Classic Cooking Techniques: Smoking

May 2, 2017

Using a smoker is a way to impart deliciously complex flavor to a variety of menu items. But it doesn’t stop there. Smoking meat actually allows it to retain more moisture, and it’s a great way to preserve certain meats for aging.

These tips can help ensure your smoked items turn out just right.

  • Using a marinade can help create distinctive flavor and also make meats even more tender.
  • Remember, rubs are typically applied to meat just before smoking, while marinades are applied a few hours in advance.
  • The temperature of the smoker can depend on what type of meat you’re cooking, but 250℉ is always a good start. After you add meat to the smoker, the temperature will drop. Aim to maintain a consistent temperature of 220℉ from this point on.
  • Be sure to always keep the lid of the smoker closed—no peeking!
  • When the meat is finished in the smoker, try adding an extra layer of glaze or seasoning and then smoking for about 15 minutes longer for extra-flavorful results.

Browse our Tips for more techniques and ingredient inspiration.


Henry, Alan. Why a Smoker Adds So Much Flavor to Meat (and What to Look For In One), Lifehacker, May 2016.

8 Tips for Smoking Meat, Compact Appliance, April 2015.