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New Smoker - I may also be an idiot

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey folks,


First post here, be gentle.


I finally pulled the trigger on the cheapo Master Forge Charcoal Smoker at Lowes, and I was super excited to use it. Got it home, put it together (not terrible), added charcoal, lit, and WHOOSH.


Within a couple minutes the fire was way too big, and was peeking out through the seams in the smoker, the door, etc. Bubbled up the exterior of the can, I had to end up using a fire extinguisher and embarrassing myself. I am guessing I just had too damn much charcoal in there, but who knows?


Anyway, I was wondering... in that sort of smoker (cheap bullet, obvi) how much charcoal are you using? 


As a side note, for those do you recommend a smoker box, or can I just put soaked chips around the edge of my briquettes?


Thanks folks!

post #2 of 14
welcome to SMF Bordy... uummm.. how did you light the charcoal ? lighter fluid ? or was it matchlight charcoal ?... usually there is no flames from charcoal unless one of those 2 items was used... do some research on the "minion method" using the search feature at the top of the page.... good luck
post #3 of 14

It is all part of learning, no big deal at all. Sounds like you used lighter fluid which you will notice hardly anyone on the forums does, not just for the reason you described but it also leaves a fowl taste in quality charcoal that gets transfer to your grilling products.

Get yourself a charcoal starter and add charcoal as needed to reach your desired grill temperature and remember it is much easier to increase temperature than bring it down.

Weber Charcoal Starter.jpg

post #4 of 14
I have that smoker.
Use a charcoal lighting chimney to light your charcoal.
I know how much everybody hates to read directions and I know that the directions that come with that smoker look a bit overwhelming, but it is essential that you read them because that smoker doesn't operate like most others, so general advise isn't going to help you.
It is important not to fill it past the max fill line and the direction emphasis that, the fill line is just below the holes on the side of the charcoal pan.
I toss in a chuck or 2 or more every now than then for smoke, no big deal.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

I actually had read them, and didn't fill past the fill line (was pretty proud of it actually!). What I missed though was to not use matchlight charcoal. Thinking that's what did it, IMO.

post #6 of 14
Yeah, never use Matchlight.

post #7 of 14

Smoke Good, Flames Bad! The temps you will be using are in the 225-250 range for most items  and 300-325 for Poultry. It does not take much to get there, 10-20 lit Briquettes can get the job done....JJ

post #8 of 14
especially if you have to add more charcoal during the cook never use matchlight... throw it away and get ya some kignsford blue....
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Ahhh, exactly the type of answer I was looking for! Thanks buddy!

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'd seen them used before, and saw one in the store today, but balked at the price.


But now, ordered one on Amazon. Lesson learned lol.

post #11 of 14

Thats a good starter rig. I started on the Brinkman (ECB) model. Then went to the Char griller pro w/ mods and now I am at the 22.5 WSM and never looked back lol.


Still have all my cookers. I use the griller for nothing but grilling and not really for smoking anymore. I like the cast iron grates it has!!


First "smoke" I did was ribs. I did not use the water pan, so I was grilling in the ECB with the lid on. OMGGG was a disaster!!!!!! Burnt up and blackened ribs ahahah


Now people are fighting over my PP and BBQ. 97% Learned it  from here...Other 3% by just reading other sites.


You might look into gettin on jeffs mailing list  and his 5 day smoking course. Its all FREE here hahah. Good stuff goin on here at SMF!!!!




post #12 of 14

  Good advice in the previous posts. Keep trying, you will get better each time!




post #13 of 14

I don't have any experience with that particular smoker, but I'd assume the Minion Method would work. Look it up on Youtube. It's the best method for low and slow. For higher heat cooking like poultry, the chimney is the best bet to start a full load of coals. As pointed out already in earlier posts and your own experience, match light is not good. For anything. At all. I can't believe they keep selling the stuff. For what it's worth, I made the same mistake. All I could find at my neighborhood drugstore was matchlight and I thought "How bad could it be?". One ruined meal later I knew. Good luck and enjoy your new smoker!

post #14 of 14


Originally Posted by Mdboatbum View Post

As pointed out already in earlier posts and your own experience, match light is not good. For anything. At all. I can't believe they keep selling the stuff.


Match light charcoal does have a purpose, I use it as a heat source when using the Orion Cooker. The charcoal is used for heat only and the Orion Cooker is a convection style outdoor oven that will add a smoke flavor to the meal if wood chips are used.

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