What equipment do I need to start smoking.

Once you’ve got your smoker, whether it’s a converted BBQ grill, a vertical smoker, an offset smoker or one of the many different variations, there a number of pieces of equipment that we would say are essential to both making your cook more successful and safer.

In no particular order, we’ve listed 8 items which we feel are essential to smoking, and won’t cost the earth.

1 CHIMNEY STARTER

A chimney starter can cost as little as £10-£15 and is the perfect way to effectively get a BBQ started.  They remove the need for any fire lighting chemicals and can provide a full chimney of white coals in about 10 minutes.

They are also a great way of topping up your coals without the heat spike that can generated by putting fresh coals directly on to an existing fire

2 NATURAL FIRE LIGHTERS

These are ideal for smokers when doing a low and slow cook on something like a Kamado.  As the name says, they are purely natural, made out of just wood shavings and wax, avoiding any fire lighting chemicals that could taint your cook.

3 LONG HANDLED TONGS

Simply, they allow you to keep your hands away from the heat when moving food around your grill.

4. WIRELESS MEAT THERMOMETER

Again, these needn’t cost a fortune, there are models available to suit all budgets.  These allow you to monitor both the internal temperature of your grill as well as the temperature of the food itself. 

They tend to be more accurate than the built-in analogue monitor on most grills, and the probes that you place in the food will ensure that you cook everything to perfection.  Just as importantly it means that you don’t have to keep lifting the lid to check the food temperature which is a big no-no in BBQ smoking!  

Wireless probes come with various numbers of probes usually 2 or 4. 2 should be a minimum you need so that you can constantly monitor the internal temperature of your grill near where your food is cooking as well as the internal temperature of your food. If you tend to cook more than one meat at a time then a thermometer with 4 probes would be more suitable.

You will read online from a lot of BBQ enthusiasts that the time of a cook on your BBQ should be used as a guideline only, it is the internal temperature of the meat that you should use as your guide for when your food is cooked, this is why a multi probed thermometer is an essential piece of BBQing kit.

As an added bonus, a feature of a wireless meat thermometer is that you can use a dedicated App to link to your thermometer so that you don’t have to keep checking the temperatures on the grill but have them with you while being elsewhere

5. HEAT RESISTANT GLOVES

You’ll always need to add coals, move things around and generally get close to some pretty high temperatures when cooking.  Good quality heat resistant gloves will protect your hands and lower arms from those sometimes-inevitable burns that come with outdoor cooking

6. GOOD QUALITY LUMPWOOD

To really help maintain the temperature of your cook, especially for the long slow cook. It is so much easier with a quality lump wood charcoal, we recommend trying different brands until you find the one that suits you.

7 INSTANT READ THERMOMETER

There will be times when an instant reading of the internal temperature of the meat is required. Single probe instant read thermometers are a great tool to have when you need that instant temperature reading. Quality thermometers will take ony a second to get you the perfect temperature. They’re also handy to check the temperature in various parts of the meat to ensure its cooked correctly throughout

8 NOTEPAD

Be it paper or digital. Record details of your cooks so that you can learn from them.  Recording temperatures, timings etc will help you learn and be a great reference guide for future cooks.