I've been cooking for close to 40 years, grilling for just as long, but I just started smoking meat. It is my new addiction!
My old 22" Weber One-Touch Kettle with attached work table was collecting dust on the side of the house once we made the switch to gas years ago. I tried using the Weber years ago as a smoker with horrible results, but honestly I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Since then I've enjoyed watching shows like BBQ Pitmasters. I decided to see if there was a gadget that turns the Weber Kettle into a smoker. I found "the Smokenator," aka SN. It got great reviews on Amazon so my wife bought me one for my birthday over a year ago.
This year in mid August I finally spent three days and cleaned the spiders, bugs, and years of smoke buildup out of the old Weber Kettle. I bought new grates, digital thermometers (2)(don't ask), and read everything I could about smoking before trying it the first time. My wife was so pe-oh'ed that I waited a year to try it because the results have been fantastic! Honestly, I thought it was going to be a lot harder and more complicated than it was. Holy Moly, once you understand how to control the temperature, and it is easy with the SN, you can easily keep a target temp within a 5 to 10 degree range. The Maverick ET732 dual probe wireless thermometer makes it all a breeze!
So far we've smoked salmon, whole chickens, chuckies, SLC ribs, pork shoulder, and tri tips. The chuckies were the only thing that were less than perfect but they were still delicious. I know EXACTLY what I did wrong, taking them off too soon. I'll try again and they'll be perfect. Everything else has been summed up with one statement we both keep saying over and over after every smoke; "This is the BEST (insert smoked meat product here) I've ever eaten." One of the guys who works for me always asks "how'd the smoke go this weekend?" He's getting tired of hearing the same answer over and over.
There's still a brisket in my smoking future, along with Canadian bacon, regular bacon, pastrami, and a frozen turkey we've got out in the big freezer. In the past there were not enough hours in a weekend to rest, recreate, and chore. Now there's not enough hours in the weekend for smoking meat either! Feigning stress and fatigue has been working pretty good the last few weeks to free up time to smoke meat, but that sky fall excuse will wear thin with my wife before too long.
If you think I was kidding about being addicted to my new way of preparing meat, I wasn't. Listen, I wake up dreaming about smoking something. With apologies to the women smokers out there, smoking meat involves everything this guy loves; equipment, measuring tools (thermometers and scales), attention to detail, repeatable processes, and variable challenges like weather, sunshine, fuel and ingredients (injections, rubs, etc). Heck, I've already done one smoke in a total downpour! In the end you get a result YOU CAN EAT!!!! What more could you ask for? (Maybe a beer making kit, which I have behind me as I type, a gift from a daughter I'll start on next once I get a few more smokes under my belt. Hmmm, might help with keeping my wife happy too. "Yes Honey, I'm smoking meat again. Here, have a beer).
I'm looking forward to reading what people have done here and applying those lessons to my own efforts. Right now I'm just another newbie having a ball with a great way to serve my family fantastic food they rave about with each meal!
I've been keeping a family cookbook for years in a simple computer program called "the Living Cookbook," recipes I can share with my kids who are always asking for them. All the recipes I've added lately have been for rubs, sauces, and smoked meats!
So Hello everybody! I'm happy to be on board.