benefits, though, you must choose the right type of wood chunks for your smoking activities.

Avoid using wood chunks with a high moisture content. Unless the wood chunks have been kiln dried, you shouldn’t use them. Kiln drying refers to an advanced wood-drying method in which the wood is baked inside a large drying kiln. Here at Cutting Edge Firewood, our wood chunks are kiln dried for 48 hours. By extracting the moisture, kiln dried wood chunks light quicker and burn cleaner to produce better flavor.

You should also consider the species of tree from which the wood chunks were harvested. Hardwood varieties like oak, hickory, cherry, pecan and white oak offer better flavors than softwood varieties. But each variety has its own unique characteristics:

  • White oak, for instance, is a mild hardwood variety that’s highly versatile and can be used to smoke nearly all meats and veggies. It’s also a great heat source if you only want to cook over wood.
  • Pecan, on the other hand, is a stronger variety that offers a unique nutty flavor.
  • Cherry is a fruit wood that offers a sweet, smoky flavor.
  • Hickory provides the strongest flavor and is a classic choice for BBQ and Grilling enthusiasts.

Find the best quality 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. We offer complimentary shipping for our smoking chunk products across the United States.

The best food deserves the best flavor!

June 25, 2019

Smoked meat offers a delicious flavor and pull-apart tenderness that’s not achieved using other cooking methods like grilling or baking. As your smoking chunks heat up, they’ll release flavorful smoke that’s absorbed into the meat. While using the right smoking chunks alone can offer a delicious flavor, however, you can enhance the flavor of your smoked meat by brining it.

What Is Brining?

Brining is a food flavoring process that involves soaking food in a solution of saltwater, as well as other seasonings if desired, for a period of one to 24 hours. It’s called “brining” because it typically uses brine, which is saline water with a high concentration of salt. While salt content varies, it’s not uncommon for pitmasters to create and use brine containing up to 25% salt. Of course, you can make your brine more or less salty, but the defining characteristic of brining is that it involves soaking water in saltwater for a long period of time.

Brining vs Marinating

Because they both involve soaking food in a liquid-based flavoring solution, many people assume that brining and marinating are the same. However, brining is not the same as marinating. The key difference between these two food flavoring processes is that brining involves the use of saltwater, whereas marinating involves the use of marinade. Brine, of course, is saltwater either with or without added seasonings, while marinade consists of a variety of oils, herbs, spices and other seasonings.

Brining Makes Smoked Meat More Juicy

Before adding your meat to your smoker, consider brining it first. Whether you’re smoking a beef brisket, ribs, chicken breasts, fish or any meat, it will taste better if you allow it to brine for at least a few hours. One of the ways in which brining enhances the flavor of smoked meat is by increasing its moisture content. It’s not uncommon for meat to dry out when smoked. If you aren’t careful and regularly check your meat, you may inadvertently smoke it for too long. As your meat continues to cook inside the smoker, its flavorful juices will evaporate. The end result is dry, less-flavorful meat.

For juicy and delicious smoked meat, you should use brine. Even if you soak it for one or two hours, that’s still more than enough time for your meat to absorb the saltwater. You can then add your meat to your smoker and allow it to smoke as normal. The additional moisture content offered by the brine will prevent your meat from drying out, which almost always means better flavor as well as tenderness.

Brining Allows Meat to Absorb More Smoke

Another way in which brining can enhance the flavor of smoked meat is by allowing meat to absorb more smoke. Smoked meat receives its unique, smokey flavor from smoke created by the smoldering wood or smoking chunks. Once the wood begins to heat up — though not necessarily ignite and burn — it will smolder while releasing flavorful smoke that fills the inside of your smoker. Some of this smoke will be absorbed by your meat, while the rest will either linger inside your smoker or escape out through an open damper vent.

But your meat will absorb more flavorful smoke from the smoldering wood if you brine it beforehand. As previously mentioned, brining increases the moisture content of meat. In doing so, it allows meat to absorb more smoke. The saltwater inside your meat will catch and hold the smoke compounds, allowing for a superior level of flavor.

Brining Regulates Cooking Temperature

You’ll have an easier time controlling the temperature at which your meat smokes if you brine it beforehand. When you brine meat, you’ll evenly distribute moisture throughout the tissue. As a result, all parts of your meat will have roughly the same moisture content. If you don’t brine your meat before smoking it, some parts will have more moisture than others. And because of the moisture nuances, your meat may cook unevenly.

Brining helps to regulate the cooking temperature by distributing moisture throughout your meat. Since all parts of the brined meat have the same moisture content, it will cook more evenly. Not only does will this prevent your meat from drying out or burning; it prevents flavorful juices from being lost.

