I decided to use briquettes rather than raw wood charcoal. I like the way briquettes burn and the flavor they give. So, I have mounded the coal in a nice stack in the smoker box and have opened up the damper full. This will allow maximum air flow to help the coals get really hot.
By mounding the coals for lighting, the coals will retain the heat in the middle of the mound and will transfer the heat from one coal to the next better than if they were spread out evenly. When the coals are evenly lit, they will be spread out to form a nice bed of even heat for cooking over
The coals are lit with lighter fluid and are allowed to catch. The fluid is allowed to burn off by letting the coals catch for a while after lighting.
Here you can see that the outer edges of the coals have turned white from the middle out to the outer edges of the mound. The heat is transferring from the center outwards.
Here some Hickory chips are soaking in water to be used for smoking on the barbecue. The chips are soaked for 30 minutes and then drained well.
The chips are drained in a strainer and allowed to drip dry. They will be added to the fife every 20 minutes throughout the smoking process. In this case, smoking will take about two hours.
The temperature of the barbecue - the main barbecue, that is - should reach between 200 and 225 degrees for slow smoking. I am still a little shy of that target temperature here.
The ribs and chicken are rubbed down with Greek seasoning. That's mostly oregano, garlic and lemon if you didn't know.
The temperature looks good. It's time to place the meat on the grill in the main barbecue and let the smoking begin!
You can see the smoke billowing out of the smoke stack just after the meat is added. The majority of smoke comes from the handful of chips I added to the fire just after I added the meat.
The stack is still open.
Now I close the stack to retain the smoke. It's the smoke which will add the flavor to the meat so I want to keep as much smoke from escaping as I can. In two hours I will have nicely smoked ribs and chicken. A bit of waiting, yes...but the flavor is well worth the effort.