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Noob needs help BAD!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi SMF gang!

Yesterday I went out and bought a Brinkman Gourmet charcoal water smoker. I was all excited to get home, and put it to use.

Following the included chart, I added 3 chicken breasts and a sausage. The cooking chart indicated 4-5 hours smoke time.

The temp stayed about half way between 'warm' and 'ideal' the entire time. (Had to add charcoal twice.)

After 3 hours, I could not resist temptation and lifted the lid to check on my masterpiece. All of the meat was completely black, and rather dry.

I followed the directions. The water pan was 3/4 full with water and some marinade.

Since I'm new, I have absolutely no idea what went wrong!


Thanks, JS0828
post #2 of 11
Hi JS - Welcome to SMF, when you get a chance please head over to Roll Call to introduce yourself.

As for your problems:

1. First rule - NEVER Ever trust a stock thermometer. Especially one that doesn't have any temperature readings on it. Replace that gauge with an aftermarket thermo. Or use a probe through a potato at grate level

2. Always - only a few exceptions - Always cook by internal temperature of the meat. Time is only a guideline to help you know when to start cooking. Always use a probe to check the temp away from any bones (not on the bone)

3. The black could possibly have been a creosote build up from improper burning or too much smoke. We like to call the smoke coming out of the smoker Thin Blue Smoke (TBS) You don't want white billowey smoke.

Was the skin bitter tasting? Was the bird cooked to the bone or not?

Put water in the pan and marinade in the chicken. The water helps maintain the air temp.

Hope this helped you out. If it didn't or it raises other questions please ask.
post #3 of 11
JS -

I'm new here myself, but I guess that your temp gage is wrong...way a matter of fact, mine was rougly 60 degrees off.

1) Get yourself a digital thermometer 15 bucks at wally world.
a) Do a boil test on it (should read 212 deg when stuck in boiling water)

2) Use that inside your smoke chamber proped up with either some clothsepins, cork, or something so it's not touching the metal grates.

3) Use another thermometer of your liking to measure your meat temps and don't just rely on the time charts....use those as a guesstimate...temp tells you when your done...not a chart.

4) Read a buch on this forum as there is an AMAZING amount of people here who can truly help.

5) Ask questions when you need.

PS welcome and don't let this little setback foil your outlook on smoking meat.
post #4 of 11
What Pigcircles said............and welcome to the forum.
post #5 of 11
r PDT_Armataz_01_27.gif LOL where's Terry when I need him. Some people never forget. LOL
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks all,

How do I regulate the smoke?
Any suggestions on what kind of thermometer to get?

Also, I see that people with the Brinkman have to do a lot of mods.
Would it be easier to just go out and get a horizontal with offset firebox?

Thanks again!
post #7 of 11
What? The ECB is a good smoker! A little pickunish or persnickety, perhaps, but a good unit! Did you season it before the first smoke? If not don't sweat it. You just did I suppose. Could have been some oils and paint residue that got cooked and didn't help your cause.

You have a "small" smoker. Read this thread on how to get the TBS outta that puppy ALL the time!

And get a thermometer or two. All the folks above are dead on on that.

And ask before ya leap... perhaps with an hour or two to spare.

Also stop by the Roll Call forum and give us an introduction- it's the polite thing to do, and we're nosy anyway LOL!

Welcome to SMF!
post #8 of 11
You will regulate the smoke by how much wood (chips or chunks) that you put on the fire. Your temp will be controlled by the air intake. Always leave the exhaust full open to let the smoke get out.

Go to Lowe's, HD, or any home improvement store to check out their probe thermometers. You don't have to spend big bucks to get what you need. Just be sure to test the accuracy of the probe in boiling water. I use boiling water cuz it's closest to the temps I'm going to be checking. A few degrees off isn't a big deal.

As far as mods go. You will want to make mods on just about any smoker except the upper end class which already has most of the mods designed in. Make a few mods and see if it helps with the burn time and temp control, then move up when you're ready.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I did not season it, but didn't know it needed to be done. How do you season it?

Also, my smoker does not have an exhaust to adjust. From what I have read, people make modifications to their ECBs for reasons like this.

I'm not really into tinkering, that's why I was wondering about getting something like a New Braunfels horizontal to make my life easier.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
One more thing,

I used a combination of charcoal and wood chunks.
I think I had too much smoke. Should I have used the same amount of charcoal with less wood chunks?

Thanks guys!
post #11 of 11
Use the amount of charcoal needed to maintain temps for several hours if possible and a couple of chunks of wood. You may have to modify how much wood you have in to get just the right smoke. Remember TBS almost invisible blue smoke that will make your eyes water is enough to get the job done. Not thick white smoke.

I'm not sure what your skill level is or your want to level. But the mods are cheaper than a new smoker. An exhaust isn't hard to do, but it's your call.
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