Snake – Chain – Train Technique:
This technique is a little challenging, but it is just as its name says, a snake, chain, or train of charcoal. To set this up, create a semi-circle of unlit charcoal, only two or three chunks wide, around the perimeter of the grill. Light a very small load, ¼ of a chimney will do. Place the lit coals at one end of the charcoal chain. These lit charcoals will light the ones that they touch, and so on. This setup is ideal for extended cooking lasting up to 14 hours.
Turn it up to 11!
Turn the flavor dial way up by adding smoker chips or chunks to your lit charcoal. This turns your charcoal grill into a smoker instantly so you can pull that pork, rack up the ribs, and get makin’ that bacon!
Indirect Grilling On Your Smoker
While you can use your charcoal grill as a smoker, Napoleon also has the Apollo™ Series Charcoal Grill & Water Smoker. Setting this BBQ up for indirect heat is virtually the same as setting up a charcoal kettle grill, just use one of the three techniques above, however, the Apollo™ is a stacking grill with many chambers so that you can smoke many different foods at once. There is an optional water pan that you can place above the coals, this is used to help manage temperatures and catch drips. When setting up your smoker for indirect heat, using the two-zone or snake technique is ideal, especially when you are looking at a smoke time of 8 to 16 hours. Place food on any of the stackable layers and make sure that the doors are closed and latches are latched. Even though your food is on a much higher level, heat still rises; ensure better convection by placing your food over the side of the smoker that doesn’t have charcoal. Don’t forget your favorite flavor of wood chips.
WHICH WOOD IS BETTER? – WOOD CHIPS AND FLAVOR
You can control heat on a charcoal grill through several different methods. The most important being the air shutter adjustment. Air shutters are found on the bottom of both the Apollo™ and Charcoal Kettle Grills. You want the air shutter open just enough to let adequate oxygen into the chamber to keep the charcoal lit; one notch on the ash bucket of our Charcoal Kettle Grills, or ¼ of the way open on the Apollo™.
You can also control heat through the amount of charcoal used. By burning less than a full load of charcoal, you will generate less heat; this is ideal when you are trying to cook at a very low temperature – less than 200°F. If you need a little more heat and notice that the temperature isn’t getting as high as you want it to, you can always add another partial load to the already lit charcoal and open the air shutters a little more.