Vertical Smoker

How To Use A Vertical Smoker: Complete Guidance 

how to use a vertical smoker

Experiencing how to use a vertical smoker needs to be clarified. But when you keep trying it, you’ll become a master of barbecue. Vertical smokers are thought to be the best for smoking food. They add a rich and mouthwatering taste to the meat.

As you read, to become a master of bbq, you have to practice this smoking. To get experience in everything, you have to know everything about it. There is a complete guide to how to use a vertical smoker. It will help you to get your desired meal.

What is a vertical smoker?

A vertical smoker has a bottom section where fire takes place. This section produces heat which passes through the smoker and heats it.

Vertical smokers are also famous as ‘bullet smokers’. These smokers come in different variations. These are ugly drums, electric, charcoal, and gas smokers.

There is a water pan on the fuel section. However, smoke must go from this water pan. Water presence in the smoker makes the meat moist and juicy.

How to use a vertical smoker?

Beginning with adding fuel (charcoal or wood) in the bottom section. Then heat passes through the smoker and heats the cooking chamber. Water makes vapors which produce moisture in the food. This is to total working of a vertical smoker. But it would help if you had more than this information to try it the first time. Let’s discuss complete guidance about how to use a vertical smoker.

#1: Setting and cleaning the smoker

First, you have to clean the smoker. Check the whole smoker inside to see if any old food sticks are inside. Then clean the smoker thoroughly and assemble it on a leveled ground. You have to set it in a good spot where you can enjoy your smoking. Now if you are all set, you are ready to start smoking.

#2: Add fuel to the fuel pot

There is a fuel box at the end of the smoker vertical. Fill this box with charcoal or wood, whatever you want. We suggest you use both of them as charcoal gives a smokey flavor to the food.

If you are using wood as fuel, remember it is moist because you must smoke for a long time. If the wood is dry, it will quickly burn, and you must refill the fuel box again.

The best way to lighten up the charcoal is by using a chimney. After 10-15 minutes, the charcoal is hot enough that you put it in the smoker. Be careful while adding hot charcoal to the smoker. After this, you can add any extra fuel, like flavored wood.

#3: Fill the water pan

There is a water pan for vertical smokers. Its purpose is to keep the food moist and juicy. After setting the fuel pot now, fill the water pan. Some people fill the pan and then place it inside the smoker. But we suggest first placing the pan inside and then filling it with water carefully.

This water cause the vapors inside the smoker, which makes the food moist. This prevents the meat from being hard and dry. You can use any fluid in this pan. Some people add spices to the water for a spicy flavor. Water is the most commonly used fluid.

#4: Set the grills and place the food

After setting the fuel and water pan, put the grills in the middle section of your smoker. Now you are ready to place the food in the cooking grills. While setting the meat, make sure it won’t touch the sides of the smoker. There would be some dust or crust of old food that will ruin the taste of food.

You have to ensure that heat and air pass the food completely. For this, you have to place the food at some distance. Meat should not touch the sides or each other.

#5: Maintain the temperature

There is an additional and essential trick you should master it. It is maintaining the temperature during the whole process of smoking. You can name it as the master key of smoking.

After some time of smoking, the fuel starts burning, and this can cause a decrease in temperature. To increase the temperature, you have to add more fuel. There is a small door at the bottom of the smoker. You can use it for adding extra charcoal or wood chunks. You can also open the vents for a while, so the air intake can also help increase the temperature.

Here are some extra tips for How to use a vertical smoker

Preheat the charcoal

Before adding the fuel inside the smoker vertically, you must preheat it. This preheated fuel can help you to heat the smoker quickly. If you add cold charcoal directly to the fuel box, it will take time to heat up.

Try wood chunks as extra fuel

We recommend you use wood chunks for extra fuel. These wood chunks can help you to maintain the temperature and give a rich and smokey flavor.

Learn how much to fill the water pan

Learning how much you have to fill the water pan is important. Do not fill it to the mouth; don’t fill less than half. Fill the water pot ¾ of it with water. Less water will dry quickly, and the food can become hard.

Open vents of the smoker

If the temperature starts decreasing, you have to do something. There are two vents of the smoker vertical one is the top vent, and the other one is at the bottom. When the temperature drop, open these vents. Air intake from these vents helps the temperature to get hotter.

Keep the coals ready for adding a second time

You must add more fuel when the temperature gets high, and the fuel starts burning. For this, you have to keep the coals ready outside the smoker. You can use a chimney for this purpose. It will help you to keep the temperature moderate. If you put cold coals in the smoker, they can cause white smoke.

Marinate the food

Marinating the meat before putting it in the smoker will give you a different appetite. Some people use ginger, garlic, yogurt, and spices for marination. But you can also use salt, pepper, and vinegar for the simplest and yummiest marination.

Avoid checking the food regularly

Stop removing the lid regularly. This can cause the loss of heat and smoke from the smoker. Keep the lid closed on the food. Only open it when you have to monitor the temperature.

Learn to keep patience

Smoking is a time taking task. You have to keep patience while you are smoking. You have to learn to wait. This wat will always satisfy you. You’ll always have the yummiest barbecue after this patience.

Use safety gloves

When you are smoking, always take care of yourself. Burning coal can hurt you. Always wear safety gloves. This will keep you safe from burning.

Keep smoker clean

Clean your smoker after every time you use it. A dirty smoker can cause many diseases as well. Burnt food and dirt can cause a stinky smell inside the smoker. This will affect your next smoke, and the taste of food can be harsh. Always clean the smoker as your priority.

Use different types of wood

You can add any flavor to your barbecue. To get this richest taste, you can use various types of fruitwood. These fruit woods add flavor to the smoke, which gives the meat a mouthwatering taste. There are various variations of wood that you can use for smoking.

Types of smoking

There are different types of smokers. Let’s have a look on it with details


If you are addicted to smoked fish and salmon, try alder wood. This will give your salmon the richest taste.


Applewood is also good for its mild and sweet flavor. This will become best if you use it for smoking chicken and turkey. But it’ll take some time to permeate its flavor to the smoke. So you have to keep patience for longer than usual.


Cherry is the most famous flavor wood among barbecue masters. This can bring the meat a fruity, sweet, and soft flavor. It makes your turkey, chicken, ham, and brisket yummiest. It’ll become more tasteful when it is combined with hickory wood.

Summing up

After this detailed guide on how to use a vertical smoker, I hope you will smoke like a master. The things you have to keep in mind are:

  • Fill the firebox with charcoal
  • Fill the water pan
  • Place grills and food
  • Maintain the temperature

And all additional tips that are given above in the article.

Share your experience with us.

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