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Sitting at the tree of knowledge!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello all! I am Aj, and I am from Topeka Kansas. I am very new to meat smoking but have had pretty good luck with what I have done so far.

I own a Luhr-Jensen Little Chief Smoker which is an electric unit. My boss gave it to me when he cleaned out his garage.

I also own a Ducane 1504 natural gas grill which I use as a smoker and a grill.

My Christmas wish list included a new smoker but as it turned out, Santa couldn't get it on the sleigh. So, I am regulated to using my two trusty units.

Some of my gripes and praises about both units: The Little Chief is a damn good smoker if you want to put a heavy smoke down. Problem is, unless it is over 100 degrees outside, it won't cook the food as it smokes it. So, you have to move the meat to another heat source which is a pain.

The Ducane grill will cook and smoke, but the smoking is not as effective as the Chief. In fact, my big event for this year was a turkey and despite following Jeff's directions to the letter, my bird came out tasting like an oven cooked turkey. It hardly got any smoke in it.

The other problem I have had with the Ducane is temperature regulation. One day the same setting will give me 225 degrees and the next day it will be 300. I don't know, maybe this is a problem that all folks experience.

Anyway, glad to be here and looking forward to learning from all of you.
post #2 of 12

Re: Sitting at the tree of knowledge!

Hi AJ, Glad that you found our little corner of the world. I'm sorry that your turkey didn't turn out as you anticipated but a lot of what we do is by trial and error. What works for one doesn't always work for an other. I keep a smoking log in which I record what I'm smoking; brine's, injections or marinades used; what type of woods I used; how long the total smoking time was; and the weather on the day of smoking. At the bottom I make notes of what I need to change, ideas that I get while smoking and might want to try out and comments of family and guests.

As some of the other members have stated in other posts, the weather (wind, humidity, ambient temperature all have an effect on smoking). We learn to adjust to the elements and that is one of the things that make what we do an art.
post #3 of 12
Greetings and Welcome AJ!
Good to you aboard! I am familiar with the Little Chief. With a little TLC it can produce some good BBQ. We look forward to hearing more from you.
post #4 of 12

Re: Sitting at the tree of knowledge!

Howdy AJ!

Ever eat at a Country Boy (I think it was called) Restaurant? My cousin started those around the Topeka area.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have eaten at Country Kitchen, but have not heard of the Country Boy I'm afraid.

Can anyone direct me to a great recipe for smoking hamburger patties? There is a resturant in Topeka called Boss Hawgs that used to make something called the Boss Burger. It is a half pound of ground beef that is sensational! After the owner Hank had passed away, they stopped making it. That was well over a year ago and I haven't been back since. It was that good!

I emailed his widow and asked for the directions to make it, but never heard back.

Unfortunately, I never ate one plain, so I can't really say what they used to season it. I always put pickles and BBQ sauce on mine, so my taste buds have no idea what other flavors are in there.

I tried to smoke some hamburger on my Little Chief but the meat fell between the racks and needless to say, it didn't come out so good!

Thanks all!
post #6 of 12

Re: Sitting at the tree of knowledge!

I knew it was Country "something". :lol: I heard from my Uncle that my cousin had 3 of them around the Topeka area but I think he has since sold them.

Sorry, I can't help ya with the Boss Hawgs question.
post #7 of 12

Re: Sitting at the tree of knowledge!

AJ, here is a tip for smoking ground meats- Shape your pattie the way you want it (plan on some shrinkage) then wrap it in plastic wrap. Place it in the smoker (no more than 230-240 deg) for about 15-20 minutes. This will allow the meat to firm up. Unwrap the patties and put them back into the smoker and smoke them until you reach an internal temp. of 180 deg.

This method is also great for making casingless sausages like bratwurst or Italian sausage links.

If you want to grill them fresh, just place the wrapped sausage link in boil water for 15 minutes then finish them on the grill.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Re: Sitting at the tree of knowledge!

Excellent tip! I was planning on buying one of those jerky racks or something with smaller openings so the meat wouldn't drop through. But the plastic is a great suggestion!

Thanks all!
post #9 of 12
Welcome AJ, I also got started on the Little Chef, now 5 smokers later I still can not get rid of it. I have not used it in a while but that day may come.

Anyway Welcome
post #10 of 12

Re: Sitting at the tree of knowledge!

Welcome aboard, AJ!

I looked up the Little Chief, seems like an Electric version of the GOSM. Perhaps you can get a real "Stick Burner" this year so we can help you learn the fundamentals of Smoking with wood.

Glad to have you with us!

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Re: Sitting at the tree of knowledge!

Right now my wife is in nursing school which means that my typical day consists of heading to work at 8. Pick up kids at 5. Comute home. Kid's homework. Dinner. Bath. Snack. Bed.

The little smoking I do is tightly regulated by how much time I can dedicate to the smoker. Nice thing about the electric is that I know it won't actually cook anything, so I let it give a good smoke and then finish it off in the oven or on the grill.

I may have to wait a couple of years before I get to graduate to a stick burner. But when I do, it will be grand!
post #12 of 12

Re: Sitting at the tree of knowledge!

Understood! Hey Brother..........we've all been there at one time (or More) in our lives, believe me!

Fortunate for some of us "Older Fella's", kids are already out of College and on their own.............Now it's OUR turn to have Fun!!!!!!!!!!!!

For now, enjoy what you have, and cherish the time with the Kids - they are gone before you know it!!!!!

Let us know what we can help you with, OK?

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