Got a new smoker… Any tips?????

This topic contains 32 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Kevin 1 year, 7 months ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #177558

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    Costco has a good sale on a ceramic smoker/grill. Pretty nice unit is seems but don’t try to pick it up.. damn it’s heavy!

    Anyone with experience out there willing to share tips and secrets? I know there are tons on the net but almost too many to pick from..

    Any good tips for a novice would be helpful!

    Thank you in advance,

    Craig

  • #294380

    norules
    Participant
    • Topics - 91
    • Replies - 530
    • Total Posts - 621

    @plasmadrive 126542 wrote:

    Costco has a good sale on a ceramic smoker/grill. Pretty nice unit is seems but don’t try to pick it up.. damn it’s heavy!

    Anyone with experience out there willing to share tips and secrets? I know there are tons on the net but almost too many to pick from..

    Any good tips for a novice would be helpful!

    Thank you in advance,

    Craig

    Need some cherry wood? ha ha. The wood you gave me over a year ago are dry and ready to use. Let me know if you want some back. I don’t have a ceramic smoker(got a metal bullet shaped one), but the next time I bring the kids, I can talk to you about smoking.

    Start simple and build up your experience. Start with your favorite rub on a couple of tri tips and use hickory or mesquite chunks. I assume you have recipe book and guide from your smoker you bought, start with their suggestions. Then start exploring different kinds of meats. Personally, I stay away from poultry for smoking. I like BBQing chicken, not smoking. Then start exploring the different types of wood for smoking, you have apple, cherry, etc. Even check out hardwood lump charcoal. Then you start figuring out if you like more smoke or wood flavor. I like more wood flavor than smoke. Too much smoke overwhelms the meat.

    Let the engineer in you experiment. You really can’t go wrong as long as the meats reach the proper temperatures. Bon Appetit!

    Check out this guy named John(LC) on EGL. He may know a little on smoking. Ha ha. BBQ4Dummies.com

  • #294378

    newmom
    Participant
    • Topics - 206
    • Replies - 6,205
    • Total Posts - 6,411

    See, our family LOVES a smoked chicken. Once every few weeks we smoke a whole chicken and then eat it for a few days. Thanksgiving we smoked the turkey and it was beautiful! Christmas my husband smoked a prime rib and it was out of this world.
    LC knows a TON about this and has been doing it a long time. He has been super helpful to us with recipes, tips, products, etc. Ours is a pellet smoker so different than others but the finished product is the same. We’ve had it just over a year and it’s hubby’s favorite toy.

  • #294402

    Kevin
    Member
    • Topics - 0
    • Replies - 1
    • Total Posts - 1

    @plasmadrive 126542 wrote:

    Costco has a good sale on a ceramic smoker/grill. Pretty nice unit is seems but don’t try to pick it up.. damn it’s heavy!

    Anyone with experience out there willing to share tips and secrets? I know there are tons on the net but almost too many to pick from..

    Any good tips for a novice would be helpful!

    Thank you in advance,

    Craig

    Start with cheaper cuts of meat until you get it right. Chicken wings are pretty simple and you won’t want to kick the grill if you honk them up.

  • #294389

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    Ah Vince.. I didn’t know it was you that I gave the cherry wood to… LOL Never put two and two together. Yeah.. let’s talk.. BTW, the kids wanna work Sunday?

    I know LC knows a butt load about this stuff.. still waiting for him to chime in if he is so inclined.

    From what I have read, lump charcoal is the first thing I was going to get, but then I read from one “expert” that Briquets are the way to go because they burn more evenly than lumps… made sense to me. I haven’t even thought about wood yet… other than for smoke flavor.

    I think I would try chicken on the smoker.. I like it when I have it from BBQ catering types..

    I have plans to start with tri-tip because I have some idea of what it should turn out like. Not too expensive and I like it… I am hoping to don’t mess up too much… my sledge hammer is way too handy..

  • #294379

    newmom
    Participant
    • Topics - 206
    • Replies - 6,205
    • Total Posts - 6,411

    My husband loves curing and smoking his own bacon-LC was a HUGE help with that.

  • #294381

    norules
    Participant
    • Topics - 91
    • Replies - 530
    • Total Posts - 621

    Ha ha. That is pretty funny you didn’t know it was me. Yes, the kids are available this Sunday to work. Let us know the time.

    I use briquets and wood chunks. Everybody is different. There is no right or wrong, it is all personal preference. Just like some people don’t like smoking chicken, others do. Ha ha.

    Make sure you have a good meat thermometer too.

