For smoking, we recommend using non-petroleum based starters. Residue in the smoke from these starters can contaminate the cooking box, potentially effecting the flavor of the meat. The use of a torch or paper and kindling is most effective. Use approximately 40 lbs. of charcoal briquettes or 20 lbs. of lump charcoal in the fire box to get started. Once the meat is placed in the smoker, you can add wood in the fire box for smoking. From there, you can use either wood or charcoal. Add wood or charcoal as needed to maintain the correct temperature. Optional charcoal basket holds approximately 60 lbs. of charcoal briquettes and ensures efficient even temperatures.
Grilling: For grilling in the TS500 tank smoker, remove the bottom grate from the smoker and slide in the optional charcoal pan. Put in your desired amount of charcoal and put your meat on the top grate above the charcoal pan.