Welcome to the world of BBQ'ing! Whether it is grilling or smoking, this is where you can learn!
What is the difference between...

...Smoking and Grilling? They are both performed on similar grates with a heat source!


Smoking is performed at lower (usually under 300°, around 225° to 250°) temperatures with Indirect Heating source, whereas Grilling is performed at (400° - 500°) much higher temperatures with a direct heat source.
Do you need a smoker?
No, not necessarily! You can use your present grill, regardless of fuel type, setting the meat off to one side away from your heat source and heat indirectly at a lower temperature (see guide above).
A good example is a Weber-type backyard grill. Start a fire with charcoal in it off to one side and put meat on the other side and heat.
Then, temperature control!
Buy good thermometers, one or more for the meat(s) you are cooking and one for your grate temperatures. You want to know how hot you are heating your grill and what your meat temperature it is getting to be.

There is one rule to learn - 40° to 140° in 4 hours!

You must get your meat from 40° (from refrigerator) to an internal temperature of 140° within 4 hours time or you risk unwanted bacteria forming in or on the meat and making people sick with food poisoning.

Examples: if your fire goes out unattended, or inaccurate temperature thermometers, etc.

These things happen in many situations!

That is why we have a Food Safety section here! Good section to read! We certainly don't want anybody getting sick!

And, of course, there are exceptions! If your meat is cured (wet or dry), that retards harmful bacteria (botulism and other nasties) from forming and can be heated much longer. And, there is such a thing called "the stall", where your meat temperature stays the same for hours, not rising (normally between 150° and 165°, higher than the 140° temp minimum).

So, you need to get a smoker of some type, be it a grill or dedicated smoking unit. Plus. other items you will need or already have:

tongs, forks, knives, utensils, holders/tubs/containers for both raw and cooked meats, heavy duty meat gloves that can withstand hot temps, cutting and slicing knives, trays and platters, cutting boards, and so on, plus seasonings,rubs, and marinades, to name just some of the equipment you will need! Like any hobby, you need "the right stuff"! This forum covers many topics, far and wide!

(in progress)