Newbie smoker – where to start?

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by kargov, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. kargov

    kargov Fire Starter

    Hey all,

    Thanks for this amazing resource of information. I'm a 23yo Graphic Designer & Powerlifter with a never-ending appetite, disappointed by Toronto's "BBQ" offerings.

    Just purchased a Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5, chimney smarter and Jeff Phillip's Smoking Meat book—all of which will arrive end of week.

    I'd like to dive in immediately with either ribs or a brisket. Can anyone direct me to some good starting points as to how to smoke & use the WSM? I thought I had a basic grasp, but keep discovering new things to keep in mind. I'm the type of person who learns well by having a checklist of techniques I can refer to and follow.

    As for ribs, I was going to use the 3-2-1 method that I've read a bit about, and have been exploring rub & sauce recipes. If anyone has any recommendations, advice, or direction—I'd absolutely love to hear it.

    Thanks so much guys!
  2. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Welcome to the forums, Kyle!  This is the best place I know for sharing ideas on smoking, grilling, curing, etc.  There are plenty of friendly, knowledgeable folks who really enjoy helping one another.  Looking forward to your input here, and just ask when you need anything...someone here will surely have the answer.

    3-2-1 is a good starting place for smoking ribs...through experience and trial and error with your smoker, you'll likely adjust your method over time.  Here is a great tutorial thread from another member who uses the same smoker you have (credit to Craig, fpnmf):

    Good luck!

  3. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    [​IMG]to SMF!  We are so glad you joined us! Would you mind updating your profile to show the other SMF members where you are located?  Might meet a few neighbors!

    We love to see pictures of what you are cooking (or what we call q-views here at SMF).  To "upload the q-views" just follow the directions here and it will be easier. If you are using a cell phone, an IPad or a kindle, go to the main SMF page and click the Mobile button. Will make the uploads a bit faster too.

    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 and some guidelines of how to interact within the forums. Off site links are not allowed here at SMF per TulsaJeff. Not that you have done anything wrong....just a little bit of FYI for new members!

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

  4. Looks like we'll be learning together, good to see that this is an active forum that is growing
  5. kargov

    kargov Fire Starter

    Great, thanks! I'll try to read through the comments tomorrow as well. As a newbie, would you recommend I begin with water in the water pan—or does it really make no difference in terms of moisture?

  6. jpayer

    jpayer Fire Starter

    Welcome to the forum Kyle! Best advice I have for a newbie is to read things on this forum and dive in. I learned before any web forums were created and have developed a great understanding through trial and error. Don't be afraid of messing up, that's hard to do if you read this forum. Can't wait to see your qview. Try marinating, brining, rubs, sauces, to develop your own tastes. The best bbq is the one YOU like. Don't forget to post qview. Happy smoking
  7. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    :welcome1: to SMF!!! We're happy you joined us! We have over 50,000 members now who just love to share what they know. You've come to the best place on the net to learn and share everything Q!!!
  8. Gary Wiviott has a great book for beginners with the WSM: Low and Slow. I think you can get the Kindle reader free and the book for $9. At the end of the lessons you will know your cooker.
  9. Good morning and welcome. Sounds like you are ready to dive right in. My advice is cook a few things on your smoker that are simple and really cant mess up. That way you get to know your smoker, how it cooks, hot spots, checking temp gauge, maintaining your fire, controlling your smoke, etc. You cant hardly mess up chicken, sausage or a small pork shoulder. I have been BBQing for over 35 years and every time I build a new smoker I start out like this to see how it cooks. Nothing more frustrating than buying a brisket, spending all that time cooking and it not turn out. I am not saying that your first brisket wont turn out, just get to know your smoker, especially if you are new to smoking.  Good luck

  10. kargov

    kargov Fire Starter

    Sounds good—I'll start with chicken & sausage this weekend :) Once I get a better feel for it, I'll move on to the rest.

