Help with a smoker, please....

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Foodosaurus
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2009/04/09 17:13:18 (permalink)

Help with a smoker, please....



I got this smoker today at work. 





I really have no idea what to do with this.  Any and all suggestions would be great.

Any info on cooking ideas, or anything.  I am having a "Dos de Mayo" Party in a few weeks.  If I could use this then, that would be great.  There will probably be an excess of thirty people there.

I'd like to know what kind of fuel to use.  Where to buy fuel.  Where to put the fuel (underneath or on the right) 

I'd really appreciate any advice I can get.  I was just really excited to have the opportunity to have it.

Thank you

#1

25 Replies Related Threads

    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/09 17:25:50 (permalink)
    It's a side smoker.

    First thing you need to do is get some hardwood an then practice.  Practice before you subject yourselves to thirty friends.

    For Mexican, you might want to go light on the smoke and do a few pork butts ... shoot for 225 degrees and about 12 hours.


    #2
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/09 20:39:46 (permalink)
    Mike, you can read all you ever wanted to know about Char-Grillers here.  There are 260 pages, though, so allow yourself a little time.

    Did you get it for free?

    Brad
    #3
    Foodosaurus
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/09 22:34:35 (permalink)
    I did get it for free.  Where would I acquire hardwood.  How do I keep the temp at 225 degrees.
    #4
    JayL
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/09 23:07:21 (permalink)
    wheregreggeats.com
    For Mexican, you might want to go light on the smoke and do a few pork butts ... shoot for 225 degrees and about 12 hours.


    Mexican?  LOL
    #5
    Foodosaurus
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/09 23:44:59 (permalink)
    JayL - I had mentioned I planned on using it for a "Dos de Mayo" party....
    #6
    catnhatnh
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/10 01:58:09 (permalink)
    You should note the label says "Grills and Smokers", because that one is both. To grill the left (large) side is loaded with wood or charcoal and used like any normal grill. That is DEFINITELY the way to go for hosting a party in 3 weeks.

    Now smoking is an art and well worth teaching yourself-but slow and easy. Smoking is always done at a much lower temperature and for a much longer time. In that unit the right (smaller) side is loaded with either hardwood or charcoal topped with water soaked hardwood chips. Chips are a good way to start and can be purchased at Home Depot type stores in 5-10 lb bags in hickory, mesquite, and (more rarely) other varieties. Temperature is controlled using the two dampers on the grill-one at the inlet side (smoker) and the other at the outlet side (grill). The big thing is it's long and sloooow and both lids must remain closed for the entire time except to reload charcoal or chips to the smoker or to check the food for doneness with a thermometer or to baste on the grill side. Because your learning the ideal food to start with is chicken because it is cheap to buy and cooks up in 3-6 hours.

    Anyhow, cruise the boards and keep reading and take the time to learn the skill of smoking, but for Dos de Mayo just grill for your friends and enjoy.
    #7
    BigGlenn
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/10 02:54:47 (permalink)
    It will never work...... just give it to me and I will dispose of it for you. LOL Have fun, I have one just like it and I wished I used it more than I do.
    #8
    douginvirginia
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/10 06:56:56 (permalink)
    Mods,

    I believe this thread belongs in Recipes & Cooking Techniques.
    #9
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/10 08:11:03 (permalink)
    braunsteinm

    I did get it for free.  Where would I acquire hardwood.  How do I keep the temp at 225 degrees.

    Nice score!  You might want to think about replacing the thermometer with an aftermarket model, as I've heard that the factory one sometimes isn't the most accurate.
    Are there any orchards around you?  Fruitwood trimmings are ideal for smoking.  There's a woodworking shop near my office and a couple of times a summer it puts a big box of scraps out on the curb, and I've rummaged through it for unfinished cherry and oak pieces.
    Depending on what you're smoking it's not imperative that you stay at 225; for example, pork butt is remarkably forgiving and I've gotten good results with temps as high as 300.  The thing to remember is that you cook by the temperature of the final product, not time.  I've had butts similar in size take anywhere from 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours per pound to reach an internal temperature of 195-200, as every piece of meat is different.
     
    There are plenty of websites and forums for smoking and barbecuing; I like the barbecuebible.com site I posted above because it's oriented more toward the home cooker and not the competitor or restaurant owner.
     
    Brad
    post edited by Brad_Olson - 2009/04/10 08:13:29
    #10
    doggydaddy
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/10 08:54:40 (permalink)

    This baby has been with me for years, but I have one regret. I have yet and want to cook a whole baby pig ala the Digest report.


    These ribs never were touched by direct heat. They look almost too dark. it was my camera adjustment and yes, I put the sauce on wway too early and it went past caramelized.



