How to Set Up and Use Your Apollo® 3-in-1 Charcoal Grill and Water Smoker

Whether or not you’re the monarch of your grilling domain or a newcomer to the grilling set, mastery of the smoker will make a great addition to your BBQ skills. Before you start seasoning your ribs and basting that brisket, you need to know how to set up and use the Apollo® 3 in 1 Charcoal Grill and Water Smoker.


Parts of the Apollo®

Both the 19-inch Apollo® 300 and the 16-inch Apollo® 200 come with a three-legged base which contains a charcoal basket, two stacking chambers with easy access doors and cooking grids, a water pan, and a lid featuring an ACCU-PROBE™ temperature gauge and vents.


Get Stacking

To use the Apollo® 3 in 1 Charcoal Grill and Water Smoker as a portable charcoal grill, place the charcoal basket in the bottom of the grill and add lit charcoal. You can place the charcoal to one side for indirect grilling or make an even layer in the bottom of the basket. Place one of the cooking grids in the upper position to help with indirect grilling or the lowered position for some high heat searing.

Depending on the amount of food you wish to smoke and the temperature you wish to use, you can set up this smoker using the base, add one stacker with the water pan and cooking grids over top. You can stop here, or add the second stacker with cooking grid, topping everything off with the lid. You can also leave the top grid out and hang meat from the lid.



Things Are Heating Up

The goal is to use the Apollo® Smoker is to cook for extended periods of time at a low and stable temperature. Ideal smoking range for a cold smoke is 68°F to 86°F (20 to 30 °C), while hot smoking is best done in a range of 225°F to 250°F, below the temperature where the Maillard Reaction can occur.


Remember to run your Apollo® on a nonflammable surface such as a patio stone or concrete. If possible set up in the shade. Always keep at least 2-feet of clearance from other flammables like grass, shrubs, and patio furniture.


How to Hot Smoke

  1. Many people prefer to use the Minion Method where you fill the charcoal basket with unlit, lump charcoal, leaving an indent in the middle.

  2. Light a half load of charcoal using the chimney starter and pour that into the divot you left in the unlit charcoal. The lit charcoal will heat the smoker and slowly ignite the unlit charcoal meaning that you should not have to add more lit charcoal for a good long while – like 6+ hours.

  3. Until the Apollo® Smoker has reached your desired temperature, keep all vents open wide.

  4. Fill the water pan with up to 3 litres hot water. You can also add beer, wine, juice, stock, aromatic herbs, garlic, onions, or vegetables. The liquid is used as a heat sink - something to absorb and help with the even distribution of heat. Steam produced by the heated liquid will help to keep your food juicy during long cooks.

  5. Once the ideal temperature has been reached, shut the bottom vents until they are ¼ of the way open. If the grill continues to heat up, close one of the bottom vents fully. On particularly hot days you may need to close down another vent, but don’t close all of the bottom vents because you will smother the fire.

  6. When the smoker has reached temperature, it’s time to add some soaked wood chips in your favorite flavors. Use soaked wood chips to slow down ignition, they will last longer and you will only need to add fresh ones every 30 to 45 minutes.

  7. Quickly add your food to the cooking grids. Be careful to ensure that there is room between each food item for smoke to circulate if you are doing many different foods like ribs and a brisket, or a load of wings.

Try these smoker recipes




How to Cold Smoke

  1. Cold smoking takes considerably less time. For this, you only need ¼ to ½ a load of lit lump charcoal.

  2. Once the charcoal has ashed over, Pour the charcoal into the bottom basket and add your selected smoker chips.

  3. Add ice water to the water pan.

  4. Adjust the bottom vents to manage the temperature of the Apollo®, the goal is to reach between 68°F and 86°F.

  5. Place your selected food - cream, cheese, salmon, chocolate, etc. – onto the top rack, on a piece of foil just big enough to hold the food item (in case of melting).

  6. Smoke for 10 minutes to 2 hours.




How to Shut Down The Apollo® Smoker

  1. When you are done smoking or cooking on your Apollo®, it is time to shut it down. Begin by giving the grids a good brushing to remove any debris.

  2. Close all air vents until the grill has cooled completely.

  3. Once cool, remove the water pan and wash thoroughly.

  4. If all charcoal was consumed, tip the ashes into a steel ash bin for later disposal. If there is still viable charcoal, you can leave it in the grill for the next cook, just ensure your smoker does not take on any water in the meantime.


Now that you know the basics of using your Apollo® 3 in 1 Charcoal Grill and Water Smoker, what will you create? Tell us about your adventures in smoking by leaving pictures and comments on our social pages like Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtags #BBQSmoker and #NapoleonGrills.

Happy Grilling!

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