Smoking Meat Terminology

Charcoal: chunks of fuel that normally comes in 2 different types, briquette and lump.

Lump charcoal: Real hardwood burned down to odd shaped chunks in a controlled environment. This
type of charcoal burns hotter and cleaner than any other charcoal and unlike briquettes is free of

Water Pan: A pan for holding water in some smokers especially the bullet smokers. It is believed by
many that the water heats and releases steam which helps regulate the temperature of the smoker to
normal smoking temperatures.

Firebox: A term used to describe the part of the smoker where the fire is built. This is most generally
used on horizontal smokers also called Offset smokers.

Smoke chamber: The larger part of a horizontal offset smoker. This is the area where the smoke and
heat does it’s job of smoke cooking the meat.

Damper: A common term for vents that allow air to enter/escape and thereby affect the airflow within
the smoker.

Intake: The damper on or near the firebox which allows the user to open/close thereby allowing more
or less air to the fire. More air= hotter fire/Less air= cooler fire.

Chimney: The round tube like device coming out of the smoke chamber which allows the smoke to
escape from the smoker. Also called “the stack”.

Rain cap: A cap on the very top of the chimney which can be opened/closed in varying degrees to
allow more or less smoke to escape. Also serves to keep rain out of the smoker which is how it got its
apt name.

Smoking: Cooking at temperatures less than 250 degrees with the addition of smoke from various

Cold smoking: Applying smoke to meat i n very low temperatures so as to smoke the meat without
necessarily cooking it. Usually around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hot smoking: Cooking foods with smoke at temperatures ranging between 190 and 250 degrees. The
goal is to cook the meat while also flavoring it with smoke from various hardwoods.

Grilling: Cooking at very hot temperatures normally in excess of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wet: Normally applies to ribs when they are basted with some type of sauce or marinade during

Naked: A term given to ribs when they are served with no sauce on them. Normally the sauce is
served on the side and can be used if desired. Most naked ribs are coated with a dry rub prior to
NOTE: The next time you are in you favorite “Q” joint, order ribs and ask to have them served “Naked”.
Hopefully you will get ribs with no sauce and not wet ribs served by a naked waiter/waitress;-)

Rib Rub: A concoction of spices made especially for ribs to flavor them and/or compliment the sauce.
Most rib rubs also work great on other meats as well such as pork shoulder and brisket.

Creosote: A nasty chemical that forms when the natural ingredients that make fire are disrupted such
as shutting a vent to choke the fire. Creosote can also form on meat that put into the smoker too cold.
For this reason it is recommended that you let meat sit on the counter for about 30 minutes prior to
smoking to allow them to raise in temperature a little and reduce the risk of creosote. creosote is burny
tasting and can make the lips and tongue feel numb when ingested.


  1. steve crawford says:

    i use a Goodone open range smoker and have used many of your ideas it always turns out lip smackin good!

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