How to light a fire
- Ensure the top lid of the Hero Smoker & Grill as well as the bottom air intake damper is fully open.
- Choose between the two lighting methods to get your coals going within the supplied coal basket:
- MANUAL: Insert your choice of firelighters at the bottom of your charcoal basket and then fill the basket with either briquettes or lump wood charcoal and light accordingly.
- COAL CHIMNEY STARTER: Fill the charcoal basket and then place about 1/3 of the required coals to fill the charcoal basket in a coal chimney starter. Light the chimney starter and after about 15-20 minutes, pour the burning coals on top of the unlit coals within the charcoal basket with the top lid open. We recommend using a coal chimney for hot coals as it will reduce the amount of time to get your drum smoker to the right temperature.
- It’s important not to let the coals burn to long before smoking so be sure to follow this guideline. For grilling however, some meats respond well to higher temperatures – so when searing steak for example you might want to get a good burn going through the charcoal first, which will result in higher overall temperature for grilling.
Pro tip: We recommend, especially when starting out on your smoking journey, that you use briquettes. Briquettes typically burn more consistently and longer than charcoal making for an easier cook especially when just starting out. If you decide to use charcoal make sure it’s lump wood charcoal and not regular charcoal and as always go as natural as possible with either fuel source.
- With the top lid as well bottom air intake damper fully open wait approx. 10-15min before you start grilling or smoking.
- If you are not going to start cooking immediately, close the top lid – ensuring the chimney exhaust damper on top is fully open and that the bottom air intake damper remains fully open as well until you decide to cook.
- You are also welcome to add further wood shavings, chunks or fresh herbs onto the hot coals for extra flavouring. There is quite a few wood chip / chunk flavourings such as apple, cherry, maple or oak and also a lot of herbs that can infuse your food such as rosemary for lamb or chicken. Pick what you like and experiment (that’s part of the fun). Just remember a little goes a long way!
Pro tip: We always get asked if one can use “normal wood” instead of charcoal or briquettes. The short answer is no. We wanted to make a product which is easy to use, no fuss and that ensures consistent grill or smoking (or both) at the right temperatures and right amount of fuel you will need for your cooking duration. Our charcoal basket used in the Firesmiths Hero Smoker & Grill is exactly for that purpose – to hold the right amount of charcoal or briquettes, when filled, for a great cooking and smoking experience. With normal wood, coal creation might not be sufficient in terms of what is needed nor might it actually fit into the coal basket. We therefore recommended you stick to either lump wood charcoal or briquettes. You can however add wood chips, small wood chunks on top of the lump wood charcoal or briquettes to further infuse your food.