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Merry Christmas everyone! Had my first smoked meal today and would love advice.

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

It was edible so I guess that is a successful first smoke! 

 

I had a lot of problems with the temp however and would like some input. 

 

I have the Master Forge propane smoker.  When I seasoned it, I had no problem getting a high temp and keeping it consistent.

 

Today I placed a 4 pound turkey breast in an aluminum pan in the smoker.  It took longer to get up to temp ( I placed a thermometer in the smoker and did not rely on the thermostat on the door) and had the turkey in the smoker 4 hours until I took it out and placed it in the oven to finish cooking (had about 20 degrees to go).

 

The only way I could raise the temp was to place dry wood chips in the chip box.

 

Here is what I did:

 

wrapped the water tray in aluminum foil

 

soaked the apple chips before placing in smoker.  After trying to raise the heat, I placed dry ones in.

 

Placed the turkey in an aluminum pan.

 

I filled the water when it ran out.  I know I went through a ton chips and I shouldn't have. 

 

I placed the vents mostly closed but found the temp would rise if open, so I opened them a bit more.

 

I would greatly appreciate any advice.  Should I use a hotter wood to get the temp up initially?  Should I soak my chips them place dry ones over?  How much water do you keep in the pan?  Are your vents opened or closed or do you change it?  Do you cover your meat with foil?  If you do, does this help to cook faster? 

 

Thanks for all advice and I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. 

 

post #2 of 15

I'm not a master forge guy, I'm sure someone will be along shortly.  One thing is too make sure when you add water, that you are adding boiling or close to it water, otherwise that can drag your temp and recovery down.

 

Someone with more info will be here soon.

Good Luck!!

post #3 of 15

How big was your aluminum pan? Were you blocking off your heat source? 

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

The pan was about a 9 x 9.  There wasn't too much extra space in the pan. 

 

I wasn't blocking the heat source.  The propane burners are on the bottom, chip box directly above and water pan above that. 

 

Do you find meat cooks faster out of the pan and directly on the grill? 

post #5 of 15
Hi not a Master Forge guy but I do use propane. acouple of bumb questions dont be insulted but what color were are your flames, could you can you change the hight of the flames? Smoetimes I have to turn the tank off to then back on the get the flames going, If your flame is mostly yellow you nedd to adjust the air mixture. Instructions should be in the manual. Glad you could eat what you made as time goes on you will get better. have a merry.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

The flames were blue.Yes, I can change the height of the flames and at one point I had a full flame to get the temp up. 

 

And I wasn't adding boiling water so I will have to add that to my list to do next time!

post #7 of 15

It has been a while since I cooked in an upright water smoker, so take this for what it is worth.

 

You don't have a location in your profile, so we have no idea of what ambient temps you were working with?

 

I always liked adding HOT water to the water pan, especially in cold ambients.

 

Cooking the meat in a pan can slow the process under certain conditions.

 

Keep at it.  You will find that perfect combo!

 

Good luck and good smoking.

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

I am from Napa, California (hence my name!) and we have had a little cold temps here but nothing too bad.  I have been doing research on the smokers and see that resetting the regulatory is often necessary.  I will give that a try.

 

The smoker worked fantastic when I seasoned it but I had no water in the tray.  I wonder if I should move the tray into a rack in the smoker and allow the heat more direct access? 

post #9 of 15

You may be choking your fire down w/ the vents? when the unit is open there is plenty of air so the flame looks good. next smoke try running your vents wide open and see what that does.

post #10 of 15

It sounds like your just not getting enough gas flow. Could you be running out of gas or could the regulator be bad?

post #11 of 15

General guideline for charcoal, which may or may not apply to gas...is start it with vents wide open to reach the desired temp, then adjust vents to regulate or hold it at that range.  Give that a try along with the other suggestions above and don't get discouraged...it only gets better!

 

 

John

 

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCase View Post

I'm not a master forge guy, I'm sure someone will be along shortly.  One thing is too make sure when you add water, that you are adding boiling or close to it water, otherwise that can drag your temp and recovery down.

 

Someone with more info will be here soon.

Good Luck!!



x2

 

post #13 of 15

Hey Nomorewine,  I just picked up a MF gasser to add to my 'herd' of smokers not to long ago and am still working out some kinks with it but I'll chime in with my $0.02.

 

First you mention that you used a different thermo  in the chamber, but where you placed it is fairly important.  Was is through the hole where the factory thermo was located?  The reason I ask is that I find there can be up to a 20 degree temp diff between the door temp (using a reliable thermo) and the temp in the middle of the chamber.  I really believe this is due to how the water pan blocks a lot of the heat coming up from the burner.  I typically use 3 thermos with my MF; a good Ashcroft analog in the door (which replaced the factory POS), a digital with the probe in the smoker chamber at approx the same height of the food being smoked and which is as close to dead center in the chamber as possible and one probe in the actual product.  I drilled two small holes in the side panel just below the handle so I could snake my probes through.
 

You also didn't mention what your target smoking temp was?  You mention that you couldn't get your smoker up to temp but what was the target?  I have no problem getting my MF up to 250 or higher and holding it there even if the outdoor ambient is around 45 degrees.  As other have said, if you can't get your smoker up to 250 and hold it there, you may have a bad regulator, bad LP or something else impeding heat generation.  There are also safety devices in the newer LP tanks that cut flow back by some ridiculous amount if you open the valve too quickly.  Also check the actual flame on the burner.  In the MF manual, there is some good info as to what a good flame should look like vs. what a bad LP flame looks like.

 

And this is more personal pref than anything else but was there any reason you put the turkey breast in an aluminum pan?  When I do poultry, I just place it right on the racks.  In my humble opinion this promotes better heat and smoke circulation around the product.

 

As for the burn in temps being OK that might have to do with the water pan.  You mention that you didn't have water in the pan when you ran your burn in?  I've found that the water pan being full or empty can impact the temps on this smoker.  I typically add room temp water to my water pan every time I toss in some chunks.  This keeps the pan from getting too low and needing to use hot water instead of room temp to replenish. But that's just me.  You def can't go wrong by adding boiling water as other have suggested.

 

The other mod that I've done to this smoker and there is a ton of info on this forum about doing so is using a fiberglass rope insulation kit to seal both doors.  Depending on how well or poorly your doors are sealing without the insulation, you could be losing a ton of heat from around the doors.  Lowe's sells the rope gasket kits and you'll need 2 kits to do both doors.

Shout out if I can be of any assistance and keep at it.  This is all supposed to be fun!  And, keep in mind,  I think we've all had to finish off a piece or 2 in the oven at some point!  It comes with the territory.... LOL

 

-Salt

post #14 of 15

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When your unit is a gas unit then you should run your vents 90% open. You don't have as much adjustment with gas as you do with wood or charcoal.

post #15 of 15

mballi3011, with all due respect, I've found on my Master Forge I can run the bottom vents only about 25% open and the chimney vent either in the most closed position (you can't really completely close the chimney vent on the Master Forge) or one more notch more toward the open position and still maintain a 240-250 degree chamber temp with outdoor ambient around 50-60 degrees.  I also agree with you - because the Master Forge behaves the same way - when you crank the vents more toward the open position you can increase the internal chamber temps.  I've never tried running this smoker with the vents completely open, but I'll have to try that to see what kind of temps I can get.  Would be good to know this when the ambient temps get a bit colder.

 

-Salt

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