    But I am going to hit the smoker big time, so keep your eyes open...

    mark

    #11
    Curbside Grill
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/11 07:00:11 (permalink)
    However you start do not buy infused meats.
    Look at packaging. Hard to find non-infused meats, they are doing what you want to do.
    Simple meat straight cuts hard to find these days, from a consumer/somewhat idiot stand point.
    $1.99 for a Fresh Pork Ham- $1.29 smoked RETAIL
    Shoulder cuts use to be less than $0.99/lb
    fresh cut 
    No handling, cut, freezer bag to me priceless to them outrageous
    Charge me $1.00 for 12% salt solution, $2k to them.
      
     
    post edited by Curbside Grill - 2009/04/11 07:06:54
    #12
    doggydaddy
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/11 08:30:54 (permalink)
    braunsteinm

    I did get it for free.  Where would I acquire hardwood.  How do I keep the temp at 225 degrees.


    You live in Connecticut!!! You have ash, oak, maple and apple wood to work with. Just open your door and go for a walk. Check with your local orchard.
    It is best if you turn your smoker in the direction of the oncoming breeze. You want the air to feed the smoker box and pass through. Play around and adjust the ventilation with the small side door.
    First off, I may be ragged on for using Kingsford chips, but that was all I could find for the Superbowl BBQ.... Soak in water and add to the embers.


    When the briquets become a gray ash, add the chips.


    Smoky.....


    What I cooked and how it came out is in the Lunch/Dinner...? thread.

    mark
    post edited by doggydaddy - 2009/04/11 08:36:33
    #13
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/11 09:09:29 (permalink)
    Curbside Grill

    However you start do not buy infused meats.


    Here in the Midwest Farmland is a good source of minimally processed pork; I buy its products at my local Piggly Wiggly.  I don't know if they're sold in the New England states, though.
     
    Brad
    #14
    Foodbme
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/12 23:19:04 (permalink)
    Here's a site that can help you get started;
    http://www.smoking-meat.com/
    #15
    gostillerz
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/04/15 14:49:14 (permalink)
    Here's another site that's pretty good.

    http://www.thesmokering.com
    #16
    tomsen
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/05/03 03:23:05 (permalink)
    I agree with catnhatnh to practice before cooking for a crowd. Using wood is ok IF its dry. Pork absorbs smoke like a sponge. Smoke for a couple of hours to flavor the meat,then wrap in foil and finish in a 200-250 oven. Use a thermometer. I've had roasts that melt in the mouth, some tasted like they were cooked in a garage fire.Practice keeping a fire at temp for 5-6 hrs. Have fun.
    #17
    mayor al
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/05/03 07:31:29 (permalink)

     I have a Brinkman Offset Smoker that looks a lot like yours (except it is offset to the left instead of the right). Bought it 9 years ago and it sits outside 365 days a year. I only uses it 5 or 6 times a year, but it continues to do a fine job.

    A Pork Butt Smoking Day will have me doing two large (8-9 lbs) "Boston Butts" I use Briquets of Charcoal and some chunks of Hickory wood from trees on my own property. I will apply my home-mix rub the night before smoking and then put the Butts in the smoker early the following morning. 9-11 hours is typical time using an internal thermometer during the last couple of hours. I will rotate the  butts to keep the cooking 'even'. We like to mop them during the last hour with the remaining dry-rub with some brown sugar and other BBQ sauce added to sweeten the 'outside meat' a bit. Let them sit for a bit after removing them from the smoker and then pull the meat off the bones or slice as you prefer.

    While it is getting a bit rusty and worn, my Smoker still does the job quite well.
    post edited by mayor al - 2009/05/03 07:33:12
    #18
    pjoe
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/05/07 03:19:55 (permalink)
    For the price, CharGrillers are actually pretty great grills. Read up on smoking and have fun with it. You will have a new best friend after you get her greased up and smoking. One bit of advice, though... learn to love lump charcoal. It tastes better, lasts longer and you don't end up eating lighter fluid.  A 15 dollar chimney starter will last you a few years.
    #19
    caver
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/05/07 04:08:39 (permalink)
    Definitely a good score.

    You have a lot of flexibility there for both grilling and smoking.  Lots of room.

    The side box is also great for regulating the heat to just keep things warm after it's actually done (without continuing to cook it to death).  That's often one of the hardest things to do when you're out somewhere and cooking for a number of folks.

    Or you can stoke it back up to do dessert.  Think banana split with grilled banana and pineapple, with a little cream cheese and cinnamon. ;-)
    #20
    DawnT
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/05/07 18:49:50 (permalink)
    Wonder what the mods are up to now? I posted a small post after Pjoe about the wonderful Brinkman offset that we used to have that's near identical to the Char Griller. How did I violate the terms of service or board rules by mentioning that we eventually retrofitted our firebox with an aftermarket propane burner kit ? Was that so offensive to the purists that it had to be removed?
    #21
    rebeltruce
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/05/08 06:43:43 (permalink)
    A good friend of mine just purchased this grill/smoker, it was a huge pain in the butt to put together.

    The first thing he did was try and smoke a mess of ribs, he used a charcoal fire and Hickory chunks soaked. The temp would never come up to temp, the hottest he said he could get the thing up to was 185 degrees.

    Now he is a semi experienced BBQ'r so I couldn't imagine what the problem could have been. I thought he could have created a problem with the venting when he put the thing together, it seems you almost have to use an air chisel to remove the passage between the smoke box and the grill.....

