New to smokin' meat!

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by bsrbbq, May 6, 2013.

  1. I bought a restaurant about 8 months ago.  Outside, behind the building, is a very nicely built brick and mortar meat smoking facility.  I don't know the exact dimensions, but it's pretty big.  It's a mostly brick structure with a flue at one end and a firebox at the other.  The middle section has grates, and a cast iron lid.  So, just picture a big rectangular brick box.  The flue is on one end and the cast iron firebox at the other.  The meat is cooked in the middle on the grates.  It has dampers,etc.

    I assume the meat cooks by the flue drawing the heat and smoke across the meat in the center section.  This thing was built probably 50 years ago but has hardly been used.and is very sound.  The outter building burned a few years ago, and just collapsed around it.  The brick structure was completely unharmed other than being  blackened.  The previous owner cleaned it up and rebuilt a building around it with a concession area in the front.

    I am on a quest to become the best BBQer in my area and I'd like to use this facility.  The problem is, I don't have a clue where to start.  Can anyone help point me in the right direction?  A restaurant customer told me to buy a modern electric smoker and just put it out there and build a fire so people think I'm actually smoking it with the real fire in my brick outfit.  That just doesn't seem right to me, plus, I think this would take a skill and a smoker would be just turn it on and forget it until it's done.

    Anyone willing to help?


  2. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Hi Scott! :welcome1: to SMF!!! We're happy you found us! You've come to the right place, we have over 45,000 members who just love to share their experience and over 900,000 posts describing it!
    The search bar at the top can be your best friend when you are trying to find answers to your questions but you can still ask too if you want!

    Would you do us a favor and add your location to your profile, it helps others to know where you are when they offer advice, Thanks!

    You might want to check out Jeff's Free 5 day E-Course, it will teach you all the basics plus a whole lot more!
  3. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Welcome to the forums, Scott! Glad you joined us. You've found a great place to learn and share ideas on our favorite pastime...Smoking and Grilling great food! Lots of friendly and knowledgable folks here who really enjoy helping one another. Just ask when you need help and you'll get plenty.

    Your smokehouse sounds intriguing.  Do you have any photos of it?  It sounds bigger than any I've seen.  I don't have a lot of expertise with smokehouses, but you might check out the smokehouse forum and ask the guys in there for some assistance:

  4. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    [​IMG]to SMF!  We are so glad you joined us!

    If you didn't read the "Terms of Service" notes.....please do.  There are a few things that everyone should know about those pesky little rules before plunging into the forums.

    If you need any help roaming around the forums....just holler!  Happy to help out!

  5. Scott,

    Welcome!  There is a college education here.  Look up some recipes and they will guide you.  Ask in your thread and someone or several someone's will answer.

    I watched a lot of pitmasters on tv, bought "Wicked Good BBQ, KCSB (Kansas City BBQ Society) BBQ book, Big Bob Gibson's BBQ book, and Myron Mixon's Smokin cookbook.  Then I started smoking on a cheap ole Walmart Brinkman gas  smoker.  It is amazing the education I've gotten in such a short time. 

    My smoker goes every weekend and I'm not affraid to try different things.  So go for it, read a lot, ask a lot, but forsuccess nothing beatd trial and error.

  6. lendecatural

    lendecatural Smoking Fanatic

    Welcome Scott!

    I live about two miles from Bob Gibson's BBQ and they preach good wood. Get a good thermometer ( Maverick remote is a good choice) and some hickory and start a fire. Let it burn until the heavy smoke clears and throttle the inlets down and see if it will hold temperature around 225-250. You will need to tend the fire but if you've ever tended a fireplace, it is not very different to keep wood going on a good bed of coals. You need to find out how long it takes to get up to temperature, how it holds temperature, how well it draws, and how much attention it will take to maintain. After you get a good fire going and the hang of tending, throw on a couple of butts and cook to an internal temperature of 205. Jeff has rub and sauce recipes on here and you can search for the care and feeding of a butt and find lots of threads.

    Best of luck and keep us posted!

