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smoke vault christmas present!

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
So I had been searching for a small vertical smoker for a couple days on the internet and I was just content on a small one that home depot had for $150. So I was in the city (I live in a small town with only one grocery store) and I decided to check Ace hardware to see what they carried, and the first thing I saw was a nice and shiny smoke vault 24" on sale for $198! so I snatched it up and promised my wife not to open it untill chrismas day. So its currently sitting downstairs awaitng the BIG day and its killing me that I cant open it. So heres my question. I told my mom that I will supply the meat for the christmas dinner if she supplies the fixins. I plan on cooking fatties for breakfast, and turkey and ham for dinner. So heres my question. I must open it the 24th and get it seasoned, and make sure I know how it behaves correct??? What should I do to create the perfect smoke on the first try? I will be using cherry wood chips and its going to be dang cold (today it got all the way up to 16 degrees F). So what else do I need in order to make sure everything goes well? I have a meat thermometer I bought at walmart. its just a metal probe that you can leave in the meat (its like 6 inches long) do I need any other thermometers for the chamber or could I just use the one I have when I season it and see the door thermometer is correct? Sorry if I have a ton of questions. Oh, one more. while I'm assembling the vault should I just go ahead and bend the tabs over on the bottom vents or should I wait and see how it acts. Im just really worried about the cold weather.
thanks for any advice!!!!!!!
post #2 of 25
Congrats nice smoker! I would get another thermo or two you don't want to trust the thermo on the door of the smoker at least not without checking it with an accurate thermo first. I would clean out the smoker and season it before smoking.
post #3 of 25
Good advice from Jerry. I also wouldn't wait to the last minute to try it out on your xmas dinner. Pick up some chicken to test it out.

That way you will have some experience and learn the pros and cons of it first.

Good luck!
post #4 of 25
Wow! Where to begin? Ok, let's start with a congratulations on getting a new smoker for Christmas. Let's just start a list to keep it simple...
1) Stop into "Roll Call" and give a proper introduction for all the members here.
2) Best of luck to you on the Christmas smoke with a brand-spankin' new smoker.
3) The thermo you have...check it for accuracy. Boil a pan of water. As it starts to boil see if your's reads 212* or pretty close to it. Also, put it into a glass of water full of ice. Should read around 35* or so. Having a good smoker is great. Having quality thermometers is the other half of the the battle.
4) Get another thermometer. You'll want one for the meat (I'll go into that in a bit) and another to monitor the cooking surface temp.
5) Good for you for buying from Ace Hardware. Usually locally owned franchises. Better for the local economy than buying from a box store like a Walmart.
6) Fatties, turkey and ham...all pretty forgiving and all will do fine at a little better than low and slow temps. Click on the "search" feature at the top of the page and see some of the how to's that other SMFers have posted. You're gonna see your fill of advice. The 3 biggies I see off the top..
6a) What are you gonna fill the fatty with and what is the outside going to be made from.
6b) Are you going to brine that turkey? Let's talk about the prep.
6c) How did you buy the ham? Precooked/smoked, bone in, etc. What kind of glaze do you want to put on it?
7) Yes, you can leave the probe in the meat BUT**** do NOT use the same probe moving between these pieces of meat. Poultry and anything else do not mix. Too much cross contamination. Get seperate probes or thermometers for each piece of meat OR wash it well between each test. It gets way more complicated than that. But this reply will only handle so many words. Also, wait at least 2 hours before you probe any of these meats. This prevents you from pushing any bacteria down into the meat from the surface.
8) Don't trust the built in chamber thermometer. They're famous for being off by a long shot. Not sure what the quality control process is for these but apparently it sucks.
9) I don't know the Smoke Vault so I can't comment about the tabs.
10) With using propane in very cold weather...it's a good idea to keep the tank in a warm area until ready to use. It's pressurized and the cold will reduce the amount of pressure available to push the gas into the cooker. Keeping it warm will help.
11) Crap, I'm on a roll. Almost like I've done this before
12) Think ahead. These will all cook at different rates. Plan a little for what time you want to eat for when you should put it in the smoker.
13) Contrary to #12. Don't plan too closely, the meat will get done when it gets done. Cook to temp, not to time.
14) Beg and plead with your wife to let you open and season and test early. Tempt her with some tasty Q. The night before a big family smoke is not the time to be hoping this baby will work the way you're expecting.
15) Take pictures or qview as we call it. Remember those that helped you pull off your smoke by sharing some pictures of your tasty dinner. Not to mention, if something goes wrong...we can help a lot more if we can see what you were doing at the time.

Good luck, Merry Christmas, and Welcome the Smoking Meat Forum.
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Wow! thanks for the quick responses, I will take heed and learn from them all. First of all, I think I will have to open the smoker earlier than the 24th for sure, the sooner the better in my opinion! I think Ill just do a basic fatty with a little hashbrown, pepper, onion cheese filling with a rub on the outside, and maybe a bacon wrap too., as for the turker, I will be brining it and I was wondering does it need any sort of a rub? I think the ham will be just a precooked spiral ham, or whatever is on sale at the grocery store. I will grab a couple more thermometers next time Im in walmart ($5 bucks each) one for the surface temp. Tell me how do I go about measuring the surface temp? and where exactly is the probe doing its measuring? at the very tip right? so if I just stick it through something so that the tip is exposed and have whatever Im sticking it through sitting on the grills is that how you do it? so then I put the thermometers in the meat after an hour, leave them in and just check them whenever I baste or mop the meat right? Cool Im excited as ever. My dad used to smoke fish and turkey at the Road Creek Inn restaurant where he used to fillet the fish. in fact he came up with the smoked fish recipe and used alder to smoke with, so he's pretty excited to help me also. I'll make sure to take lots of pics and maybe a video review also.