  11. Welcome to SMF!
  12. Let us know how it turns out.  New smoker kinda like going on a first date, you are trying to get to know her. When I built the smoker I am using now (pictures in my Avatar) the first couple cooks I spent a lot of time watching and checking. Now I put my stuff on to cook and just go about what I normally do, just keeping an eye on the clock and check every once in a while, lot more fun. Back during the summer I had a smoker full, everything was going as planned and a East Texas frog strangler happened, rained for about 20 min. killed my temp ended up taking and hour and a half longer than I had planned on, you never know.

  13. richjt92

    richjt92 Fire Starter

    As an avid brisket smoker, they take alot longer to smoke and picking a Brisket (IMHO a large 16 pounder may not always be the best choice) I have found to be key...

    I would start with ribs since they take less time to smoker and it will allow you to dail in your smoker faster.

    With a Brisket it can take 8-16 hours to cook...and in some cases ribs can be done in 4-8 hours depending on how hot you cook 'em so you can tweak your technique faster.

    Gig 'Em Aggies!

  14. Brisket is my favorite. I always have to cook ribs for the grandkids. My #2 son and I are brisket fans, #1 son and grandkids are rib fans, My wife likes pretty much anything done on the smoker. She was never a Boudin fan, but since I started doing them on the smoker she loves them. Brisket does take more time and with experience it gets easier and easier. My opinion Ribs are easier than brisket. I am pretty critical about rib,s mine as well as others. I try to cook mine like competition ribs. That's the way I like them, now part of my family likes fall off the bone, sweet and wet and dry and spicy. So I end up cooking several types to make everyone happy.

  15. kargov

    kargov Fire Starter

    I prefer competition style ribs over fall-off-the-bone as well – however, I'll be sure to try both simply from a learning perspective. Smoker arrived today—will let you guys know how it goes this weekend. Cheers for all the help!
  16. kargov

    kargov Fire Starter

    Hey all,

    Smoked two chickens on Saturday—turned out well. Easily the most moist chicken I've had; everyone loved it, and the flavour was great. Picture attached (forgot to take one of the inside.)

    Rained, so set up a tarp. Watched the smoker pretty closely for the duration of the two hours—maintaining 275 temp was fairly easy. The whole process was pretty fun and satisfying.

    Unable to find wood chunks, I used hickory chips. However, yesterday I ordered chunks of Wild Cherry, Hickory, Sugar Maple, and Red Oak from Smokinlicious. Going to attempt either pork shoulder, beef ribs, or spare ribs this Saturday—as well as drill a hole in to fit through a temperature probe.

    Question: To clean the smoker, I used dish soap + water on the grates, and just water on a sock for the interior, to get all the grease off. Once it dried, there's still a reddish-brown must attached to the interior wall of the middle-piece. What's the best way to consistently clean the WSM? Should I have used dish soap on the smoker itself, as well?

    Thanks for the help all :)

  17. Sounds good what time do we eat?  Chicken really looks good, Did you brine your chicken? I found out many years ago the secret of brining. I kept wondering how the chicken I was eating out was so tender, moist and flavorful. I saw a program about brining and that changed my way totaling on cooking chicken. Smoking, beer can, grilled or in the oven really makes the chicken.

  18. kargov

    kargov Fire Starter

    Thanks :) Didn't brine, though I will try that next. Followed Jeff Phillip's pie pan recipe, though I didn't place the chicken breast down in the pan. Essentially, just stuck half a stick of butter in the cavity, and the pan collected the juices during the cook. I then basted it 2-3 times nearing the end.
  19. What you did certainly worked, That is the way I always did them before. Now  (if I have time) I brine I use salt, some Tony's and some sugar, You can mix up about anything for flavoring. The salt gives a salty flavor, the Tony's a little heat and spice and the sugar just a little sweet to balance everything out. I do whole chickens quite a bit on my grill, (Beer can style) I had a couple holders made out of Stainless Steel pipe welded to a base, that way I can put what ever liquid I like.

  20. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Clean the grates by all means. Dish soap is fine. You don't really want to "clean" the barrel of the smoker. That residue is seasoning your smoker like a cast iron skillet. That coating helps seal the smoker so that the more you cook on it , the tighter it gets.
    You can give it a gentle wipe inside if you feel like its getting flaky , but no soap.
    Your chicken looked very good , by the way.

Share This Page