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New to SMF and still learning how to really smoke

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

What's up SMF! I'm Curtis. From Tennessee and I just purchased my first "real smoker". I've always used my grill and just "rigged" it (burned my charcoal on one side and placed meat on the other side) but I just got a Char-Broil vertical smoker and can't wait to use it.


I've done chicken, Spareribs, and a few Pork Butts on my grill so I can't wait to smoke on this smoker. I usually use charcoal and apple wood chunks and chips but I plan on trying lump coal in the near future.


Couple questions I have are:

1) Do I need to soak my wood prior to burning it? 

2) What is the recommended time to season my new smoker and could/should it be done same day?

3) I've seen a few posts say that you shouldn't use water (or any liquid) in the water pan....Why or why not?


Any suggestions, tips, etc is greatly appreciated


Thanks in advance

post #2 of 5
Hi Curtis! welcome1.gif to SMF!!! We're happy you found us! You've come to the right place, we have over 50,000 members who just love to share their experience and over 1,000,000 posts describing it! Yea that’s right over 1,000,000!

The search bar at the top can be your best friend when you are trying to find answers to your questions but you can still ask too if you want!

We have an Articles section that is full of great information about smoking to include a lot of recipes and instructionals. Check it out there is a lot to learn in there!

You might want to check out Jeff's Free 5 day E-Course, it will teach you all the basics plus a whole lot more!

1. No need to soak the wood, it will just have to dry out before it actually starts to smolder and produce smoke.
2. If it came with instructions on seasoning then I would follow them. If not just set it up like you were going to smoke something and let it smoke at around 250* for a couple of hours and you should be good to go. You can use it the same day.
3. I filled my water pan with sand because it is a better thermal mass than water. Water can't get above 212* so if you want the smoker temp higher than that the water is just fighting against you and as it evaporates the thermal mass gets smaller. Sand or pea gravel will get as hot as you want it and it's mass won't change. If I want to add some humidity to the chamber I will just set a disposable foil pan on top of the sand pan and add some water to it. That's also good to catch drippings so the sand and smoker doesn't get as dirty.
post #3 of 5

welcome1.gifto SMF!  We are so glad you joined us! 


We love to see pictures of what you are cooking (or what we call q-views here at SMF).  To "upload the q-views" just follow the directions here and it will be easier. If you are using a cell phone, an IPad or a kindle, go to the main SMF page and click the Mobile button. Will make the uploads a bit faster too.


If you didn't read the "Terms of Service" notes.....please do.  There are a few things that everyone should know about those pesky little rules before plunging into the forums and some guidelines of how to interact within the forums. Off site links are not allowed here at SMF per Jeff. Not that you have done anything wrong....just a little bit of FYI for new members!


If you need any help roaming around the forums....just holler!  Happy to help out!



post #4 of 5

Glad you joined the group. The search bar at the top of any page is your best friend.
About anything you wanna know about smoking/grilling/curing/brining/cutting or slicing
and the list goes on has probably been posted. Remember to post a QVIEW of your smokes.
We are all smoke junkies here and we have to get our fix. If you have questions Post it
and you will probably get 10 replies with 11 different answers. That is because their
are so many different ways to make great Q We all have our own taste.

Happy smoken.


post #5 of 5

Hello welcome aboard!  This is the best place I know for sharing ideas on smoking, grilling, curing, etc.  So many friendly and knowledgeable folks who really enjoy helping one another.  Dave's got you covered on your questions, so just holler when you need anything else, and someone here will have the answer.



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