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Full freezer and a smoke dream

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I am new here. I got a freezer full of venison and a used Big Chief Top loader that I rescued. Looking forward to trying it out (25F) this weekend.

I could use some set-up info. I have the smoker, rack and AC plug. No water bowl. Plus, do I need lava rocks in the bottom or just toss the wood chips in?

Looking to make some jerky for starters. Then maybe ribs and more jerky.

If there is one thing I do know, it's not to let your meat loaf.

Thanks folks, I'll try to ask my next questions in the proper areas.
post #2 of 11
Great advice, but don't be afraid to smoke one...

Welcome aboard!
post #3 of 11
welcome to smf.& don't forget the Qview.
post #4 of 11
Welcome to SMF! I can't help you much with your questions about your smoker, but until someone comes along who can, you might want to check out the links on the left hand side of the screen. There's lots of good info there.

Just make yourself at home here. The folks are friendly and helpful and we're always glad to have another member.
post #5 of 11
Welcome to the SMF.
post #6 of 11


Welcome and be sure to take the free 5-day ecourse it is well worth it!!!!!icon_razz.gif
post #7 of 11
Chubbs, Welcome to SMF. Check out the Electric Smokers forums down in the Smoking Supplies and Equipment section. There is a number of members that use electric smokers that might be able to answer your question there (not everyone reads roll call).

Enjoy the site and have fun!!
post #8 of 11
Hey Chubbs, another newbie here, but I do have some experience with the Big Chief smokers. Sounds like you're missing the chip pan and drip tray. There should be a cookie sheet looking tray that goes on the bottom of the rack to catch drips, and there should be a small pan looking thing to hold the wood chips that goes through the little door in the front. I have successfully used a regular pan for this after losing the one that came with the smoker, you just have to make sure it fits through the door. Oh and I wouldn't use one that's coated with teflon.

You don't need lava rocks or anything of that sort. Just fill the chip pan and slide it through the door so it sits on top of the heater element.

Good luck!
post #9 of 11
Welcome to the SMF. With all your questions, I know you're dying to get started. Stick around... it only gets better.
post #10 of 11
Welcome to the forum. Lots of friendly folks here on the forum always willing to help and share adventures.
post #11 of 11

Nice to have you as a new member.

The Luhr Jenson 'Chief' series, Big's and Little's, were never designed to have water pans. The 'Big' is using a Cal Rod heating element that is calibrated to between 200 and 225F. It will never go any higher and you will probably have some difficulties even getting it up to those temps in cold weather.

That is not to say they aren't good smokers. I still have some of both sizes. They do have their drawbacks however. Neither has heat controls. You get what they were set to at the factory. No more, no less.

My suggestion would be to build some kind of wind break for your unit. Just make sure it doesn't catch fire. Use your Big Chief to the best you can. If you can afford it, then think in terms of a higher end Electric or possibly propane. If you go Electric, you may want to look at Masterbuilt (MES). If Propane, then maybe GOSM. I'm not pushing any particular heat method or brand. Just mentioning a couple of popular models in each pursuasion.

Regardless, keep the Big Chief. You will have times and occasions when it is great to have. You may also want to use it as a Cold Smoke box, after you get something else.

Anyway, enough for this thread. We can continue in the appropriate thread.

Good Luck,

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