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New to Charcoal

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Last year my Mother-In-Law bought me an electric smoker as a Christmas gift & that is what I have been doing all of my BBQ in. Well, this past weekend, my wife stopped at a garage sale & bought me a Char-Grill H20 unit. So, now I have to learn how to use it.

It is my understanding that I would be putting lump charcoal in the coal pan & get the fire going, then I would wrap my wood chips up in a "pouch" of aluminum foil (poke a few hole in the foil) & place that on top of the charcoal.

Am I on the right track? Also, for a 12 hour smoke I assume that I am going to have to add fuel on a fairly regular basis in order to keep my temperature up.

Any insight that anybody can offer would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 10
I don't do the pouch thing. I just toss a handful of wood chips right on my coals.

I also use what's called the Minion method with my coal. Basics are you fill the smoker up with unlit coals and add a few lit coals to one side. The fire will gradually spread and prolong your cook times.

As with anything, it'll take some practice to work out the kinks and get used to using your smoker.

For starters, I'd suggest something that doesn't take too long. Chicken and/or sausage is pretty simple. Ribs, pork shoulders, and briskets are a bit more challenging.

Lastly, stay away from starter fluid and Matchlight.
post #3 of 10
Here is a link to some helpful info on the minion meathod. Hope this helps you out! http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/fireup2.html#minion
post #4 of 10
Hello Grande, and congratulations on #1. You have a wonderful wife!

#2, Yes and you can also just toss them on top of the coals. I've done both, and I prefer the "toss them on the coals" method. Don't know why, just maybe 'cause I'm ornery and don't want to fiddle around with the foil.

#3 Yes, and Yes. You are on the right track and have gotten good worthwhile advice from the posts that preceded me.

May the TBS follow you wherever you go!
post #5 of 10
If you toss the chips right on the coals won't they flare up and cause that burn't creosote taste in the meat?? Do you soak them first??
post #6 of 10
You didn't mention if the unit had the mods done yet or not. I've got one just like yours and hated it until I made the mods. I don't use chips but chunks in mine and I don't soak them. I'll put them on the edge of the fire and I never have the creosote taste on my meat. Good luck...the instuctions on the mods are here on the site someplace.
post #7 of 10
I toss them right on the coals. I don't soak them.

My BBQ tastes great.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of your replys. I have not made any modification to the unit yet. I definately want to to dig into this site to investigate these modifications.

I am very interested in the Minion Method & will probably take that approach to start. I was going to conduct my first smoke with some Pork Butts since they tend to be very forgiving. The down side is that it will involve approx. 12 hours of cook time.
post #9 of 10
The up-side is that during that long smoke you will get more comfortable with your smoker too. You will learn little tricks and signs of when to add more fuel etc. Plus long smokes are fun!
post #10 of 10
I only use chips in my grill. They *SEEM* to last longer if they've been soaked. I haven't noticed any taste differance between wet and dry though.

When I foil chips, they seem to go off like a bomb. They burn out their smoke super fast. Personally, I think they last longer directly on the coal. Never tried one of them fancy-schmancy smoker boxes though.

But you're using a charcoal smoker, so use dry chunks.
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