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First Smoke Today . . .

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
After having my Walmart Smoke N Pit for a week and a half and only having had a fire in it once (to season it), I am getting a little anxious to use it.

Have a friend who owns a metal shop building me a couple of different charcoal baskets but he won't have them done until Wednesday or Thursday. Went to the muffler shop yesterday to have a smokestack extension made but he was "in the orchard" and wouldn't be back until after I had to leave for a nephew's birthday party. Disn't have any luck at Lowe's, Home Depot, OSH or the local hardware store finding wood stove rope to seal the firebox. Weather is getting nice here so all of the "winter" merchandise is packed away. Ordered several thermometers that haven't arrived yet. I have one wireless that the wife bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago. Wife is a bit concerned about all my talk of "mods" since I haven't even cooked on it yet. (Good point.)

So . . .this morning I am going to fire it up, use the digital probe in a potato to "calibrate" the Warm, Ideal, and Hot thermometer, mark the guage at 225 and 250 and toss on a fatty. Actually a chub of Jimmy Dean. No baffle yet so I will use a water pan at the firebox end on the cooking box charcoal grate, keep a log and see how it goes. I guess I should test drive the machine before I make a bunch of changes to it. If I ruin a chub of breakfast sausage, oh well, there won't be much gone.

Wish me luck.

post #2 of 12
Right on Dave! Whoop out your camera and post some Q-view. You will also want to remember your first time... I remember my first time.....Like it was yesterday.....icon_lol.gif
post #3 of 12
Best of luck on you maiden voyage................
post #4 of 12
Sounds like ya got a good plan Dave- Go git 'em!
post #5 of 12
Good luck on that Dave.
post #6 of 12
yup sounds like a game plan,best of luck
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Just waitin' for the Jimmy Dean to finsh up. He's at 157 now . . .takin' him up to 170 per other users posts. I think it will be a race to get him there before the ash buildup chokes the fire. My new charcoal baskets will hopefully take care of that. They will be 12" across instead of 10-1/2" so they will sit higher in the firebox.

The smoker temp is at "A and 1/2 to the left of the dot". I'm not sure how to convert that to Farenheit. (Stupid stock thermometer). My wireless thermo says it is good up to 400 Degrees. But what the spec sheet didn't say was that it will only display to 199. Oh well, new thermos should be here this week.

Learned some things . . .
The coffee can starter I made sucks.
I need to let the charcoal go in the chimney longer. Was dumping unlit coals in with the lit. Worked out well though . . .sort of a "modified minion" method. I got a couple one hour blocks of very steady temps.
Need to get chunks instead of chips . . .or at least put more chips in the foil pouch. Rarely saw smoke, smelled it occasionally though.

Temperature swings when adding charcoal were surprisingly small. As a former wood fired boiler operator, I am familiar with how slow the temp is to react to damper adjustments. Tried to take that into account when planning to add charcoal. All in all I was pretty happy with the way the SnP burned. I will know more when I can run it with some real thermos though. And after I taste the fatty.

Thanks for all your info and encouragement, guys.

post #8 of 12
Welcome to the SMF, where friendly people meet to share good ol' outdoor experinces. Looking out for some of your Q view!
post #9 of 12
Interested in hearing and possibly seeing results from your initial smoke !!!
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, the fire started to lose the race with the ashbox so I opened the door and raked out some ash into a bucked with a makeshift cleanout tool. Temp came right up (thanks for the tips SMF users) and it finished out. Wireless thermometer started beeping at 170 (that thing is pretty handy) and took the fatty in for inspection. (Wow, I see why they are called fatties.) The wife inspected the look and smell and gave a thumbs up. Sliced off a couple of hunks and the wife -- who really isn't into sausage that much -- loved it, as did my 9 year old son.

It was pretty yummy -- had a good outer crust with a smoke ring. Sorry, no Qview yet. Have not taken the time to get the Photobucket account set up yet. Will do that soon.

All in all a satisfying first experience but will need to fine tune the smoke creation part. The wife said it tasted plenty "hickory-ish" so I shouldn't get too carried away. But I will have to revisit Richtee's explanation of "pre-burning" and get some chunks.

Would like to try some country style ribs next and work my way up to the baby backs.

Out for now.

Thanks, all.

post #11 of 12
congrats on the first smoke! I was in the same boat as you not too long ago, except I ruined alot of stuff before I came here! Since then, its all been edible, some even excellent. First thing I would do is, buy a cheap oven therm. You can buy a hockey puck type or one that stands up on a grate. they are dial indicated and you have to wash the smoke off em after every smoke. They are 5-8 bucks each, and they give you the temp at grate level, and that is what is most important. Next easy thing is a diffuser or redirector.

here is a pic of my earlier attempt, along with some cheap tuning plates with holes, that worked very well. It kept stuff at the firebox end from turning to black, burnt offerings, and sent alot of heat over to the stack side.

After I got bored one day( I do that alot) I fashioned a better one that fit all the way to the walls from front to back.
this shows the new baffle with different tuning plates. I have since went back to thicker plates, with bigger holes, farther apart from each other. I hope that makes some sense. Those 2-3 mods along with stack extension made a 90 % improvement, on heat management and fuel consumption. Using a good lump instead of briquettes, is the final modification. I hope this made some type of sense to you or any other folks who are using SNP's, Chargrillers, or charbroil silvers.wink.gif
post #12 of 12
Sounds like a successful maiden voyage!!! remember you dont have to SEE the smoke... if you smell it -- the meat IS getting it....
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