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Questions with My Smoking Experience

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I tried to smoke my fist brisket this past weekend and had problems with the minion method. As I am a newbie....I realize I probably did something wrong and would appreciate input. I had done a mod a few days earlier to add a charcoal basket.

I filled this basket with Frontier Brand Lump Charcoal and then took out a Chimney's worth from the center and used my gas burner to get it hot. I poured this hot charcoal back into the basket in the center and added a few chunks of Hickory and closed the SFB up and tried to use the damper control on the ash tray to regulate the temp inside the cooking area to 240 degrees F. I allowed 10 to 15 minutes between adjustments and couldn't seem to get it regulated.....too hot on the theremometer in the cooking area. Also, the unlit charcoal in my basket seemed to catch on fire much sooner than I was hoping. After over half an hour, I was able to put the brisket in and start smoking. The Charcoal in my basket didn's seem to last as long as I had hoped before I had to start adding more. Did I do something wrong? Also a few more questions.....when adding more charcoal; should I add unlit charcoal or use my chimney to heat it up first? On Hickory Chunks...how many should I put in at one time? I had soaked them for several days and didn't think if accomplished much. I was putting in a couple chunks when the smoke seemed to have stopped.
post #2 of 9
I think you used too much lit charcoal everything I read says to use 10 to 15 pieces that would probably only be a 1/4 of a chimney. I am no expert but if someone else knows something I am sure tehy will be along soon.
post #3 of 9
Next time try lighting less lump in your chimney.
I usually only put 3-4 chunks of wood and a small handfull of chips in my UDS basket when I smoke. I don't soak mine at all as I feel all it does is delay the smoking of your wood. Some do some don't do which ever way you like it better. As far as adding more lump should it be lit or not. I am not sure I have never added wood to my UDS and I have never cooked on a side burner so hopefully someone else can help you out with that question. Also I just looked at your pictures again and was wondering how much lump you can fit into that basket? Make sure you fill that baby as full as you can if you are doing a long smoke.
post #4 of 9
Here's how I do mine. Then just put 1/2 Chimney lit and usually get about 2 1/2 hrs before having to add more...unlit

post #5 of 9
Yup what they said.... 1/2 chimney or less of lit to start with. Also remember lump burns hotter, so damp it down a little sooner - once I fire gets to high it is very hard to bring it back down.

Now for the fun one.... adding more mid smoke. Adding lit charcoal (lump especially) is going to give you a temperature spike, and the temp. may want to run away from you. But I don't like adding unlit stuff due to all the smoke it gives off as it heats up. If I have to add I usually will fill a chimney and let it get about 1/3 to 1/2 lit... then dump it. It has usually gotten hot enough to finish all the nast ignition smoke, but not hot enough to run away on you.
post #6 of 9
David, honestly every smoker is different and you'll just have to play with it to be sure of how yours works. I use the same basket of yours in my New Braunfles and it took me a few times to get used to quantities of fuel and degree of burn. I suggest a batch of ribs, then a butt, a brisket, chicken, boudain, ABTs, brined shrimp, and then a group of fattys. By then you should be up to speed. Hang in there buddy! PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #7 of 9
Don't even need half a chimney. When I used charcoal, I would only light one corner of the charcoal and let it slowly spread from there. If you want to use your chimney. Throw 5 or 6 coals in there and that should do you fine.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys for all your input. I will keep trying and experimenting and will try next time with less lite charcoal. I was wondering how many people when cooking a brisket just smoke it for about half the cooking cycle and then bring it in and finish it inside in the oven?
post #9 of 9
David many people will say "start in the smoker finish in the smoker" "if you finish in the oven it ain't Q" or something to that effect but the truth is once you foil the meat it doesn't matter what the heat source is. At times I take a brisket to 165-170 in the smoker then foil it and finish it in the oven set at 225-250. For butts if I'm finishing in the oven I foil at 160 then into the oven. Most of the time I do the entire cook in the smoker but sometimes for one reason or another I need to finish it in the oven and it works fine
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