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Absolute Rookie Needs Tips

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello All,


My name is Ron, I live in San Jose, CA and have never owned a smoker until this past weekend. A buddy of mine gave me his Oklahoma Joe that he no longer uses. 


The ONLY problem I have now is that I have NO clue how to use this thing. No...seriously...how exactly do I smoke a brisket on this thing? I don't know the Oklahoma Joe product line very well, but the unit I have looks quite a bit like the photo below. My smoker does have a connection for a small propane tank though. 


Is there someplace online (a video would be ideal) where someone has already documented how to use a smoker like this? I checked YouTube, but they have lots of video of people smoking meat, but none show how exactly to start the smoker and maintain the smoke/heat. Also, does anyone have any idea how the grates should be put in this smoker? it seems like there are too many grates (one small rectangle shape and three larger that are square or near square). The reason I ask about the grates is because the three large ones are too wide to sit side by side in the main part of the smoker, but two side by side leaves about a six inch gap. 


Any tips are appreciated. Thanks!




post #2 of 18


welcome1.gif   Glad to have you with us!


I'm not familiar with your smoker, but I know there are a few guys on here that have one, so help is on the way!

post #3 of 18

Hello Ron and welcome to SMF - glad to have you here 

post #4 of 18


This site has tons of info.
I suggest you spend some time reading all the different forums and the WIKIs.
Ask questions and use the handy dandy search tool for specific interests!!
Take the awesome free E-Course!!!
Have a great day!!!
      Make bacon the easy way!!
post #5 of 18


Welcome to SMF glad you can join us.  We are big on Pics and love to help everyone out.  Remember the only question that is dumb is one not asked.  You will not find a friendlier place to talk Que on the web.


You are going to fit in just fine.

post #6 of 18

Welcome to the forum!  This site has tons of folks that know A LOT about smoking that will help you out in a flash with your questions!


There are a ton of us that have SnP's (aka Brinkmann Smokin' Pit) type smokers.  There is a ton of info on this forum about them as well as on youtube and the internet.


There's also a dedicated sub-forum on this site just for side fire box smokers (that is what your smoker is although there are several types).  Here's the link:




The advanced search on the forum is also a great tool.  Here are the results of an advanced search for 'SnP mods'....:





Welcome to your new addiction... you'll have plenty of company here!



post #7 of 18



I had that smoker many years ago, you can make some darn fine food on it - but it takes patience. I would start with Chicken Thighs or wings first. They take far less time and are far more forgiving than a brisket. The propane is for one of those little camping 1lb tanks. Makes lighting a good fire a cinch. You turn the propane off after a good fire is established.


you of course build the fire in the small offset section on the fire rack. You can use charcoal, lump carcoal or real wood. I found the charcoal / wood chip combo easy to control. You want a far amount of fuel to get it running, and you will have to tend the fire to keep the temps about where you want them.


There are two levels of grates in the main section, one for the very bottom to set a water pan or catch pan for drippings on then the two cooking grates that sit next to eachother on the upper level. The hot area is obviously right next to the fire box, I used an old meatloaf pan filled with water to ease the temp transistion between fire and cooking area. So when the main area is open, the meatloaf pan is as far to the left as you can go on the top rack when facing the grill.


Shift the grates all the way to the left so the gap is on the right, under the smoke stack. You do not want to fill that or block that far right area - it is critical to correct air flow and temp control, so the right 5 or 6 inches is not for food - just air.

post #8 of 18

welcome1.gif   Have fun a don't get too overwhelmed with all the info on the site...LOL...great folks here 

post #9 of 18

Another NorCAl smoker on board and a Bay Area guy at that - Welcome Ron!


I run a gasser so I cannot help with your particular smoker but it looks like a couple of the earlier posts are getting you going inthe right direction.



post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks all!

The links and other tips are much appreciated. I've signed uP for the 5-day course and will go through that in the coming days.

Where is a good/affordable place to buy my supplies? (wood, etc)

post #11 of 18

welcome1.gif to SMF. You have come to the right place for smoking info. This site is loaded with great info just use the search bar at top of page to find what you are looking for. If you can't locate the answer just ask folks here are willing to share there knowledge. I bet you'll like  the 5 day e-course on smoking its chuck full of great info.


I'm not much help on your smoker but like Al said there are peeps here that have them. I'm sure more will be along and help you out. 

post #12 of 18

Maybe this will help

post #13 of 18

Ask ur buddy that gave u the smoker to come over and help u with ur first smoke. welcome1.gif and Happy Smokin!

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by SmokedInSTL View Post

Ask ur buddy that gave u the smoker to come over and help u with ur first smoke. 

Thanks for the welcome Smoked! 


If I thought my buddy knew what he was doing, I would invite him over. ;-)

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

well, I got excited about my smoker and decided today was the day to smoke some ribs. I got through three days of the 5-day course, and already have everything ready. How's this look so far?photo.JPG

post #16 of 18

Hi RON80


Try all kinds of stuff. It all tastes good. I just took a turkey out of the smoker. Its excellent. Have fun


post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Question...which thermometer should I trust the most, the one that came in this smoker ("Bubba Q's BBQ Thermometer")? Or the one I bought to sit on the grates at meat level?

The factory thermometer is pretty damn steady at 230-degrees right now, but the grate level one shows 205 ish.
post #18 of 18

Howdy, and Welcome Aboard!


You need to check your therms with boiling water to see what is accurate or not....

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