My name is Matt and have recently purchased a Brinkmann upright charcoal smoker.
I'm hoping to do my first smoke in a few days. First question: how do I top up a smoker once the food is in? Does the charcoal have to be hot/grey?
Top up ?? Must be a UK term. You do not want to lite your charcoal all at once like you do a grill. Better to have four or five lit coals, then stack the other charcoal around them. This way the temps will build over time and stay "low and slow".
Hello and Welcome to our addiction. Many good folks here with a load of experience that they are more than willing to share. If you have specific questions just start a thread and someone with experience will be along soon to offer advice. All info you can provide us with such as smoker type, location and so on will help us answer any questions you may have, and pictures help a bunch. Spend some time doing some research on the forums, tons of advice and recipes already available there. Check out Jeff’s 5 day smoking E-Course ( link below ) that will help you get started. We look forward to your contributions.
U.K. members now have our own group. I would like to invite you to join our group. We have only recently started but we are growing quickly. Also, if you decide to join the group please have a read through the threads posted there and feel free to post some of your own. The welcome post on the group page will explain who I am. If I can be of any help please feel free to PM me. The link below will take you to the Group home page where you can join the Group.
As to your question about coals: The quality of your briquettes make a difference to the taste of your food and how long they will last. Pay more to start but use less to cook the food. Flash was giving you the correct advice. You want a few coals lit and almost grey then add unlit ( black ) briquettes around those few and allow the lit ones to ignite the others. This way you can control the temps by using the dampers on the bottom of your smoker. The first few smokes are about learning to control temps in YOUR smoker. Each one can be different. TEMP CONTROL!! IS THE KEY!! Start by "seasoning" the smoker. Just get a fire going as described above and add some wood chips to get some smoke going, no meat. Practice controlling the temp.. I think you may find you need to modify that smoker to get temp control. Best to find that out before you add the stress of cooking the meat. We can help you find the threads to modify your smoker. Sorry for the long post. Plenty more info available from many knowledgeable members. Have fun. Keep Smokin!
Hi Matt - welcome to the forum
In order to try to answer your question we will need a bit more information. Do you know yet what you are expecting to smoke and how you want to smoke it.
There are really 3 kinds of smoking that you can try:
For your first few smokes you probably need to get used to the smoker itself and how to regulate the temperature. You should be able to make one load of charcoal last for several hours and it may not need to be topped up. If you do not regulate the burn of the charcoal the smoker will run much too hot for most smokes. A lot of people on here have great success with their Brinkman however out-of-the-box temperature control can be a challenge. Look on here for the common modifications that others have made to help with this.
While you are learning the particulars of your smoker I would suggest that you try your first smokes with something that is quite forgiving. Chicken quarters, sausages, pork joint, with the aim to make pulled pork - but if it cooks to quickly you can always slice it as a pork joint.
One other thing I would recommend you buy before your first smoke is a dual probe digital thermometer. With this you will be able to monitor what is going on both inside the smoking chamber and inside your meat. Do not rely solely on the built in lid thermometer.
The other important thing is to take lots of photos and post them up here
Specifically answering your question, You will start off with a mix of lit and unlit charcoal (Minion method) and you should only need to top up with unlit charcoal unless you have let it almost burn out.
Hello Matt. As stated above I think you will have trouble controlling temps without modifying your smoker but you should be able to get away with a shoulder. Yes, if cooking chicken and sausages I would add them 3-6 hours later depending on the size of the shoulder and cooking temps.. The shoulder should be cooked at 108c. for 3-4 hours per kilo to an internal temp ( IT ) of 88c. as a guideline. The leg quarters and sausage should be cooked to an IT of 74c.. I am not the best with celsius but I did check the conversions on the net. Good luck. Be sure to post some picts. Keep Smokin!
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...
Just remember if you have a vertical, poultry always on the bottom from other meats.
Here is what I did fir Christmas Ham and prime rib Ham was great nice smokey flavor, juicy, just
right, Sorry about so many pics of the PR but I did them both together, thought you might enjoy
Both are easy smokes
Getting ready to trim the ham
I trimmed all the skin and most of the fat. I was going to take the fat and put it in an
aluminum pan with holes poked in it above the ham, so as the fat melted it would drip
on the ham (Bears idea) but I didn't have the heat room an had to pull mu top rack.
Prime rib ready for smoker
I took some of the large pieces of fat and attached them with tooth picks
PR and Ham smoking away
Pretty cold and frosty
Both after a few hours in
Here is how I start my charcoal chimney Sid burner on grill
Pulled PR, Ham still smoking
Ham finally ready and waiting to be carved
Had to show my Wife's Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
Another shot of Ham
Another shot of PR
Rib boned removed from the PR (For the Cook Later On)
Son slicing and eating, slicing and eating
Went ahead a smoked some pork my wife had don in the slow cooker
Ribs for the cook a couple days later
Last of the PR for the wife and I
More rib shots