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First smoke is under way!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

My name is Jeff, and I'm in Santa Cruz, CA. I've always wanted to kick my grilling up a notch, so I stumbled across SMF on the web and did a bunch of reading. I didn't want to invest a ton of cash (and I don't have a lot of space) so I decided on an ECB + mods.

I picked one up from Home Depot yesterday for $39, got a few accessories like a charcoal chimney and nuts/bolts/rods for some of the ECB mods, and spent a few hours last night modding the charcoal pan so it stands alone, and has a bottom vent. Then I did a little half-batch of charcoal in the thing to "cure" it. I got a little 3.75LB whole chicken, did a dry rub I found on this site (Rick's snakebitten chicken), and injected it with the suggested 1c apple juice, 1 shot rum, 1 lime's juice mixture.

Chicken set over night, and around noon I boiled a big pot of water for the waterpan, then set up some lump hardwood charcoal Minion-style and got it going: Charcoal pan about 5/6ths to the top with charcoal, 2 wedges of soaked Mesquite around the edge, and started remaining 1/6th of charcoal in my chimney starter, then poured white-hot 1/6th right into the middle of the unlit coals in the pan. Temps jumped to 325 right away, so I closed the charcoal pan vent, which didn't really make a difference. After the first hour, they seem to have dropped down to 300 / 295 range so I'm not too worried ... besides, I've read that poultry is actually OK to cook hotter than the usual 225-250. I'll just pull the thing off when its internal temp is 165 and call it a day -- will post pics in a bit!

Curious to know any tips for starting at a lower initial temperature. Maybe use cold water in the pan? Is there a charcoal technique I'm overlooking?

I'm planning to do ribs next, and I don't think those will like the 295-325 range I'm hitting now.

Time for beer & mop!

Take it easy,
post #2 of 11

Welcome, Glad to have you with us. This is the place to learn, lots of good info and helpful friendly Members.

For Those of you New to Smoking, be sure to check out Jeff's 5 Day Smoking Basics eCourse.
Click Here it's "FREE"... 5 Day eCourse

Everyone here enjoys seeing the Qview so be sure to post plenty of pics...

Large ones that us old people with bad eyes can see.

When you uploading to Photobucket I always use the Large IMG setting, 640 x 480 it is a nice size...

How to post Qview to Forum:

For Step By Step Instructions On Posting Qview Check Out This Tutorial

post #3 of 11
Welcome to the forum. I lived in your area (Scotts Valley) back in the early sixties. Used to frequent the boardwalk and fished off the pier.
post #4 of 11
First off welcome..

You are correct, chicken is better cooked at a higher temp. It does not benefit form low and slow type cooking, it will really dry it out.

Start off with cold water in the pan and dont use so much charcoal. Keep your exhaust vents open and try to regulate your airflow to the fire.

You will ahve to play around with the cooker some. The more you use it the better you will get at controling the temps.

Someone else will chime in shortly with more suggesttions...
Good Luck
post #5 of 11
Welcome.I like high temps for poultry as well. 320-340 degree for me.I still get plenty of smoke.Try making gravy from drippings-it is loaded with smoke flavor....
post #6 of 11
First off welcome Jeff to SMF. You'll like it here cause there are abunch of good folks here that would just love to help you out with just about anything to do with smoking. We really like to have newbies here because they can bring in a new propective to how things are done. There's nothing like a new set of eyes to give and new way to make things that little differant to make things alittle better. So I hope you know about the Qview here.
Here's a link to photobucket it's free and easy to download pictures. Then if your really new to smoking Look up the E-course.
It's also free and it will give you the basics of smoking. So after all of that you just need to go grab something to smoke and if you have any question just post them here and we will answer it quickly so you don't have any mishaps with your smoke.
Welcome To Your New Addiction
post #7 of 11
good luck and I'm sure this is late. but next time make sure to brine your chicken. Definitly the only way to cook birds or fish for that matter.
post #8 of 11
Welcom Jishaq. I know you will find a ton of recipes and ideas from the good people here to be trying all kinds of things on your new smoker. Congrats on kicking your grilling up a notch, but unfortunately, you have just started down the road to an addictive substance called the thin blue smoke.

Glad to have you.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the warm welcome folks!

My little 3.75 pound chicken was done in only 3 hours! That was a surprise, glad I was checking it. I've read some people swear by brining, and others say it didn't make much of a difference, so I figured I'd try out a dry rub first and see how things turned out.

I can see how the ECB is a good intro smoker. It seems a little temperamental so I'll have a chance to get good at fine-tuning my technique and really getting to know the fundamentals of maintaining a steady heat. I was going to get a propane version for simplicity, but I think that would ultimately have been a crutch in learning this.

My list for next time:
* Less "hot" charcoal to start things (using Minion method).
* If start temps still too high, next time start with cool water.
* Use a tray to collect drippings to make stock, instead of letting them drip into the skungy water tray (duh)


PS: Bassman, Scotts Valley must have been a lot different in the 60s than it is today (suburban moms driving Hummers)!
post #10 of 11
Dont add your meat until you get the temps settled.. If its too high then wait until it cools down amd the add it..
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Oh yeah good idea! I guess I just threw everything on at once and hoped for the best. Temps did average out over time -- my log shows temps of:

Start: 325
20 mins: Closed charcoal vent; dropped to 320
37 mins: 312
1 hr: 310
2 hr: 234
3 hr: 225

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