Thanks again!

Oh, about the chips, I think Ill put about a cup worth in the tray and cover it with tin foil and poke a hole in it and see how the smoke is. Is a cup worth enough? I work at a sawmill where we chip the slabs that come off the saw, so Im just going to throw a couple pieces of cherry wood I got from my buddy through the chipper. do I need to take the bark off first?
post #6 of 25
Personally, I would't get a spiral ham, expensive and you may lose some juice. I use the Cooks brand and they have some good sales prices as well. But then that's just me.

Good luck!
post #7 of 25
Sounds like a tasty fattie.

Rubbing the turkey is up to you. But I'd say yes. You might as well go ahead and kick a little flavor into that bird. Toss a little into the cavity too.

Just remember to test the therms. Sometimes it's better to have fewer and spend a couple of bucks making sure you've got something of quality. I love my Maverick ET73. But there are others that work just as well. Usually the probe's sensor is at or near the tip. Here's a picture of how I've got mine stuck through a piece of wood to measure the grate temp.

I've seen people use potatoes, oranges, apples, whatever instead of a block of wood.

As far as the therms in the meat...yep, just put them in the thick of the meat and leave them alone. Once you get to the finished temp you can move it and double check if you're not sure if you hit the right spot.

Sounds like pops has some experience. Follow his lead and let the smoke roll thin and blue. Again, stop into roll call and let us know about how experienced you are. We don't know if you need a step-by-step or just a little advice.

Not sure about the chips since I don't know that smoker very well. Stop into the Propane Smokers room and post that question.
Someone will be along shortly to answer that one for you.
post #8 of 25
OMG, Dude!!!! You forgot to tell Pete that before brining that turkey or anything else, make sure it's a food grade container/bucket. You should be able to get a bucket with a lid from a bakery. They usually give them away, they contained fillings and frostings and are very easy to clean out for brining.

Dude, that was an excellent and informative list for anyone to get started smoking!!!!! PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #9 of 25
You got an excellent smoker and an excellent price! I wouldn't worry about bending the tabs on the vents. Make sure the top one is all the way open and you can adjust the bottom ones for air flow. Congratulation on the perfect Christmas gift.
post #10 of 25
Congratulations on the Christmas Present, you got a good one...PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Ill make sure to get a clean bucket thanks! Im going to open the vault next weekend and give it a go! Ill make sure that I post some pics!
thanks again for all you help!
post #12 of 25
If you do a spiral ham just put it in aluminum pan while smoking. Also spray it with apple juice about a hour or so into it. Here is 2 that I did for thanksgiving.

post #13 of 25
Congats on the new smoker and if they have anymore I'll take all they have. Man what a good present. You will love it well maybe not as much as I like mine because I worked my way up to it but you will like it alot.
post #14 of 25
First, Welcome aboard, smokyPete. Glad you joined us. Congrats on the new rig, and good luck with your Holiday smoke.

Second, wow you got great advice from everyone. But Dude, that's awesome! You really got on a roll. Points for you, Dude!
post #15 of 25
Note what oneshot said. You need to use a food grade bucket. Not just a clean bucket like you'd get at Home Depot. Check local bakeries, resturants, etc.

Thanks SeenRed, that's what it's all about. Just glad I had the time to do that last night.
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Ok, So I havnt decided if I will smoke a spiral or not, I just know that I want to do a ham like the big ones you buy at the grocery store that have the bone in them. I would like a nice glaze on the outside, does anyone have a good recipe? I was thinking something that includes honey! As for the turkey, what would be a good rub? I think I'll throw a couple apple halves, carrots, onions and whatever else you guys recommend for the interior! I'm going to buy the taylor digital therm. for the meat and then use my cheepo for the surface temp stuck throw a potatoe or something of that sort. that way I can always have the temp of the meat in veiw without constantly opening the vault and I can still check the surface temp when i mop or spray the meat. Any amazing mopping/spray recipes out there? I was thinking maybe some apple cider mixed with something but i don't know what. Thanks again for the info! oh, one more thing. Do you guys recommend cooking the ham on top of the turkey or side by side? I know the ham will only take a few hours (3???) while the turkey will take around 6. What do you guys use to catch the drippings? thanks
post #17 of 25
post #18 of 25
Thats just it, you worked your way up to it. I would never advise someone with a new smoker to promise to make all of the meat for Christmas dinner. We have all ruined a few meals starting out and this ain't the day to do it. Try the fatty and some Dutch's baked beans, or better yet a butt, the most forgiving thing I have found to cook. But to offer to cook all of the meat for Christmas on your first day out or even with a couple practice sessions, NO WAY
post #19 of 25
Here is another example of a bone in ham.

post #20 of 25
Can you give me a WHOOP WHOOP!!!!

What a great Christmas present!! Now if you open the box, remove the smoker and then fill the box with dead weight do you think the wife will know? Or would you be the dead weight????icon_wink.gif

Lots of good info here, lots of good experience.

I made a cooks ham for thanksgiving this year and it was truly amazing. Check this out.....


You could spend the night looking at incredible ham smokes if you wanted....
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