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Noob from Saint Michael, MN

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hello, I am new to these forms but have spend at least ten hours on this site in the past week. I just finished my first smoke on my new Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker (22.5" model) last weekend. I cooked a beef brisket, some chicken, and twice baked potatoes. This was a practice run for the baptism I am hosting this weekend. I made plenty of mistakes that I will mention below. The brisket and potatoes turned out really good. The chicken legs need some work. Anyways, here are a few of my "rookie" mistakes:
  1. I used Cowboy lump charcoal from Ace Hardware. This stuff burned hot and only lasted four hours. Also, the weight of the bag seemed about half of what Kingsford Blue is (difference between lump and brick??). When I added approximately two chimneys to replenish, I incurred a 350 degree temperature spike (my fault icon_redface.gif) that lasted about 20 minutes. And yes, I did find a few pieces of plywood in my bag. I didn't taste any glue in my food so that is good. I'm now switching to Stub's brick charcoal that I picked up from Lowes.
  2. I purchased two of the clearance wireless thermometers at Sears (one for brisket, one for internal smoker temp). The problem is that they run off of the same frequency, so both readers were reading off of the same transmitter giving me the same temp. I'm picking up a wireless Oregon Scientific from Cabela's tonight. I'm hoping this runs off of a different frequency. You can never have too many thermometers!!
  3. I used a rub on the chicken legs. They turned out mediocre at best. I will now be switching to a brine (or maybe tenderquick applied the night before), finishing them with a mop sauce for the last 1/2 hour.
  4. I used red potatoes for the twice baked potatoes. The problem is that when you cut them in half and restuff them, they are round and tip over easy in the smoker. I will be switching to an oval potatoe like an Idaho.
  5. Also, my timing was off. I finished two hours ahead of schedule. I believe the 350 degree temp spike had something to do with this.
Anyways, that round of mistakes is over and I have a new game plan. The only thing I didn't consider until today is the fact that I am a God-parent which throws me a curve ball. This means I have to attend church from 11am - 12 and have everything ready for the 1pm meal. Wish me luck!!
post #2 of 22
Welcome to the forum. Stick around and your mistakes will get fewer and fewer. Glad to have you here.
post #3 of 22
Cowboy is one of the worst lump woods in my experience. People complain that they find all kinds of scrap pieces of bad stuff in there. Cowboy is ranked pretty low on quality and burn time. Here is a cool link to tons of lump wood information of you are looking for a good lump wood to pick out.

I have started using a mix is lump wood and charcoal briquettes and I really like it so far. Last smoke I did in my UDS I filled my basket al most all the way up and I smoked for around 8 hours and I could barely tell that any of my fuel had been burned.
I really like brining my chicken and I am sure you will to. Brine them and then put your favorite rub on them and you will be very happy.
post #4 of 22
Welcome to the SMF, there is talk about a Minnesota get together this summer, maybe we can all meet in person then
post #5 of 22
Welcome to SMF from another Minnesotan! Glad you decided to join us and like mentioned above...the mistakes will get less and less the more you smoke and the more you learn from the pros on this site.
post #6 of 22

Welcome from about 20 miles SE of you

I just joined the board and having a great time reading also.
I need more grill time !!!
There are a lot of Mn people here.
post #7 of 22
Welcome to the SMF, we all learn from our mistakes and those from others too. It's all good my friend.
post #8 of 22
Welcome to the SMF, We are glad to have you onboard
post #9 of 22
What else do we have to do other than smoke food and build smokers in the garage during the harsh winter!
post #10 of 22
Welcome to SMF. Glad you joined us.
post #11 of 22
Welcome to the SMF. Glad to have you here. Lots of good folks here and knowledge. Looking forward to your first qview. icon_smile.gif
post #12 of 22
Hello from Monticello MN and glad your here.Sounds like you adapted just fine .Always need a plan "B" .Bill PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #13 of 22
Welcome to the SMF forum, You came to the right place. Good people and good info.
post #14 of 22
Welcome to the SMF family CCG , It's a great site with endless smoking recipes . By the way I'm your neighbor I live in Abertville .icon_smile.gif
post #15 of 22

Welcome to SMF, 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

I Would Highly Suggest Reading these posts on Food Safety by bbally.

This thread will tell you basically everything you need to know and the man explaining it is
both a ServSafe Instructor and a HACCP Instructor.


Here you can get the 2009 USDA Food Safety Guide from his site.

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 #16 of 22
Welcome aboard, CCG. Congrats on be a God-parent.
Looking forward to seeing some picts of your next smoke.
post #17 of 22
First off welcome to SMF. It sounds like you are well on your way to be an outstanding new member of this fine site. 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 #18 of 22
Welcome CCG. sounds like you got a handle on things quite well. Half the battle is being able to recognize your mistakes and not make the same ones over and over.

We are trying to organize a Minnesota greet and eat this summer. Here is the link to the thread with all the info.

Welcome aboard. icon_smile.gif
post #19 of 22
Howdy, welcome to the SMF!!
post #20 of 22
Welcome CCG-
Glad to have you on the forum. I graduated from STMA in 99 and played hockey there. We all love to see a good Qview so don't be shy.
Welcome again.
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