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What is smoked food? 
How to smoke food? 
What is a BBQ smoker? 
These are the questions this page will answer. 

What is smoked food ? 
Smoked food is food that is flavored with smoke created by burning wood. Not just any wood but typically wood from fruit and nut trees like Apple, Alder, Cherry, Hickory, Maple, Mesquite, Oak, Black Walnut, Pecan etc. You cannot use wood from all trees because pine trees and others will create a foul taste and can even be poisonous. Smoked food does not have to be cooked food. Smoked bacon, cold smoked salmon or Lox, fish, beef jerky and smoked cheese are some examples. These foods are cold smoked which means they are smoked without any heat. This is difficult because you need fire to create smoke and this causes heat. Cold smoking can easily be done with the SmokePistol® however because that is one of the things it was designed to do. The SmokePistol doesn’t produce enough heat to cook food but does produce plenty of smoke to flavor food. Also, the heat generated by the smoking wood in the SmokePistol is outside the smoking chamber where the food is being smoked.
Smoking food takes time. It typically takes between 1 to 12 hours to smoke food properly depending on the thickness and the flavor desired. Smoked cheeses take about 1 to 3 hours (cold smoking) while smoked hams take about 12 hours. Great smoked BBQ ribs take about 4 hours of hot smoking at about 225 degrees F. A BBQ grill is not very good for smoking food. Usually they get too hot and the food cooks too quickly to absorb the flavor of the smoke. The SmokePistol however can be placed onto the side of a BBQ grill and if the food is cooked on low there will be enough time for the smoke to penetrate the food as it cooks. 

The SmokePistol and GrillKicker™ can be used for both hot and cold smoking.  Cold smoking is the placing of meat or other food into a smoky environment for an extended period of time, 2 - 12 hours, without heat.  The food is flavored by the smoke but not cooked.  Smoked bacon, sausage and smoked cheese are some examples.  For further details on hot and cold smoking and smoked food recipes please see our Smoked Favorites page.

How to smoke food? 
So how do you smoke food? Very simply, the way to smoke food is to place it into a smoky environment. It is very similar to a marinade in the way it flavors the food.  As the food sits in the smoke, the smoke from the wood covers the food and seasons the outside of it. As time goes on the seasoning deposited on the outside of the food from the wood smoke is absorbed into the food giving it the flavor and this flavor will vary depending on the smoking wood used.  Adding heat and cooking the food in this environment speeds things up a bit but heat is not necessary. When the heat is not added it is called cold smoking. 
Cold smoking is commonly used for making smoked cheese, smoked salmon and smoked bacon.  Hot smoking is used for things like barbecue smoked ribs, brisket and smoked turkey and is usually referred to as barbecue.

What is a BBQ smoker?
A BBQ smoker is just a box filled with smoke and a heat source inside.  They take all shapes and come in all sizes but in each case they are the same.  Heat for cooking and smoke for flavor.  The heat can come from charcoal, wood, propane or an electric heating element as in the electric smokers sold today.  The smoke comes from burning wood.  Years ago food was cooked over burning logs and the flavor was great.  Today this is impractical for most people so we have switched to heat from charcoal, propane or electric which are the most available heat sources.  Unfortunately none of these heat sources provide flavor.  This is why the SmokePistol and GrillKicker™ were invented. Both provide the continuous source of real wood smoke necessary to properly flavor barbecued food. 


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