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GOSM help and fine tuning

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi all.
I have a GOSM propane smoker. Been using it for about 3 years. I get reasonably good results, especially with pork butt. But I'm trying to refine things and make it a bit more consistent. I have two basic issues...

 

One, controlling temperature is not easy. My goal is (and let's talk pork butt here for simplicity) a smoker temp of between 220º and 230ºF. I use the Redi-Chek digital thermometer, which works great. It's a little tough to keep the temps in the right range. First, the flame tends to move back to the vent area of the burner tube (What is that thing called anyway?) and the temp goes way up. I have built a foil dam for that but it still needs some tending once or twice per session. Even when that part is OK, I still get fluctuations due to wind/etc. that change temps down to around 180º or up to 250º.

 

I also have trouble getting proper smoke for any length of time. I use the large bag of chunks of hickory from Home Depot, and also add some different flavors of smaller chips. While I can get good thin blue smoke easily enough, it doesn't stay that way for very long. It will either catch fire and burn or trickle out to almost nothing. I have experimented with using the built-in wood box and also using a cast-iron skillet covered with tin foil. The small box produces good smoke, but only for a half hour or so until it burns down. I'd like to be able to leave it closed longer than that. While the skillet smokes longer, at some point the wood reaches critical mass and starts burning hard instead of smoking, and temps spike with lots of white smoke. I'd love to get a handle on smoothing out the ups-and-downs of getting the smoke right...

 

I have not yet experimented with the damper on top. I leave it full open so far.

 

I'm looking at doing more in the way of ribs/brisket, but I"m hesitant until I get these issues under control. Pork butt is easy; brisket, not so much... :-)

 

So here's what I'd like to know...

1. What's the screen/vent thing on the burner and why does that flame at times?
2. How can I keep more consistent temps in the smoker?
3. How do I smooth out the smoke production cycles?
4. Does the age of the wood chunks make a difference? It's very dry here (northern AZ) and the wood is dry. I don't soak it, just use it as is.
5. The wood chunk sizes are very different. Would it make a difference if I were to cut them to more uniform sizes?
6. Am I running into limitations of my smoker or is it more likely my technique? If the former, I'm considering a different smoker but that will be discussed in a different thread... I will be up for a good discussion there on that issue...

 

Looking forward to getting some good advice!
Thanks!

post #2 of 3

I couldn't find my thread on the GOSM here's a lengthy post from my website that may help a bit.

 


I just received my Big Block 3605BGD last week and wanted to post some notes and some comparisons to my 3405GW.

My 3405GW is a great smoker and it has been very faithful, temps remain constant and had never had a problem and has put out some superb food! So there will be no 3405GW bashing.
I am a little sad to see the 3405GW go, especially after it took 3 years of awesome smokes to get it seasoned just to where I wanted it, however I am pleased to find a new home for it, directly across the street at my Neighbor Bruce's house.

I will be referring to the 3605BGD as the BB from here on out.

I ordered the Smoker from Bass Pro.
If you go to their website Click Here for Brass Pro you will notice that the pictures on their website are of 2 different models, the model with the door open is the incorrect model.

The model on the left (door open pic) shows a rotary igniter, the one on the right with (door partially closed pic) is the 3605BGD (Big Block).

The differences in the 2 models are pretty significant. I am pretty sure the model with the rotary igniter (door open pic) is the 3405BGW

Do not confuse the 3405BGW below with MY 3405GW. I only posted the 3405BGW (Wide Body) info on this blog because I have noticed many people confusing these 2 smokers, and as far as I know you can not get the 3605BGW (Big Block) at Wal mart, only the 3405 BGW (Wide Body), as far as the wider smokers are concerned.

The information below is for comparison of the 3405BGW (Wide Body) and the 3605BGD (Big Block)

Just a side note, the GOSM's sold at Wal-mart are different in quite a few ways, so be careful when making a decision to purchase one from Wal-Mart as opposed to Bass pro, There is a reason for the price difference.
 

