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So I found out I'm clueless

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi again Guys,

Holy hangover, the wife and I went to a local bar to watch the UFC pay per view last night...

I ran through a curing procedure on the smoker yesterday, and was able to get it to ~280 at it's highest point for the last hour or so... I'm hoping that's good enough.

Actually it took me about half an hour to get the charcoal going.... I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I should have read the instructions before doing anything, but I didn't.

So I get this bad boy fired up, it's hovering around ~220ish so I decide I better throw some chips on there. Well I totally forgot I had to soak them first, so I waited until they were ready... no big deal, a half hour and two beers later I roll up them up in a little tin foil and toss them on the grill. I guess I made my holes too small or something, because I didn't see anything happening smoke-wise for about half an hour. After wondering what was going on, I ripped open a big hole in the aluminum baggy I had made and about ten seconds later the smoke started billowing out.

Now I'm not real sure what to expect here, so should smoke being pouring out of every orifice on the smoker, and should it take a few minutes to get the smoke going? I'm pretty sure I had read somewhere that the chips should start smoking almost instantly.

Can I buy one of the cast iron chip holder things for smoking? I'm thinking my aluminum foil baggy making skills are fairly lacking. Any suggestions on this side that would make for an easier chip holding device?

Should I also be prepared to change the chips every half hour or so? The chips I bought were bargain brand WalMart chips, so maybe they're no good to begin with?

I didn't cook anything last night, but today I'm going to get some more charcoal, and try doing up a fatty and some jerky. Should be deadly.

Thanks again for the help guys.
post #2 of 12
Tys, what kind of cooker do you have?
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Re: So I found out I'm clueless

It's called a Char-Broil H2O Smoker, but from what I was told on another thread I think it's basically an ECB.

I haven't done any modifications to it, but after using it last night I can see how adding the holes to the charcoal pan and lid would be handy.

I'm going to try smoking up a Fatty and some jerky in an hour or so... I just reading up to find out what exactly I should be doing.

Should I have a heavy supply of smoke in it at all times?
post #4 of 12
Bullet smokers aren't my strong suit, but I wouldn't pouch the chips but put them directly on the coals. In the future, I think you'll have better luck with chunks instead of chips.

I am sure, you don't want heavy smoke belching from your cooker.

Hopefully someone who cooks on a bullet regularly will add more useful info.
post #5 of 12

Re: So I found out I'm clueless

I don't cook on that type much anymore, but when I did I always made the holes in the firepan so the ash didn't smother the fire out. I didn't know about the expanded metal in the pan when I used it, but I sure see where it would help. I personally don't see the need for the holes in the lid. They seem to draft up enough already. :D

As far as wood chips/chunks go, use chunks and don't soak them. If you soak them all you do is cool off your fire with water when you put them in. I wouldn't worry about a pan for the chunks, just throw a few in on top of your coals and let them smoke.

Get yourself a good thermometer and don't rely on the one on the unit.

You don't want to open the smoker much, as the heat will escape and it is hard to get the temp's back up.

As far as making jerky in this type of smoker, I've made my share, but it wasn't on purpose :oops:

Chicken should kick butt though.

Hope this helps.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Re: So I found out I'm clueless

Thanks cajunsmoker,

When you are smoking should there be a constant supply of smoke going on? It's probably the crappy chips I'm using, and I have about 1 1/2 cups of chips in a tin foil bowl thing that I covered with tin foil. I put a couple holes in it and it seems like it takes a while to get them smoking... like 15 minutes or so, then the smoke starts billowing and it only last about twenty minutes... so over the course of two hours now I've restocked about three times... and I would guess 45-60 minutes of the cook time so far has been pretty much smokeless.

Any thoughts on what I can do to get by with the chips I have on hand for now, or am I OK with doing it the way I have so far? I did a find a place I can order some chunks from, so I'm going to do that tomorrow.

Also, when I throw more charcoal in the bowl, should I be pre-burning it so it's covered in the white ash, or can I just toss some black stuff on to the already hot ones?

