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New to forum...and eager to smoke!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Greetings! I am first time poster and just getting into the smoking world. I researched a lot of different smokers and decided to get a Masterbuilt Electric smoker. I know some will say that electric smokers are not the best, but I thought it was the best thing for me to start out and learn from here.

I smoked my first set of ribs over the weekend. Tried them 2 different ways. Temp 225 (realized needed to keep my top vent closed to get to this temp – don’t have a bottom vent) for 5.5 hours. Tried ½ normal. Tried ½ 3-2-1 method. I thought the 3-2-1 method was just a little too much b/c you couldn’t even pick up a rib bone with any meat on it. Meat was good, but like to actually eat the meat off the bone. The normal way turned out great results.

I am still in the process of reading up on smoking techniques and tips but did have a couple of high level questions I thought I would post to this forum to get me started. I also understand that you have to smoke a lot to learn and get the hang of it…but learning can sometimes cost a lot of money! I appreciate any responses from the Pro’s!

  • With an electric smoker, is it ok to also throw in some charcoal with the wood? I have read places (and I know people argue over this) that you need charcoal to get the smoke ring and the bark on the outside of meat. Is this true? Is there any benefit to throwing in a piece of charcoal when I load the wood when needed?
  • Is it ok to use charcoal in an electric smoker?
  • When reading about how long to smoke pieces of meat, I will read things like spare ribs at 225 for 6 hours. Does this mean adding wood the entire time to generate smoke for the entire 6 hours? I read somewhere that people will only add wood until the meat reaches a certain temp and then only cook with heat. Do you recommend to use wood the entire time (refilling the wood throughout the entire cooking processes when is runs low)?
  • On an electric smoker, do you recommend to keep the top vent open, closed, or somewhere in the middle? On my first smoke, I tried to keep it ¼ open, but soon realized that my temp wasn’t were I wanted it and had to almost close it to get up to 225. Will too much smoke make the meat taste bad?
  • My smoker has an electrical control box on the top of it. The box controls the time to cook for and the temperature of the smoker. Should I trust the temperature it states, or get a temperature probe for the inside of the smoker?
That’s it for now. I will be trying a lot of the recipes I have read on this forum.

Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 13
Welcome to the site Mark, great to have you with us. I am not a user of electric smokers, but am familiar with the one you have and its a great one for sure. I'm sure someone will jump in here and answer your questions and your smoker is pretty common. If you don't find the answers here, try posting in the electric smoker thread. All the help you could want is therePDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

Great to have you here, and I hope you enjoy this new hobby, Im sure you will.
post #3 of 13
hey mark you done need coal in your smoker as for the wood apple -cherry ect soaked will be good till you get to 140 inside meat temp ... after that you are just making smoke the meat will not take the smoke anymore and as for the temp .. use a good remote meat probe for your meat and for your pit open or close the top vent to get your temp to stay for the longest time ... i have turned my unit to 265 to get 230 inside pit temp and remember if your looking you are not cooking so run your remote probe down the top vent and stick into the meat and time is not what you go by go by meat temp.. just my 2 cents ask away the guys on here are great and will help you alot
post #4 of 13
Welcome to the SMF. Smoke is smoke, if it tastes good your doing alright!
post #5 of 13
Welcome to the SMF Mark,We are glad to have you onboard
post #6 of 13
Welcome aboard!
post #7 of 13

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 #8 of 13
First off welcome Mark 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 #9 of 13
Welcome to SMF, Mark. Glad you joined us.
post #10 of 13
The meat will take smoke as long as you care to smoke it. It's the smoke ring that stops developing at 140 degrees.
post #11 of 13
Welcome aboard, Mark. A lot of MES experts here so be prepared to leanr alot about you smoker and the wonderful things it is going to produce.
post #12 of 13
Welcome to the SMF Mark. From experience using my Bradley I can tell you It's hard getting it over 200°, even during the summer months. The original heating element was rated at 500 watts. I recently upgraded to a 1250 watt element and 225° is not a problem to maintain. It also helps to keep them out of the wind. You could also wrap it with a welding blanket for insulation. Good luck.
post #13 of 13
Welcome to the SMF. Enjoy your stay.
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