Premium features include: 3405BGW (Wide Body)

  • Easy Access Door
  • Cool grip wire handles
  • 3 cooking grates
  • Rotary Knob ignition
  • Porcelain coated steel water pan
  • Cast Iron Chip box
  • Dimensions: 18" x 25" x 43.2"
  • Weight: 58 lbs. I BELIEVE THIS IS INCORRECT
  • No drip pan or grease deflectors
  • No slide out smoker Box Tray
  • 1 adjustable vent

 

 

Premium features include: 3605BGD (Big Block)

  • Easy Access Door
  • Cool grip wire handles
  • 4 cooking grates
  • Push Button ignition
  • Porcelain coated steel water pan
  • Cast Iron Chip box
  • Dimension: 21" x 29" x 45.2"
  • Weight: 91.3 lbs.
  • Cooking Area: 1257 sq. inches
  • Removable drip pan
  • grease deflectors, note the one on the door
  • 3 vents
  • slide out smoker box tray



 



Ok, hopefuly the confusion between the 3405BGW (Wide Body) and the 3605BGD (Big Block) is resolved and we can continue with some BB notes and some comparisons to my 3405GW.
 


The box arrived in pretty good shape, a few dings that I banged out no problem.
It was pretty heavy, 91 lbs. The website said 63lbs
Update: I called Landman USA when I originally ordered this item and told customer service the weight was incorrect on the website, she replied thank you I will notify the web designer, anyhow I checked today 6/16/2010 and it was corrected.

After I opened the box I realized why it was so heavy, the new chip pan is huge and as soon as I picked up the chip pan I knew that mods were not going to be needed.

As big as the BB looks, the footprint is still relatively small, below are 3 comparison photos.

Dimensions.
45.2'' H x 29'' W x 21'' D
1257 CU IN COOK SPACE
 

Landman USA Info:

Call us at 1-877-3GRILLS
(1-877-347-4557)

 

Address: 101 Old Mill Rd.- Building 300
Cartersville, GA 30120
Local Phone: (770) 606-8903
Fax: (770) 606-8112

Email: CustomerService@landmann-usa.com


3405GW and 3605BGD, side by side comparison.



The first thing I noticed when assembling is that the hardware itself is a bit heavier duty and the hinges are barrel hinges that are welded in place as opposed to the 3405's bolted in hinges.
The steel seems to be of the same gauge and they both have a decent paint job. Assembly was very straightforward and after it was all together I was slightly disappointed because I was enjoying putting the BB together.


The thermometer sucks ass and the thermometer on the new BB was damaged and I refuse to put that piece of shit on, I will order a large 3 or 4" tru temp but for now I have a 2" one on now.


Maybe I will make a night light out of the thermometer.

Update.., I called Landmann USA for a replacement thermometer, great customer service.
Although I will not rely on the thermometer, I felt I should put it on for aesthetic purposes only.
Maybe I can use it as a bottle opener.

Another thing I noticed is how the bottom is affixed to the smoker.
On the 3405GW its pieced together and on the BB its welded, I always had grease seep out at the bottom joints on the 3405GW.
Grease can seep out of the front gap on the BB but can be filled with some high temp sealant.


The BB also has a removable drip pan and deflectors to deflect the falling grease from the sides into the drip pan...way to go Landman.



The 3405GW has a rotary igniter whereas the BB has a push button igniter. I am not sure at this point if one is better than the other



Same cheesy handle but it works
I get a little less smoke seeping from around the door on the BB but this may be due to the fact that the 3405GW was damaged a bit in transit, as you can see by the above side by side photo.

Welds seem to be a bit cleaner and sturdier on the BB.
Installing the burner is about the same on both, from what I remember anyway.

The racks are Nice and fairly heavy duty.


The chip pan is huge and weighs approximately 10 lbs or so.
I replaced the chip pan on the 3405GW with a small cast iron dutch oven and had to do various tweaks

For the BB with the lid on the chip box, acquiring TBS, (Thin Blue Smoke) is fairly easy,
I don't use chips as the manufacturer suggests, I use chunks, as you will see later in this post. With the larger chip pan you can get 2-3 hours of smoke, just make sure to choke off the air by using the lid.


Incredible difference.



The water pan is much larger also, as you can see in the next 2 photos. The water pan is porcelain coated for easy cleanup just as the 3405GW, but you may want to cover it in foil, just make sure to get the wide foil.
I put about a gallon of water into the water pan, the manufacturer suggests about an inch from the top.
I am not sure how much water went int the 3405GW's water pan but I would guess about half of a gallon. I stopped using foil on the 3405GW but will be using foil again, just make sure to press it in tightly around the sides so you don't loose any volume, and don't puncture the foil.






One Major improvement, upgrade or whatever you want to cal it is the drip pan in the bottom, you can line this with foil, but I chose not to, next time I will spray it with pam. If you look closely on the first picture below, you will see the dripping deflector in the upper left hand corner...way to go Landman.




