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New to Smoking....Harder than I thought!! - Page 2

post #21 of 34

AJohnson, I have a Traeger, I call a rescue because I put it together from parts from various places. Here is the link http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/236341/traeger-body-and-smoke-daddy-feeder

Like all the others said, don't give up. I'm new but have found the pellet system to have a definite place for me. Here is the Thanksgiving food done on it 

And some country ham last week

 

 


Made some killer jerky yesterday. Find Jeff's instructions on this site and try some hot dogs as a confidence builder. It's such an easy system for quicker things with pretty much instant control. I'm almost ready to try a long cook like a butt on it but I don't believe it will replace my UDS for real deal smoking on long cooks. I'll try it out before saying for sure. If you bought it new and it isn't holding steady temps, maybe time to call Traeger. I don't even have a cooking chamber mounted thermometer in mine. just using the Maverick and it runs real close to the display on the control.  We aren't supposed to post external links here but there is a forum dedicated to  pellet cookers you can find pretty easy, If not PM me for the link. 

Oh, the pizza I did was pretty great, 15 minutes letting the thing run @ the highest setting.

 

Edit: Jeff just sent out a newsletter about "Ribs on the Traeger" today.


Edited by damascusmaker - 12/10/15 at 8:21am
post #22 of 34
Thread Starter 

Wow, what a great response, better than therapy!!!

 

I appreciate all the advice and the encouragement.  To save me some time, where do you guys recommend that I find smoke ideas?

 

Simple things that include cut to get, smoke time, cook time and "done" temps.....

 

The recipe book that came with the Traeger might be most of the problem, along with the lack of quality thermometer.

post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajohnson View Post
 

Wow, what a great response, better than therapy!!!

 

I appreciate all the advice and the encouragement.  To save me some time, where do you guys recommend that I find smoke ideas?

 

Simple things that include cut to get, smoke time, cook time and "done" temps.....

 

The recipe book that came with the Traeger might be most of the problem, along with the lack of quality thermometer.

 

Right here on this forum! There are lots of full walkthroughs on here, @Bearcarver especially has some great FULL walkthroughs with times, pics and everything.

post #24 of 34
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Edited by Smokin Phil - 7/24/16 at 3:26pm
post #25 of 34

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Foamheart View Post


To start, forget the brine, the injections, the marinades and rubs. Take a whole chicken, with paper towels dry it. Thats it, once its really dry, rub the skin with oil. This prevents breaking and cracking which lets the moisture out of the bird. Thats it! Put in on the smoker, close the lid, and walk away.

 

Your learning time will shorten and you'll enjoy the learning curve more with an remote thermometer. You can at least safely eat something that will taste good when you mess up. Its gonna happen! Its a small learning curve also. 

 

Do not expect your your smoker to maintain perfect exact temperature 100% of the time. I know I couldn't afford to buy a professional uniit that does that, learn to roll with the flow. Cavemen could do this over burning sticks, it can't be an exact science.

 

Put in some time , I'd use chickens, fast cooking, easy to get, and fairly cheap (when compared to other meats). do two or three, keeping notes at first to learn from. A well smoked chicken is better than a badly smoked prime rib roast anyday.

 

Foamheart's advice is spot on, IMHO. I spent all spring and summer smoking chickens. It's a great way to learn your smoker. And tasty, too! For me it was all about learning to control temperature. The more consistent the temperature, the beet off you are. The Weber Smokey Mountain has spoiled me, as it is just too easy to run.

 

edit: Oh, yeah, spatchcock the chicken.

post #26 of 34

Also depending on your Traeger you may need to swap out the control panel. I know some only have a three position control panel - Smoke, Med, High - and from what I had read the "smoke" setting was only about 150°, but the Med. was up around 300°. (Don't quote me on those.... I may be completely wrong).

 

I heard of many folks buying the control panel that lets you change the temp one degree at a time for better accuracy. Like I said this was all just stuff I ran across when reading about them, I have a WSM so I can't talk from personal experience.

post #27 of 34
Thread Starter 

good stuff, thank you to all.

 

I'll try something the next few days and provide a report.

 

Wish me luck.

post #28 of 34
Thread Starter 

Alright...

