I love the smell and the taste of smoked meat. That is why I was very excited when I finally received my Oklahoma Joe’s Smoker. I immediately became the Carnivore Style team’s favorite host as I always wanted to pamper the guests with something delicious.
Indeed, cooking and smoking meat, fish, and other products on charcoal has many subtleties. But you need to know how to use it and get the unsurpassed aroma and delicate taste of your meal.
Here is how to use Oklahoma Joe Smoker for the best results.
7 Steps on How to Use Oklahoma Joe Smoker
Oklahoma Joe’s is one the most popular makers of grill smokers, as they’ve been in the industry since 1987. Their smokers are made from durable, thick-walled steel.
We like how they’re easy to use without things that can confuse a rather novice user. Their compact design makes it easy to control temperature and smoke, which are essential for the best smoking results.
1. Season Your Smoker
Oklahoma Joe’s Smokers are made from high carbon steel. Just like a cast-iron skillet, they need to be seasoned. Start by spraying vegetable oil on the inside of the smoker’s horizontal cooking chamber.
The next step is to burn the fire from wood logs or wood chunks and leave it there for several hours. The fire should be low.
Oklahoma Joe’s Smokers is well seasoned when you see that fire inside of your cooking chamber has a shiny black coating. Now, you are ready to start smoking!
2. Set the Right Temperature
To set the right temperature, pay attention to the heat and smoke that moves through the cooking chamber. This is very important as it affects the results of cooking. If the temperature is too high, meat can overcook and lose its flavor from the fats’ slow rendering.
If it is too cool, it will not render the fat enough. The ideal temperature should be between 200ºF and 250ºF. Use an offset firebox to control the temperature, as the results will not be good if you open the cooking chamber often.
3. Build a Big Enough Fire
As we explained above, heat is essential for the smoked food quality, so make sure to build a big fire. The biggest mistake you can make is to put meat in a cold place, as the meat will lose its moisture. Combine charcoal with wood chunks.
In the beginning, we suggest putting 10 lbs. of the best charcoal and supplement it with a suitable amount of wood chunks. Add additional charcoal and wood to the firebox approximately every 2 hours.
To learn how to get the most out of your firebox visit this link.
Depending on the results you want to make, Select one of the two types of charcoal. Use briquettes to burn the fire – it will burn longer and keep the temperature steady. Natural lump charcoal will make your fire burn slowly and impact flavor.
4. Maintain Airflow and Monitor the Smoke
There is a “bad smoke” and a good one. We want only a good one during smoking as it can affect the meat’s taste, so wait until the smoke turns from a thick white smoke to pale smoke. It will come from a clean fire, allowing stable temperature and the desired burning process.
In his research (1), Aaron Franklin explains that airflow is the essential characteristic of a pit, and it depends on heat, fuel, and oxygen. If you made a suitable heat with fuel, as we have explained above, the only thing you should control in the equation is oxygen or airflow.
Start with opening the baffles, then add fuel, and when the smoker heats, adjust the buffers. Fill the fuel with charcoal and close the door to prevent temperature changes. Add meat only when the temperature reaches the desired level.
5. Adjust and Maintain your Desired Temperature
The most critical factors in adjusting and maintaining your desired temperature are airflow and the charcoal grate’s height. To control the airflow, adjust the intake damper and the chimney.
For low temperatures (around 225°F), you should decrease vent openings to use minimum airflow. If you need a higher temperature, you should open the vents to get maximum airflow.
If your grill has an adjustable charcoal grate, raise or lower its height to adjust for searing temps.
6. Add Natural Wood for a Flavor
Which wood to use, wood chips or wood chunks? Our recommendation is to use both. The first will generate more smoke and is ideal for short smoking times, while the second generates a steady supply of smoke for long cooking times.
Adding natural wood to your fuel can give a flavor of wood smoke to your meat. While any wood that bears fruit or a nut is good to cook with, pecan wood, mesquite wood, and hickory are top favorites.
7. Keep the Moisture
During the smoking process, meat is losing moisture, which can affect its taste. It can also lose some healthy vitamins and minerals, which, according to research (2), meat can provide.
To help keep the meat’s moisture, you can wrap your product in foil or butcher paper for the final few hours of smoking. It will not just keep the moisture but also protect the meat from getting too much smoke.
You can also use a water pan to make steam.
My favorite thing to do...is to get my big grill and smoke some meat and sit around with my buddies all day for 12 hours cooking that and then eat at the end of the day.”
- Dale Earnhardt Jr., car racing driver.
An Oklahoma Joe smoker combines the advantages of a barbecue and smoking at the same time.
Its time-tested design with professional thermometers, large cast-iron grill area, and adjustable barriers will allow you to prepare delicious meals in the yard. Special side fireboxes also allow additional directing of smoke and heat into the main chamber.
Use the smoker properly and follow the steps we have mentioned above. Remember, the right steps can help you to improve and get even better results next time.