  • #294371

    LC
    Participant
    • Topics - 640
    • Replies - 7,150
    • Total Posts - 7,790

    I’ve never had or used a ceramic, but I’ve heard nothing but good about them. I don’t know that I have any tips. I’ll refer you to bbq4dummmies.com though, and it’s got a lot of basics you might want to play with. You can do so much with those grills–smoke or grill–and you’ll have fun playing with them. I DO recommend you try the bacon recipe thoug–it’s pretty bulletproof and the best I have ever tasted.

  • #294372

    LC
    Participant
    • Topics - 640
    • Replies - 7,150
    • Total Posts - 7,790

    One thing you should do first is season your smoker. You can do that with a pork butt, which is about the easiest and most bulletproof thing you can roast on a slow cooking grill. You’ll need to use something with plenty of fat to coat the inside of the smoker, and a pork butt, pork shoulder, boston butt, picnic, whatever you prefer to call it, will work great. Here’s a great recipe and one our family has loved for years. You can’t oversmoke this using the proper wood, so use plenty of wood–I like pecan chunks, apple, or maple. Hickory and oak are a bit strong, and don’t use mesquite for smoking anything–that is for grilling.

    RECIPE EDIT: After I posted the article link, I vaguely remember I had modified the slaw recipe. I log most of my cooking, and it looks like i got the original recipe from FoodTV in 1999. I modified it in 2009 and we all thought it was better and it was much easier. If you have not made homemake slaw, this recipe is KILLER on a bun or as a side. Don’t get freaked out about the quantity when you first make it–overnight it gets MUCH smaller. Try it.

    PORK SANDWICH SLAW:
    9 cups shredded cabbage
    9 tablespoons minced onions
    6 tablespoons mayonnaise
    6 teaspoons sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 heaping tbl mustard
    2 tbl Heing Chili Sauce
    Fresh ground black, to taste

    Mix ingredients in bowl until well combined. Let all marinate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, before using on sandwich.

  • #294390

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    @norules 126552 wrote:

    Ha ha. That is pretty funny you didn’t know it was me. Yes, the kids are available this Sunday to work. Let us know the time.

    I use briquets and wood chunks. Everybody is different. There is no right or wrong, it is all personal preference. Just like some people don’t like smoking chicken, others do. Ha ha.

    Make sure you have a good meat thermometer too.

    I really did forget it was you.. LOL.. How about 8am?

    Keep the cherry wood.. it’s yours… I have a ways to go before I am ready for all wood..

    So for the bacon, where do you get the pink salt? On line or local?

  • #294391

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    Thanks LC.. got a butt today.. going to try it over the weekend.. but with Charcoal instead of wood. I may also stick some smoke chips in there just for fun

  • #294392

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    LC.. I didn’t realize that is your website.. Nice.. I have some suggestions.. how about a section on general smoking, woods, charcoal, temperatures and so on.. maybe tricks to keep temperatures stable? I tried looking under techniques-and-processes but that turned out to be more receipts I think..

    I did go buy a few gadgets that you recommend.. cools stuff. Thanks

  • #294373

    LC
    Participant
    • Topics - 640
    • Replies - 7,150
    • Total Posts - 7,790

    @plasmadrive 126569 wrote:

    LC.. I didn’t realize that is your website.. Nice.. I have some suggestions.. how about a section on general smoking, woods, charcoal, temperatures and so on.. maybe tricks to keep temperatures stable? I tried looking under techniques-and-processes but that turned out to be more receipts I think..

    I did go buy a few gadgets that you recommend.. cools stuff. Thanks

    Thanks! Oh, the site needs to be updated and needs new content. I’m serious when I say I haven’t given it more than a few hours in over 2 years. Appreciate the purchases too!

  • #294370

    EGL Admin
    Member
    • Topics - 3,082
    • Replies - 21,888
    • Total Posts - 24,970

    @lc 126570 wrote:

    Thanks! Oh, the site needs to be updated and needs new content. I’m serious when I say I haven’t given it more than a few hours in over 2 years. Appreciate the purchases too!

    Why don’t you get off your semi-retired butt and do it? 🙂

  • #294393

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    @EGL Admin 126573 wrote:

    Why don’t you get off your semi-retired butt and do it? 🙂

    LOL! You tell em’ Doc!

    :applause:

  • #294382

    norules
    Participant
    • Topics - 91
    • Replies - 530
    • Total Posts - 621

    Well, with all this talk of smoking, I am finally going to upgrade my 20 year old dinky Brinkman smoker to the Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker. I have been looking at it for a couple of years, but just never pulled the trigger. Time for good eats. We all should have a EGL Smoker Festival. That would be something.

