Let’s say you’re a fan of smoked meat, but don’t own or have access to a smoker. No problem! You can smoke on a charcoal grill. And it’s super easy. Before you give it a try, figure out what you’re going to smoke. When most people think of smoking, they imagine brisket, ribs, rib tips, or maybe a pork butt. These are all undeniably delicious. But you don’t have to stop there. Most meats benefit from some smoke. Consider pork chops, rack of pork, ham hocks. And don’t neglect lamb whatever you do! Lamb necks, shanks, racks, and shoulders are all fantastic smoked. Now that you’ve picked your meat(s), here’s how to smoke on a charcoal grill.


Basically smoking on a charcoal grill is a three step process:

  1. Build the hot coals on one side.
  2. Place your meat on the other side (with a drip pan underneath).
  3. Put your smoking wood on the coals.
  4. Cover the grill and let it smoke! Cooking time depends on the cut of meat.

It’s that simple. If you’re the type of cook who needs more detailed descriptions, check out this explanation of smoking on a charcoal grill from Weber.

And now, a few words on smoking wood. Smoking enthusiasts have a fair amount to say on the topic of wood. We say, buy or forage whatever hard wood you have access to — hickory, maple, or oak work — don’t overthink it. Depending on where you live, you might not want a fruit wood as it may have been treated with pesticides. (And it might not even be the best wood to use regardless). You won’t even need smoke for the entire cooking time. Whatever wood you choose, the results are surprisingly good.