 

I've got two small chickens on the smoker tight now.  I have a thermometer installed on the side of the smoke which is 100 + degrees different than the Traeger digital therm (don't get tarted on that) and Maverick Digital therm with a probe.

 

I have the grill at about 200 degrees and the internal temp of the chicken is 165.  Done right?

 

Question-

 

What's more important?  The internal temp or how long it takes to get there.  Did I get a bad thermostat for the unit?  the gauge says 200, the traeger says 315.

 

Stress...

post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajohnson View Post
 

Alright...

 

I've got two small chickens on the smoker tight now.  I have a thermometer installed on the side of the smoke which is 100 + degrees different than the Traeger digital therm (don't get tarted on that) and Maverick Digital therm with a probe.

 

I have the grill at about 200 degrees and the internal temp of the chicken is 165.  Done right?

 

Question-

 

What's more important?  The internal temp or how long it takes to get there.  Did I get a bad thermostat for the unit?  the gauge says 200, the traeger says 315.

 

Stress...

 

To answer the temp and done question: Both! You want to make sure that the chicken is not in "The Danger Zone" for more than 4 hours, which is 40-140 degrees F. (40 to 140 in 4), and yes certainly the done IT is very important, if it is below the suggested temp you can risk getting everyone sick, especially with Pork and chicken!

I would play around with moving your therms around different places, heat can be different throughout the chamber, though a 100 degree variation seems very unlikely. For example: in my chargriller I have added 3 "aftermarket" therms in 3 different places, and I know all 3 are tested accurate, but the one near the firebox is always 20d higher than the one up top which is 5d higher than the one on the far side near the grates.

I would say you got a bad built in therm, and you may want to call Traeger cause that is way off. You may try stiking your maverick probe within just an inch or so of the built in temp probe, and see how that goes, also note that you don't want the main part of your probe touching metal if possible, as that will not be an accurate reading of the air temp in the chamber.

 

Does sound a bit stressful, I don't use a Treager myself but I have used my father in laws for grilling a couple of times, they seem like nice units, hope you can get it figured out.

post #30 of 34
Thread Starter 

I moved the meat probe around both chickens several times.  The temps ranged from 167 up to 173.  Needless to say, I pulled them both out and wrapped them in foil as we prepare the rest of our dinner.  I cut a small wedge out of each chicken to taste, and it was amazing!  I cant wait to eat in a bit.

 

The troubling part is that fact that my temp gauge I installed never got above 200 but the digital Treager was anywhere from 270 up to 350 going back and forth the whole time.

 

A call to Traegar is next for sure.

post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajohnson View Post
 

I moved the meat probe around both chickens several times.  The temps ranged from 167 up to 173.  Needless to say, I pulled them both out and wrapped them in foil as we prepare the rest of our dinner.  I cut a small wedge out of each chicken to taste, and it was amazing!  I cant wait to eat in a bit.

 

The troubling part is that fact that my temp gauge I installed never got above 200 but the digital Treager was anywhere from 270 up to 350 going back and forth the whole time.

 

A call to Traegar is next for sure.

 

Im glad the chickens worked out for you! did you get around to snapping any pictures? we love pictures here! :popcorn

 

I know that half the time im so excited to eat the stuff, or distracted with cooking it that I forget to snap some.

post #32 of 34
Thread Starter 

The chickens came out great, our guests loved them, kids asked for seconds.  It was a nice triumph in my world!

 

Cooked at 200 or so for about 3 hours.  Wrapped in foil and set oven at 200 just to keep them hot while waiting for our guests.

 

 

 

post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajohnson View Post
 

The chickens came out great, our guests loved them, kids asked for seconds.  It was a nice triumph in my world!

 

Cooked at 200 or so for about 3 hours.  Wrapped in foil and set oven at 200 just to keep them hot while waiting for our guests.

 

 

 

 

Looks tasty!

post #34 of 34
Thread Starter 

All - I just want to thank you again.  The advice you've given me about thermometers, sticking with easy things until I learn the smoker and the links to "how-to's" has been such a help.

 

I've done several chickens now, beef short ribs.  All have been amazing.

 

I'll try a pork shoulder soon.

 

Thanks for everything.

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