How to Brine Meat Before Smoking

Now that you know the benefits of brining, you might be wondering how exactly to brine meat before smoking it. The great thing about brining is that it’s super easy and requires only a few basic items, which you probably already have somewhere in your kitchen. Even if you’re never brined meat before, you shouldn’t encounter any trouble if you follow these steps.

Here are the basic steps to brining meat before smoking:

  1. Prepare your brine by mixing 1 cup of kosher salt per 1 gallon of water.
  2. After thoroughly mixing the saltwater solution, pour it into a large casserole dish.
  3. If desired, add and mix in other seasonings.
  4. Add your meat to the brine-filled casserole dish, ensuring that your meat is completely submerged in the saltwater solution.
  5. Place a lid — or aluminum foil if you don’t have a lid — over the casserole dish and transfer the dish to your refrigerator.
  6. The length at which you should brine meat varies depending on the type of meat you are smoking as well as its weight. A good rule of thumb, however, is to allow meat to brine for one hour per pound of weight, with a maximum brine time of no more than 24 hours. If you’re smoking a 5-pound beef brisket, for example, leave it in the refrigerator for five hours.
  7. After allowing your meat to brine for an appropriate amount of time, remove it from the refrigerator and place it in your smoker.
  8. Continue to smoke your meat as usual, after which you can enjoy its delicious flavor.

Other Ways to Enhance the Flavor of Your Smoked Meat

In addition to brining, there are other ways to enhance the flavor of your smoked meat. For starters, choose a variety of smoking chunks that complements the type of meat you intend to smoke. Hickory, for instance, is a popular choice for smoked beef. It offers a sweet bacon-like flavor that works well with beef. For pork, you may want to use white oak smoking chunks. White oak is considered the most versatile variety of smoking chunks. It’s relatively mild with a distinct smokey flavor and aroma.

You can also enhance the flavor of your smoked meat by keeping the damper vents mostly closed. Contrary to what some people believe, you can’t smoke meat with all the damper vents completely closed. If they are fully closed, oxygen won’t be able to enter the fuel compartment of your smoker, meaning your smoking chunks will stop smoldering. With that said, the damper vents shouldn’t be fully open either. If they are open all the way, you’ll lose a substantial amount of flavorful smoke. For the best flavor when smoking meat, adjust the damper vents so that they about 75% to 90% closed.

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.

June 19, 2019

Ask any seasoned camper and he or she will likely agree: Food tastes better when it’s cooked outdoors over a campfire rather than indoors on the stove or in the oven.

Unfortunately, many people are unfamiliar with campfire cooking, resulting in lackluster meals. Whether you’re going camping for a single night or an entire week, follow these seven tips to improve your campfire culinary activities.

#1) Prepare a Fire Ring

Before cooking over a campfire, you must first prepare a fire ring. Typically consisting of a ring of rocks surrounding a cleared area, it’s used to contain fires. If you don’t use a fire ring, your campfire may spread to nearby brush. Building your campfire in a fire ring, however, prevents this from happening by placing a physical barrier — rocks — between the fire and the brush. As a result, you’ll have an easier time cooking over a campfire if you use a fire ring.

You won’t always need to build a fire ring from scratch. Depending on where you are camping, you may have access to one or more existing fire rings used by previous campers. If there’s an existing fire ring available, use it rather than building your own.

#2) Bring Your Own Cooking Wood

When cooking, you can’t always rely on locally sourced wood with which to build your campfire. As explained by the National Park Service (NPS), many national parks prohibit campers from collecting and using locally sourced wood. This is because wood, even dead wood consisting of fallen tree limbs and branches, is vital to the natural landscape. It serves as a home for insects and wildlife while also protecting against erosion. If parks allowed campers to collect and use local wood, it would disturb both the native wildlife as well as the land itself.

Oak Cooking Wood BoxYou can still build a campfire when camping, but you need to bring your own wood. For the best flavor and aroma, bring high-quality cooking wood. Kiln-dried hickory, pecan, oak and cherry are some of the top choices of cooking wood. While each variety has its own unique characteristics, all of them will enhance the flavor of your campfire-cooked food while surrounding your campsite with a pleasant aroma in the process.

Here at Cutting Edge, we offer convenient boxes of cooking wood that pack easily in your vehicle and can go with you to the mountains, lake, beach, or wherever it is you plan to cook over an open fire. We can ship boxes of firewood to anywhere in the continental United States.

 

 

#3) Use a Campfire Cooking Grate

To grill food over a campfire, it’s recommended that you use a campfire cooking grate. Also known simply as a camp grill, it’s placed directly over a campfire to provide a surface on which to grill food. A typical campfire cooking grate looks like a small rectangular-shaped table. After building your campfire, you place it directly over the flame. You can then add your food to the grate, allowing it to cook just like it would with a traditional grill.

