How To Set Up And Fire Up Your Grill And Smoker The Right Way

Grill And Smoker Setup And Firing Up

By:

Meathead

What’s the best way to set up your grill or smoker? The secret is to have temperature control, and for grills, that almost always means using a 2-zone setup. For smokers, the secret is to get a small hot fire that makes clean “blue” smoke rather that billowy white smoke. And yes, you can use a plain old grill, gas or charcoal, as a smoker.

2 Zone Grilling Setup: The Perfect Way To Control Temperatures On Charcoal And Gas Grills

By:

Meathead

Improve your recipes and make the best BBQ possible with this one essential concept: temperature control. The secret? 2 zone grilling setup, a.k.a. an indirect grilling setup!

How to Set Up a Charcoal Grill for Smoking or Grilling

By:

Meathead

Get the most out of your charcoal grill by setting up 2 heat zones, direct and indirect. This set up allows you to add wood chunks to the coals for smoke, to cook low and slow barbecued ribs and pork shoulder, and to better control your temperature. It also helps prevent flareups and burnt food!

Using the Vents to Control Temperature on Charcoal and Wood Burning Grills and Smokers

By:

Meathead

Here's how to use the two vents to control temperature in a charcoal or wood grill or smoker.

The Best Setups For Gas Grills, Maintenance, And Troubleshooting

By:

Meathead

You can set up a gas grill to get excellent smoke roasted barbecue if you know how. Here's how gas grills work, the best setups, and how to maintain them.

How to Set Up and Modify Offset Smokers And Barrel Smokers

By:

Meathead

Find out how to setup and modify inexpensive offset smokers such as the Brinkmann Pitmaster, Brinkmann Smoke'N Pit Professional (a.k.a. SNPP), and Char-Broil Silver Smoker to get the best possible BBQ with the least possible expense.

The Thermodynamics of Cooking and How Different Cooking Methods Work

By:

Meathead

Learn about thermodynamics: the basis of all cooking! Find out how heat transference works by conduction, convection, radiation, induction, and infrared heat in your grill, bbq, and smoker.

What You Need to Know About Wood, Smoke, And Combustion

By:

Meathead

Learn all about wood smoke and how it adds flavor to BBQ. Find out whether you should be using wood chunks, chips, pellets, logs, or sawdust in your cooker. Discover the truth behind the claim that different woods have different flavors.

Charcoal Science: How Charcoal Is Made And How Charcoal Works

By:

Meathead

Ever wonder how barbecue charcoal is made? Here's an inside look at the manufacturing process for pillow shaped charcoal briquets, hardwood lump charcoal, bone charcoal, and other forms of charcoal such as binchotan. We also explain which kind of charcoal is best and how to use it.

BBQ Season Checklist

By:

Dave Joachim

Getting ready to fire up for BBQ season? Check out our must-have checklist of tips to kick things off right. You'll find out how to get rid of built-up grease, clean the grill grates, and improve your cooker's overall performance so you're barbecued food will taste its best all season long.

Cleaning And Maintaining Your Grill Or Smoker

By:

Meathead

Keep your barbecue grill clean. Greasy grill grates make food taste bad and gunk on the inside of a grill can reduce heat transference. Here's how to clean and maintain your grill.

How to Fight Mold in Your Smoker or Grill

By:

Meathead

Mold in your BBQ grill is a common problem. Learn how to quickly and safely remove mold that has built up on your grill grates or elsewhere in your grill or smoker. We also show you how to prevent mold from building up in your cooker in the first place.

How to Calibrate Your Grill or Smoker with Dry Runs

By:

Meathead

Calibrate your cooker. There is often dust and grease under the hood from the factory on new grills and smokers. Here's how to prepare your cooker with a dry run so you can control its temperature when it's showtime.

When To Put A Lid On It

By:

Meathead

Lid up or lid down? It's a question that comes up on the patio as often as it does in the bathroom. Answer: it depends. Sometimes you want to cook with the grill lid on, and sometimes you want it wide open. Read on to find out why.

How to Grill With Wood and Master Campfire Cooking

By:

Meathead

Discover the secrets to grilling with wood and mastering campfire cooking. Once you cook with wood and enjoy the high heat and incredible smoke flavors, you will want to cook this way again and again.

Stickburning: Smoking With Wood

By:

Meathead

Here's everything you need to know about smoking meat with wood logs, including working with different styles of barbecue pits and wood ovens and using different types of wood logs.

Top Tips And Accessories For The Weber Smokey Mountain

By:

Meathead

Here are the tested tools and tips to make the most of your Weber Smokey Mountain, arguably the most popular and best rated bullet style smoker on the market. This comprehensive guide covers everything from seasoning the smoker to proper fire building techniques as well as reviews of the top products for the WSM.

The Amazing Pit Barrel Cooker: Setup, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

By:

Meathead

Take a look at the Pit Barrel Cooker (PBC), an amazing smoker and grill. We give you all the tips, tricks, and techniques you need to get the best bbq out of it.

How to Build a Hog Pit from Concrete Blocks

By:

Meathead

How to build a barbecue pit for cooking a whole hog from concrete block (cinder block), including illustrated plans with dimensions and various designs

How to Grill and Smoke in Cold Weather

By:

Meathead

Learn some nifty tricks for insulating and protecting your cooker so you can beat the cold, rain, snow, and wind. These handy tips will keep you grilling and smoking successfully on any cooker, at any time, in any weather.

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Published On: 5/6/2019 Last Modified: 4/23/2021


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These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

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Grilla Pellet Smoker proves good things come in small packages

We always liked Grilla. The small 31.5″ x 29.5″ footprint makes it ideal for use where BBQ space is limited, as on a condo patio.
Click here for our review on this unique smoker

Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

Fireboard Labs Product Photo Shoot. Kansas City Commercial Portrait and Wedding Photographers ©Kevin Ashley Photography

With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.
Click here to read our detailed review

Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners


The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review

The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


Napoleon’s NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special

If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the Slow ‘N’ Sear


The Slow ‘N’ Sear turns your grill into a first class smoker and also creates an extremely hot sear zone you can use to create steakhouse steaks.
Click here for our article on this breakthrough tool

The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy


The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them

Griddle And Deep Fryer In One


The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, and home fries. Or pancakes, fajitas, grilled cheese, you name it. Why stink up the house deep frying and spatter all over? Do your fried chicken and calamari outside. Blackstone’s Rangetop Combo With Deep Fryer does it all!

Click here to read our detailed review and to order