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New to the Forum - New Smoker - Hello and Please Help

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey all,


Live up near Boston - not the hub of BBQ - but I'm really passionate about it.  I built my own smoker two years ago with the Alton Brown Flower pot blueprint.  This year I grabbed a cheap Charbroil sidecar model.  Tried a 6.5lb pork butt yesterday - 12 hrs at 200 - that I had previously brined then rubbed.  Fueled it with lump charcoal once then used Hickory/Mesquite chunks because thats all readily available up this way - at least that I can find.  It came out "okay" but the outside was pitch black and bitter.  I'm guessing I used too much wood -  maybe not enough heat?  I tried a good amount of charcoal at first but i kept sky-rocketting the temp to 400 so i tossed in a few chunks of wood every hour and i stayed 180-210 for most of the time.  Any advice, criticism?


Thanks, B

post #2 of 14

Welcome to SMF glad you joined us. You'll find lots of good info and some great recipes here. I would suggest signing up for Jeff's 5 Day Ecourse it's free and has some great info to get you started. I would also do a search for the Minion Method and also look for mods to make your smoker better. Most of those type smokers are made to use charcoal as the heat source and wood just for flavoring and using too much wood will create creosote which doesn't taste good.


I moved your thread to the Roll Call section so you can get a proper welcome to SMF

post #3 of 14

400? I would say that was the problem. You'll need to learn how to keep it running between 200 and 250 for smoking meat, but you can go higher for poultry. Also, stay away from smoking with white smoke, and too much wood at once will give you that. That would explain the "black and bitter" in my opinion. You don't need much wood at all if you're using lump, just a few chunks at a time for flavor. Hope this helps, you'll get it, just takes a little practice my friend.

post #4 of 14


This site has tons of info.

I would suggest you spend some time reading all the different forums and the WIKIs.

Then use the handy dandy search tool for specific interests!!


Have a great day!!!



post #5 of 14


post #6 of 14

Welcome tot he SMF, I see you're getting some good replies to your question.


Did you notice a lot of white billowing smoke? I ask this because based on your description of the taste, it might have been creosote. This could indicate the use of too much wood, and or not enough smoke circulation. You'll get ti right, and someday laugh at things that happened in the past. Save the planet... it's the only one with Q.

post #7 of 14


Welcome to SMF, Glad to have you with us.

This is the place to learn, lots of good info and helpful friendly Members.

Many of our members have years of experience in smoking meat.  They are more than happy helping Newbies learn the art.

We have members who cure there own Bacon, Hams, Jerky, Snack Sticks, Make Their own Sausage, etc. if you want to learn,
this is the place. 

Don't be afraid to ask questions of them and follow their advice. You won't be sorry, you will be making great Q in no time at all...

Just remember, when curing your own meats follow the instructions included with the cure to the letter, this is not something to experiment with.  

Never use more cure no mater if it is Tender Quick or Cure #1 or Cure #2 than the manufacturer says to use, this can be very dangerous.

Tender Quick and Cure#1 or Cure #2 are not interchangeable, neither Cure #1 interchangeable with Cure #2 or vise versa


Tips For New Members.

  1. Go into your profile and Under Location put where you are.
  2. City & State or Area & State will do. This will help members when answering your questions.
  3. Go to ROLL CALL thread and tell us a little about Yourself (A Name We Can Call You) and Experience & Equipment.
  4. Do Not Post  your other questions and smokes in the Roll Call Forum.
  5. Post your questions and smokes in the Proper Forum, Beef, Pork, Sausage, Electric Smoker, Charcoal Smoker etc.
  6. Use the Wiki Section, many of our members have posted great tutorials and instructional threads so take advantage of them.
  7. When you can't find an answer ask plenty of questions, we have some highly experienced members willing to help you.
  8. When posting about your smokes be sure to post plenty of Qview (Pictures) Our Moto, "No Pics, Didn't Happen".
  9. Get a good Probe Thermometer, Don't Depend on the Built in Thermometer in your Smoker (They are notorious for being off).
  10. A good choice for a remote dual probe thermometer is the Maverick ET-732
  11. Remember, We Always Cook by Temperature and NOT BY TIME...
  12. Sign up for Jeff's 5-Day eCourse.  Click Here
  13. Don't Take Chances, Always Follow USDA Safety Guidelines When Handling Meat.
  14. If you are wanting to get into curing meat, there are many members here more than happy to help and give good advice.

  15. If you are unsure of a procedure ASK, don't ASSUME, It will make your Smoking experience much more pleasant...

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey, Wow, thanks everyone...I wish I stumbled upon this site before I started smoking...   I figured I might have wasted money on the cheapo smoker, but sounds like I just used poor technique.  I thought I had a grasp of the basics but I was way wrong.  Live and learn, smoke and eat I guess...  This is a great site by the way.

post #9 of 14

Welcome to SMF - sounds like you got some creosote going with that smoke as suggested by others. Like Piney said check out the minion method by typing that into the search bar at the top and it will help you a lot.  

post #10 of 14


post #11 of 14

Welcome to SMF Good to have you here 

 dont worry if you are not in the BBQ hub 

You are in the right place the folks here are help full and knowledgeable

Don’t forget the Qview 


post #12 of 14

Welcome B.

All good advice above.

post #13 of 14

U.D.S. sausage.gif

post #14 of 14

Welcome Remedy! welcome1.gif

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