Time to fire up the smoker.
I opened the propane valve 1-1/2 turns, turned burner control knob to high per manufacturers instructions... counted to 3, pressed the igniter once, and the burner fired up no problem. Repeated this to make sure it wasn't a fluke.

The rotary igniter on the 3405 has been pretty good as well over the last 3 years.




Below are Low, Medium and High on the 3405GW. The burner control is less accurate in correlation to the control knob as there is not much difference between medium and high compared to the Big Block.
 


Below are Low, Medium and High on the Big Block. The burner on the BB is more responsive than my 3405GW and the control of the flame is more manageable than the 3405GW as well.
Also note that the Burn is cleaner, (less yellow flame).




I haven't really tested heat recovery but from frequent use of the 3405GW and one test smoke of the BB, I would say they both fare well when temps are running at medium and with a full water pan, however the 3405GW does recover a little bit quicker.

The BB took a bit more time recovering from High Heat around 300 degrees, but this was with no food.

They both heat up initially pretty well, but the BB has better control of the burner. I ran the smoker with a full water pan and chunks in the chip pan to season.

I messed around with the vents on the side a bit and there was only a few degree change after 20 minutes. I would suggest to leave them closed to the stop tabs and leave the top vent full open to the tab stops.

Out of the box the BB smoker is good to go, no mods needed, however I may install a needle valve mod if the temps do not go to 150 degrees, this mod worked out well on the 3405GW.

The 3405GW needed some tweaks, but I must wonder how much of those tweaks were done because of my lack of experience with Vertical Water Smokers?


 

Temperature Variances.
 

I initially started out with 5 thermos but one probe was shot, so 4 it was.

Weather conditions 70 degrees low humidity no wind.

This test was done during seasoning but with no food, it really is hard to gauge variations in temp because their are too many factors. For instance if I put a large 1 gallon pan on the 2nd rack, there may be a 50 degree variation in temps as the pan impedes airflow and has much greater mass. My only suggestion is find the rack that runs the hottest and max out on that rack, so if the top rack runs 30 degrees hotter than the bottom rack, set your max temp for the top rack and adjust the food accordingly such s placing the chili or beans on the top rack and the ribs below it... Yeah I know, you want those juicy ribs dripping in the beans and who wouldn't.





 

Seasoning time
 

Although all the above was done during the seasoning process, I separated it in the blog to make it easier to follow, I hope this wasn't in vain.

First I foiled the pan and added water, then for good smells I added some leftover spices and about a 1/2 cup of oil.
I did not spray the sides with oil as some suggest but rather went with the manufacturers suggestion but did sneak a little oil into the water pan.



This was another attempt at the much sought after TBS. But I really wanted to achieve this for the seasoning of the BB.
This time I tried big chunks and stacking. I started with few logs of cherry and ran them through my band saw.


Stacked them like so,


Placed them in the pan and added a few smaller chunks for insurance.



I absolutely never soak the wood, I feel that the water only delays the inevitable and doesn't keep the wood from igniting, only limiting the amount of oxygen will do this, others may disagree but that is what I do.

Ok everything is looking good, getting just a wee bit of smoke and here is what I got.


Notice the Reddish brown, this still has some life in it.





The piece on the right is completely used up and the piece on the left has a wee bit of smoke left in it. Below is a close up shot of the used up chunk.




This is perfect no white ash and TBS all the way.
The chip box ROCKS, looks like Chunks stacked is the way to go from here on out.
Update: I was able to duplicate the TBS on my second smoke without stacking, no ashes, just coals.
Conclusion, Stack wood chunks for longer smoke or side by side for more smoke, I have been using the side by side method, this has worked well my last few smokes.



Before I go into the next part, I wanted to point out what the differences between Grilling, Smoking and Barbecuing mean to me.

This is my OPINION only, not FACT!
 

  • Grilling - Cooking at higher temps over direct heat.
  • Smoking - Cooking at lower temps and infusing smoke flavor by the use of a hardwood into the food
  • Barbecuing - Cooking by indirect heat at Lower temps by a hardwood fire source, wood or hardwood coals "Low and Slow"

Everyone has their own opinion and mine is just that an opinion, hope I didn't ruffle any feathers.

 

Ok, its time to cook

This is assuming all your meat is prepped and ready to go.


Like I said earlier Although all the above was done during the seasoning process, I separated it in the blog to make it easier to follow, I hope this wasn't in vain.
 

  • Check propane, better yet have a backup tank

 

  • Open all Vents to full open (tab stop)

 

  • Remove any Racks you will not be using.

