NEW Recipes from the August Issue

It's time to take it outside. We're sharing recipes that are best served al fresco with friends. Salute summer, from drinks to dessert, with the latest recipes from Better Homes and Gardens.

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How to Make Popcorn Balls

This all-time favorite dessert is offers instant nostalgia (remember Grandma making them?). Bring them into your own kitchen with our incredible easy steps.

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Dishes Made Better by Potato Chips

I chip, you chip, we chip. Our love affair with America's favorite snack goes well beyond the bag. We're sharing dishes that were made better (way better) by potato chips.

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Dress Up a Dessert in 8 Seconds (or Less!)

Make any dessert recipe worthy of a party with these easy ideas to dress them up. Each dessert idea can be done within 8 seconds!

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Canning Basics

Enjoy your favorite produce year-round by canning it. We'll walk you through how to can foods safely with less mess.

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How to Mail Cookies

Send your famous cookie recipe to loved ones anywhere! See how to pack cookies so they won't crumble and other tips for how to mail cookies.

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DIY Drink Stations

Our favorite party trend? Creative DIY drink stations that let party-goers play mixologist. We're sharing our favorite beverage stations, including an infused vodka station, a mojito station, and more. Once you set out the listed supplies, you're all ready to party!

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Popular in Food

Smoking Food

The basics for smoking food are right here: how it works, how to set up a smoker, tips, and more.

Smoking uses low temperatures, 180 to 220 degrees F, and long cooking times to cook and flavor foods.

How Smoking Works

  • Low heat makes smoke as wood smolders, rather than burns, to impart the smoky flavor.
  • Water-soaked wood chunks, chips, and/or aromatics are distributed among the coals to enhance the flavor.
  • Grill is covered to allow heat and smoke to slowly penetrate and cook the food.

Types of Smoking

  • Dry Smoking Dry smoking uses indirect cooking with a low, smoldering wood fire to slowly cook foods while infusing smoke flavor.
  • Wet Smoking Wet smoking, or water smoking, is more commonly employed and uses a pan of water to maintain moisture and tenderness.

Tips for Smoking

  • Keep water pan full, replenishing as needed with hot tap water.
  • The water helps to maintain temperature and adds moisture to keep food tender.
  • Don't peek! Heat and smoke escape each time the lid is lifted, sacrificing aroma and flavor and increasing cooking time.
  • Start with small amount of wood to see if you like the flavor, adding more for more intense smoky flavor.
  • Make wood chips last longer and prevent burning by bundling wet wood chips in a foil packet with holes. Place the packet directly on the coals.
  • Smoke only those foods that can handle the assertive smoky flavor: beef, lamb, pork, poultry, oily fish, and game.


  • Add an aromatic dimension by tossing fresh leaves, stems, or herbs onto the coals.
  • Bay leaves, rosemary, grapevine cuttings, fruit peel, or cinnamon sticks are examples of aromatics.
  • Generally aromatics with higher oil content provide stronger flavor.
  • Soak branches and stems, which otherwise burn quickly.

Food & Wood Pairing

Try experimenting with different foods and woods to find the flavor combination you like.

  • Alder, delicate: Pork, poultry, especially fish
  • Apple, delicate, mildly sweet, and fruity: Veal, pork, poultry
  • Cherry, delicate, mildly sweet, and fruity: Veal, pork, poultry
  • Hickory, strong, hearty, smoky: Brisket, ribs, game, pork
  • Mesquite, lighter, sweeter: Most meats, vegetables
  • Oak, assertive, versatile: Beef, pork, poultry
  • Pecan, similar to hickory, more subtle: Pork, poultry, fish
  • Seaweed, tangy, smoky: Shellfish

Setting Up the Grill

  • Soak wood chips and chunks in water for at least 1 hour.
  • Soak aromatic twigs for 30 minutes.
  • Drain and shake off excess water before adding soaked wood to the fire.
  • Use long-handled tongs to arrange hot ash-covered coals around foil pan that is filled with 1 inch of water.
  • Add presoaked chunks, chips, and/or aromatics to coals.
  • Place food on grill rack and cover.
  • Check food, temperature, and water pan once an hour; adjusting as needed.
  • Do not add additional wood during last half of smoking on charcoal (or vertical smoker) as too much exposure to smoke imparts a bitter flavor to food.

Tips for Gas Grills

  • Soak wood chips and chunks in water for at least 1 hour.
  • Soak aromatic twigs for 30 minutes.
  • Drain and shake off excess water before adding soaked wood to the fire.
  • If equipped with smoker box attachment, before firing up the grill, fill water pan on attachment with hot tap water.
  • Place presoaked chunks/chips in compartment as directed by manufacturer's instructions.
  • If you do not have an attachment, use a foil pan (separate from the water pan) or a foil packet with holes punched in the bottom. Place pan on rack directly over heat source.
  • Place food on grill rack and cover.
  • Check food, temperature, and water pan once an hour, adjusting as needed.

Tips for Charcoal Grills

  • Monitor temperature by adding 8 to 10 fresh briquettes.
  • Do not add "instant-start" charcoal briquettes during the cooking process.

how to smoke meat


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