After buying an el cheapo Great Outdoors gas smoker on a whim: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Outdoors-Smoky-Mountain-25-Gas-Smoker/12429510?sourceid=1500000000000003260350&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=12429510
I seasoned it up and got ready for my first smoke. I ended up packing it pretty full with 3 butts and a rack of spares. I had to cut the rack in half to make it fit in the smoker. The butts I found at publix were quite small relative to what most folks are doing (which is why i ended up with three). They ranged from 4-4.5 pounds. I used the standard methods I picked up lurking around the forums 3-2-1, mustard coating, finishing sauce etc The food turned out delicious and everyone loved it, but I did have some issues I would like to solve for next time. Process pics first then my questions at the end. Thanks for any advice you could provide.
South Florida Bounty
Little Close Up of half the rack
I missed a final product picture of the butts. Now moving on to my Issues:
1) The butts took forever! I put them on at 6am and maintained a steady 225F (based on built in temp gauge) throughout. That is what the smoker settles out at if I have the burner on dead low, which I had it at for the entire smoke. I waited until 160 or so and wrapped in foil for a few hours and the temp barely moved up. I was 9 hours in and I finally pulled and placed in the oven at which point the temps seemed to climb more steadily. I pulled just below 200 after 12 hours as I needed to be somewhere. Remember these butts were no more than 4.5 lbs. I was checking internal temps with a little hand held webber temp gauge. You had to stick it in hit button and remove. I guess i need to get a proper probe that I can just leave in yes? Also the water pan is pretty small and emptied out on a few occasions, does this slow cooking times?
2) My smoke was not ideal. I tried out using both chips and small chunks. Both ended up giving me a heavier white smoke then I would have liked. The smoke also did not last very long (30 minutes or so with either wood chips or chunks) making me have to replenish frequently. Problem is I had the burner on low as it would go the whole time, so i could not turn it down to get a little thinner smoke and longer burn time. I did not pick up any bad taste in the meat but the smoke was definitely thicker and whiter than I would have liked. Could it just be a bad design with too much heat hitting the wood box? FYI I did not really soak the chips. You can see the burner/wood box set up below. Should I get a larger box for longer smoke, try to get some distance between box and burner???
3) Would like more bark on the butts. Think I just need to lay on a bit more rub. Looking back I went a little light. Maybe the temperature thing was an issue too?
Anyways thanks for looking and any advice you could provide.