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New to charcoal/firebox smoker

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Ive tried smoking meat a lot in the past with an electric up right smoker and had some decent luck but was never thrilled with the results. Im now using a charcoal smoker with a side firebox. Any tips on how much charcoal to use, do I put the charcoal all in the fire box, or some in the grill part as well. When to add wood to the coals, and thoughts on soaking the wood in water to help the smoke. Like I said Im new to charcoal smoking and want my New Years Eve BBQ to be great. These may be stupid questions, but I really just need some confirmation. My current plan was to put the charcoal in the fire box and get it going like in a normal grill, then add the wood right before putting the meat on. I know about the temperatures at which to cook with, but I really just want some tips/confirmation on my coals/wood setup. Thanks guys,

post #2 of 4


welcome1.gif  Glad to have you with us!


Would you please update your profile info to include your location. Thank-you.


Then go over to the roll call section and introduce yourself so we can all give you a proper SMF welcome.


I would also suggest taking the free e-course on smoking.

post #3 of 4

fatterson, welcome to SMF, the best smoking site on the web! I don't have a charcoal smoker, but I would put the charcoal in the fire box only and add the wood like you said after you have your temp where you want it.

I'm sure one of the people with a side box will be along soon to give you more help.

post #4 of 4

Still learning with my sidebox. It is a labor of love. Welcome, you will learn a ton here. Depending on how long I plan to smoke depends on the amount of charcoal I use. I typically line my side box with a two to three briquet  layer deep and then start a chiminey full of charcoal. When the coals in the chimeny starter are all orange, I put them on top of the charcoal in the fire box. I bring the smoker up to temp,place food in smoke area, then add wood.  I have a vertical smoker and if I run 225 to 250 this gets me 3 or 4 hrs. Now If I need to go longer I add a layer or two to the initial lining of the firebox. If I need to add charcoal during my smoke, I tend to let my wife add the coals from the chiminey starter and I hold a piece of aluminum foil over the opening between the firebox and smoke chamber ,to avoid ashes on the meat. I will eventually fabricate a damper/flue to seal it shut so I don't need mommas help. I tend to start a lot of smokes late night or early morning and if I need more coals in 4 or  5 hrs, she tends to get a bit grouchy when I wake her up in the middle of the night for help!!!ROTF.gif

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