My name is James and I live just outside Orlando, Florida.
I'm a computer nut and have been in the IT arena for about 21 years now.
I design and support computer networks, large and small as well as build and
repair desktop/laptop systems and servers.
My smoking experience:
I have a small electric Brinkmann smoker that I've had for about 7 years now.
My dad had one and it was easy to work with and the final results were usually pretty
decent, so I thought that it was the easiest place to start for me....
I didn't start seriously dabbling with the smoker until I found the Smoking Meat newsletter
about a year ago....I mainly smoked pork tenderloins, chicken & fish because decent results
was easy. I fought with ribs a couple times and just about gave up because they were usually
tough. Since finding the site and newsletter, my ribs have come full circle. From semi-tough and
somewhat tasty to truly fall-off-the-bone tender and flavor full! My wife liked the tenderloin
roasts I have made but she never really raved about my ribs, until now! I had always
struggled with my ribs till finding Jeff's site....
A recent event that may change my smoking habits:
Up until a recent vacation, the electric smoker was very reliable. I prepped 3 sides of St. Louis style
ribs for the smoker and had everything ready to go, until I plugged in the smoker. When I plugged
in the element, it started up like always.....the element warms up and the soaked chips started to
sizzle & smoke....then BLAM! The element exploded and twisted up like a pretzel. So here I was,
ready to try a new rib method, miles from anywhere another element could be obtained easily. :o(
I walked over to a neighbor across the street, (our kids had been playing together all week).....and I
humbly mustered up the courage to talk to him and see if he would let me use his big trailer smoker.
He happily said "go for it", I then proceeded to tell him I was an electric smoker owner and needed a
little coaching on how to get everything going, heat control, etc. He told me to go grab two bags of
charcoal from the neighborhood store and come back for some training. So I picked up some charcoal
and a 12-pack of beer and brought him some liquid appreciation. About 5 hours later and a few more
12-packs, our two families were eating the best ribs either of us have ever had. Between my favorite
rib rub, the neighbor's smoker and the tricks I learned on Jeff's website, my wife now raves about my ribs.
Now that I have set the bar higher, I need to accomplish two more things - To replace or repair my dead
smoker, and to perfect my rib cooking skills while she's addicted!
The real reason why I'm here:
I plan to use this forum to make the decision to either: replace the element and resurrect the electric smoker
or buy a charcoal smoker of some sort. My dilemma is this - cost. How much should I spend on a side-by-side
smoker if I make the switch (plus incidentals like the chimney starter, etc), plus I know every time I fire that baby up,
it will cost me a bag or two of charcoal, plus having to keep charcoal on hand, etc. -OR- just stick with the old
tried, true and very reliable/stable cooking temp of the electric smoker. The only thing I have issues with on the
electric smoker is cooking space. I bought rib racks for the electric smoker in an attempt to figure out a way
to cook more ribs at once and the plan was to loop the meat into the racks and see if I could cook 3 sides at
once. Once I got a hold of the big trailer smoker and all abundance of smoking space, I was spoiled rotten!
.....so the dilemma is about to come to a head - - - spend the money to go charcoal or rebuild the existing.......
I look forward to seeing the lessons learned by others and I appreciate the recipe sharing I have seen in just
a few short hours of poking around here. I looks like a great place to hang out, share ideas and get treated to
some tasty BBQ!
Smoke's on.....LET'S GET COOKING!