Of course, you can always use a grill when camping, but many people prefer the simplicity and convenience of using a campfire cooking grate instead. Campfire cooking grates are smaller and, therefore, easier to carry than full-sized grills. Some, in fact, feature a collapsible design, allowing you to carry them in a backpack.

Can’t head out for a camping trip this weekend? Don’t worry, you can experience authentic campfire cooking with our premier fire pits and cooking grates, available in our online store.

#4) Move Food During Flareups

To say campfires get hot would be an understatement. According to one report, the average temperature of a campfire is over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. With hot temperatures such as this, flareups are common when cooking meat over a campfire. The heat from your campfire will cause fat on and within meat to liquefy. As the fat turns to liquid, it will then drip onto the burning wood and embers below, resulting in a flareup.

If a flareup occurs, quickly move your meat to a different area of the cooking grate. Flareups generally only occur directly below the meat. By moving your meat to a different area of the cooking grate, it won’t be exposed to the roaring flame that could otherwise cause it to dry out. Of course, you can move your meat back to its original position after the flareup has died down.

#5) Invest in a Cast-Iron Pan

While a campfire cooking grate is perfect for grilling steaks, chicken, pork chops and other types of meat, it’s not ideal for cooking smaller foods like veggies or eggs. For smaller foods such as these, you’ll need a pan — and there’s no better choice than a cast-iron pan.

Using a cast-iron pan, you can cook smaller foods without worrying about them falling through the grate and into your campfire. You’ll still need to place the cast-iron on a grate (don’t place it directly on the burning wood). Once placed on the grate, though, you can add veggies, fish, kebabs or other smaller foods to it.

Cast-iron pans offer several benefits over stainless steel pans, some of which include the following:

  • Better heat retention
  • Stronger and more durable
  • Natural nonstick surface
  • Free of harmful chemicals
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Inexpensive
  • Adds iron to your food, which is an essential nutrient

The only disadvantage to using a cast-iron pan over a stainless steel pan is that it’s more likely to rust. With that said, cast-iron pans usually won’t rust all the way through. Over time, they’ll develop a small amount of rust on the surface. It’s not enough to affect the performance of the pan, nor will affect the flavor of your food.

#6) Oil the Grate or Pan Before Adding Food

Whether you’re using a campfire cooking grate or a cast-iron pan to cook over a campfire, you should oil it before adding your food. If you don’t use oil, your food may stick while it cooks. A small coat of oil will prevent your food from sticking by creating a slick, smooth cooking surface. If you don’t use oil, your food may stick to the grate or pan. When this happens, it can turn an otherwise perfect meal into a cooking disaster.

To oil a campfire cooking grate or cast-iron pan, pour a small amount of high-heat oil onto a paper towel. Next, run this oil-soaked towel against the cooking surface. You don’t have to use an entire bottle of oil. Rather, apply just enough to create a thin layer of oil.

#7) Use Metal Utensils

Avoid using disposable plastic utensils when cooking food over a campfire. As previously mentioned, the temperature of a campfire can easily reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than enough to melt even the sturdiest plastic utensils. If you use a plastic fork to flip your meat, for example, there’s a good chance that it will melt. Not only is this frustrating, but it’s dangerous. The melted plastic could land on your food, tainting it with toxic chemicals. And even it doesn’t reach your food, it will still release harmful gases into the air.

To prevent melting, use metal utensils when cooking over a campfire. Metal utensils cost more than plastic utensils, but they can withstand greater heat. Furthermore, metal utensils are better for the environment since you can reuse them. Just remember to wash them using clean water — don’t use water from a lake or pond — and dish soap.

What are you waiting for?

Now that you’re prepared with these 7 tips for cooking over a Campfire, what are you waiting for? Delicious food awaits!

Make sure you give your food the best possible flavor by using our premium cooking wood – it’s great for restaurants, residential, and the great outdoors. Cutting Edge Firewood offers a variety of high-quality smoking chunks and cooking wood, including white oak, hickory, cherry, pecan and whiskey, all of which will allow you to cook delicious meat.

June 18, 2019

Congratulations on your decision to purchase a new grill or smoker! It’s a smart investment that will open the doors to a new world of culinary activities. Before using your new grill or smoker, though, it’s recommended that you season the grate.

What Is Seasoning?

Upon hearing or reading the term “seasoning,” some people assume that it involves sprinkling seasoning on a grill or smoker. When used in the context of preparing food, seasoning does involve the application of salt, pepper, herbs, spices or other types of flavor-enhancing seasoning. When used in the context of grills, smokers and other cooking surfaces, however, seasoning refers to the application of oil.

To season a grill or smoker, you’ll need to brush a layer of oil onto the cooking grate. You won’t need any actual seasoning. Rather, you’ll need oil to season your grill or smoker. After brushing the oil into the grate, you can light your grill or smoker. As the oil heats up, it will bind to the grate, thereby forming an oily layer.