  • #294394

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    @norules 126577 wrote:

    Well, with all this talk of smoking, I am finally going to upgrade my 20 year old dinky Brinkman smoker to the Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker. I have been looking at it for a couple of years, but just never pulled the trigger. Time for good eats. We all should have a EGL Smoker Festival. That would be something.

    So you got pushed over the edge this morning huh? LOL NICE! :congrats:

  • #294395

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    So today I fired up the new toy today. I put about 3/4 of the Weber chimney full of briquets and a couple of pieces of paper and wow.. charcoal started to get white in less than 10 min.. that is very cool. I dumped the coals in the ceramic cooker and closed the lid.. up to 300F almost right away.

    To bring the temp down I started closing the vent more and more until it they were both all the way closed… An hour later, still about 290F. I put the pork butt on there like you recommended LC so I could season the pot. That dropped the temp a few degrees. That thing is very efficient at keeping the heat in. About 2hrs down the road I opened the lid again to insert a temp prob on the grill and in the meat. When I did that the temp dropped to 250F almost right away. That tells me the pot was keeping it in and not just the heat from the briquets. There it stayed after I just barely cracked open the vents top and bottom… I mean just barely. About 2 hours ago I started to lose some temperature. It started to drop and went down to 240F. I adjusted the vents thinking I was losing the fire in the briquets and I didn’t want them to go out completely. Back up to about 248F. Left it there for now.

    So it is 5:55pm and I am about 2 degrees from pulling the pork butt for the resting place in the ice chest. 183F internal temp.

    I will let you know how it turned out.

  • #294396

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    So yesterday I got a little braver. Sunday I bought a leg of lamb at Costco (boneless). I got some nice cherry wood chunks and last night we had lamb for dinner… For my second try at this It turned out really good. Very juicy and flavorful. Youtube has so many options for smoking meat.. it’s amazing.

    I did have a bit of a temp issue though. Seems when I did the pork butt the temp on the gauge for the cooker was the temp that was just on the rack by the meat. Yesterday it seems the coal were a bit too much to one side and the temp was about 30-40F low on the rack behind the meat. I have to figure all that out. Next time I think I will use the indirect shield and just put the coals across the bottom.

    Though I have only used it twice now, this smoking thing is turning out to be some real fun and tasty…. I recommend it for any one that loves to BBQ..

  • #294374

    LC
    Participant
    • Topics - 640
    • Replies - 7,150
    • Total Posts - 7,790

    Do you have a good digital thermometer? You’ll need two. One to measure the internal temp, and one to stick on the grilling surface to measure the grill temp. I have tested several internal temp thermometers and have found this one to be the best value. It was the fastest of the several I tested, and measured against my sous vide digital controller which I’ve calibrated to be within 1/10th of the actual temp, it it within one degree of that reading.

    For the grill temp, I use this one. I like the Maverick brand because you can easily find replacement probes, which you will need with any use. They are pretty sensitive to moisture. I don’t use the remote feature as I check every 20-30 minutes anyway. I calibrated this unit as well, and found it to register with 4 degrees of the actual grill temp as measured by my digital controller.

    You are going about this the right way, as each type of smoker/grill is different. Without any ceramic experience I can’t offer much, but the BGE boards can be really helpful. You’ll find the sweet spot IF you use reliable measuring instruments. Those who hold their hand over the fire to determine the temp are fooling themselves. At comps you’ll see an entire array of instruments ready for use. I depend on those, not my gut feel or “experience.”

    The one thing I do know about ceramic and you’re certainly finding it out too is that they hold their temps a long time. If you get it too hot, it can take hours for it to drop down. Honestly that’s the biggest reason I don’t have one, other than I think my wife would shoot me if I brought home another cooking device. Keep posting. It’s a good learning experience for all of us.

  • #294383

    norules
    Participant
    • Topics - 91
    • Replies - 530
    • Total Posts - 621

    I have been playing with my new smoker too. Last week, I did three racks of spare ribs. Even though it is similar shape to my old smoker, it is way different on temperature. I need to unlearn all the habits from the old one and relearn the new one. I need to have it down pat by Labor Day weekend, when we get together with some friends for a smokeout. I asked my family if they are willing to have to eat so much smoked meat as I experiment. They are willing and will take one for the team. So proud of them. ha ha.

    Plasma, glad to see things are working out for you. It is really fun to experiment. By the way, the kids would be willing to help eat your experiments too. They will do it at no charge. ha ha.

  • #294397

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    @lc 126750 wrote:

    Do you have a good digital thermometer? You’ll need two. One to measure the internal temp, and one to stick on the grilling surface to measure the grill temp. I have tested several internal temp thermometers and have found this one to be the best value. It was the fastest of the several I tested, and measured against my sous vide digital controller which I’ve calibrated to be within 1/10th of the actual temp, it it within one degree of that reading.

