Food & Drink

Three Fundamentals of Backyard Smoking

Good wood, well-designed tongs, and a rig you can rely on might be all that stands between you and pit mastery

Photo: Johnny Autry


Center: The streamlined shape of Weber’s Smokey Mountain Cooker calls to mind the company’s classic charcoal grills; so does its dependable performance. At twenty-two inches wide and with two cooking grates, the largest model (shown here) can swallow a pair of whole briskets easily. And since the Weber weighs in under seventy pounds, it can even make the trek to the tailgate ($439;

At left: Rösle’s grippy sixteen-inch stainless-steel tongs have a locking mechanism that’s based on gravity instead of tension. Point the tongs down and gently squeeze them to open; point them up, squeeze again, and the lock slides shut to keep them closed. It’s a useful feature when your other hand is busy mopping sauce onto ribs—or sweat off your brow ($40;

At right: Sweet and nutty, pecan is one of the most versatile woods for smoking—it’s more flavorful than oak, less overpowering than hickory. Cutting Edge Firewood harvests its pecan from groves in southern Georgia and Florida, then kiln dries the wood nearby, before it’s shipped to the company’s headquarters in Norcross, Georgia, where each chunk is cut. An 8½-inch box contains enough for eight to twelve sessions ($69;