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Connecticut Noob

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Greetings from the Constitution State.

Equipment: Bradley Digital Four Rack.
Status: Complete noob.

I attempted my first batch of meat last night and realized I was going to need help. One Google later and here I am.

Here is how my first attempt went. I preheated the over to 180f and once there I put in about 12 chicken legs and a 1/2 inch piece of steak, then started the smoke generator.

According to the recipe book and based on what I knew about grilling, it seemed like 3 hours at 180 would be a good place to start.

2 hours into it, it was slow going and I was hungry so I turned the heat up to 240 and then checked in on it every 20 minutes or so until the chicken looked done, probably about three hours from when I started.

At some point the steak looked down so I took that out and ate it.

The steak was great, a bit overcooked but I suppose that is a simple matter of timing. The smoke flavor was abundant but not overdone and it really was a great tasting piece of meat.

When I finished the chicken though, it was not good. The inside was hot, juicy, and perfect. The skin however was very hard and the smoke flavor was wayyy too strong. They were uneatable without taking the skin off. I cooked with the vent closed the whole time but every 30 minutes or so I would open the door and check in on it - I lack basic skills in patience and I am one of those who believes the microwave cooks faster if you stare into the window.

Any tips? I obviously did something wrong on the chicken. My smoker is entirely automatic. Aside from the vent, there is no way to adjust how much smoke is in the smoker aside from turning it on or off. It seems like with the chicken I should have cooked it the same time but smoked it less? I don't know and that is why I am here.
post #2 of 14
Welcome to SMF Steve! Where in CT are you? Chicken is a tough thing to get perfect... You have to toy with you smoker for the right temp to get the right texture on the outside.

Thanks for joining us!
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am in Southington, half way between Hartford and New Haven.

I almost forgot to mention, I am an avid flyfisherman and while I am 99% catch and release, (100% on natural born fish), there is that rare occasion when I will take a trout home. When the season gets going again I will definitely be trying to smoke some trout.

And on that same note, I have a 1.5 lbs Salmon fillet in the fridge right now that I would love to cook for tonight, then drive it about 15 minutes to my girlfriends house and reheat it. Any ideas? I have an accurate thermometer, what should I cook too? Should I smoke it the whole time? What temp should I cook at and for about how long?
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Should I be thinking about times/temps in the same terms as if I was just cooking in my oven and just think of the smoke as a flavoring?
post #5 of 14
You mean to tell me it doesn'tPDT_Armataz_01_05.gif. LOL. LOL.

Seriously, welcome to the forums, glad you made it here. You will like it here, lots of good people and great info. Remember, we all had to start somewhere.

As far as your chicken being oversmoked, I say it was due to your vent being closed the whole time as you stated. People often confuse what a smoker is supposed to do. Visions of meat being totally surrounded by smoke is what allot of people that don't smoke think its all about, when in fact its quite the opposite. Next time, try running your vents open. You want the smoke to roll by the meat gently, just giving it a quick kiss and then out the stack. Heavy stale stagnant smoke will overpower your meat quickly and make it taste awful.

You have a good smoker there, thats for sure. Do some searches here for Bradley and see how others use theirs. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #6 of 14
Welcome to SMF. Check out the 5 day ecourse. That will help you alot.

As for chicken did you put a rub on it? Also I cook my chicken between 275-300 so that the skin gets crisp. Also with chicken I add minimal amount of Wood. Just a few pieces or if im using chips just enough to cover the bottom of the chip pan maybe a little more than that.

Dont worry the great thing about chicken is that its cheap and a great thing to learn with.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
No "rub"

A dash of cooking oil, salt pepper, and some type of blending Montreal seasoning or something.
post #8 of 14
No, when smoking meats, we smoke to temp. If you get into the smoking art, and have several smokes under your belt, you will get a good idea of how long it will take a certain cut of meat to cook, but smoking to temp is the rule of thumb. Say your cooking a large hunk of pork in the oven. After 2-3 hours, it may be done, but at the lower and slower methods of BBQ, its just getting started, and when pulled, the internal temp may be far below what is considered safe to eat.
Sign up for the free 5 day e-course that the founder Jeff provided if you have not done so already. Great info and really cuts time off the learning curve.
post #9 of 14
Welcome to SMF.As you have already found lots of helpful folk here...
post #10 of 14
Welcome to SMF. Glad you joined us.

I also have a Bradley digital 4 rack smoker. Feel free to pm me and I will help you out. smile.gif
post #11 of 14
As many people have said you should always smoke with the vent open. I also tend to use a lighter wood when smoking poultry, and a heavier wood when smoking beef; unless the beef is going to be in the smoker for a while such as a brisket. Welcome to smf and hope you have a great smoke!PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif
post #12 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

How to post Qview to Forum:

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

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.

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

post #13 of 14
Welcome to SMF. It's a great place to be!
post #14 of 14
First off welcome Steve 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.
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