How To Turn Your Kettle Into A Smoker

How To Turn Your Kettle Into A Smoker

How To Turn Your Kettle Into A Smoker

No smoker? No problem! Turn your Charcoal Kettle Braai into a mean smoking machine with our step-by-step instructions. From today on, you’ll always want to smoke your pork shoulder, brisket, and chicken!

Note: Smoking Meat Takes Time

Yummy and delicious things take time. Smoking can be a long process, but the time and effort spent is well worth it for seriously delicious results.

Smoking ribs is a MUST!

Planning ahead is key for the various components of the smoking process:

  • Brining: Ribs need to brine for at least 3-6 hours, or even overnight.
  • Dry rub: Depending on how deeply spiced you want your ribs, you’ll need to apply a dry rub before you start smoking, preferably an hour or a day before.
  • Cooking Times: 
    • Fish can take up to 45 to 90 minutes.
    • Chicken will need an hour to 2 hours.
    • Baby back ribs will take from 90 minutes to 2 and a half hours.
    • Beef brisket can take as long as 6 hours.

Items You’ll Need To Make a Homemade Smoker

  1. Kettle Braai
  1. Wood chips
  2. Disposable aluminum pans
  3. Charcoal starter
  4. Lighter
  5. Briquettes
  6. Grill grate with hinged edges that lift up
  7. Meat thermometer


  1. Prepping your Meat and Wood Chips (optional)

When wanting to smoke pork, bringing it in a salt-sugar solution will give you the best results. In a casserole add a ¼ cup kosher salt, ½ cup brown sugar mixed with 4 cups of water. You can add any spices or herbs that will satisfy your taste buds. How long will the process take? You’ll need at least 3-6 hours for ribs or even overnight for a pork.

To prep your wood chips, soak them in a large bucket with water for at least 2 hours (overnight is preferred).

Please note: when using your kettle braai to smoke, be sure to use wood chips.

Remove your meat from the brine once you’re happy with how infused your meat is. Optional: Apply the dry rub to the meat. Most smoking professionals will use a dry drub for the base where they’ll then add a nice sauce to compliment it.

2. Place Disposable Trays in the Kettle Braai:

Fill two or more disposable trays halfway with water and place them beneath the meat you’re going to smoke in your Kettle Braai. Don’t throw the trays away after the smoking process. Ensure that the trays take about half the space at the bottom of the braai.

disposable sleeves

Why do I have to place disposable trays at the bottom of my braai?

Firstly, the trays allow the fat and sauce from the meat to drip in it, instead of wrecking the bottom of your kettle braai which could potentially cause flare-ups. Secondly, the water trays aids in keeping your meat moist and tender, which helps smoke adhere to the meat. Lastly, it carefully moderates the temperature around the meat, which is crucial in such a small space.

3. Get the coals hot and put water-soaked wood chips on the coals:

A Charcoal Starter is the fastest and easiest way to get piping hot coals that’s perfect for smoking.

Can I use wood instead of charcoal?

You’re more than welcome to go all wood, but be sure to use oak wood as it burns slowly. Don’t use logs, instead use chunks.

Kettle Braai Grid Hinged

Using our Kettle Braai Hinged Grid will make your life so much easier when smoking your meat! It allows you to position one end over the coals and add more charcoal or wood as needed as you cook. Alternatively, if you don’t have a hinged grid, carefully lift the kettle grid and add coals when needed.

Once the coals are hot and ready, add a few handfuls of the soaked wood on the coals and place your grid on your kettle braai. When using our Hinged Grid, ensure to position the hinged side over the coals to easily manoeuvre them.

disposable sleeves

4. Put the meat on the Kettle Braai away from the coals (over the disposable water trays):

Gently lay the meat over the water trays and as far away from the coals as possible. Never ever allow the meat to rest directly over the coals- it will burn! Cook your meat in batches if need and use a Casserole in the oven to keep the meat warm.

Close the Kettle Braai and position the vent to be directly over the meat. The benefit of this is to help direct the smoke over the meat. Keep the temperature controlled and low by closing all the vents, even the bottom one!

disposable sleeves

5. Carefully watch the temperature:
Now you can sit back and relax with your favourite ice-cold beverage. Just keep one eye on the Braai to see if there’s constantly smoke coming out of it. From time to time, check the temperature on your Kettle Braai lid. It should read no higher than 162°C, preferably somewhere under 148°C.

You will want the temperature at the meat level around 107°C – 120°C.

Very important to note: as the heat rises, the lid thermometer will show the temperature at the lid, and not at the meat level. If the temperature rises, just open the lid and let the coals cool down a bit and add some more soaked wood. Close the lid again. If your temperature starts to drop below 107°C, open the vents. If that doesn’t get the temperature rising, you can just open the lid and add more coals and soaked wood.

6.Check the coals and rotate the meat:

Check your coals every hour to hour and a half, regardless of temperature, as you’ll probably add more coals. At this point, you’ll have to add more soaked wood and turn your meat.

7. Timing:

How long should you cook things? It all depends on the type of meat you’re smoking. Scroll up to see smoking times!

  1. Sauce the meat:

Wait until the last 30 – 45 minutes before basting your meat with a braai- or homemade sauce using our Basting Set. Majority of sauces have sugar in them which will burn if you leave it on your meat over the heat too long. When smoking fish, baste the sauce until the last 15 minutes.

  1. Check the doneness:

You can visually spot the readiness of your meat. When the meat pulls away from the bone or when you rotate the meat and it falls off the bone are signs that you’re meat is smoked to perfection!

What happens if your heat was just too high and your meat is still looking raw?

Finish your meat off in the oven over 107°C. Do not fear, by this time your meat will have infused that smoky flavour that’ll leave your guests speechless.

Tip: Remember to check every hour to 90 minutes.

  1. Rest the meat, then serve:

Rest your meat over a well done platter with sauces for about 15 minutes before serving. You know you did a good job if everyone’s faces are splashed with braai sauce!
disposable sleeves

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