1st attempt was a faliure...Trying to make the 2nd a success! PLEASE HELP

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by jtfinch, Aug 31, 2015.

  1. Ok, so as the title reads I failed on my first attempt. I had thought that I did enough research. Boy was I wrong! Im not a quitter though so here we go again. There were some modifications I realized I needed to do before attempting another smoke. This saturday will be my 2nd attempt. I will have a new thermometer set up. Sealing up some areas that would allow heat to escape. I will be installing a baffle and tuning plates and making a coal box as well as extending the exhaust tube down within an inch or two of the grate. With all of that being said and if those modifications are a good start and can get me going here are a few of my questions:

    1. Whats a good meat for beginners to begin with?

    2. How much charcoal do I need to start off with?

    3. Once the coals are going how many wood chunks do I need?

    4. Where is the best placement for the wood chunks? On the coals or next to them?

    I know that I need to pay attention to the heat and make adjustments as the process goes on, but if there are any tricks or tips they would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for reading and I look forward to any advice.
  2. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Meat Mopper

    1) Chicken, it's cheap and easy!

    2) What are you cooking on and how long do you want it to burn?

    3)Again, read 2

    4) I put them under and on top

    We really need to know what you are cooking on, what you cooked, and what went wrong? I'm sorry I'm not much more help, but with limited information....
    Welcome to the forum though!
  3. Thank you for the reply! Sorry about the missing information.

    I have a Char-griller deluxe with the side firebox.

    Burn time will vary depending on the meat as Im sure you already know. I was going to cook ribs the first time, but they never made it to the grill. I wasnt getting the temp up past 100 but that was because I didnt have the fire box set up correctly. That has been fixed and from what ive read in this forum is where I decided to make the modifications I listed above.
  4. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm a chargriller user. Start with a weber starter full of lit charcoal. Pour it in your charcoal in your basket half full with lump and 4 fist size pieces oh wood.

    Open the stack all the way and adjust the vent on the firebox half way open. You want the pit to be between 225-250 . It will take about 30 mins to reach max temp. It's ok to over shoot your target because you will settle in to what you want by adjusting the vent on the fire box . Leave the stack wide open because you do not want stale smoke in the cooking chamber. Make small corrections and wait to see what it does.. Small corrections
    If you are not where you want to be open the vent . Don't over stuff the fire box with fuel because you will just choke the fire.
  5. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Meat Mopper

    Ahhhh.... You are screwed, no offense, just like I am! I have a Brinkmann Trailmaster offset, a little thicker metal, same amount of flaws! These are called "cheap offsets" or COS for short. Lots of air leaks, lots of smoke leaks, just lots of things to fiddle with!
    But there is hope and it sounds like you're headed in the right direction.
  6. floridasteve

    floridasteve Smoking Fanatic

    I have a friend, Tony, that I cook with all the time. He has "COS" Chargrill with no mods and he turns out some great meat. So just hang in there.

    Pork butt is very forgiving and a good choice for beginners. However, it takes a log time and lots of fiddling with the smoker. I have never found chicken to be forgiving, at least to me. Lol. I'd recommend St. Louis trimmed spare ribs. If you follow the 3-2-1 process, they WILL turn out great!
  7. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Meat Mopper

    Sorry, not meaning to imply a COS won't work at all! I've made many a great smoke on mine, but they require a lot of finesse and learning to get right.
  8. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ignore the chargriller haters.. I have mine for three year and yes it is thin metal and had a lot of leaks. But after a little TLC I have produced some fine products. Briskest buttts
    Ribs. Chicken. It makes you a better smoker baby sitting the pit and learning how to make
    It purr.
  9. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Meat Mopper

    Man! Now I'm a hatter?
  10. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No malice toward ya... We gotta use what we got
  11. Thanks guys! I really appreciate the words of wisdom! I went with the COS with the intention of learning the trade before spending the money on a good one. Not to mention my wife isnt quite sold on the whole thing yet. But in due time she will realize that im not just "blowing smoke." Im all about learning everything I can, it will only make me better at the art of smoking! I will keep you updated on how my next smoke goes. I might just wait on some of the mods and see where it takes me. Im already having fun just reading everything in this forum!
  12. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Meat Mopper

    Some tips I've learned, SEAL EVERYTHING! The fire box will have air leaks, can't control or regulate the intake air, use high temp silicone or fire block to seal it.
    It will leak around the lid! I found a local BBQ shop that I could buy rolls of high temp gasket material, like $20 for 11ff? That will help keep the heat inside the cocking chamber.
    Devise something, a dryer vent, hot water heater elbow, to get the exhaust as close to grate level as you can. I'm not going to get into the "galvanized" "non-galvanized" fight, that's up to you. But this will force the smoke to circulate helping to even out cooking chamber temps.
    Lava rock is good! It's cheap, retains heat and can also help even out temps!
    Horizon makes baffle plates that are supposed to help with evening out the temps, but I can't prove it, nor can I provide a link as they are next to impossible to find!
    Lots of cheap, little things we can do to make these things chug along! Don't get discouraged, I wish I could afford a $6,500 unit,, but I'm poor white trash, so I make due with what I've got!
  13. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Meat Mopper

    Thank you sir, believe me, I'm in that boat!
  14. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Horizon 16 inch convection plate and 9 fire bricks in the belly evens out the heat
  15. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  16. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  17. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That was a dead link sorry so I gave you the phone number
  18. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Meat Mopper

    Did I mention they were hard to find? Sorry.
  19. ivanstein

    ivanstein Fire Starter

    I used some stove rope from Lowe's and some high temp silicone from Autozone to seal up my Char-Broil offset. (Probably the only one more flimsy and badly made than any others!) It helped tremendously. Also threw some big rocks in the belly of it, that made it maintain heat consistently. But I could never make it efficient. It used A LOT of fuel. Like a bag and a half for a 6 hour cook. But, I bought it for $125 and sold it a year later for $50. Not bad for getting my feet wet and addiction started!
  20. Heres an update:

    I made a few modifications to my COS.

    1. Extended the chimney down to the grate

    2. Flipped the coal tray and using a grinder I made four 8"L 1/8"W cuts

    3. Put an edging block in the bottom to hold heat (Do I need more?) My buddy is bringing me bricks back after the weekend so this will have to do.

    4. Bought 2 thermometers with wires attached for each side of the grate. (What to I use to keep them off of the grate?) I see a lot that loot like they're stuck through a piece of wood.

    5. Have aluminum pans. (Do I need to add water? If so: How much & what's the best placement?)

    6. In the process of building a coal basket for the firebox.

    I wasn't able to find anything to seal up around the edges. Will this be a problem? I'm still looking for this material.

    I would like to do a test smoke on a Pork Tenderloin this Saturday any recommendations on how to prep would be great.

    Sunday I plan to attempt a brisket.

    I have apple wood and mesquite wood chunks for smoke.

    Thank you for reading!

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