  7. Wow!  Thanks for the proper welcoming, y'all.  I'm really looking forward to getting into this.  As a kid growing up on the farm, I tended to many fires but it wasn't a precise process as this seems to be.  I'm thinking I'll gear up for Memorial Day weekend for my first venture.  Mike, I made it mostly to where I am in life by doing just what you suggested and your words of wisdom concerning trial and error are very true.  I wish I could say Happy Friday, but it's only Tuesday.  Have a great week!
  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome Scott

    Some photos of the smokehouse would be great - You have us intrigued. It sounds like a fascinating building
  9. I'll take some pictures when I get to the restaurant later today.  I'm concerned about the chimney because it does not extend as high as the very top of the building.  I'm afraid it won't "draw" as well as it could, but maybe that's not so big a problem with a smoker.  I'll just have to try it and if necessary, have it extended.  When I pointed it out to someone who knew about it's original construction, they mentioned that they ran out of brick and that's why it's not as tall as it should be.
  10. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hi Scott,  I would like to suggest that you make contact with Wes W - one of our members who is a brick/block smoker guru.  He can help you learn to use your rig!

    In the mean time...

    [​IMG]  to the SMF, the best BBQ site on the web.  Whatever you need to know about the fine art of BBQ you can find it right here, from recipes to technical knowledge.

    One thing you need to know about us is that we like to see pictures of your creations and your gear.  We call it Q-View and its basically the [​IMG]!!!

    So, don't just talk about your food, show it!  Otherwise you may get a gentle reminder, like this...

    [​IMG]   or this...[​IMG]

    Good Luck and Get Smokin'

  11. OK, Bill.  Here are some pics.  I've never seen this thing work.  One of the previous owners used it, but he's passed on.  Wonderful man.  It seems all of his recipes passed on with him.  I've asked his kids and they are clueless.  Trust me, if I master this, my son will get all of my recipes.

  12. Does it matter if the hickory wood is green or seasoned?  I have a local guy here who can cut me a hickory tree.  I just figured a seasoned hickory would be best.  ??
  13. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes it needs to be seasoned.  You don't want creosote build up in your smoker.  Go and look in the Woods for smoking part of the forum and there is information there that will help.

  14. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  15. Your pics are fine, just have to click on them.  You have a real honey of a smoker.  The brick will be an energy saver.  Whoever did it seemed to know what they were doing.  Smoking wood needs to be DRY.  Creosote will come from green wood and will make your meat bitter.  Read up on different woods to smoke with..  Good luck.

  16. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great photos Scott. It looks as if it needs a little TLC but it could clean up a treat.
    bsrbbq likes this.
  17. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome,nice score on the smoker. Like the hybrid brick/metal thing. Chimney extension not that hard to do you wont need special cement that far from heat source.Some sort of chimney pot to keep the rain out maybe. Might be an idea to check your mortar joints where its the hottest for cracks but given your food is above the mortar section you wont get stuff in your food. But you may lose heat.

    Wes W has a very special brick smoker he built Id be contacting him. Looking forward to seeing how you go with this.There are some real smart minds here when it comes to building I am sre they will be along shortly.
    bsrbbq likes this.
  18. To me this looks to be like a offset smoker. you have your heat on one end.  For the basics you  may want to look into adding a thermometer grate level on the pit.  and get  a Thermapen ( will give you temp in a few seconds) or if you want a remote thermorter you can do that as well to check the meat.

    here is a basic check list (  I am sure  i am leaving something out)

    before you cook anything

    1 Check for rusted out spots.

    2 check for any  holes in the brick  will need to  patch with some kind of High temp Mortor 

    3 make sure everything is clean and up to  food standards

     When i first started cooking  I had my best friend  that does BBQ comps.  So i asked him about his process from start to finish. and i stuck with that  but as i got confortable  I made changes.

    Best thing is to write out your process on paper from when  you take out the meat how you  prep it  What temp your cooking at and how long etc etc

     I hope you find these tips helpful and good luck on your new endevour


    P.S  if anyone wants to add  anything to it feel free

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