Masterbuilt

How to Smoke on a Charcoal Grill

Gravity Series
Mastering Charcoal
Mastering Smoke

Now that you’ve got your Gravity Series® Digital Charcoal Grill setup and seasoned, it’s time to learn the ins and out of smoking on a charcoal grill. Here are some of our go-to tips for smoking on your Gravity Series Grill, or your preferred charcoal grill of choice.

First, we suggest purchasing the following items to get you setup for grilling:
Masterbuilt Lump Charcoal
Masterbuilt Fire Starters
Your favorite smoking wood

The following steps will help you setup your Gravity Series Grill for smoking:
Option 1
Place wood chunks in the ash bucket to add flavor before setting the temperature. As the charcoal in the hopper burns, the hot embers fall onto the wood, causing it to burn at a slower rate and release more flavor during the smoke. You do not have to soak wood chunks with a Gravity Series grill.
a) NOTE: Do not add more than ½ lb. of smoking wood at a time. Additional wood should not be added until previously added wood has ceased generating smoke.
Option 2
Mix wood chunks in the hopper with charcoal.
b) NOTE: Never use more than 1 ½ lbs. of wood chunks throughout the hopper.

Adding wood to Gravity Series Grill
The following steps will get your charcoal grill setup for smoking:
1. Create a 2-zone fire in your charcoal tray or basket by arranging coals on one side of the tray or basket and keeping the other side empty. This gives you two heat zones, one direct and one indirect.
2. Choose your charcoal type. If you are using briquettes, only add your wood chips and food once they are fully lit, otherwise you may impart some of the aromas of the charcoal as they continue to light. If you are using lump charcoal, such as Masterbuilt Lump Charcoal, you can add wood chips and food once grill is at temp. Lump charcoal doesn’t produce any unwanted aromas in comparison to briquettes.
3. Choose your wood type. If you are smoking with wood chips, soak chips for 30 minutes prior to smoking. This will help prevent them from burning up upon contact with the charcoal. If you are smoking with wood chunks, there is no need to soak.
4. Light the charcoal using either a fire starter or charcoal chimney. Once charcoal is lit, ensure it is arranged on one side of the tray or basket. You can use a set of stainless-steel tongs or a charcoal rake to push charcoal to one side.
5. If you are smoking for longer than 30 minutes, place a water pan on the empty side of the charcoal tray or basket. Fill 2/3 full of water or your favorite liquid for adding flavor, such as apple juice or beer. A water tray will help catch juices and fat from the food as well as absorb and release heat during the cook for temperature management and additional moisture.
6. Ensure your cooking grate is in place over the charcoal tray or basket and close lid of your charcoal grill. Allow the grill to come up to temperature.
7. Remove your wood chips from the water or your dry wood chunks and spread evenly over the lit charcoal. Close lid and adjust any vents as needed. Wait until you see clean, almost blue smoke coming from your grill before adding your food.
8. Once food is added, maintain your temperature on the grill by adjusting any vents as needed. If you are smoking for longer than 30 minutes, add additional charcoal as needed.

When you are smoking on a charcoal grill, your grill vents will help control airflow. The more air, the more heat you will have in your charcoal grill.

The benefit of smoking on a Gravity Series grill is two-fold. The digital control panel or Masterbuilt app will help direct the temperature of your grill to the DigitalFan™, which maintains direct temperature control into your Gravity Series grill. The GravityFed™ Charcoal Hopper holds up to 10 hours of fuel, removing the need to add additional charcoal during longer cooks.

Now you know how to smoke on a charcoal grill. For more cooking inspiration, check out our blog.