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A couple of rookie question

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well I decided to try and finally start making my own venison jerky and other fun stuff as well. I had a brinkmann charcoal smoker given to me (Green looking one, I think people call it an r2d2). Just have a few quick questions. I was thinking of going out and buying the electric element replacement and modifing mine to become and electric smoker. Reason being I have heard it is a bit easier to manage. However, I hear charcoal can produce better tasting products, but it can be a bit tricky. My main concern I dont want to oversmoke my jerky or let it get to hot. How much charcoal should I start with and how many wood flavor chunks should I have in there throughout the entire process?
Also, I would like to get an electic or a propane smoker to have the best of both worlds. Any suggestions or comments on the pros and cons to propane or electric smokers.
Thanks for the help and I look forward to your comments
post #2 of 13
Just use one charcoal briquet and a couple of wood chunks. The charcoal will help keep the wood smoking, add a piece of charcoal when the first one is gone. Move it to the oven when you get bored with that.

For my tastes, jerky is too smokey to be any good if you throw the smoke to it the whole time, smoke it for an hour or two then kill the smoke and just give some low heat (150 degrees or so) if you can't maintain that move it to the oven to the lowest setting.

Might suggest getting a hotplate to use, then you can keep your smoker as charcoal, but use the hotplate to make jerky but have the option of still hot smoking with charcoal.

Good luck

Hope my rambling helped.
post #3 of 13
I agree with Joe, you can oversmoke jerky. I prefer to add the wood chips I'm using for flavor during the first 2 to 3 hours of the drying process.

Also, welcome to the forum!smile.gif
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Wow, only one briquet?? Shouldnt there be more or will it get to hot? Also, what about using an electric heating element?
post #5 of 13
Making jerky is all about keeping the heat down. You can use more, but keep an eye on temps, get over about 170 and you are just cooking the beef, lower is better kind of thing. You just want something that will keep the wood smoking, if you can keep the wood smoking without any charcoal I would recommend that. I can't......so I use one piece.

Depending on how much air you have getting into your smoker if you put too much in, it will ignite and ruin your whole process. Very frustrating (yeah, this is bad experience talking LOL).

By all means experiment, but keep a close eye on the temps. First time or two you might need to babysit to the extreme until you learn how everything will react............that is why I mentioned moving it to the oven after you smoke for a couple of hours.

Yeah, use an electric element...........the meat doesn't care. biggrin.gif

Just make sure low heat and don't go nuts with the smoke and you will be fine.

Sorry to kind of be all over the place, trying to do 6 things at once.
post #6 of 13
I can't help you a lot with your questions, but cowgirl and FBJ already have that covered.

Just wanted to welcome you to SMF! Make yourself at home. We're glad you're here. And keep asking whatever questions you have.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Also, I have a bunch of maple, red and and white oak I use for my wood stove. Any of these good use??
post #8 of 13
for the MOST part i agree........cept........OVERSMOKING jerky is NOT in my book.........hehehe...........just my tastes........i smoke for the whole time..........

somewhere, there is a PROPANE conversion for a ecb.......been trying to find the link........will keep looking.........

post #9 of 13
Hello and welcome to SMF, all good advice there on the jerky , and those woods are all good to use for smoking , there is a sticky on wood types and characteristics in the forums you might find interesting .try this

post #10 of 13
When I make jerky, I take a flank in it's fullness and cold smoke it for about 2-3 hours. Then I slice it for the jerky and put it in a dehydrator (or smoker).

Smoking in the full cut puts the smoke flavor more in the edges instead of the whole 3 dimensional surface of the slice. This prevents you from over smoking the jerky and balances out the taste of the marinated meat and the smoke flavor.

I don't know if that helps or not, I just wanted to share my Technique.
post #11 of 13
[quote=Walking Dude;123569]for the MOST part i agree........cept........OVERSMOKING jerky is NOT in my book.........hehehe...........just my tastes........i smoke for the whole time..........

I have to agree with d88de. I too, smoke jerky, in smoke, for the entire time in the cold smoker. I share the jerky with friends and I have never had anyone say thats too smokey. The thing is, we all have different smokers, wood, techniques, and tastes. I would smoke for a short time, like Joe and Patty suggest, then if you need more smoke, the next batch you will know better. You can do small batches, and expermint till you get it perfected to your tastes. Thats better than having a big batch of mediocore product that you have to eat because it is too expensive and hard won to throw away.
post #12 of 13
Upnorth .....

Look at my avatar. I use one of those Brinkman electric elements, to heat my smokehouse, and it's an old fridge. Many times the size of an R2D2. LOL

When you plug the element into an AC outlet, it's On ..... FULL POWER

Unless you have some kind of a thermostat to control it, like I have, you will have problems smoking in your small smoker/grill.

When I built my house, I tested it, and I could get it to 350* with just that one element. The thermostat turns the AC on and off to an outlet that I have the Brinkman element plugged into. I have looked at the new thermostat unit, from Allied Kenco, they come with an outdoor, watertight, outlet attached to it. With the outlet on it, you don't have to worry about doing any wiring. It would be a pain to rewire it. I am on my 2nd element.

Check out my gallery pics, I think I have a few pics of it in there.

post #13 of 13
here it is! http://gassmoker.com/ I have one and it is adjustable to almost no flame with the included needle valve, just be careful...you should be able to keep those temps down...Look around and you will see some different mods for the ECB..they might help also
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