Homemade Smoker

No smoker, no problem! This foil hack will give you a homemade smoker in your braai giving you all smokey flavour you need without spending the extra money.

You will need:
  • Supa Mama® heavy duty foil
  • Meat of your choice
  • Wood chips
  • Water
  1. Prep your meat. You can do this as you would traditionally for a braai using a spice or a marinade.
    • Pork – a great option is a salt-sugar ‘marinade’. Let your pork sit in ¼ cup kosher salt, ½ cup brown sugar mixed with 4 cups of water overnight. You can add herbs and spices too if you desire.
  2. Soak your wood chips in water for a minimum of 2 hours, overnight is best!
  3. Fold the foil in half to cover the wood chips completely.
  4. Fold the foil edges inward and press down.
  5. Flip package over and poke several small holes in the top to allow smoke to escape.
  6. Get your fuel (briquettes, charcoal, or wood) supa hot on one side of your braai. Place ½ full water pans on the other side of your braai.
  7. Place your wood chip foil pack in the braai, just above coals (pictured below). If you don’t have the option, then you can place the foil on the coal.
  8. Put your grid in and use your homemade smoker to smoke your meat. Make sure your braai lid goes on (and stays on)!

Lay the meat over the water pans on the opposite side of your braai to the coals. Don’t let your meat rest directly over the coals (otherwise you may as well just braai). Cook in batches if you have to, and keep the finished meat in an oven set to “warm” covered in foil while you do more.

Cover the lid, positioning the vent on the cover directly over the meat. This helps direct the smoke over the meat. Close all vents (bottom one, too!) to keep the temperature as low as possible; if you have an especially tight lid, keep the vents open just a little. You are now barbecuing.

If you are using a marinade with a lot of sugar in it, it will burn easily. So, use up the remaining marinade in the last 15-minutes of your smoking process.


The time you cook things will depend.

  • Fish will take from 45 to 90 minutes.
  • Chicken an hour to two hours.
  • Baby back ribs, such as these, will take from 90 minutes to 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  • You will be able to spot doneness with your eyes. Meat on bones will begin to pull away. When you turn or rotate meat it will begin to fall off the bone. Fish will separate easily.
  • If you have a meat thermometer it should read somewhere around 160 degrees when it is done.
Why water pans?

Apart from the obvious of the meat sauce and fat will be caught and make for easier cleaning, it also helps keep the meat moist. When the meat is moist, it makes for better and more flavorful smoking. Lastly, the water in the pans also helps to moderate the temperature around the meat.

Briquettes, Charcoal or Wood?

This is up to you, of course, but I recommend using standard briquettes or charcoal as they provide ‘cleaner’ smoke. You can use wood, but it needs to one with a nicer flavour (oak & hickory) that burn steadily and slowly. Ensure you use chunks and not logs.

Check your coals every hour – you may need to add more. If you add coal, always add more soaked wood, and rotate your meat at this point too!


If your grill lid has a thermometer, it should read no higher than 325°C, preferably between 280-300°C. Ideally you want the temperature at the meat level around 225-250°C but because heat rises and a lid thermometer will show the temperature at the lid, and not at the meat level. If your braai/weber does not have a thermometer built-in (most don’t), put a meat thermometer into the cover vent and check it from time to time.

If your temperature starts to soar, open the lid, and let the coals burn off a bit. Add some more soaked wood and close the lid again.

If your temperature begins to drop below 225°C, open the vents. If that doesn’t get the temperature rising, open the lid and add more coals and soaked wood.

  • When your meat is done, add more sauce and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Regardless of temperature, check your coals every hour to 90 minutes. You may need to add more. Always add more soaked wood at this point, and always turn or rotate your meat at this point, too.

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