Discussion in 'For New Members' started by oceansol, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. oceansol

    oceansol Newbie

    My wife got me a Masterbuilt charcoal smoker for our anniversary.  I've so far used it twice, first time on chicken wings and baby backs, which were good but too smoky.  Second time pork butt and brisket, and also tiger prawns and bacon-wrapped, cheese-stuffed jalapeno's.  All was good, but too smoky.

    After reading here (and elsewhere) about TBS, I realized I'm waaaayyyyy over smoking.  I don't have TBS, I have billowing white smoke (BWS).  I now know that BWS is a bad thing.....

    So on my charcoal smoker, how much pellets (I have traeger pellets) should I use, and how much charcoal?  I have the vents top and bottom about 80% closed, but I think now I should have the top open completely and the bottom to regulate heat.

    To summarize, here are my questions:

    1.  Do I really want a big pile of charcoal?  Or smaller to reduce smoke?

    2.  How big a pile of pellets should I use?

    3.  Do I put pellets directly on the charcoal, or only in the pan?  So far I've only put in the pan, but I read now that the pan is for water/vinegar/beer, etc.

    and the biggest question:

    4.  How do I acheive TBS?

    thanks in advance!
  2. First off welcome to the site, this is a good place to learn.  Congrats on the new smoker, over smoking is a pretty common rookie mistake, but sounds like you're getting a handle on that.  As to your first question, the pile of charcoal isn't the issue, but how hot the fire is. You control that with lower vents, once your smoker reaches target temp, dial them back almost all the way.  Second question I suggest making a tin foil pouch for your pellets, better yet get some wood chunks, both go directly on the coals.  The pan is a water pan, but not everyone fills them with water all the time.  I use water depending what I'm smoking.  Try running your smoker empty for a while, get the vents figured out and the TBS will happen.  Hope this helps, good luck and good smokin'.
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★


    Congrats on the new smoker.

    It gets easier with practice.

  4. oceansol

    oceansol Newbie

    Thanks for the tips.  I had 50 people over for a graduation party on Saturday, and while I was as nervous as a bride on her wedding day that I'd screw it up, I successfully smoked 3 pork butts, 3 tri-tips, and about 50 bacon-wrapped, cheese filled jalapenos!

    I started at about 7am, then took off the first 2 butts and TT at about 1230, and finished them in the oven for an hour at 325º, while I loaded the last butt and 2 more TT for the later crowd.  Then still had room for and smoked the jalapenos.

    While I overcooked the first TT, everything else came out PERFECT!  Got lots of complements, and surprisingly, the jalapenos were a huge hit.

    Thanks for all your help!
  5. Glad to hear it all worked out.  Keep on smokin'.

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