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Newbie from Missouri

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
What's shakin' everybody?! Just started smoking my first pork butt about 90 mins ago! This is my first time smoking and I'm looking forward to all the years and experiments to come! I picked up a cheap Brinkman vertical (water pan) smoker to start the hobby. I'm already tired of the tiny door! icon_rolleyes.gif Also, I can't seem to get it out of the lower third of the "ideal" section on the factory thermometer. Anyone know if this is ok to hold it at? Or should I shoot for the middle? I also noticed that when I dumped my coals in from my chimney, they spread out and I didn't mold them into a pile. This could be part of my inexperience problem. I was more worried about throwing the shell on than arranging the pile. I can't control airflow with my smoker either (see previous, "cheap"). I also bought an aftermarket thermometer with the actual temperature reading on it. Didn't have time to install it today though (requires drilling a new hole), so I may be okay once I can read that. Anyway, anyone have any pointers on what I should do with the coals or what I can do for temperature?

I look forward to chatting with everyone and using all of the helpful info there is on this awesome forum!

post #2 of 33
Welcome!! first of all to SMF. Where are you from in Missouri? I live in Rolla. As far as you smoker issues I'm sure there will be some people chiming in soon to help you with those issues. I don't have a Brinkman so i don't know if i would be much help. Don't forget to post some Qview! good luck with your smoke today!
post #3 of 33
Welcome to the SMF. Glad you joined us. The first thing you need to do is get rid of that factory thermometer and install your aftermarket one. Make sure you calibrate it first to make sure it is accurate. Boil some water and it should read 212 (depending on where you live) then you will know it is accurate. Also I would highly suggest buying a digital probe. Once you get into smoking you fill fine you can never have enough digital probes. The wireless ones work great that way you don't have to be right by the smoker to see what your temps are at. I suggest getting a dual probe which will have one probe to monitor the inside temp of your smoker and another probe to put into your meat to see what the internal temp is on that. The most important thing to learn when smoking is you go by internal temp not the amount of time when you are judging when your meat is done.
post #4 of 33
welcome to SMF. Lots of good info here. Can't wait to see your smoke
post #5 of 33
First off welcome Nick to SMF. I would first get a probe thermo meter and don't trust the factory thermo it wrong 90% of the time. 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 33
Thread Starter 
Whew! That was quick! You guys work fast and thanks for the replies! I did buy a wireless meat thermometer, but not a dual one. Pretty awesome as it has an alarm that goes off once your desired temp is met, shows how much time has passed since you started, current meat temp, etc. I'm really glad I got one. I agree, I do need to install the aftermarket thermometer.

I'm feeling a little anxious, as my dad's birthday dinner is tonight...guess what my Mom promised him we'd have for dinner...yeah, I'm thinking my first shot at smoking shouldn't be the staple of a family dinner icon_eek.gif
post #7 of 33
Welcome to the SMF Nick, We are glad to have you onboard
post #8 of 33
So what are you smoking up for dinner tonight then?
post #9 of 33

welcome aboard brother

well keep us posted on that pork butt , and be sure to throw up a few pics for us.... just fired my uds up doing some sausage balls with cheese and pepper center rolled in bread crumbs mMMMm GOOD HAVE A GOOD SMOKE BROTHER AND JUST ROLL WITH IT AND HAVE A GOOD TIME AFTER ALL THATS WHAT MATTERS !!!!!!!!!!PDT_Armataz_01_42.gif
post #10 of 33

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 #11 of 33
Thread Starter 
Pork butt!!! I'm up to 145 deg F after 4 hours on a 4.3 lb butt. When do you guys usually stop using wood?

I'll definitely post some pics once it's done!
post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 
I'm just east of Kansas City. Outside of the burbs. I went to engineering school at Mizzou...almost went to Rolla. Glad I chose Mizzou though! icon_smile.gif
post #13 of 33
Definitely welcome to SMF. This place is full of helpful info and good people. I myself am also from Mo. I grew up there then up'd and moved to Az and had kids. Now I need to move back...


post #14 of 33
Welcome to the SMF forum, You came to the right place. Good people and good info.
post #15 of 33
The more missourians on this site the better!!! Good luck on the BUTT

No reason to stop using wood at all, I go through wood the entire smoke. I am sure vou've already read it but be prepared to take the butt to at least 180* to slice and 190-205* to pull. 145* at 4 hours isn't bad but you got a ways to go. between now and 170 degrees the temp is probably going to stall so when that happens be patient.

again good luck on the Butt
post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 
You sound like you've done this before! Hit it right on the head. That butt stalled, but I kept pushing through! I did have some trouble; we had a cold front come through just north of us and dropped a lot of rain. Luckily, none on me, but the ambient temp did drop about 10* and the wind kicked up to a constant 15-20 mph for about 20 minutes. mad.gif

But(t), I got her done and it tasted great! I used hickory (will probably use a fruit wood next time) and a dry rub. I thought the inside pieces were good, but the outside had too much of the hickory taste for me. Almost a char. Not sure if this is from the pungent hickory effect or the fact that my fire cooled way down and I threw in wood chunks to try to kick it back up. Although, it sounds like others use wood all the way through anyway. Take a look at the pics below. Is that black residue on the smoker (see thermometer and grate as well) from the smoke?

post #17 of 33
regarding the residue, did I read this is your first smoke? Looking at the pics it does look like you have a lot of build up for the first time the smoker has been used.

I assume you were using charcoal as the heat source? Just remeber that you want to see only a thin blue smoke throughout the entire cook. A lot of white smoke or even black smoke are not good. The meat shouldn't be "soaked" in smoke, but rather the smoke should be passing ovr the meat as it leaves the smoker.

Definitley install your new thermo. As you probably learned the brinkman stock thermos suck.

There are some other mods that could help. for a few ideas checkout the link below.

post #18 of 33
Thread Starter 
Yeah, this was my first smoke...and I think it had too much smoke. I found out about the Minion method after I got done smoking the butt. Will definitely use that next time and try to get the vent mods installed as well. I think I used way too much wood during the smoke. I smoked it for about 7 hours...is there a rule of thumb for how much wood I should have used? If I drop my hot coals in the middle of a ring of unburnt coals, maybe put 4 or 5 chunks around the ring to slowly burn as the charcoal smolders and leave it be?

Also, on the ECB mods, have you heard of anyone drilling more holes towards the top of the existing fire pan (after putting a grate in)? I imagine this would help with airflow getting to the coals from the side. Seems to me that, even with the coal bed elevated above the ash pit, the small air slits will still get clogged or limit the air flow through the dampers.
post #19 of 33
I'm no expert, that's why I read a lot: Paul Kirk says that when the temp goes down, put in more coal. When the smoke disappears, put in more wood.
post #20 of 33
Thread Starter 
Precisely. I think I started off with my fire in the wrong and I was adding wood and coal to try to correct it. Part of the learning process!
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