I have yet to find a way to impart good hickory smoke while using a gas grill. If you are cooking burgers where you can put onions and garlic salt in the meat, a gas grill is OK. If you really plan to do some serious meat, you need a charcoal grill.
|One Weber Grill Used for many years|
For my preference, there just isn't anything better than a Weber except two of them. I have some friends that soak hickory chips in water and put them in a packet of aluminum foil to smoke. You might try that.
Tools - Yes, you need long handled tools to be able to stand the flare ups when you open the lib. Don't go into the kitchen and borrow the short one your wife uses. Get some long handles spatula, a fork and good tongs. I also have a black long handle wire brush to wipe the grill with. I find that if I clean it right when I am finished and then wipe it down before I use it again things are pretty good. Close the dam smoke holes on the lid or you will have a rusty grill after the next rain. If you have to get anal about clean, spray the grill with cooking oil and wipe it off with paper towels. Throw the towels in the trash, they will create a fine ash that gets into everything if you burn them in the grill.
I use one of those metal chimneys as a starter. You put one piece of newspaper crumpled up under the coals and I put just the smallest amount of starter fluid on the paper to help get it started. I put in the briquettes and light the paper. The amount of briquettes is dependent on how hot you want your grill. About 2/3's full and it will cook at about 350-400. As you let it get going and use the intervening time to get your tools out to the grill.
Crap, I left out a very important step. Most meats will get better if you marinate them The only exception to the rule is Brats, they don't need no marinade. I will pre-cook them in boiling water because i put them on the back of the grill. Mostly I use Dale's marinade for beef and pork and some kind of lemon pepper marinade for chicken. I have used the pineapple and soy sauce for chicken with mixed results. Try some different kinds and that can be your secret. As I grill the meat, I will pour a little of the marinade over the meat as I turn it over. I don't use BBQ sauce except as a finish right at the end as it will burn and give things a bad flavor.
|Fire in The grill with Chicken on the side|
|Put the Lid on and the fire turns to smoke|
I have a Hickory grove right here on the farm and I use hickory when I cook. I try to cut one hickory log to keep the coals on one side of the grill and a few chunks to make smoke. I never put the meat directly over the coals except to sear steaks right at the first. Then I move it to the indirect heat side of the grill. The secret to smoking with a Weber is that when you put the lid on, the flames go out and you get lots of wonderful smoke. If you have hickory chunks on the coals and there is no smoke, something ain't right.
|Shag Barb Hickory|
Barb doesn't like copious quantities of red meat so I always have some chicken to cook. I start the fire, let it wait until the coals are covered with ash and then put the chicken on the grill. I will also put some brats way back in the grill and try to turn the chicken over about once every 15 minutes. I had a bad experience with undercooked chicken once and I never, repeat never serve it in any shape but done to the bone. No red juices or pink on the chicken. That means about 45 minutes to an hour of indirect smokey heat. I put them in one of those aluminum pans and put them with the brats on the griddle in the house. I cover them with aluminum foil and turn the griddle on low.
I go back out and clean the grill with the wire brush and a lot of times I will spin the metal grill around so the fire will cook the chicken off the grill. I use the part that was over the coals to put my steaks on. I have been known to sear the steaks and chops on that side and then spin the metal grill around. I am not one of those people that has to have grill marks on my steak. It is the taste I go for not the appearance.
I generally turn the steaks over after about 15 minutes and if you want them medium rare at 15 more, take them off. If you like yours done well, turn them once more. Cut one to see what you think. Different thicknesses of meat will take different times.
I hope this helps you make your next cook out great. I will let you know about the grilled hot wings tomorrow night.