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Rookie who wants to learn

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I very new to smoking meat. I have a small Rivergrill that I bought for around fifty dollars to get started. I am burning cowboy brand lump charcoal with different wood chips. I am from Providence R.I. I am mostly interested in Smoking game. Although, the more i read here, the more i realize how little i know about smoking. Everything sounds so good.

I was first turned onto Smoked game in Africa. I was recently there hunting on a plains game safari, and you would think with all the exercise of a normal hunt you usually lose a little weight. Well I actually gained a little weight. All they do is eat meat. I mean they don't even eat chicken. There is meat in one form or another in every meal. I wasn't complaining! I was in Heaven.
The german family I stayed with actually raised cows they had over five hundred head. Yet they would rather eat the game. That is how good it was. They had an outdoor smoker. It was homemade out of brick. Two verticle columns connected by a horizontal one. I don't know what type of wood they burned or how hot they keep there fire, but i am going to find out. They smoked it to the point that it was almost as dry as jerkey. However it was tender. It had a really smoky smell to it, but the taste wasn't at all overpowering. They also hung strips of meat to dry in a old fashion cooler. It was a a small room where water ran through the walls and over coals or something (i am not sure exactly) to keep the room both cool an dry (although I was only a few hours from the kalahari desert, so as you might imagine moisture isn't a problem). They had lots of fans blowing on the meat, I guess they were curing it. Anyway, it gets really hard, and when you are ready to eat it you grind it up and it is very tender again.
I would love to make the same smoked meat that they did, except use deer. I have been playing with the smoker for the last two days. I have been really enjoying it. but i have a lot of question?

The misquite wood chips or any other for that matter when smoking do i soak them in water before putting on the coals????

Do I wrap in aluminum foil with holes in it?

Do I just throw them on the coals ?

How much hickory chips do i use?

Should I see the smoke at all times?

These are just a few of my questions I have. I am sure to be posting much more in the future. I thought you guys would find that Africa stuff interesting.

Thank you to all who respond.

post #2 of 14
Wow Mike!
Welcome the Africa stuff very interesting..what kinda meat they eatin' there?
As you will soon see you will have tons of ideas, answers and opinions..

Jeff has a 5-day e-course you should sign up for...

To soak or not to soak is kind of like wood chips or wood chunks? I think it is personal preference, I prefer chunks and not soaking them.....some however like to soak them in apple juice or wine saying it infuses that flavor while smoking..
Play around and see what you like.....PDT_Armataz_01_06.gif
post #3 of 14
Welcome aboard, glad ta have ya!

1. I don't soak my chips some do, just dosen't work fer me.
2. You can use the aluminum foil, I use a 9x9 cake pan and put the foil over the top and poke a few holes in it. Some others use a coffee can.
3. Chips, couple good handfulls at a time, more ifin ya wan't, control the burn and they will last alot longer.
4. The goal is fer a thin blue smoke, ya don't wan't it bellowin er ya get cresote, that gives ya a bitter taste. If ya smell smoke, yer doin fine, but like I said, thin an blue.

Sounds like they are makin a version of pemmican. What the indians used ta make outa there meat.

Lots a friendly folks here who will hep ya out. Take jeffs 5 day e course lots a good info there.

Above all, learn ta enjoy the craft!
post #4 of 14
Welcome to the forum! Most all of you questions will be answered here. You may or may not want to know what kind of meat they were smoking in Africa! My belief has always been, if it tastes good, who caresicon_exclaim.gif . Keep us informed on your smoking progress.
post #5 of 14
Appreciate the intro on Africa experience. Welcome to the SMF. I use hickory chunks not soaked in a small pan mostly due to input from this board. As you have heard, try things and see what works for you.

Try Jeff's rub as a start as well.
post #6 of 14
Welcome to the forum deerslayer. You found a gem of a resource to help you get to where you want to be for smoking! Invest some time to read the threads already posted, do some searches in the appropriate forums. Good luck!
post #7 of 14
Hey, Mike!

Welcome to the SMF. Hope you enjoy your time here and that we can help you along.

My first suggestion would be to sign up for Jeff's free Five Day E-Course on smoking. That should clear up any questions you have on smoke cooking.

I feel that your experience in South Africa was with folks who were partially dehydrating meat to preserve it. In slow cooking, or true BBQ, meat is not supposed to get hard.

So, check out our place in cyberspace and study the e-course and then come back with any and all questions and we will take you from there!

post #8 of 14
Welcome aboard. If ya like this place after a week or so, make a 15 dollar donation to help support the site. It has everything you will ever need to know.

Good Luck!!
post #9 of 14
Welcom to SMF Mike. I love smoked deer. Just browse therough the forum and you'll learn everthing you need to know. Be sure to share some Q-View when you get going.
post #10 of 14
Welcome to the smf...................Great to have another newbie here..........
post #11 of 14
Welcome to the forum Mike. You'll find alot of people here willing to help and some great topics and recipes. As for your questions some of us soak and some don't try it both ways and see what works for you. You can wrap the chips in foil and poke holes in it to try to prevent flare ups as alot of people do. You don't want heavy billowing smoke this tends to give you a cresote taste what your looking for is a Thin Blue Smoke this is plenty to get the smoke flavor. Even if you can't see the smoke if you can smell it your doing good. How many chips or chunks depends on many factors such as wet dry humidity so you just kinda got to look and adjust accordingly. Hopefully this kind of answered your questions if you have more just ask away and somebody will try to answer.
Have fun and Happy Smoking
post #12 of 14
You definatly came to the right place to learn Deerslayer !!!
Enjoy spending some time reading the diferent sections here , this place is like a virtual encyclopedia of smoking knowledge icon_smile.gif Comence to trying diferent things out and have some fun.
post #13 of 14
Well dang! Those African hunting trips sound pretty cool, you might have to crank up a thread of your own on that if you have any pics

Definitely flip through Jeff's "How To" section on the left side of the web page up there - that'll knock out most of your questions but probably will create a mountain of new ones. Best thing to do is read through that, start experimenting, and post up your experiences.

As for your questions below, for my smoker I soak about half of my chips and half I don't... the unsoaked ones start smoking sooner and by the time they're spent the soaked ones are catching on - tends to give me a longer smoke time without having to open the smoker up to add more. If you don't have a separate fire box, yes, you'll need to poke holes in the aluminum foil pouch so the smoke can get out. For what you're doing I wouldn't use more than a couple of handfuls at a time, but again that will take some experimenting on your part.

Now, as for whether you should see a lot of smoke, my personal answer is NO. You want the wood chips to smoulder, not burn. If they're burning and pumping out a rolling cloud of white smoke, you're going to get a ton of cresote on your meat, which tastes bad. You'll see people on this board mention "thin blue smoke" as what you want to see, not billowy white smoke.

Also, the handful of folks on the forum that have "OTBS" after their name are part of the "Order of the Thin Blue Smoke" and they're all extremely helpful and have a lot of knowledge to be shared. Of course, EVERYONE here is friendly and helpful PDT_Armataz_01_18.gif

Now go give us some posts on that African BBQ!
post #14 of 14
What travcoman said just about nails it. Good luck and good smokin.
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