Texas Living

Safety Guide to Your Backyard Smoker

By Valirie Morgan 9.15.16

Where there’s smoke, there’s mouth-watering barbecue! With football season underway and a crisp breeze in the air, fall feels like the right time for smoking your meat in the backyard. But before you invite everyone over and become the grill master, make sure everything is ready to go with our guide to smoker safety — whether you’re a first-timer or a barbecue veteran.

  • It’s all about location. Pick a spot to set up your smoker that’s at least 10 feet away from your home, trees, and any other objects that may catch fire.
  • Take precautions. Keep a fire extinguisher or water nearby, and make sure pets and children stay away from the smoker.
  • Avoid flare-ups. Be sure to clean off the grates and any grease that may have collected.
  • Don’t get heated. The meat should be cooking, not you! Avoid very loose-fitting clothing, as it’s more likely to be a fire risk.
  • Know when it’s time. The coals are ready when they’re covered with gray ash. If they’re not getting to that point, resist the temptation to reach for a chemical charcoal starter. Instead, open your grill’s air vents if the coals aren’t heating up properly.
  • Keep an eye out. Smoking meat is a lengthy process, and you’ll need to add more fuel and flavored wood chips periodically. Don’t open the lid too often, though; it allows the heat to escape and will lengthen the cooking process.

Before starting a shindig with your tailgating buddies, check with your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent to make sure your property insurance policy includes the right amount of liability coverage.

Now that you’re prepared for a safe and savory backyard barbecue, find the right sauce and get cooking!