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Building and Tending your heat/smoke source.

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Good Afternoon smokers!


I'm going into my 3rd year of smoking meats.  I'm pretty savvy with the grill but still a novice with smoking.  I know the basics, soaking the wood, time to weight ratios, what types of woods work best with types of meats. . . and so on.


I'm still lacking in the creation of fire and smoke however.  I just don't feel like I'm doing it right.


I have a $50 HomeDepot Vertical can that most people probably star on or swear by.


This is basically my process.  I know I got get more serious to get better results but i'll break it down here.


1. I fill a Charcoal Stack with coals.  No Lighter fluid.

2. I dump the coals in the bottom dish of the smoker.

3. I drop some dry wood chunks on top, they catch and I let the fire die before putting the meat on.  I don't know if this is a recommended method because the fire can get pretty roaring.

4. set the bottom try. place a H20 Pan on it.

5. Set the meat on the very top.  Close it.. and let nature take its course.


I do add soaked wood chunks during the first half of the process.  I've read too much wet wood makes too much smoke and can really taint the final product.


Also, I don't have a reliable thermometer. . at all.  Honestly I use the built in job and if I'm in the "ideal" range. .then I'm satisfied.  Yes.. .not good.



That's my style.  I like to let things come together naturally. I'm not into gadgets and new fangled electronic devices, however I do realize I need a thermometer upgrade.


But more specifically I need help with the heat source.  What should I be doing different?  How do you keep it steady?  More wood?  Charcoal at all?


Thanks in advance guys and gals!!

post #2 of 2

If you have been doing it this way for 3 years, and have been happy with the results. Then why change anything. 


As far as fire management, have you heard of the minion method?


Here is a link:


Hope this helps,



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