using my first electric smoker......seeking advice on smoke flavor (chips vs. liquids, etc.)

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by adjustfire, May 31, 2012.

  1. So, I live in a condo building that required me to buy an electric smoker vs. flame.  I got the Model 1 box from "smokin it" and they advised me to run it for a few hours empty with just the chips to season the insides.  I found that doing this produced way too much smoke & heavy hickory smell, and I can tell will potentially cause some neighbors to bitch and complain if I ran this sucker for 8 hrs at a time.  So, I guess my question is: Do you have to continously run smoke for the entire time when cooking ribs/brisket etc to get the flavor?   I was thinking about buying small chips and using maybe a quarter cup and soak them/place them in foil to just get the taste in there, but didnt want a large amount of smoke as a result.  It also occured to me that maybe if I put a pan of fluid, with a tiny bit of liquid smoke, that would only produce a smell, and not the actual smoke itself.  Yes...I am new to the world of smoking meats, but plan on doing it here on out!!  
  2. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Please do us a favor and update your profile with your location then swing by Roll Call and introduce yourself..

    As for smoke - I would recommend getting a smoke generator from here  Todd is a member here and his product is perfect for your application 
  3. Thanks Scarbelly.  The model I purchased actually came with a smoke box that will hold whatever I throw in there.  I am guessing there is somewhat of a science on how to prepare the wood so that it smokes without producing a lot of smoke. Just wasnt sure if you guys had stickies anywhere on the topic.  
  4. indyadmin1974

    indyadmin1974 Smoking Fanatic

    You don't need to roll smoke the whole cook.  Since you're starting out you'll want to go easy on the smoke anyway.

    You can go the whole cook but don't feel that if there's no heavy smoke you're not smokin'...

    I can't speak to Todd's product yet but from everything else I've searched on Electric smokers that seems the way to go.
  5. An A-Maze-N smoker won't work in a Smokin-It without some major modifications and the A-MAZE-N will put out as much smoke as using the chunks anyway.

    How many chunks did you use?

    Try using one small chunk.

    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  6. I started out with 3, then killed it.  Put in one (the smallest they provided) and that seemed to crank out about the same amount after about an hour.  So I killed it again.   If I had a house, I wouldnt care, I would leave it in the yard smoking like crazy. But I am trying to fly under the radar here and not bring  much attention to myself.  The amount of smoke wasnt exactly huge, but it was enough to really make the smell come inside my place w/ closed windows, which means anyone else would smell burning wood as well.  Should I have soaked it in wood? I just tossed it in dry right out of the bag.  

    I just bought their screen for the smoke box, and was thinking maybe if I soaked some pellets, or chips or something (like seriously 1-2oz) maybe that would still provide a sustained flavoring without much smoke and smell.  I just want to get the smoke flavor into the foods without letting the whole building know.  I am probably being nai'eve though........ 
  7. I wouldn't soak the wood.
    Pellets and chips will give more smoke than a small chunk.

    Try a 2 ounce chunk.

    You really shouldn't see much smoke coming out of the thing, even with a 4 ounce chunk.

  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The AMNS will work in the Smokin-It with no mods and if you only lite on row of the dust it will work great. I have a SmokinTex (similar smoker) and have been testing these for Todd a long time 
  9. It doesn't work in the Model One that I have.

  10. I believe the peice I used was a little 2 oz'er.  Maybe I am being too paranoid.  Do people use liquid smoke in a water pan as a method ? I am guessing that is pure sinning to do that.  But just wondering if you can get the smoke flavor that way
  11. If you want real BBQ, you need to use the real deal.

  12. amen brother. I will have to figure it out.  I was thinking of using small wet chips and letting them  smolder, or maybe using a much lower heat than 225 and just cooking the stuff longer.  Will be interesting to see. appreciate your help! 
  13. mark4mn

    mark4mn Fire Starter

    I use hardwood chunks in my model 2. Way more smell (yummy!) than smoke. Keeping the temps down will sort-of help., but you'll still get the smoke. 

    When I use the added pan of water, depending on the weather, I get wisps of steam out the top. Make sure that is not what you are seeing.

    As to the smokey smell, I love it, but can appreciate your being in an apartment. Do not know a way around that.

    On rainy days here in northern California (yes we do get those!), I use a Cameron's stove top smoker. Works pretty well actually. Run the stove vent fan and smoke for 30 to 45 minutes then finish in the oven.

    If you are going to use liquid smoke, rub it on the meat, then season. I have done this with success.

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  14. Well I found my sweet spot with the smoke.  I guess I only needed a small amount (2oz) of Pecan chips to get what I needed. It smoked lightly for about an hour and did the job.  I can see now that an electric smoker needs to be "seasoned" over time, and the flavoring will continue with the more sessions I have. That being first smoking adventure was a success!!

    I went to my local butcher and had him cut a fresh 3.5lbs chix in half for me.  Then soaked it in a brine overnight (Buttermilk, garlic, green onion, sea salt and peppercorns.)  Then I coated it with a sweet/mild commerical BBQ rub and let that soak into the skin for about an hour while it brought the meat back up to  room temp.  Smoked it with the pecan chips for about 5 hours and when it hit 170, pulled it out and it was the most juiciest chicken I ever made. It was perfect.  I also smoked jalapenos stuffed with chedder/feta cheese, and wrapped those suckers in black forest bacon. 

    I have a small brisket in the fridge that I am going to do a "small" injection of beef broth of some sort and just going to combine all my left over BBQ rubs (need to make room in my tiny spice cabinet" together on it, and going to smoke it at 225 for as long as it takes.  I was thinking about putting it in foil part of the time to catch all the juices, but that might be too ambitious.  Regardless, Im going to go from the brisket, to ribs, to a pork butt over the next month to see how it goes. 

    Thanks for all the help, and a very grateful hat tip to Mr. Scarbelly for reaching out offline and giving me suggestions. I can tell you all are a great bunch of guys, and look forward to picking your brains for all my future endeavors!!!

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