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Hello - Virgin Smoker in NW Suburbs of Chicago

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone,
Just checking in from NW suburbs of Chicago. I am new to smoking, but love grilling all my life. I just got my new 30" MES. I need some comebacks for my wife saying "What are we going to do with this huge box?", "Why did you buy this again?" "You will never use it", you get the idea. Well anyway I want to wow her with this & hopefully she will join the fun. I have been reading the site which is awesome, and will take the 5 day course. Bought the Smoke & Spice book also. I have alot to learn & a little gun shy using for the first time. I do work for a Food Company in R@D so I know alot about running experiments (time/temp/parameters/controls etc.), so maybe in due time I will be able to help someone out. Ok, few questions:
-Where do I buy wood chips in area. I do have a Cabelas in area, & have a fussy meemory that my local Ace sells them (might be chunks though).
-THE BIG QUESTION - What do I cook first (or second) to show this was worth the purchase & time? I did read pork, but is there anything else (salmon/ribs)? My wife says try turkey, but that sounds intimidating for a first try, but I am willing with your help. I am very analytical by nature, which will help.
Thanks Everyone & looking forward to sharing ideas with all of you & maybe even meeting some of you for a smoke & brew.

Take CarePDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #2 of 14
Welcome aboard. When your wife tastes what come out of the box...she'll understand. You can pick up chips at a lot of places. Cabelas - yes. Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart...almost anywhere that sell grills. And there are a lot of MES owners here so you are gonna feel right at home.
post #3 of 14
Welcome to SMF. Glad you joined us. Pork butts are pretty forgiving and great for beginners.
post #4 of 14

I get chunks @ Bass Pro Shops, they also have smaller chips(jack Daniels oak, apple, cherry, maple, mesquite, hickory. Super Wal-mart by me used to have chips and chunks until the x-mas decorations took over the spot.

good luck.
post #5 of 14
First off welcome Bonso 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 #6 of 14


Welcome to the best forum on the net (my opinion). Be very careful, this hobby can be addicting.
I am a newbie myself in and have to say that a lot of folks here have helped me out a bunch.

As far as chips go I think Menard's has the best price point, every once in a while you will see them on sale at Ace.

Read a sticky on making a "fattie" they don't take long and really turned my wife's thinking about the contraption sitting in the middle of the patio.

And then make sure you have a digital camera to take pictures (qview) to share with us. One of the other guys will be along with a good link on how to do it.

Hey it looks like it made it to 30 today, I may have to go smoke something.
post #7 of 14
Welcome to SMF!! Lots of good folks and information here... PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #8 of 14
Pork butts ARE very forgiving...and given the right amount of time, will melt in your mouth!

Remember when you buy your chips - hickory and mesquite wood produces stronger smoke than apple or cherry.

Buy yourself a Maverick ET73 dual temp probe, so that you know exactly what the temp is inside the smoker AND the temp inside the meat (don't trust the temp guages that are built into the smoker...many times they are off by 15 degrees or MORE.

You might go with your wife's idea and do poultry - but here is what I would suggest:

1) Get a turkey BREAST...not a whole turkey
2) brine it overnight (about 12 hours total in the brine)
3) smoke with very little wood chips, especially if it's hickory or mesquite, because birds take on smoke stronger than dense cuts like pork shoulders and briskets....you don't want to over-flavor with smoke.
4) Get the smoker up to around 250 - 275 and smoke the turkey breast until the internal temp is 155° then pull and wrap entire thing in foil and let rest for at least 30 - 40 minutes.
5) carve and enjoy!

Just search this site for recommended temps for smoking different meats.

*** Remember, except for ribs, most of us will tell you that we smoke to reach a certain internal temp - no matter long long it takes...we don't guage our smokes by time...in other words, don't worry about how long something takes to smoke, just have your digital meat probe temp inserted properly - and pull the meat when you hit that temp, the amount of time always varies.

Good luck, wecome to the forum and have fun smokin!
post #9 of 14
Congrats on your new smoker, and thanks for joining the SMF. As has already been mentioned, pork butts are very forgiving. It's all good my friend.
post #10 of 14
welcome aboard and congrats on the new smoker.
Another Illinoisan here from just a bit north of Peoria
I used to get chunks and chips at Wal-mart or Menards
now mostly gather my own wood , from friends and neighbors

(helps to be friends with a guy that owns a tree trimming business)

apple works good for poultry and you will find and make your own prefference overtime. mesquite is somewhat strong so be careful with it until you learn how it tastes.
a big chicken or turkey breast is a good starter.
being analytical, im sure you will experiment will all the combos and come up with a favorite. about anything you need to know you will find here so just ask. your going to have a blast and soon your wife will be asking when your next smoke is planned! icon_mrgreen.gif
post #11 of 14

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 #12 of 14
Welcome to the SMF,We are glad to have you onboard
post #13 of 14
Welcome to the SMF Bonzo. Good to have you onboard.
post #14 of 14
Welcome aboard, Bonzo! Glad you joined us.
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