Originally Posted by HawkFan1
Hey all! I just got a vertical propane smoker and am set to smoke some pork and a whole chicken. Any tips for the first time smoker would be great. (Smoking basics that I need to know). I also have a couple of questions:
- How often does the water need to be refilled and how often to change the wood chips?
- Is it a good idea to put foil under the meat to help reduce the mess or does that interfere with the cooking?
- What is the average cooking time for a 3-5 lb. pork butt and for a medium size whole chicken?
- Should sauce/rub be reapplied during the cook?
Thanks again for any help. I hope I don't sound like too much of a rube.
Hello there HawkFan,
My experience with my first smoker which was a vertical gas smoker. As to how often to refill the water pan?
I would refill the pan at least 1 time at minimum on most all smokes. I have had the pan run dry but it you line the water pan with foil, it will be an easier cleanup if the pan does go dry. Some on here have used the play sand in lieu of water in the pan! But with all the smokes, you will get a feel for what your smoker will do in time.
as for the wood chips, I add at least 2 smoke boxes full depending on the size of your smoke box it will vary.
I make a point to take a quick peek into the smoker at intervals of 1/4 then 1/2 the IT of my meat. The meat, Im told will only take only so much smoke and too much smoke can alter the flavor your going after by over doing it! With ribs, I do the 3-2-1 method and at the foil point, I add no more chips but still keep an eye on the water pan and usually needs more at the time I foil and I top it of at the unfoiling stage.
Its nothing scientific for me, its just what I have a system.
I wouldn't see a problem with foil under the meat, just so long as it was approx. the foot print size of the meat. I've questioned that before also and have read post on it. I personally like to put it right on the grates.
As for how long to smoke, A rule of thumb seems to be to allow 1.5 hrs per pound. I would recommend a good digital thermometer to keep a constant tabs on the IT as well as the CC temp. A MAVERICK 733 is a basic thermo that gets that job done.
I only sauce the last 15 minutes of the cook. If you are referring to the marinade or rub you put on before the smoke, then I wouldn't. I do like to spritz through the cook but that can work against you as you lose heat when you open the door. For this reason, I am resisting the spritz, especially in cold weather for obvious reasons.
Finally, why would you feel like a rube? These forums are here to give info. Everyone has questions from time to time!