How to Use a Vertical Smoker | 7 Step Guide

How to Use a Vertical Smoker

Learning how to use a vertical smoker is tricky, but it’s a doable task. Once you know how to do it, you will enjoy your food’s best taste. Cooking meals in a vertical smoker is a great way to add smoky flavor to your food. We have written this guide to understand how to use a vertical smoker properly. 

As practice makes one perfect. So we suggest you keep practicing it so you can master it easily. We will share our experience with you and help you save time and energy. After reading this article, you can easily understand everything about vertical smokers and how to use them.

How Vertical Smokers Work?

Before getting into how to use a vertical smoker; for a perfect and clear understanding you must know how vertical smokers work. 

The first ever part of a vertical smoker is its base section, which provides heat to the smoker. Smoker works by passing heat directly to the cooking chamber. 

However, smoke and heat first must go through the water pan, heating it throughout the entire process. The presence of water over there adds moisture to the smoke, which makes the meat more tender and delicious.

On the other hand, a few grill masters prefer using other liquids, such as cider, instead of water to add a unique smoky flavor to the meat. This entire process allows you to smoke more tender meat. This process takes hours, depending on the type and chunk of meat, as it is a very simple cooking process which is why many newbies use this type of smoker.

How to Use a Vertical Smoker

Many people call them vertical smokers, while others call them bullet smokers. The way vertical smokers are used is identical to universal. To begin with, you add Fuel (in the shape of wood, charcoal, etc.) at the bottom, and the heat passes over to the main chamber and creates moisture on the food, adding a unique smoky flavor. That is all the basic working of a vertical chamber. 

But, here is our step by step guide for how you can use a vertical smoker conveniently. 

Step #1: Cleaning and Assembly of Vertical Chamber

Double-check if any old food and gunk chunks are building up around the edges or anywhere the meat, juice, and oil may reach. There is no need to clean and scrape every last bit. 

Just ensure that no grime comes into contact with your food. Also, check the dust or mud on the surface of your lid, as when you close it, that might crust over or fall onto your food. 

Step #2: Add Fuel to the base and Light it

Here you can use wood or charcoal as your Fuel. You can use them combined by adding charcoal first, lighting them up, and then adding a few chunks of wood. If you are using wood, make sure it is moist because you want it to burn in a slow and controlled environment or manner. 

Besides this, the faster your wood burns, the more often you need to refill the fuel base as you cook. Many people use blow torches to light the Fuel, while others use chimneys. A chimney is a tube with holes in which you put the Fuel, light a piece of paper, and place it underneath it. 

After 15-20 minutes, the Fuel will be hot enough to transfer it to the base of your smoker. Once you have successfully transferred your Fuel to the smoker’s base, you can add any extra fuel, such as various types of wood. Make sure the fire is lit and hot enough but not flaming too much. 

Step #3: Add Fuel to Bowl

If you notice, you see a removable bowl in the middle section of your vertical smoker. Ideally, place it securely into the smoker and then fill it with fluid. Most of the time, we fill it with water, while a few people add some spices and other good things to the water to create different smells and mouth-watering flavors. 

Fill the bowl as much as possible, as water shouldn’t evaporate fully before the end of your smoking session (cooking session). However, try to transfer the midsection of your smoke onto the top of the base, and do not spill water onto the hot Fuel.

Step #4: Add Grills and the Food

The midsection of your smoker has grills on which you should put the food you want to get cooked. Ensure that your food is not touching the sides of the smoker because it will soak up dirt that is most probably attached to the sides. 

Also, you want to smoke and hot air to go around your meal, so try to keep your food from touching any side or other chunks of food. 

Step #5: Add Some Extra Fuel

Before you are about to reassemble your smoker, it is suggested to add extra Fuel. Few people like to add wood chips on top of their hot charcoal. If you want to do the same, soak the wood chips for at least half an hour. 

Grab them by hand, let the water in the wood chips drain through your hands, and then put these wood chips on the hot coals. 

Step #6: Reassembling the Smoker

Use gloves, as safety should always be your priority. Most people have put the top of the smoker on top of the base, then they try to attach the bottom and middle sections to discover that the chips on the base area are burning hot. 

Be careful when reassembling, as you don’t want water to splash over the side of your smoker’s bowl. 

Step #7: Monitoring Heat

The cooking time mainly depends on the type of Fuel. If your vertical smoker has an external thermostat attached to it, you can check and maintain the temperature. Avoid removing the smoker’s lid to check the food as it influences the steam and taste. 

You can add extra Fuel every 90 minutes or so, depending on the type of vertical smoker you are using. There is no need to check on the food —placed in the chamber or the water bowl. After another 90-100 minutes, the food should get ready.

All you need to do is follow all these easy and simple steps to enjoy the best food taste. 

Hopefully, with this comprehensive guide you got the answer for how to use a vertical snooker and now you will be able to make the most delicious food from your vertical smoker. 

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