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First try on the new smoker

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well I've been an electric smoker for some time now, and as some of you know from my last post I just got what we believe is a silver smoker. However I've read that the smoke n' pit is a little larger, I think this may be a brinkman. Anyhoo...
Man is it hard to keep the temp down! I have the baffle in, expanded steel coal basket (raised), and foiled fire brick in the main body. For my first attempt today I'm smokin' a fatty and a pork but. So I decided to try the improvised minion method. I had 1/2 of the basket 3/4 filled with unlit lump, then 1/2 of a chimney filled with lump. When the lump in the chimney got nice and red, I put it in the empy part of the basket farthest from the main chamber next to the unlit lump and added a stick of oak (1"x10") and a chunk of hickory (the size of a fist). Even with the firebox vent totally closed, it was ringing in over 400º for quite a while! I had to keep opening the main chamber to bring the temp down. Clearly the fire had too much fuel,the unlit lump caught up really quick. After a few hours when the fuel became a nice bed, the temp evened out around 220º-260º. However I definitely noticed that just by adding one stick or chunk, it would increase by 40º or more for 10-15 minutes then start decreasing fairly rapidly. By this time the intake vent actually became usefull now! It suprised me to see how quickly the regulating of the opening had closing effected the temp. I also noticed that after the lump starts to die out, It really wanted to fade fast (under 200º). So I chose to only add sticks and wood, rather than more lump to keep the temp up.
I yanked it at 165º foiled it and it's in the oven right now at 250º.
Hope it turns out good! My next attempt, I'm going to just ad lit lump, then add unlit lump as needed and try that.
post #2 of 8
Well with temps like that, it seems you will save a lot on charcoal. Just keep working with it to find out the nuance's of this smoker. I did some mods to my GOSM and am having to rethink my times due to an increase in heat.
post #3 of 8
Your method for use next time actually work better for me but only hwne I am using LUMP. If I use regular charcoal the minion method works fine.
I haven't experienced the temp. problems you are having so not sure what to tell you there. Just keep trying it and you will get everything zeroed in.PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #4 of 8
I have a Brinkmann Bandera. While I have never used the "barrel" type smokers, I know that they are similar and I have friends that use them. I use only wood to smoke. If I use charcoal, it is only to get the wood going. Sounds to me like the amount of lump you are using is generating your excess heat. Remember, while lump is preferred, it burns hot. I like to use three pieces of wood at a time, cut about 1 foot long and split thin (about 2" diam). Of course, nothing about split wood is exact. If you use chunks, use a little lump to get some coals and start with about 4 good chunks. Watch your temp and play it by ear, uh thermometer, or something. Add more if you need to. Don't be afraid to close the intake damper some on the firebox. Always keep the chimney wide open. Hopefully some silver smoker users will give you some more exact advice. Keep trying. Once you get to know your smoker, you'll do fine. You're ahead of the game by having the mods.

Think thin and blue,
post #5 of 8
I'm not a pro or expert by any means but what struck me as I read your post is how you placed your unlit and lit coals in the basket. If I am reading right, you put the unlit closest to the cooking chamber and put the lit toward the inlet vent of the firebox. If that's the case, you were pulling your airflow and heat from the lit coals through and/or across the unlit, maybe causing them to light faster than if you put the unlit on bottom and placed the lit on top as the Minion Method requires.

Again, not an expert but it seems pulling the heat from the lit through the unlit like that would make them light off quicker than if the heat was rising off of the lit and the unlit was underneath with the cooler intake air flowing through them causing them to light and burn slower, which is why the Minion method works like it does. Heat naturally rises but it will also follow the flow of the air through the fire box.

Try putting the bed of unlit on bottom and the lit on top. I bet the unlit lights slower and you reduce your temp spike. I use the Minion method in my offset Char Griller and have never had a severe spike like that. The only time I have a real spike is when I add red hot coals mid cook from the starter chimney, which I really prefer to do to avoid any chance of bad smoke from adding unlit on top of lit. Probably a non-issue with lump, but just a carry over fear from my days of using some nasty briquettes I guess...
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well I'll be damned PORKBUTT! That makes total sense!!
Next time I'll put the unlit lump closest to the air inlet.
However, I'm first going to try drastically reducing the amount of lump I start with.
Thanks for the advise.
By the way, the food STILL came out kick ***! I suppose all the babysitting saved dinner! But waaaaay different from my electric smoker's fire and forget method.
Rubbed the butt with mustard and store bought rub, and I got a nice bark on it that the water smoker doesn't really do. Also my first fatty, which was rolled in the same rub, suprisingly tasted nothing like if I would have sliced it and fried it in a pan for breakfast. I really liked it. Can't wait to try some different fatty recipes.
post #7 of 8
Sounds like your a quick understudy Nat! Lump does burn quick and hot. I like to put the hot stuff near the chamber opening and the cold stuff near the door. The monion methode doesn't work as well with lump it's just to darn ot and catches everything on fire!

Glad you stayed close and saved dinner! It's always a good idea to stay close to the fire - just in case! ENjoy!
post #8 of 8
Give it a shot and let us know how it works out. As for the amount of unlit in the basket, I start out with the basket FULL of unlit with the middle area of the unlit maybe an inch or inch and a half lower than the outside edges near the sides. I start a chimney full of lump and let it get absolutely 100% red hot, then dump it right in the middle of the top of the unlit. My highest temp spike prior to adding any more lump to the basket during the last smoke was 244 if I remember correctly. 99% of the time it hovered between 220 and 235 depending on the wind. The amount of unlit hasn't seemed to matter as long as it's on bottom and the lit is on top. More unlit at first simply means more cook time before additional lump is needed. icon_wink.gif
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