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I think I've been doing this all wrong.

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I am new to the smoking meats thing. As a matter of fact, I am new to eating meat again. I was a vegetarian for 18 years before I ran into some medical issues that made meat-eating a necessity (and a joy) again.

I'm still mad at all my friends for not forcing me to eat bacon at some point and bring me back to my senses!

I bought a Char-Griller Smokin Pro with a side firebox. I have done ribs, chicken, briskets all with great success in flavor.

I have had some issues with keeping temps consistent. Not quite sure how to maintain a proper fire yet. I start with a chimney of briquets and usually pour them on some unlit coals after they heat up. I then add the wood and work on getting the smoker to temp. Usually takes AWHILE. Is that normal?

Then when I go to add wood, I have been leaving the door to the side firebox open to burn the wood or else I get a lot of white smoke which I understand is bad. Cresote or something. Should I be letting the wood get to full flame and then closing it up or am I doing that all wrong?

(Let me throw in a note, I take criticism real well, so fire away PDT_Armataz_01_36.gif )

I have tried a variety of wood (logs) including mesquite, peach, apple and pecan. Also hickory chips. I struggle keeping a constant temp. Any help here would be appreciated.

I did a Q-View a couple smokes ago. I lost the pictures in the Great Computer Crash of '08. I think I have some somewhere so I will post them tomorrow.

I'll start here and see where it goes.
post #2 of 21
Welcome back to those who recognize what insisors are for ;{) Check this thread out...for ideas anyway...
post #3 of 21
Welcome to the SMF. I'm not fully qualified to give out advice, but this is the exact place you will find all the information (and inspiration) you need. Get to reading, you'll be glad you did.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
I read that am still a little confused.

I have a larger smoker and using the side firebox and splits...

Do I still need to pre-burn or can I just throw a log on the hot coals and let it burn with the door open (not the sliding door but the main door), then when it burns out close the door and smoke away?

(Also, is there a way to do oldest post at the top and scroll down to see newer posts?)
post #5 of 21

I am new at smoking myself.but have been reading about it. I think I can help and those that really know I am sure will jump in at some point and yea or nay me.

1st the briquets are a no, no, use lump hardwood charcoal. royal oak is the better one, then kingsford are what ever you get your hands on.
go to the search eng. on this forum and type in charcoal basket..you need one of those. they work sweet. sounds like you are using to much wood are to big of a piece.
back to the basket. put unlit lump in the basket, cover the bottom and come up a little.then lite your chimney. when ready pour onto the unlit coals in the basket. put some wood on top. keep cooking vents open and fire box door and vents closed. see what happens need more heat..open vents on fire bx...
hope this helps a little..
post #6 of 21
welcome back man, its a tuff life bein on the top of the food chain. so being the meat eaters we have evolved to be why not just go with it.
also welcome to smf, great place. ck out the 5 day ecourse. share some smoke with qview!!!
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
When you say cooking vents, what exactly do you mean? The chimney vent?

The only other vent is the one of the fire box and you say to keep that closed.
post #8 of 21
Keep the chimney <exhaust> vent mainly open.. control heat with the firebox intake. And as we discussed..use charcoal/lump for heat, and go sparingly on the wood. Thin and Blue!
post #9 of 21
Pretty much agree with whats been said but then not completely. check this out, http:http://www.smokinmeatforums.com/foru...903#post243903

also might try preheatin wood before puttin it on the fire. it makes for faster ignition. I do this by simply laying it on top of the fire box prior to putting it into the fire.
post #10 of 21
Try again ( im better smokin than computin I hope )

post #11 of 21

Dang It!!

Oh well I tried.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
I saw that suggestion somewhere and have started doing that.

I think where I have been screwing up is using splits as my heat source instead of charcoal and the wood just for smoke.

The stuff I have been doing has been really good, though. The first time I did chicken I didn't brine it. Learned that the hard way. The ribs I have done, did the 3-2-1 method and they came out great. Nice and tender, just struggled with the heat. Hopefully the flavor will improve (which they were delicious anyway) with the new knowledge of proper smoke.

The salmon I did was alright. A little on the dry side for my taste. My wife loved it, though.
post #13 of 21

one more time.......

Lets do this the hard way.....

Go to forums...
Go to Charcoalsmokers
Find Chargriller smokin pro newbie ?
Go to 3rd page
Find post from SMOKE FREAK
post #14 of 21

Fire management

Berger, welcome to SMF!

It took me some time to learn fire management with my CGSP. Here it is in as brief a form as I can make it.

I start 2 chimneys of charcoal. (I prefer lump to briquettes). I have the chimney cap wide open and leave it there for the whole smoke. I have the intake open about 50% to start. If you don't have a charcoal basket for the firebox, turn the firebox grate upside down so there is more space under the grate for airflow. I put the 2 chimneys of fully lit coals in the firebox and let the unit warm up. As the temps get closer to my target temp (225-240°F), I start to close the intake on the firebox. I add 1 or 2 chunks of dry wood to the top of the coals, and have TBS. I need to add a lit chimney of charcoal in about 1-1/2 hours, and then about every 2 hours to maintain temps for a long smoke. You will also need to add more wood every 1 to 2 hours. Use the intake vent to regulate temps. I find that as the fire matures, it is only open 5-10%.

Also, please not that the built in thermo is not accurate. I use a digital probe thermo to monitor the temps of the unit.

Hope this helps!

Take care, have fun, and do good!


post #15 of 21
Do you have tons of wood available and easily replenishable? Like, do you own an orchard? If so, ignore the charcoal and just burn the wood down to coals and shovel coals in for heat. Just make a burn barrel (search burn barrel). Works great, but eats fuel, and is a bit more labor intensive.

But, you get the added benefit of easy temperature control because if it cools you have coals ready and waiting, and as long as you don't put too many in temp spikes are few and far between. Plus, this way TBS is easy to get.

If wood is an issue, ignore me and do what everybody else said.
post #16 of 21
I have just one word for you, Charcoal Basket (actually two words...). I made one from expanded metal I bought at Home Depot. It helped me get a longer more consistent burn. I fill mine 2/3rds to 3/4ths full of unlit lump, combined with a chunk or two of wood. I have one of those wireless thermometers from Wal-Mart ($15) that I use to keep track of the temp. It has an alarm that goes off at an adjustable temp. If I am trying to smoke at 225, I usually set the alarm for 240 - 245. The alarm will tell me when I need to go check the fire. I check the remote occasionally to make sure the heat is not getting to low, but this is rarely a problem. If the basket starts getting low add more coals. This works well for me.
post #17 of 21
(Also, is there a way to do oldest post at the top and scroll down to see newer posts?)[/quote]

Welcome to SMF, glad you joined us.
Click on user CP on the menu bar up top and click on edit options on the left side and you will find some options at the bottom of the page to do this and other things.

Hope this helps
post #18 of 21
WOW ! 18 years with no meat eek.gif ... glad you found us , welcome to SMF .
post #19 of 21
Meat is murder!!! Tasty tasty murder.
post #20 of 21
Welcome home pilgram. Lots of good info so far and lots more to come. The folks here relish teaching new folks the way. enjoy your new addiction.
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