    For the grill temp, I use this one. I like the Maverick brand because you can easily find replacement probes, which you will need with any use. They are pretty sensitive to moisture. I don’t use the remote feature as I check every 20-30 minutes anyway. I calibrated this unit as well, and found it to register with 4 degrees of the actual grill temp as measured by my digital controller.

    You are going about this the right way, as each type of smoker/grill is different. Without any ceramic experience I can’t offer much, but the BGE boards can be really helpful. You’ll find the sweet spot IF you use reliable measuring instruments. Those who hold their hand over the fire to determine the temp are fooling themselves. At comps you’ll see an entire array of instruments ready for use. I depend on those, not my gut feel or “experience.”

    The one thing I do know about ceramic and you’re certainly finding it out too is that they hold their temps a long time. If you get it too hot, it can take hours for it to drop down. Honestly that’s the biggest reason I don’t have one, other than I think my wife would shoot me if I brought home another cooking device. Keep posting. It’s a good learning experience for all of us.

    I do have a dual sensor Digital. That is how I found out the grill temp was so close last time and so far off this time. I really believe it has to do with how and where you stack the coals relative to the grilling position. This I also used less Charcoal this time because it was too hot last time. So next time the indirect ceramic shield will be what I try with the coals directly at the center.

    You are right about holding temp.. man they take awhile to change up or down… I did find out that when I opened to bast the lamb I could drop the temp 25F pretty quickly. It seems to equalize pretty well after that at a lower temp if I close down the vents some.. After I was done cooking last night I shut the vents all the way and 3 hours later the internal temp was still 250F… I opened it up and there were no smoldering embers that I could see.. I can only surmise the ceramic was holding the temp in.

    This time I used some cherry wood and the smoke flavor was nice.

    LC, do you have those “Bear Claws” for pulling pork? if so, were they worth it to have?

  • #294398

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    @norules 126760 wrote:

    I have been playing with my new smoker too. Last week, I did three racks of spare ribs. Even though it is similar shape to my old smoker, it is way different on temperature. I need to unlearn all the habits from the old one and relearn the new one. I need to have it down pat by Labor Day weekend, when we get together with some friends for a smokeout. I asked my family if they are willing to have to eat so much smoked meat as I experiment. They are willing and will take one for the team. So proud of them. ha ha.

    Plasma, glad to see things are working out for you. It is really fun to experiment. By the way, the kids would be willing to help eat your experiments too. They will do it at no charge. ha ha.

    The temp thing is something I am working to get a handle on as quick as possible too. I am getting closer to being able to dial it in. I did find out that I need to let it come up to temp and let it “soak” at the set point for some time before I open it up to put in the meat. I did that the first time and it worked very well. This time I was a bit late getting started so I didn’t let it soak long enough. For that I needed to babysit it more often..

    So, no charge on the test guinea pigs huh? ha ha.. Nice..

  • #294375

    LC
    Participant
    • Topics - 640
    • Replies - 7,150
    • Total Posts - 7,790

    @plasmadrive 126763 wrote:

    This time I used some cherry wood and the smoke flavor was nice.

    LC, do you have those “Bear Claws” for pulling pork? if so, were they worth it to have?

    Give pecan and apple a try too. I find that cherry can be a bit acrid. Pecan is my overall favorite for milder smoke; hickory for stronger smoke.

    No, I don’t have the bear claws, I use a friggen fork and it works just fine 🙂

  • #294384

    norules
    Participant
    • Topics - 91
    • Replies - 530
    • Total Posts - 621

    @plasmadrive 126764 wrote:

    The temp thing is something I am working to get a handle on as quick as possible too. I am getting closer to being able to dial it in. I did find out that I need to let it come up to temp and let it “soak” at the set point for some time before I open it up to put in the meat. I did that the first time and it worked very well. This time I was a bit late getting started so I didn’t let it soak long enough. For that I needed to babysit it more often..

    So, no charge on the test guinea pigs huh? ha ha.. Nice..

    Yep, no charge on taste testing. They are still charging for moving dirt, bark, installing drip lines, weeds pulling, etc. And guess what, Damion is still a sucker for your work. He asked me yesterday if I heard anything from you about working on your property. Ha ha. You created a workaholic.

  • #294399

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    @norules 126766 wrote:

    Yep, no charge on taste testing. They are still charging for moving dirt, bark, installing drip lines, weeds pulling, etc. And guess what, Damion is still a sucker for your work. He asked me yesterday if I heard anything from you about working on your property. Ha ha. You created a workaholic.

