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Hi, I'm new and a beginner.

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi, my name is Winter and I have been a very dedicated home cook and "griller" for many years. I recently purchased a cheap charbroil smoker (with the offset smoker box), so I could start practicing.

I tried smoking a brisket (after having one in Austin at a friends house that I cannot stop slobbering over its memory) and BOY...if anybody wants to know how to screw up a brisket...just ask me!

I think I used WAY to much wood and mesquite at that. I for some reason, felt the need to keep adding wood...enough so I could see smoke all the time...LOL. I imagine licking an ashtray would have tasted better. eww.

So needless to say the smoker has not been touched since, due to my state of frustration and shame. Mind you...I'm a really darned good cook and I never screw stuff up (food). I feel terribly defeated.

BUT....this AM, I purchased several racks (about 4 lbs. each) of lovely (cheap/on sale) pork spareribs. I am ready to try this again. eh...hehe...reluctantly...

So how much charcoal do I use as opposed to wood? I have a couple bags of some cherry and hickory chips.

Should I put a pan of water underneath the ribs?

Thank you all so much...any and all advice is welcome and I'll go read up here a bit.
post #2 of 20
Welcome to SMF, Winter! You jumped in feet first, and that's admirable. This place definitely has threads that will help you improve that smoke.

Start with Jeff's 5-day eCourse (it's free) and it will teach you the basics about smoking meat as it's a much different animal than grilling. I still reference his emails when I get stuck on something, and with the help of the SMF, my smokes have been successful (for the most part).

Good luck, and look forward to reading your future posts.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much.....checking it out now...
post #4 of 20
hi winter, welcome to smf. i had the same problem with the smoke as u describe and have learned that u dont need to have the smoke billowing out, a light blue wisp is enuff and actually if you cant see it but can smell it that is ok to. the heavy smoke actually puts a smudge on food leaving behind bad tasting creosote and other baddies... control the amount of wood you add, just a little all needed and periodically add more as it is fully used up. i donot use a water pan for ribs as they have enuff moisture in them with the natural juices from the fat as it cooks, remove membrane and use a rub and use the 321 method for almost gauranteed results. goodluck and dont forget the qview!!!
post #5 of 20
Welcome to the forum sweetmeat!
post #6 of 20
Yup! Just what these two smokers have just told you!

Manage your temps and do not depend on the included gauge! Buy an oven thermometer or add an extra probe to the middle rack not touching the metal. A good way to get a real temp reading is to push a probe through a potato and place it in the middle of the smoker.

The potato will insulate the probe from the metal rack and give a reasonably accurate temp reading. Your temps should range from 215 to 250 max.

As for wood, as was stated before, you just want to be able to smell it. Barely a Thin Blue Smoke!

Hope all this helps!

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much and you just reminded me to go throw the oven thermometer on there. I bought one of the ones that screws into the top of the lid and I think its off....alot off...

Well the charcoals lit...wish me luck and I'll let you know how it goes!
post #8 of 20
Welcome aboard!!!! Glad you found the place.

There is a TON of excellent info on these forums. I joined a few days ago and am amazed how much knowledge is logged here.

The more you read, the more comfortable you will become. I have been smoking for years and use my senses when smoking. I go by smell (not too pungent when the wood is smoking), sight (slow and blue smoke) and sound (I listen for a nice quiet sizzle on the wood). I touch and taste later... lol.

Keep reading and reading. There are some great videos to be watched here as well.

Good luck!
post #9 of 20
Welcome..and keep the smoke THIN and BLUE as much as possible. And as far as wood goes if you can smell it you're smoking.

Here'a a thread aimed at us "small" firebox users...
post #10 of 20
Good Luck and keep us posted!

BTW, the purpose of the water tray is to help moderate the temps in the smoker. So you may wish to use it to help stabilize and control the temp of your l'il darlin'!

post #11 of 20
Welome aboard, glad ta have ya! Ribs are a bit of a challenge, but think yall do fine. Remove that silver membrane on the back a yer ribs, trim to st louis style ifin ya like, there's been a few posts on here lately on how ta do just that.

Rub them up with yeller mustard then a coatin of yer favorite rub.

I would use lump charcoal fer yer fire, put yer chips in a 9x9 cake pan covered with aluminum foil and poke a few holes in it. This heps stop the flare ups. A water pan can hep ya keep yer temps steady and adds moisture to the cooker, not to the meat, I think it helps keep meat moister.

Use the 3-2-1 method as outlined here on the forum. Works really well. I would spritz each hour with this:

Spritz Recipe

8 oz Apple Cider
6 oz Water
4 oz Whiskey
2 oz Cider Vinegar

This spritz gives ya a nice sheen and good flavor to.

Hope that heps.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Everything seems A-OK so far! Thanks for the tips and encouragement. At this point I'm hungry...and a bit buzzed, so we'll eat em regardless.

I must admit I opened the thing and ripped a big chunk of juicy melty fat off off the end and it was scrumdilly. The rub came out a bit spicy (cause I did the... fistful of this, fistful of that rub), but more for me in case anyone can't handle it.

Cheers everyone!!!

Thanks for having me...what a great board!
post #13 of 20
Welcome aboard Winter.................Great to have more females joining the smoking way of things.................
post #14 of 20
Welcome sweetmeat, keep that buzz going and good luck with your future smokes.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well thanks everyone.

The ribs came out beautiful...until I pulled them off the smoker and dropped the whole rack in the dirt!

icon_evil.gifPDT_Armataz_01_27.gificon_sad.gif:icon_frow n:

Way to go hugh?

LOL. I can laugh today, but last night it wasn't so funny.
post #16 of 20

Welcome from So Cal

Welcome, a fellow So Cal smoker! YIPPIE!!

I laughed so hard at the yummy ribs ~ then to the dirt they went, This has actually happened to me as well...If I recall correctly, there was a bit of an adult beverage involved too!!

You are going to love it in here......icon_smile.gif
post #17 of 20
A little dirt never hurt nobody , a splash of your adult beverage would rinse , sterilize , and further flavor them icon_smile.gif , Unless of course it was for company eek.gifPDT_Armataz_01_27.gif
Welcome , great site you found here PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif Enjoy icon_smile.gif
post #18 of 20
welcome, youll be cooking like a pro in no time.. good luck
post #19 of 20
Welcome to the forum, Sounds like a very interesting day.
post #20 of 20
welcome. sounds like you are going to have fun either way..good luck.
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