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Just to say "Hello" from Southern Alberta

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Ok, so I'm a newbie...even in my 70's I'm a newbie!!  Me and the wife very recently got into making our own sausage and smoking it. At least, we're trying.  Don't know where I was sleeping to miss out on smokin' my own meat....after all the years of eating store bought....I guess I'm just kind of slow....maybe??

 

Jumped into it with both feet, got a LEM sausage stuffer and a grinder.  So far, we've only used ground pork from Costco and chicken we ground ourselves.  Both turned out okay, actually the chicken sausages were a BIG surprise!!  They were great!! I had my doubts, but they turned out great, both smoked and not smoked!!

 

After the success with home made sausages, we bought a smoker at Home Depot, a Masterbuilt PRO dual fuel and we were doing good until we tried our new smoker.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not badmouthin' Masterbuilt.....at least, not yet.  Okay, I can see the question marks over a few heads, so I'll explain.

We made up a batch of sausages and put them in the smoker, closed the door and readied the hickory chunks in the pan as instructed, closed the doors and sat down to watch the thermometer....and the inside temperature went NUTS!! With the knob at LOW it zoomed way over 250*F and the only way we could keep the temperature down was by having to try and "smoke" our sausages with the smoke all going out the open door, because that was the only way we could keep the temp under 185F so the fat wouldn't render out of the sausages.  That almost worked, except that we lost most of the fat while we fought to keep the temps down. It's amazing how quickly the temps go up and down while you fiddle with an open door. I think I got smoked at least as much as those sausages did!!

Well, after popping up and down every five minutes to mind the temperature, I decided to buy a remote thermometer so I felt a little less like a jack in the box. Then, once I got finished, I did contact Masterbuilt about this excessively high temperature in the smoker and they said the problem was the regulator so they are sending/have sent me a new propane regulator or ??? Don't know exactly what's coming yet....they said 5-10 working days so it could be another week. 

In the meantime, as I type this, we are now on our third try at smoking, the black box sits outside with the door open about four inches just to keep the temperature lower.  Watching the remote display, it's up and down between 165*F (now) and 178*F (five minutes ago).  But, it is kind of breezy out there, so I guess that has to be acceptable.  Right now, there's about 15 pounds of assorted chicken sausage in there so I hope it's going to work.  If whatever is coming doesn't go let us keep the temperature low enough to let us smoke with a closed door and keep the temps between 150-180.....well, I guess THEN it's all going back to the store, and we'll be in the market for a new smoker that actually has a "low" temperature when the dial is set to "low". 

So, there's the trials and tribulations of "AlbertaSmokin" at the beginning of our adventure. Hopefully the next time I post it'll be with good news for y'all.

 

Bye for now.

post #2 of 7

Hey alberta smokin, welcome to the site.  Sorry to hear about your issues with the new smoker.  Propane smokers tend to run hot, my grill pro won't go below 210*.  Have you tried using charcoal?  I smoke salmon over charcoal, using my charcoal smoker I start at 100* and slowly work my way up to 150*.  To bring down temps on a gas smoker you can install a needle valve.  I've never done it, but search needle valve in the search bar at top of the page, for more info.  I haven't smoked sausage but a lot of folks here seem to use electric smokers for that, but I'd give charcoal a try.  Hope this helps good luck with your next smoke.

post #3 of 7

Welcome to SMF!

 

Glad to have you with us!

 

As said above it can be hard to get a gas smoker to operate at real low temps.

 

A needle valve will help, but you have to be careful that the flame doesn't go out.

 

For sausages I use an electric smoker, makes it much easier.

 

Al

post #4 of 7
Welcome. I have the same smoker. Does the job for hot or cold smoking...sucks for warm smokes.

I ended up getting a used Big Chief as I wasn't happy with the fish cooked on the master built dual.
post #5 of 7
Hey AlbertaSmokin,
Welcome to SMF from central Alberta! Propane can be hard to regulate for sure.
Derek
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

OK, I'm back....sigh... I still don't have the problem solved just yet, but I can't say that Masterbuilt has not stepped up the plate.  (Thanks Tiffany!!)

After contacting them about the problem (IE, No LO 'N SLOW) and sending them pictures of the HI/LO flames, they opined that it was the regulator/valve combination that was causing the problem and offered to send me a new one, which offer I immediately accepted! 

 

After about three weeks and no sign of whatever was coming, I touched base with them via email and found that they did indeed send me the item and it was in fact delivered. Problem: it got sent to the right address, but to the wrong city!! Back to Masterbuilt.

 

Okay, got that fixed, sent it to the correct address....got it this time!  Went out and installed it...oops!!  Turn it on, on high it's like a blast furnace!!  On low it was about the same as before, still not anywhere near as low as it should be. So I gave up, sent them another email... thanks for the effort etc etc but it didn't work, thanks anyway.

 

To my surprise...I got a fairly quick reply from Tiffany telling me she was going to send me another one, but she would route it through their quality check area to make sure that low temperatures were attainable.  Well, I thought that would probably be 2 or 3 weeks before that showed up, but it got here yesterday! 

 

So, now I have THREE regulator/hose/valve combos to go with.  I spent several hours yesterday fiddling with the smoker until (long story made short) I wound up with regulator #1 and Valve #3 being the best combination. Unfortunately...after letting it run:  High temps: easily hit 450* F in a very short time so no problem there. Low temps: I turned the burner to it's lowest setting, opened the top draft and left it, with my remote thermometer in my pocket.  I let it sit for several hours and it cooled off, but the lowest it would go was 270* F within a 10 degree range. 

 

At this point I figure I've spent enough time on this too-hot smoker, but I'm too old and too stubborn to quit now. Next step was to put a needle valve in the hose and try to achieve an even lower flame/temperature.  That install worked okay, but when I tried it, with the main valve on it's lowest setting, and the needle valve controlled flame to a reasonable low point, the flame would occasionally do a flame out, y'know.....flicker flicker flicker POP and go out.  So then I tried having the main burner on High, and just control the flame with the needle valve, and it worked!  But by then it was to late to run a test, so this morning it is going to be test day (after I take the propane bottle to get refilled) and we'll give find out what's what!  

 

More to follow folks, stay tuned for the next exciting episode...

post #7 of 7

Glad to hear your making progress, let us know how the next smoke turns out.

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