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New here from 'The Mitten'

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone, I'm excited to join your community of smoker vets and newbies alike.  I live just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan.  I've loved to cook for years, when I was younger I cooked at two different restaurants and served tables at others.  I love to grill, but some of my most favorite food is smoked BBQ.  I decided it was time to expand my horizons and try to embrace the art of smoking myself.

 

Like many other beginners on this forum, I went for the $74 vertical smoker at Walmart to begin my adventure.  Its the Char Broil Vertical Charcoal Smoker 365.  Very similar to the Brinkman vertical smoker (as you all know).  If I had a little more room outside, I would have grabbed an offset smoker, but I'm pretty happy with my choice.  I ordered a cover for it from Char Broil as well in hopes to keep it nice for awhile.

 

After I assembled the smoker, I followed the procedures for 'seasoning' that were outlined in the manual.  So as it stands now, my smoker is ready for its first use.

 

Since I'm new at this, i've been doing research and discovered that people are modifying these smokers to achieve better performance.  If someone could help me confirm these I would appreciate it.

 

-Fireproof felt to help seal the doors

-Charcoal pan with holes to help maintain a hotter fire

-Aftermarket thermometer for more accurate temp readings

 

Where is the best (and quickest) place to get these things?  I'm aiming to do my first smoke this weekend and would like to get these things in place beforehand if possible.  If not, I'll work with the stock stuff, and upgrade when possible.

 

Is there anything I missed that I should consider?

 

In hopes of creating a successful, and original BBQ this weekend,  I trolled through many sites and forums for recipes on rubs and sauces.  I found two recipes that I like and modified them to cater to my own preferences.  So I can bring to the table an original rub and sauce for this weekend's smoke.

 

I'm using a 14 spice dry rub and have made an original BBQ sauce from scratch seasoned with that rub mixture - both of which lean to the spicy side.  I plan to make another sauce on Saturday while I'm smoking that is a bit on the sweeter side.

 

I'm trying to decide what ingredients to put into my water pan for this smoke.  I was thinking fresh apple slices, worcestershire sauce and sliced onion.

 

I'll be using a combination of hickory, applewood and oak wood chips.

 

For my first smoke, I was thinking about doing a couple racks of ribs.  But I thought I would ask the community for opinions on what would be a good first smoke.  I hope to get some use out of the smoker for the next couple weeks before I attempt something like beef brisket.

 

If anyone would be willing to enlighten me on some tips for my first smoke, I would greatly appreciate it!  One tip I saw was to cover the water pan in aluminum foil.

 

Anything else I should know or be aware of before I try this thing out? :)

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated, and thank you in advance for your feedback!

post #2 of 4

welcome1.gifto SMF!  We are so glad you joined us! Would you please update your profile to show the other SMF members where you are located?  Will help with answering some of your questions too.

 

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!

 

Kat

post #3 of 4
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!

That's a lot of questions for one post and I'll tell you the truth not that many people look through the Roll Call threads. I would suggest breaking down your questions and posting them in the appropriate forums and I think you will get a lot more responses.
Since this is your first smoke I would keep things simple and not try to do to much, use this as a chance to get to know your smoker.
As far as the water pan I would forget adding all that stuff to it, you really won't taste it in the meat. You will find most people don't even put water in the pan, they will fill it with sand or pea gravel to create a better thermal mass to help control temps. Water creates humidity that will actually lower your chamber temp. If you still want humidity or just a pan to catch the drippings you can put a disposable foil pan on top of it.
post #4 of 4
Hello and welcome! Good advice from Dave...keep it simple. As you get familiar with your smoker and with your techniques, you'll make adjustments and fine tune your methods.

Good luck with that first smoke! Be sure to show and tell how it turns out with some photos (Qview) of your cook and your food.

Red
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