Why Should I Season My New Grill or Smoker?

Seasoning a new grill or smoker is important for several reasons. For starters, it burns off any debris or impurities lingering on the grate. Even if there aren’t any chemicals on it, the grate may contain dust from the packaging in which it was shipped. By seasoning your grill or smoker, you’ll burn off dust and other debris to create a clean, safe surface on which to cook food. Of course, you can always fire up your new grill or smoker without using oil to burn debris off the grate, but seasoning offers a few other noteworthy benefits.

Seasoning your new grill or smoker creates a nonstick cooking surface. It’s frustrating when meat sticks to the cooking grate. While this problem is more common with grills because of their high temperatures, it can occur with smokers as well. If your meat sticks to the grate, it will rip when you attempt to flip or remove it. Therefore, you should season your new grill or smoker to prevent sticking. The oil-covered grate offers a natural nonstick surface that’s suitable for all meats and veggies.

You’ll experience better-tasting food when cooking a well-seasoned grill or smoker. When you cook meat on seasoned grill or smoker, fat from the meat will melt and drip onto the oil-covered grate. While most of the liquefied fat will burn off, some of its lipids will bind to the oil. The next time you cook on the grate, your food will absorb these lipids to create an out-of-this-world flavor.

Finally, seasoning will prolong the life of your new grill’s or smoker’s cooking grate by protecting it from rust and corrosion. All grates used in grills and smokers are made of metal, with the most common metals used in their construction being stainless steel, cast iron and aluminum. But regardless of what it’s made of, all cooking grate can rust and corrode over time. As moisture from the air settles onto your grill’s or smoker’s cooking grate, it triggers oxidation within the metal from which it’s made. Oxidation then leads to rust and corrosion, which can eat away at the grate until it’s no longer able to securely hold food.

You can slow down and discourage oxidation by seasoning your grill or smoker. Once seasoned, the cooking grate will have a protective layer of oil covering it. As a result, moisture won’t be able to easily reach the metal from which it’s made, so the cooking grate shouldn’t rust or corrode. These are just a few of the main reasons to season your new grill or smoker.

Step #1) Clean the Grate

Before seasoning your new grill or smoker, you should clean the cooking grate. Most grills and smokers, including the highly popular Primo models, have a removable cooking grate. Just lift the grate up, at which point you can remove it from your grill or smoker. Once removed, wash the grate with dish soap and warm water. You can do this either indoors or outdoors. Just remember to clean both sides of the grate.

Step #2) Choose an Oil

Now it’s time to choose an oil with which to season your new grill or smoker. This is arguably the most important step, as the type of oil you use will affect the longevity and quality of the seasoning. Using olive oil to season a grill or smoker, for example, is generally a bad idea. While olive oil is loaded in nutritious omega-3s, it has a low smoke point of about 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If used on a cooking grate, olive oil will burn and turn to smoke once it reaches this temperature. To ensure the oil sticks to your grill’s or smoker’s cooking grate, you need to choose a high-heat oil with a higher smoke point.

Here are a few of the top high-heat oils with which you can season your new grill or smoker:

  • Peanut oil
  • Canola oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Avocado oil

Keep in mind that most refined cooking oils have a higher smoke point than unrefined oils. Therefore, they are better suited for seasoning a grill or smoker.

Step #3) Brush Oil Onto the Grate

With a high-heat oil in hand, use a brush to apply it to your grill’s or smoker’s cooking grate. You don’t need any special type of brush for this step. Just use a basic basting brush. Alternatively, you can use a clean, unused paintbrush to apply the oil. Just pour your preferred high-heat oil into a small bowl, dip the brush into it, and brush it onto your grill’s or smoker’s cooking grate.

Of course, you should cover both sides of the cooking grate with oil. If you only apply oil to the top of the grate, the bottom will remain susceptible to rust and corrosion. So, brush oil onto both sides of your grill’s or smoker’s cooking grate for maximum protection against rust and corrosion.

Step #4) Fire Up Your Grill or Smoker

After brushing oil onto the cooking grate, fire up your grill or smoker. Fill the main fuel compartment with charcoal, light it, and wait for it to heat up. For added flavor, you can place a small pile of smoking chunks next to the charcoal. The smoking chunks will release flavorful smoke that binds to the oil-covered cooking grate. Popular types of smoking chunks used to season grills and smokers include white oak, cherry, pecan and hickory. By using them in conjunction with charcoal, you’ll create a more flavorful cooking grate.

Assuming you followed these steps correctly, your grill or smoker should now be seasoned. The oil-covered grate will enhance the flavor of your foods, protect against rust and corrosion and offer a nonstick cooking surface. With that said, the oil won’t stay on your grill’s or smoker’s grate forever. To retain these benefits, you must reseason your grill or smoker at least once every two or three months.

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.

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