 

  • Spray the racks with pam

 

  • Foil the water pan



 

  • Fill the water pan


I strictly use water in the water pan unless making jerky. I am a firm believer of water in the water smoker, others will argue and say its only for thermal mass and you can use sand, I disagree.
In addition to acting as a thermal mass, I believe that the water helps minimize temp spikes and helps maintain temps closer to my preferred Smoking temps 220 - 240 degrees.

Also I BELEIVE it aids in the penetration of the smoke.
I will not go into scientific BS, and remember the key word here is I BELIEVE.
TIP, add boiled or hot tap water to the water pan if there is food in the smoker to reduce heat recovery time.

Some add "flavors" to the water in the water pan, such as onion scraps, apples, spices, I do on occasion but only with scraps, I have not confirmed it flavors the meat, but it sure smells good when smoking.

  • Foil the bottom of drip pan or spray with PAM, I spray, foiling the drip pan is a pain in the arse!

 

  • Add chips or chunks to the pan.

Make sure to place the lid on and I would suggest pliers to pull out the chip box grate and to remove the lid, also a pair of tongs to remove and add new chunks. If you must use chips, I would make foiled packets and poke the foil several times with a fork.
Also have a metal pan or something handy to put the spent wood chunks in and make sure to keep it off any surface that may get damaged from the heat.


 

  • Add Thermometers.

I will usually put a thermometer on each rack, pushing the probes through a potato or drilled out piece of wood, but will only use them in the meat on butts.
Do not rely on the Thermometer that came with the smoker plus I would test any thermometer before use in boiling water for accuracy, remember, water boils at 212 degrees.


 

  • Preheat smoker on high for about half an hour.

You can wait for the smoke to start but I don't sweat it.



 

  • Place the meat in smoker and leave on high about half an hour.

This will help keep the smoker up to temp and you can turn the flame down slightly every 15 minutes or so thereafter and dial it in to the temp you desire. I feel its better to work down from a higher heat than the other way around. It helps to have a tight target temp in mind such as 225- 235 degrees.

I have noticed when smoking things like Chili or Beans in a large pan, it will knock the snot out of the temps and give you crazy readings, I believe this is due to the mass and the hindrance of air flow because of the pan.


 

  • Monitor the temps, wood and water.

I have gotten into the habit of removing the wood and adding fresh chunks when the wood is spent, just before it ashes up . The wood will smoke a lot more towards the end, right before it is used up. If you must open the door often, make sure to add water, check the chips and sprits or mop in one shot, also eyeball the meat.

And remember the corny but true saying "If you're looking you aint cooking"



TBS pic below



The pic below is a chunk and some smaller pieces, the smaller pieces were just starting to ash up and when I took them out of the smoker and they were exposed to more oxygen they ashed over rapidly.



Dressed up Hormel Chili



Ribs halfway through the 3-2-1 method




Chicken and Jalapenos wrapped in bacon and glazed with "Sweet Baby Rays"




Ribs being devoured.



"Sweet Baby Rays"
The Wifey found these on sale at Acme $1.00 a piece, she knew it would make me happy when she popped these out of the grocery bag.




Making some rub,




OOPS! too much... oh well.


Some notes on cleaning your BB.

Let your smoker cool a bit, I usually do this when its still warm, just watch the Smoker Box, it stays hot for quite a bit of time.
 

  • Wipe the outside down with a degreaser such as 409, rarely needed
  • Remove any food particles and wipe out any visible grease.
  • If you seasoned with "wood only", the sides should stay fairly clean.
  • Spray the racks with Pam before each use and after cleaning them.
  • Wipe out the excess grease from the sides and under the drip tray
  • Remove the drip pan and clean with soapy water, spray lightly with Pam.
  • Brush out all debris in the Smoker box, you can spray the Smoker box with Pam to keep from rusting, this will cook off next time you fire up the smoker
  • Take out the water pan, drain liquid, remove foil and wash with soapy water, make sure to wash the bottom real good, it may get some soot on it. TIP: Wipe the bottom with paper towels while still warm before using soapy water.


Some Tips.
 

post #3 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Falconer View Post
 

Hi all.
I have a GOSM propane smoker. Been using it for about 3 years. I get reasonably good results, especially with pork butt. But I'm trying to refine things and make it a bit more consistent. I have two basic issues...

