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New Michigan Smoker

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey all


I'm new to the smoking game-but I've already found the site massively helpful. I only wish I had read more before trying out my (very expensive) beef brisket last night-the flavor was spot on but it was very tough (I had some flareups in the beginning of the process and I don't think I smoked it long enough). I'm really looking forward to trying the pork recipe stickied at the top of the pork forum on a pork butt this weekend.


This is my improvised smoker-it may look odd, but I didn't have any trouble with temperature or getting a good steady batch of smoke out of it:





post #2 of 11

Ahhh, the Alton Brown Smoker!  Welcome to the forum.  I saw that program and it got me bit by the bug.  Stick around, the group here is very knowledgeable and always willing to help.  What part of Michigan are you from? 

post #3 of 11

I saw that episode too.  Makes you realize that some folks spend way too much and time on their gear and make them exceedingly complicated when the basics can be pretty simple and inexpensive.  Alton did another episode on smoking salmon in a cardboard box!  (Brilliant if not practical for the habitual smoker ;>)  That clay pot rig of yours will work great with a little practice.  If you give us some specs on your first smoke, we can help with the post mortem and help you figure out how to improve it for next time.

post #4 of 11

Welcome aboard! If you're smokin up a butt you'll definitely have to mix up some that finishing sauce you mentioned that is a sticky in the pork section of the forum, it is great stuff!

post #5 of 11

First off welcome to SMF. Yes the Alton Brown Smoker. Hang in here we will have you smoking with a real smoker in no time. You'll like it here cause there are alot of really good folks that would just love to help you with anything to do with smoking. Now we like having new folks here to give a new prospective on some of the ways we do things around here. Now if you are really new then I would suggest that you sign up fir the 5-day E-course it free and it will give you the basics on smoking and a few recipes too. Here's a link to it:


then you will have a method to your newly found madness and believe me it will be a madness. Then when you start smoking things you will have to learn how to post the pictures / Qview 

here. So here's a link to a tutorial on how to post your Qview so we can see what your doing.


Now the next thing you have to do is run out and get something to smoke. Then just smoke it and if you have any questions just post  them here and we will answer all your questions that you might have. Oh yea there's no stupid questions we were all there in the beginning and we just really like to help others enjoy the fabulous smoked foods that we do. So again


Welcome to Your New Addiction

post #6 of 11

Welcome to SMF,

 I'm sure that smoker would work . Give us some times and temps on your brisket smoke and lets see if we can help you achive the perfect  brisket.

post #7 of 11

Welcome to SMF, this is a great place with good info and great people

post #8 of 11

Welcome to the SMF forum, You came to the right place. Good people and good info.

post #9 of 11

Thanks for joining us at the SMF. A lot of great Q has come from a setup likes yours, thanks for sharing the Q View. It's all good my friend.

post #10 of 11

Welcome to the SMF. Glad to have you here. Lots of good folks, great recipes and knowledge. Looking forward to your first qview.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Since everyone seemed interested this is what happened with my brisket:


Smoking temperature: 200-210 degrees

Time: Approximately 3.5 hours

Weight: Just a smidge over 2lbs of prime beef brisket (pretty lean-I suspect that was a mistake)

Wood: Hickory

Rub: Unsweetened chocolate, ancho chili powder, cayenne, thyme, salt, olive oil, garlic, black pepper


The urge to smoke some meat came on pretty quickly this week so I kind of went into this first try half cocked. We picked up the meat on the way home from work, then while my wife prepared the rub and slathered it on, I assembled the smoker. 


We put the meat on, and I started everything up. Pretty quickly I had an internal temp of 190 in the smoker-but since I had the electric element turned up too high the wood chips went from a 'smolder' to 'ignition'. I ran into this a few other times during the process. After that I got the heat under control and watched from near by-only opening the top to replace the wood chips and after several hours to test the internal temperature of the meat.


After almost 3 hours the internal temp of the meat was only 130 degrees. It was nearing 8 pm, so I pulled it from the smoker and put it in the oven on 375 because I was more than ready for dinner. It was very chewy-but the flavor and moisture levels were all very good.


Things I learned:

I shouldn't use the small chunks of hardwood that are designed for gas grills-they have too much surface area and are prone to burning

I should have budgeted more time-I think 3 hours wasn't enough


Things I suspect:

I think I need to raise the temperature of the smoker-200-210 degrees isn't really warm enough

I think I should use a tin foil pan to catch the drippings-not only for later use but to stop flare ups from the grease burning


Does anyone have anything to add? I'm a very begining novice so this is all new to me. Right now I live in Ypsilanti (in the city) so I thought I should start off small before fighting my neighbors about a huge smoker :-)

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