In the USA, BBQ's are part of everyday life - friends and family are invited regularly to these events. The use of the Water Smoker, a special BBQ discipline, is enjoying a growing popularity also in Europe!
Water Smoker - the differences to other Smoker Grills:
There is a significant difference between a conventional Smoker Grill and a Water Smoker. You can recognize such a grill by its appearance alone. The Smoker grills are mostly egg-shaped or spherical form. Unlike "normal" grills and smokers, they protrude into the height and not into the width. Perhaps you have heard or read the term "vertical smoker" in this context somewhere.
The biggest difference to a conventional grill or smoker, is also the name. The food (meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, etc.) can be cooked gently with hot steam and at the same time with a slightly smoky taste.
How does a Water Smoker work?
In principle, these grills work like a steam cooker. Inside there is a water pan, which is heated by the hot embers. The water evaporates and rises to the top. Therefore the barbecue food is cooked particularly gently. To achieve a perfect taste experience, you should place the barbecue food in the middle of the grill. This allows the rising water vapour to rise along the sides. This means that the food is literally enveloped by the steam. ProQ water smokers are divided into several levels and consist of three main elements: the base, which contains the water tray, the middle section (stacker) and the lid. This design allows two grill grids to be placed one above the other. Although the individual elements are firmly connected to each other with snap locks, they can also be easily separated from each other. In this way you can quickly transform a ProQ Water Smoker grill into a small ball grill.
You can also upgrade your ProQ Water Smoker with additional equipment and special expansion elements. For example, there is the possibility to order additional stackers, extra grill Rost or electric barbecue skewers.
Even smoking is possible with a Water Smoker!
If you mix so-called Wood Chips under the charcoal just before the food is cooked, you can give the food with these grills that special "kick". As the name suggests, these are thin wood chips. The resulting smoke gives the food a special touch with campfire atmosphere. Alternatively, you can also use larger logs or wood flour for the smoky taste. If you put the wood, in whatever form, into the Water Smoker from the beginning, you can even smoke with it. The choice of the right type of wood always depends on what food is to be smoked. For example, oak wood is very suitable for beef and lamb, as it gives off an intense smoke aroma. For fish, vegetables and all other kinds of meat, beech is well suited. The wood of the local tree provides the well-known taste of smoked products. Of course, all treated wood is absolutely taboo, as it releases toxins into the food and the environment during combustion.
During the smoking process, which takes different lengths of time depending on the food, the ventilation hatch must remain open. Logically, the lid itself must be closed. With a ProQ Water Smoker you can smoke both hot and cold. But what exactly does cold smoking mean? It means that the temperature in the closed system must not rise above 32° Celsius. This is very important and must be monitored. This works best with a thermometer that can measure the core temperature. However, this technique is not only used to preserve food, the smoky aroma also gives cheese, for example, a very special taste. For cold smoking you can order a special stainless steel device, including smoking flour. Baking is also possible in a water smoker, just like in any other grill with a lid. But that is by no means all. If you remove the upper level with the second grate, you can of course grill and even cook "as normal as hell" with a water smoker. For which cooking methods you can use these grills, you can find in the following summary:
- hot smoking
- cold smoking
- direct grilling
- indirect grilling
Which models are available on the market?
If you have decided to buy a Water Smoker, you will quickly come across the ProQ brand in your search. The Australian manufacturer is represented on this market with several super grills. You can get the cheapest one, the PROQ RANGER ELITE SERIES WATER SMOKER, for only 279 Euros. As already mentioned, all ProQ models can also be upgraded with additional components, such as a cold smoking device, the cold smoke generator or an electric barbecue skewer.
Experience new tastes thanks to the water pan!
Of course there are almost no limits to your creativity and a Water Smoker offers perfect conditions to live it out. How about some beer or other alcoholic drinks in the water pan? But of course non-alcoholic drinks are also suitable. Pineapple juice, for example, goes very well with poultry meat. Fresh herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, are also excellent as an accompaniment. All the different flavours blend into the barbecue food and refine it in this way.
A short conclusion
A water smoker is much more than just a conventional grill. Not only can you have a perfect barbecue with such a cooking device, you can use many different cooking methods to make your barbecue food delicious and juicy at the same time. With this special grill you can also create special flavours thanks to the water pan. Visually, a Water Smoker looks like a big egg, or a cartridge ball. Because they rise up into the air, they are also known as "vertical smokers". In addition to the water pan, the second grill grid, which is located directly above the first, is another special feature of these grills. A well-known supplier of water smokers is the Australian manufacturer ProQ. You can get an inexpensive Water Smoker from just 279 euros. If you want to smoke with these grills, you should make sure that you use the right wood. Please never use treated wood. This is not only bad for your health, but also for the environment.