Hey everyone on SMF!
Just joined to learn more about BBQ smoking. I've loved smoked meats since I was a kid. Catching fish and smoking went hand-in-hand. Fast forward to a more recent decade and it didn't take a genius to figure out that family, friends and my two daughters, now 9 and 14, all loved digging into a plate of well prepared BBQ. For years I've smoked with the ol' Luhr Jensen Little Chief electric 'box'/sawdust chip-type smoker, or more recently, on my gas grill with soaked chips and chunks in those small steel boxes with holes sold at home stores. It was a labor of love, either way, with mixed results.
A next door neighbor opened my eyes to 'real' offset or indirect smoking. I basically followed my nose to his backyard and he tutored me in the fine art of BBQ smoking. He'd travel the countryside to lumberjack the best local woods: apple, almond, oak, pistachio, or any fruit trees he could find. No local hickory or mesquite, so he just made do with what he could find, and dedicated himself to the craft on a simple single-dad's budget. Some days I'd smell him starting his grill at 4:30 am or babysitting it the whole night through. I'd bring beer and a piece of my own meat and he'd gladly find space on the grill for me.
When I learned about electric pellet smokers last year, I thought 'it's about time something came along for those of us that aren't Paul Bunyan!' When I too, became a simple single-dad last year, I found myself with enough home-time to think of smoking again. A quick Sunday trip to Costco for basic essentials put me in front of the Traeger rep. Having smoked 4 tri-tips the weekend before on a friends new Traeger it wasn't hard to push me over the edge. The rest of my Sunday was spent assembling, seasoning and using my new Traeger Lil' Tex pellet smoker! It was a 'housewarming present' to myself I'm still justifying by writing this snippet now!
With every new system, there's a learning curve. Over the next couple months I found even these modern marvels of modern engineering aren't so foolproof after all, at least not for this fool! They're not 'set it and forget it'. They require maintenance: firebox cleaning, replacing igniter rods, testing pellets, and so forth. I struggled to maintain solid low temps for long slow smoking, enough so I began researching other smokers and found I wasn't alone. Without the budget for an expensive Yoder or Mak, I turned to the Green Mountain Grill Daniel Boone and I've never regretted it! If any of you would like more info on Traeger Lil' Tex vs the GMG Daniel Boone, please feel free to ask.
As far as BBQ skills go? I'd rate myself on the low end of the intermediate level in smoking. In spite of my lifetime of exposure, I'm a beginner in many ways, and rely on these forums pretty heavily. As with anything, when you think you know a lot - lift your head, take a look around - there are people out there like the seasoned members, pun intended, here on this forum with several lifetimes of experience, gracious enough to take the time to share their expertise. For that I thank you-all.
On that note, It's time to get back to a couple of chickens I've been marinating overnight. It's early in the am, but no better time to wake my neighbors with the sweet smell of BBQ smoke!