    I suggested he call the manufacturer for some advice. He did, and they told him that he HAD to use a wood fire for the thing to heat up correctly, a chacoal fire with wood chips or chunks simple wouldn't work. Charcoal was fine if he was grilling but to smoke/BBQ a real wood fire in the smoker portion was the only thing that would work.

    I see by some of the pictures on this thread that some of you do indeed use a charcoal fire and wood chips....any tips on how you get the temp up to a good BBQ temp? I know vent usage is important and I am well versed in the art of temp control, I do my BBQ'ing on my old Weber kettle grill. I still think he may have created a vent leak or something.....I don't think he's tried to smoke anything yet using a wood fire, I know he has a pile of hickory laying around from the last Pig roast we did......
    #22
    doggydaddy
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/05/08 08:16:51 (permalink)


    Interesting to see that this topic has come up.
    Today is the saddest day I have had in a long time.
    Last night, I sold the smoker on Craig's List. It is too big and too heavy for the move. Prior to selling it. I cleaned it up and there was plenty of grease from so many BBQ's past. I think that I actually removed some of the seasoning that makes that smoker special.
    I feel like I gave away my best dog...

    mark
    #23
    Foodosaurus
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/05/31 16:30:39 (permalink)

    I finally decided to fire up my smoker for the first time yesterday.  I decided to start with ribs, because the cooking time would be less, and I could fine tune my skills.  My friend and I sat around drinking beers and had a great afternoon.  We did make some chicken on the propane grill, because there was no way we were going to be able to wait until the ribs were ready.

    I made a rub the night before.  First I put some fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt on the ribs.  The rub was made up of 2 parts dark brown sugar, 1 part paprika, and equal .5 parts of black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, Old Bay, with a dash of cinnamon.  I patted down the ribs, and wrapped them in foil to marinate over night in the fridge.

    When my friend came over about noon, we took the ribs out of the fridge and started the fire.  For fuel we were planning on using a combination of Kingsford charcoal, Hickory wood chips, and peach wood, from a tree in my backyard that we cut down last year.  The first thing that I learned was that the charcoal alone was not enough to bring the temp inside the smoker up to 200 degrees.  So we began adding the wood before we even got the meat in.

    Once it was up to temperature, we put the three racks (13 lbs) of spare ribs into the smoker.  We kept the temp around 200 most of the time, it did get up to 250 once or twice, but for the most part we cooked them very low.  After 3.5 hours of anticipation, I couldn't take it anymore.  So we decided to have a chimney full of charcoal ready to add to the fire, and open up the lid so we could take a look and flip the ribs.

    This is when we realized we had done something wrong.  We had placed two racks on the left side running across, and the third rack on the righ running front to back; right above the opening to the side chamber where the fire was.  The thrid rack was charred!  It looked like a burnt tire.  We flipped all three and moved the burnt rack away from that side of the grill.  Decided it was tasting time as well.  Using the tongs, I pulled a small piece from one of the other racks....  Oh man! Explosion of flavor in my mouth.

    We decided to give it another hour.  At 4.5 hours, we opened the smoker up for good.  Basted the ribs lightly in a sauce that had been made out of ingredients in my fridge, including teryaki, spicy garlic, a smokey bbq, some mustard, and other random sauces.

    Here is the finished product.





    And the one that got away.



    There is also a pie plate of kosher salt on the grill, that I smoked.  It didn't get as dark as I would have liked, but it did pick up a good smokey flavor.

    I'd say that the ribs came out phenomenal.  By far the best thing that I've ever cooked myself, and quite possibly the best ribs I've ever eaten.  But that might just be a pride thing.
    #24
    Food_Fan
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/05/31 18:27:10 (permalink)
    Foodosaurus aka braunsteinm,
     
    Looks like you had a great first smoke and I hope that you have many more!
     
    I like your idea of smoking salt. I cured an Irish ham with salt once and I had a lot of wet pink salt left over from that so I broiled it in a toaster oven until was brown, that also killed off whatever bacti that might have come off of the ham. The salt flavor became more intense and almost sweet. It also dried into small clumps so I crushed it up and put it into a pepper grinder and that worked fine. I might try smoking some salt the next time I fire up the old smoker!

    I don’t know anything about that kind of grill/smoker but I think it is a great combination “machine”.
     
    Happy future smoking!
    #25
    acoustic blues
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    Re:Help with a smoker, please.... 2009/06/03 16:29:08 (permalink)
    Brad_Olson

    braunsteinm

    I did get it for free.  Where would I acquire hardwood.  How do I keep the temp at 225 degrees.

    Nice score!
    Are there any orchards around you?  Fruitwood trimmings are ideal for smoking.  .
     
    There are plenty of websites and forums for smoking and barbecuing; I like the barbecuebible.com site I posted above because it's oriented more toward the home cooker and not the competitor or restaurant owner.
     
    Brad


    I'd be wary of commercial orchard trimmings. Most spray heavily with chemicals. The wood absorbs the chemicals and that in turn goes into your meat when you smoke.
    And again, nice score!
    For a plethora of bbq info try www.virtualweberbullet.com

    ab

    #26
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