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Just getting started

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have been thinking about smoking meat for some time. I currently am making due with a gas grill and wood packets for a smoke source. My first effort was a couple of pork chops. They turned out okay, but I din't use any temperature controls, or moisture My smoke sources was mesquite chips in a perforated foil pouch and my standard grilling rub. The flavor was good, but they were over "cooked" and dry. It was enough to get me hooked.
post #2 of 9

Re: Just getting started

Hey, Hungry, welcome aboard. You've come to the right place.

I'm just getting here myself, and I've been doing the tinfoil woodchip thing on my gas grill as well. It works quite well, but it's more hit-and-miss than a dedicated smoker.

Just curious about a few things:

How many burners on your grill, and how were they set (in other words, which ones were lit and how high were they cranked)?

Where did you put the tinfoil packet, and where did you put the meat?

I've been smoking homemade sausage with mine, which is a little bit different, but not much. I forget the brand name, but it's a three-burner jobby about 3' wide by 2' deep. I use maple chips soaked for about an hour or so.

I'll use my grill as an example, here. Your mileage may vary.

What I do with mine is throw the right-hand burner (burner #3) on medium-low and put the packet right on the grease plate (or lava rocks if that's what your grill has). Over the other two burners (on the grease plates or lava rocks) goes a pie tin with some water in it. Over the pie tin goes the meat.

Let the chips start to smoke, then back down the flame on the #3 burner to the point where you've got a steady, light smoke rolling out from under the hood.

At this point, you're not actually trying to cook the meat yet, you're just smoking it. #1 and #2 burners are off.

A couple of hours or so of this, flipping the meat halfway through, and the smoking part is just about done. Now you want to start cooking the meat.

Take the meat off the grill, remove the water pan, put the meat back, and fire up the rest of the burners. At this point, you would cook the chops over a medium flame just like normal, only you've still got the smoke going. Get the thickest chop to 150-155 deg F and you're done.

That's pretty much what I do with sausage, and I usually have pretty good luck with it. One of these days, I'll post some pics.

Again, welcome aboard, and good luck on your next batch!

post #3 of 9

Re: Just getting started

Welcome Hungry! I don't smoke on the ole gasser anymore, but it looks like you got some great info about it from Thom up there (great post, by the way). You know, if you're interested, you can get a nice little smoker at Walmart or Home Depot for under $50. It would open up a whole new world of smoking to you and, trust me, it's worth it! Glad you're here!
post #4 of 9
Welcome, Hungry after experimenting with my gas grill I have 1 opionion.....BUY A SMOKER. Kidding, use what works. I find it much easier to use my smoker to smoke, and the gasser is slowly being pushed out of the rotation. The wife like to use it when she is going to grill, and I love the cleanup of the gasser. No ashes to deal with.

Grab a cold one, and jump right into the fray. use whatever method you can get results. Looking forward to your jorney on the smokey meat trail
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Re: Just getting started

Thanks for the welcome all, and the information Thom. It is a Charboil gas grill with two burners. I made was two major mistakes, actually three. I used the right burner and dropped a foil pack down on a thin metal sheet full of holes to keep the foil pack off of the burner, good so far. I wanted to get the meat in the full smoke so I put it about 8 inches over the foil pack on the right side. this was my first mistake. The grill has warming racks in the cap, tha I was using for a smoking rack. my second mistake was not watching the smoke, the foil pack ended itself after about twenty minutes, I was expecting it to last thirty. One side of the meat ws pretty blackened so I moved it over to the left side of the grill. I figure my last mistake was not putting in a pan of water.
All in all the flavor was there, but it was a bit dry and over cooked. Still can't be perfect first time around, and the lessons were learned. My next project is a rack off ribs, correcting my mistakes and researching the rib section, before I fire up the grill. By the way I was using one cup of dry Mesquite chips to two cups of soaked chips in my foil packs. I also think my burner setting was too high, I didn't have a thermometer in place at the time, okay four mistakes. Anyway thanks for the good words my fire isn't out yet.
post #6 of 9
This is the smoker I suggest to everyone who asks me. (I know you did not) I do not work for Char-Broil or Home Depot,. I just think it is a very good model to start with. the cost is good, and it is easy to work with. They also have electric models, and you can search for propane smokers as well.

I know you can smoke food on your gasser, but if you were goign to drive to California, you would use a car. You don't try to drive to Cali. on a bike. You will get there, but 1/2 half the trip will be missed from all the extra work.

post #7 of 9
It was supposed to be a link to the char broil water smoker at home depot. The list price is $39.99
post #8 of 9
Hungry, pork no longer needs to be cooked to 165 deg. Cooking it to 140-150 deg. will result in a juicier chop. When I have gone the foil pack route with wood chips, I only poke 5-6 holes in the top of the pouch with a pencil. Too many holes will let in too much air which will allow the chips to ignite and burn rather than smolder.

There are a lot of reasonably priced smokers out there that will the right modifications will produce some great results. You just need to decide what your fuel source will be-charcoal, electric, gas or wood. Check out the Smoking Supplies and Equipment section and see what is out there. The next consideration is the amount of money that you want to spend. Prices easily range from $30-40 all the way up to several thousand bucks. But whatever you choose to buy remember this, go the NEXT SIZE LARGER!! If you don't, you will find that you have outgrown your smoker especially when family and friends find out the you can put out some pretty great food.

Looking forward to your posts.
post #9 of 9

Re: Just getting started

Hi again, Hungry...

Sounds like you're on the right track! Like any art form, you make a mistake or two, learn from it, and get that much closer to mastery. You've got the right ideas on how to improve the process, so all I can say is go for it!

Dutch brings up a great point about temperature. I usually shoot for 150F core temperature when I'm grilling marinated pork loins (145 sounds a bit low to me, but if it ain't killed Dutch, it probably won't kill you either wink.gif ). Takes me about a half hour on a med-low flame to hit 150 at the core of a loin, and they come out oh-so-juicy. Too much flame will chase out the juices no matter what the final temperature is.

Good luck on the next run, I'm sure the ribs will come out awesome!

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