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How Does a Smoker Work – Basics Explained for The Beginners

Surely everyone loves to cook food, especially smoked foods. But do you have any idea about how does a smoker work?


The answer is negative for nine out of 10 people, I can bet.

Surprised about the questions above? Not to worry. You will have all the answers. Trust me. Keep patience, and go through the remaining part of this post.

Cooking is a strange hobby. And irresistible as well once you master the art. Amid hundreds of cooking methods, smoking foods is a prominent one.

Food smoking gained popularity from a long ago. And it is more prevalent in the present days, too. People love smoked foods for great taste and smoky flavor.

However, in this post, you will get information about the working process of the smoker. So, let’s get into the core of our post.

Difference Between Smoking, Grilling & Barbeque

I think you are well aware about the difference between smoking, grilling and barbeque. However, I am providing a friendly reminder about these cooking styles.


If you do not have patience, it is better to skip this type of cooking. Because smoking involves cooking meat or other items with smoke. And it takes a long time. Even, it may take for over two to three hours at a stretch.

Finally, you will have the smoked food.

So, if you do not have that level of patience, this is not the right one for you.

Smoking foods make them fine. Also, the consumption of smoked foods will provide you an unforgettable experience. However, you need to smoke the foods properly. Over smoking or premature smoking may ruin the meal.

Smoking is available in two formats – hot and cold. Cold smoking only adds a smoky flavor on the foods while the hot smoking cooks the foods.


Grilling is the other popular format of cooking. In this method, the cooking takes place on a grill. There is a hot charcoal under the grate that provides heat. And the heat cooks the meat or whatsoever.

Usually, grill chars the surface of the food. So, the meat and other ingredients turn delicious. Also, there is a smoky flavor available in the foods keeping the foods juicy. You can grill different types of foods including chicken, chops, ribs, steak, among others.


It is another special cooking method. You can roast the meat. Even, you can roast vegetables. But the cooking process is different. You have to use an open grill. The flame should not be covered – it should be opened. Or you can use any other heating sources for cooking.

The heat cooks the food thoroughly. And the application of some specific sauces also helps to increase the tastes.

Now, I think you can remember the differences of these three types of cooking styles.

Let’s waste no more time and check how does a smoker work.

Types of Smokers

Several types of smokers are available around. But the most prominent ones include:

How to Does a Smoker Work?

This is not a rocket science to understand the basic theory of how a smoker works. The entire process is effortless. But it is a slow process of cooking foods at a controlled temperature inside a chamber.

The usual temperature is between 180 -220-degree F. So, it you may find it relatively slower.

The working process:

Usually, a smoker applies the smoke to complete the cooking. It never uses direct heat. Thereby, the process is slower and lower.

However, it needs fuel. The fuel source is attached with the smoker unit. The fuel depends on the type of smoker.

If it is a gas smoker, it will require gas. Or, if it is an electric smoker, it will require electricity as fuel. The charcoal smokers need charcoal to produce the smoke.

You are to place the fuel on the firebox, and ignite the fuel to emit smoke. The smoke will infuse the meat and other foods. After a certain time, your cooking is complete.

How Does a Pellet Smoker Work?

For a pellet smoker working, the process is similar. But it uses pellets of woods to produce the smoke.

There is a small box attached with the main smoking chamber. You have to place wood chips on that chamber. Using the power of electricity, the pellets will enter into the smaller chamber located beneath the grates.

You can also control the number of pellets using the buttons placed on the smaller box. The air flow provides necessary oxygen to the pellets for smooth burning. It also keeps the even balance of the pellets.

After a certain time, your cooking ends.

Basic Parts of a Smoker

In a nutshell, a smoker is the combination of a large box, firebox and a chimney.

The larger cabinet contains the grates and other plates. There are ample spaces inside the box. But the grates and plates may vary. Sometimes, there are half or full grates. You have to put the meat or other food ingredients there.

The firebox is the place which will provide the fuel to the large container. If it is a charcoal smoker, you have to put charcoal on the box for burning. For the gas smokers, you need to fill that with necessary types of gas.

And the chimney will emit the smoke. The smoke will travel through the box and find its way to the exit through the chimney.

This is the typical structure of a smoker.


So, you now know how does a smoker work. Also the ideas about how does a pellet smoker work will help you out.

You know, cooking is an art. And smoking is a renowned method. It has been operational for a long time.

Knowing the backend process will help you figure out the secrets of cooking.

Wishing you luck with smoked foods in your next party.

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