 

One, controlling temperature is not easy. My goal is (and let's talk pork butt here for simplicity) a smoker temp of between 220º and 230ºF. I use the Redi-Chek digital thermometer, which works great. It's a little tough to keep the temps in the right range. First, the flame tends to move back to the vent area of the burner tube (What is that thing called anyway?) and the temp goes way up. I have built a foil dam for that but it still needs some tending once or twice per session. Even when that part is OK, I still get fluctuations due to wind/etc. that change temps down to around 180º or up to 250º.

 

I also have trouble getting proper smoke for any length of time. I use the large bag of chunks of hickory from Home Depot, and also add some different flavors of smaller chips. While I can get good thin blue smoke easily enough, it doesn't stay that way for very long. It will either catch fire and burn or trickle out to almost nothing. I have experimented with using the built-in wood box and also using a cast-iron skillet covered with tin foil. The small box produces good smoke, but only for a half hour or so until it burns down. I'd like to be able to leave it closed longer than that. While the skillet smokes longer, at some point the wood reaches critical mass and starts burning hard instead of smoking, and temps spike with lots of white smoke. I'd love to get a handle on smoothing out the ups-and-downs of getting the smoke right...

 

I have not yet experimented with the damper on top. I leave it full open so far.

 

I'm looking at doing more in the way of ribs/brisket, but I"m hesitant until I get these issues under control. Pork butt is easy; brisket, not so much... :-)

 

So here's what I'd like to know...

1. What's the screen/vent thing on the burner and why does that flame at times?
2. How can I keep more consistent temps in the smoker?
3. How do I smooth out the smoke production cycles?
4. Does the age of the wood chunks make a difference? It's very dry here (northern AZ) and the wood is dry. I don't soak it, just use it as is.
5. The wood chunk sizes are very different. Would it make a difference if I were to cut them to more uniform sizes?
6. Am I running into limitations of my smoker or is it more likely my technique? If the former, I'm considering a different smoker but that will be discussed in a different thread... I will be up for a good discussion there on that issue...

 

Looking forward to getting some good advice!
Thanks!

I also have a GOSM.  I've had it for about a year and a half now.

 

1. I don't have a screen on my burner.  can you upload a pic?

2. You need to do what I need to do.  Get a needle valve to help regulate your temps better.  Do a search on here for GOSM needle valve mod and you'll see what I'm talking about.  I have been looking to do that since last year, just haven't accomplished it.  I'm not good with pipes and valves so I asked my dad for some help.  I'll let you know what we come up with.  Here's a link I was looking at http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/68156/gosm-needle-valve-mod

3.  I use the stock wood chip pan.  I use chips and chunks in my pan.  The small chips will smoke first, then they help burn the bigger chunks.  You could always get an a-maze-n pellet smoker box.  Its a box that you put in the bottom of your smoker and buy pellets.  They burn easily and steadily.  Again, if you search the forums I'll bet you'll find a lot of info on them here.

4. I'm not sure to be truthful, but I would imagine it would.  The old would probably burn faster, if they were stored in a dry cool place.  The wood will dry out more causing it to burn quicker and hotter.  You could always soak your chips to help them burn longer.  I personally don't soak my chips.  I did it a few times, but find, personally, its unnecessary.

5.  Yes, the more uniform the more likely they will burn at the same rate.  But, I'm not sure if that makes much difference.  Like I said above, my greatest success is using chips and chunks.  I line the bottom of the wood pan with chips then nestle in 3-5 chunks depending on how big they are in the chips.  Also, get something to stir the chips up as they burn. You'll find they all don't burn consistently and you'll need to move them around to get the unburnt ones to a place thats hotter and chips are burning.  How big is your wood pan?  I find my wood lasts a good 1-1.5 hrs in the pan.  

6.  The way I get my chips and chunks going better is, while heating up the smoker I fire it up on high for about 15 minutes.  Get it good and hot.  Then when I'm loading my food I lower it down to where it should be.  That seems to get the chip pan ready to start the chips burning.  I found when the pan inst hot enough to start with it takes them much longer to get smoking.

 

Is your GOSM the big block wide body?  That's the one I have and I feel it is more than I need.  I can do about 15 slabs of ribs at a time in it.  Its my avatar on this site.

 

Hope that all helps!!!!!!!!!!

 

Let me know if you have any follow up questions.  I also found some needle valves all set on Amazon.  I'm starting a new thread asking for some advice if they'll work or not.  If you're like me and don't want to chance putting together a valve mod, these might be the way to go.  I just want to know if people here have used them and if they work or not.  They are in the $25-$30 range.

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