How to Make Your Grill a Smoker Using the Charcoal Snake Technique

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If you want to prepare smoked pig butt or brisket but don’t have an electric smoker, offset smoker, or smoker, you may smoke food on your kamado grill using the charcoal snake technique.

You may smoke meat on a kettle grill for up to 12 hours at a steady low temperature.

How Does a Charcoal Snake Work?

The charcoal snake technique works by forming a half-circle ring of charcoal.

This charcoal ring is designed to fit around the inner edge of your circular kamado grill or charcoal barbecue.

Next, at one end of the snake, a few charcoal briquettes are ignited, and each briquette, like a domino effect, lights the next charcoal.

When the charcoal is ignited slowly, it maintains a continuous yet manageable low temperature for an extended length of time.

The fuse is another name for the charcoal snake technique.

It’s ideal for smoking ribs for hours without having to constantly add additional charcoal in the middle of the cooking process.

If the smoker is properly set up, it may last for up to 12-15 hours.

Moreover, this is advantageous since grills do not have insulated walls that are meant to retain heat and maintain stable temperatures.

The snake and a water pan will work together to keep the temperature of your improvised smoker stable.

Will Unlit Briquettes Affect the Flavor of the Food?

Unlit charcoal briquettes, in short, will not influence the taste of your prized smoked brisket.

Regrettably, there is a dangerous fallacy circulating in the BBQ sphere briquettes.

Briquettes include binders, which give them their regular shape; others argue that these binders will lend a bad taste to the meal as they burn.

But, if there is enough oxygen and air movement in your grill, there should be no strange tastes transmitted into your meal.

If you’re looking for a unique way to express yourself, here is the place to be. Also, do not utilize briquettes that have been made with lighter fluid.

The Charcoal Snake Method: How To Turn Your Grill Into a Smoker

The charcoal snake technique is fantastic since it doesn’t need a lot of pricey equipment to transform your grill into a smoker.

A charcoal grill, a package of charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal, wood pieces, a water pan, and a chimney starter are all you need.

If you’re using lump charcoal to produce your charcoal snake, ensure sure the pieces are of the same size.

In addition, you may wish to utilize a dual probe smoker thermometer to check both the grill temperature and the inside temperature of the meat.

The snake method’s initial step is to construct the fuse. Begin by constructing two rows of charcoal briquettes.

The first row of charcoal should be next to the second row, which should be adjacent to the first row.

Place another layer of briquettes on top of the first row.

Ultimately, the snake should resemble a half-circle of charcoal two briquettes wide and two briquettes tall.

Stop the top row of briquettes 3-4 briquettes from the fuse’s end.

Here is where the lighted charcoal will sit and act as a fuse, lighting the other briquettes in the row.

Stop your top rows three or four briquettes from the snake’s end.

Here is where you’ll place your lighted charcoal to function as a fuse for the remainder of the row.

Add 2-3 wood bits to the snake’s front half. Separate the wood particles by approximately 2-3 inches.

Add a few more wood chips along with the snake if you want a more smokey taste.

Insert the water pan into the center of the charcoal snake.

The water pan will provide moisture during the smoking process and aid to regulate the internal temperature of the grill.

44% filled. Fill the water pan with water. 3

How To Light a Charcoal Snake

Lighting a charcoal snake is a simple and quick task. Put 10 briquettes at the bottom of your chimney starter.

To ignite the charcoal, use firestarter cubs. To ignite the briquettes, you may alternatively use a balled-up paper towel that has been soaked in all.

Fire the charcoal briquettes and let them burn till they ash over. Place the coals towards the beginning of the snake on the grill.

With a pair of tongs, arrange the charcoal in the specified space you provided for them.

Finally, lean half of the lighted charcoals against the unlit briquettes and the other half on top of the bottom rows of briquettes.

Place one wood chip immediately on top of the lighted charcoal snake and set the grill’s cooking grate on top of it.

Your barbecue is now ready to smoke the pork shoulder.

To begin, place the cover on top of the grill with the vent towards the lighted charcoal to draw smoke over the meat.

Final Thoughts

There is no reason to be concerned if you do not have a smoker in your household. After all, smoking may be expensive.

Additionally, there are so many smokers on the market that it might be difficult to locate the appropriate smoker.

The snake approach will solve all of your issues. If you already have a grill, you may simply convert it to a smoker.

The snake technique is a low-effort, low-maintenance method for slow cooking any meat at a low temperature.

It is simple enough for inexperienced barbecuers to learn, but it is also reliable enough to be utilized by a BBQ aficionado if their smoker breaks down.

You can smoke anything from hog shoulder to shoulder roast with a few rows of piled briquettes or charcoal and a handful of wood chips.


Can I use my grill as a smoker?

You can absolutely smoke meat on a gas barbecue! In fact, you can smoke almost any item on a barbecue. If you just have a reliable gas grill on your patio but need the exquisite taste of smoked meat, don’t worry!

Does the snake method produce bad smoke?

I’ve never had a problem with poor smoke while using the snake approach. With a WSM, I don’t believe the minion approach differs much save that more coals are burned at once. Not all briquettes light well off one another, but Kingsford always does for me, regardless of style.

How do you turn an old grill into a smoker?

Make your smoker box.

Place your smoker box above the direct heat zone and fill it with wood chips or pieces. Freestanding smoker boxes may be put wherever on the grill as long as they are above direct heat—on the grate, beneath the cooking grates, between the heat plates, or on ceramic briquettes.

Is smoking healthier than grilling?

When meat is cooked at very high temperatures, harmful chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) develop. Whereas grilled and pan-fried meats may produce PAHs and HCAs, research suggest that smoking produces greater amounts of contamination.

What is the difference between a smoker and a charcoal grill?

110 C to120 C. Charcoal Grill versus. Smoker. If you’re looking for a unique gift, here is the place to go.

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