    I have to admit, he works his butt off…

    So which smoker did you get? Last we talked you were kicking around two different ones..

  • #294385

    norules
    Participant
    • Topics - 91
    • Replies - 530
    • Total Posts - 621

    I got the Weber 18″ Smoky Mountain. I was tempted to get the 22″…

    https://www.amazon.com/Weber-721001-Mountain-18-Inch-Charcoal/dp/B001I8ZTJ0/ref=dp_ob_title_garden

    I just put in a four or five cherry and hickory chunks for the ribs. I learned that I have to put more charcoal when I first start and let it go. The old one I had to keep feeding charcoal since it was so thin and lost heat. This one you don’t need to feed more as it cooks, but I need to make sure I fill up the charcoal bin when I start it.

    I did something I had never done before though. I put a chili powder/mesquite rub. Smoked it for about 4 hours, then took the ribs off and drizzled honey on the ribs, poured a little spicy BBQ sauce, and added a little coke(soda, not powder). The recipe called for apple juice, but I didn’t have any. I had some coke in a bottle, so I figured what the heck. I wrapped the ribs up in tin foil and put it on the gas grill for 30 minutes. Man, they were good. Not overly sweet or spicy and it still had the smoke flavor. Like I said earlier, it is fun to learn and as long as you cook it to correct temperature, it is good eats.

    One thing I have learned, you have to write this stuff down or you will forget. If you love how a meat came out, write what you did.

  • #294376

    LC
    Participant
    • Topics - 640
    • Replies - 7,150
    • Total Posts - 7,790

    Did you know the WSM has taken first place at the Grand Nationals? That is one fine unit. I had a knockoff that I learned to smoke on. It’s one of the most versatile cookers on the market. Great choice.

  • #294386

    norules
    Participant
    • Topics - 91
    • Replies - 530
    • Total Posts - 621

    @lc 126774 wrote:

    Did you know the WSM has taken first place at the Grand Nationals? That is one fine unit. I had a knockoff that I learned to smoke on. It’s one of the most versatile cookers on the market. Great choice.

    Yep and thanks. Check out Harry Soo’s website, http://www.slapyodaddybbq.com/. He swears by the WSM(Weber Smoky Mountain) and won a couple of awards(sarcastic, he’s won many awards). In fact, I got the idea for drizzling honey, etc. and wrapping the ribs with foil and cooking on the grill longer from his website. I have a old brinkman, kind of similar shape to WSM. I thought it would be smooth transition to learn the WSM. Boy, was I wrong. It is similar in shape only. Totally different operation. Should be fun though.

  • #294377

    LC
    Participant
    • Topics - 640
    • Replies - 7,150
    • Total Posts - 7,790

    If I had the WSM I’d consider getting one of the temp controllers that you can set and adjust with the iPhone. I do know a few guys who have them, and they swear by them for tight temp regulation and from afar too.

  • #294400

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    @norules 126776 wrote:

    Yep and thanks. Check out Harry Soo’s website, http://www.slapyodaddybbq.com/. He swears by the WSM(Weber Smoky Mountain) and won a couple of awards(sarcastic, he’s won many awards). In fact, I got the idea for drizzling honey, etc. and wrapping the ribs with foil and cooking on the grill longer from his website. I have a old brinkman, kind of similar shape to WSM. I thought it would be smooth transition to learn the WSM. Boy, was I wrong. It is similar in shape only. Totally different operation. Should be fun though.

    Oh man.. did ya have ta post that link.. now I have a butt load more reading to do.. Good thing I don’t have a job! :Tongue sticking out

  • #294387

    norules
    Participant
    • Topics - 91
    • Replies - 530
    • Total Posts - 621

    Did you ever check out the green egg website like we talked about? They will have good tips for you since you have something similar to the green egg. http://biggreenegg.com/recipe_types/smoke/ Even more reading during your retirement. Ha ha.

  • #294401

    plasmadrive
    Participant
    • Topics - 88
    • Replies - 885
    • Total Posts - 973

    @norules 126801 wrote:

    Did you ever check out the green egg website like we talked about? They will have good tips for you since you have something similar to the green egg. http://biggreenegg.com/recipe_types/smoke/ Even more reading during your retirement. Ha ha.

    I gazed at it with glazed over eyeballs….. bookmarked it and swore to return..

  • #294388

    norules
    Participant
    • Topics - 91
    • Replies - 530
    • Total Posts - 621

    @plasmadrive 126802 wrote:

    I gazed at it with glazed over eyeballs….. bookmarked it and swore to return..

    Ha ha.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.