Hey everyone thanks in advance for any help.
I'm not really new to smoking meats but am new to doing it right I have been grilling and smoking for several years, and if I do say so myself am very good at grilling, but smoking meats no where near as good as I'd like. I can never get anything I've smoked to turn out the way I like and how I think it should. I used to be a truck driver and have been all across the country so have had the opportunity to get a lot of different styles and some very good BBQ and have always wanted to make myself, I try it's good but not what I think it should be. I get it to turn out tasting good but it has more of a bite and chew not as tender as I think it should be and as some that I've had.
I just recently purchased an Oklahoma Joe's Highland Smoker from Walmart seemed to a good compromise to what I'd really like to get which is the Horizon Ranger I like the big vertical smoking chamber on the Horizon. But what I mainly wanted was a good heavy duty grill smoker, which the Oklahoma Joe's seems to be and especially for the price the Oky Joe's seemed the best way to go $288 compared to almost $1800 for the Horizon. Any comments on the Horizon would be appreciated is it worth it? Do I really need it?
I know I get long and drawn out sorry. What I'm hoping is that someone can answer for me is about the mods I've seen done to a lot of the smokers I've seen here so far.
I've seen where a lot of people have put an elbow on the exhaust to bring it down closer to the cooking grate why and does it really make that much of a difference?
Baffles, convection plates and tuning plates I think at least I understand to a degree what they do any advice again greatly appreciated. How far should I put them across the CC?
Charcoal basket I can see as a definite must do.
I have a digital dual read thermometer one probe for food and one CC temp. The thermometer that came on my smoker mounted higher up on the lid will be reading somewhere around 350 plus and the digital that I have setting on the cook grate near the food is reading 250 - 260 can there really be that much of a temperature difference? I believe the digital is reasonably close to an accurate reading.
And one other thing if someone can answer my food temperature will get to within 25 - 15 degrees of the target temperature and seems to stall, temperature rises fairly steady up to there and doesn't get any higher am I doing something wrong or do I just need to be patient and wait longer?