Thanks again!
post #7 of 12

Re: So I found out I'm clueless

A lot of the time when you are smoking you don't see a lot of smoke, but the smoke is there 8)

Put chunks in when you first start smoking. Maybe put some more in an hour or two. Things don't go real fast when you smoke meat.

Use your chips up and then get some chunks.

As far as the charcoal question, that depends on what your fire looks like. If I had a good hot fire and just wanted to make sure it stayed good I would put the charcoal in unlit. If I wanted to kick the heat up a bit I would put it in lit. :evil:
post #8 of 12

Hello there...I also have a char-broil h2o smoker that I did a lot of fighting with till I got a gosm big block....but it teaches you how the whole proscess is supposed to work...go up to my album ...I have some pics of all the mods I made to mine...made it work A WHOLE LOT BETTER....right at this moment I don't remember if any of the pics show the flashing I used around the bottom to help control the draft ...to keep the temps down...
Also...use lump charcoal like the Royal Oak kind...not the briquetts...lump doesn't create as much ash, burns hotter and you don't need as much to maintain a temp of 225 for a good 5 hours...a half a pan of lump with a half a chimney hot burning lump on top will last a long time...I even had to remove some hot coals after a while to help keet the temp down...
Like cajun said... use the chunks...they work much better...I also was using the chips in a foil pan..till I got a supply of chumks...I get my chunks from Cabellas...not a bad price and I usually get them within the same week I order them in..
As far as to add hot coals..or not...if needed I just usually added some unlit ones, because at some point the wood chunks used for smoke ..is going to do more burning than just plain smoking, and jump your temps up...
I'm sure I have forgotten to answer something for you here.. if I did ...ask again... I'll be more than happy to help ya if I can...

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Re: So I found out I'm clueless

Hi Guys,

Thanks a lot for the input, your suggestions were definitely helpful! The Fatties we did turned out pretty good, not a lot of smoke flavour to them really... but I kind of expected they might be a bit mild on the smoke side since I wasn't getting alot of action out of the chips.

I read cajunsmoker's suggestion right after the fatties were finished, so I sifted through my bags of chips and pulled out the larger chunks, which I soaked and used for the jerky. What a HUGE improvement, we got about one and a half hours of good smoke, so I only need to restock the chip supply (again with bigger chunks) about halfway through. I also managed to keep the temperature under control fairly well (between 187 - 203) for the full three hours... the small spike into the 200's was caused by a flareup... the handy dandy spray bottle fixed that though.

The jerky turned out awesome... we tried a little piece after we took it off. It's not going to last very long!

vulcan, thanks a ton for the suggestions. I'm going to pick up some sheetmetal tomorrow and put some holes in the charcoal pan. The pictures are really helpful... admittedly I'm not much of a handyman, although I like to think I am, and seeing what you've done is very helpful.

So far we've only done the two fatties, and the jerky but we both were really impressed. We had a food dehydrator at one time that I used to make jerky with, and you can't compare. The smoker is head and tails above the dehydrator. Next weekend we're going to tackle a chicken... today was a good learning experience and you guys are a ton of help.

Thanks again everyone!
post #10 of 12
Don't worry about you smoker. this is the very unit I learned to cook on and wish that I still had one. Sometimes the simple way is the best besides it put out some GOOD food.
post #11 of 12
Half the fun of smoking is figuring out and perfecting the use of your equipment! Nothing is better than that cook when it all comes together the way it should! All of the issues you are having, we have experienced at one time or another, so sit back and enjoy your new obsession...
post #12 of 12
I have a similar unit and although it makes me cuss sometimes, it wouldn't be as fun without the challenge. I just need to get a good thermometer and I recommend you do the same. Have fun with it and eat the good and the bad!

BTW, drilling the holes is the best thing you can do. I made an ash grate, but I read that you can find a grill grate about that size to let the ash drop. It makes a world of difference. I'm thinking of putting a hole or two in the side of the charcoal pan too for more air flow to the coals on the outside.
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