Catching Up & Updating - Virgin Voyage

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Original poster
Aug 10, 2006
Hello Dutch, and Everyone who has been so patiently trying to help me from this group,

Well - here we go...
As you know, I was trying to decide on what kind of Smoker to get for my very first Meat Smoker.

I was at Home Depot, and they had a Brinkman, Electric Water Smoker/Grill/Thing...(I'll find my folder for Smokers and post the specifics a bit later.)

Well...things were very busy around here, and it was close to a month before I was even able to get it out of the box! It is a _bad_ thing when you are so busy you don't even have time to open up a new toy!!!

Anyway - I finally got it open, and started to assemble it on my bed. (My bed is tall enough that I can reach what I need to, without having to do a lot of bending/kneeling/stooping/etc.) Well, things were moving along quite nicely. The handles claimed to be wooden, but were some type of plastic. :(

Then, I got to the point of installing the reflecting plate. It did not fit inside, the way the instructions implied. So, I contacted Brinkman, and they told me they would send me out a replacement. It finally arrived a week or two later.

In the mean time, I was _still_ aching to try my hand at Meat Smoking! So - I when I was a Wal-Mart, I found they had a smaller Water Smoker, but it used Charcoal, and had a little door in the side of it. It wasn't very expensive (as smokers go, I would think) so I figured I should be pretty safe, and so I bought that one. A day or two later, I had a chance to again try to assemble a working smoker, and try my hand at Meat Smoking. Well, my husband is (now) a Sheet Metal Craftsman, so I figured if I hit anything beyond my ability in putting it together, that he should be able to help me out. But, as luck would have it - the whole thing was poorly constructed - the barrel seam had about a 1/4 inch gap in the bottom! So - we took it back to Wal-mart and exchanged it. Got back home, and we decided that my hubby would put the whole thing together. He did, but it was also missing the parts that hold up the interior racks! (He also told me, that the quality was pretty poor.) They had a BIG sign inside, that said "If parts are MISSING, please do NOT return this item to the store. Call Customer Service!" -- So, I called 'Customer Service' - only to get a recording telling me that I needed to call back 'during their business hours'. So - (cell phones get charged per minute whether the call is satisfactory or not) - I called back the next day. I got a different recorded message! (Why they couldn't have had that message playing at night, is beyond me!) When I tried to contact any of the extensions, nothing went through to anyone, and it just kept telling me to send them a Fax! Well, I do have a Fax machine -- but right now, I don't have a phone service that I can use it with - so I got on the internet, and went to their home page. I sent in very accurate e-mail about my opinion of their 'Customer Service'. About a week later, Char-broil did send me the rack holder replacements. (Plus a couple of extra rack holder replacements.)

When I bought the Char-Broil, I also purchased a small, cast iron smoker box, which can be placed inside a 'standard grill'. It was beginning to look like this item (about $7.00 at Wal-mart) may be my only way of attempting my first smoked meat attempt!

Well, I had my hubby then put together a small table-top grill that we had gotten at Home Depot when we opened an account. By the time he had that put together, Brinkman's replacement reflector plate arrived. It didn't fit any better than the first one - so it may be that the bowl is/was 'out of round' - to quote my husband. In any case - my hubby got the reflector plate installed, and then he had to go get a new extension cord, because the Brinkman Electric Water Smoker should be directly plugged into an outside outlet. (We don't have an outside outlet! :oops: ) But DH knew what kind of extension cord to get - so that we could use our household current.

Finally! I was a bit unhappy with my hubby - because he didn't go over ANY of Jeff's e-lessons on smoking meat -- however, I had purchased some Apple Wood. Hubby put some water in the H2O bowl, and then put the wood on the reflector plate. I told him he needed to soak the wood first, or we would have a wood fire burning up the electric burner in the smoker - so he then soaked the apple wood. I had some pork chops that I had wanted to try, and since I was worried about doing a long smoke on the chops, and a bit worried about the electrical connection (hubby is a sheet metal worker - _not_ an electrician!) - I thought it best to err on the side of caution. A couple of hours later, the chops seemed to be cooked. So, we brought them inside, and sat down to dinner. They were very delicately seasoned - the flavor was wonderful but not over-powering. At first, my husband didn't really notice the flavor (but he is also a _fast_ eater!), but after a minute or two, (maybe he slowed down enough to actually _taste_ the food???) - he commented that they did taste good, and although smoked/grilled they were moist and tender.

The next night, we tried some chicken thighs. Hubby gave the apple chips a bit more soaking, and also added some root beer to the water. We again smoked the chicken for at least 2 hours. It was -wonderful-!

A couple of days later, we repeated the process, but this time with a ham! And, we smoked it for close to 6 hours (or more). The weather has been getting colder, and we have had some rain.

The ham also came out with a fantastic flavor!

Although the rack holders have finally arrived from Char-broil, I don't believe they have been installed in that smoker yet. I am quite certain that we haven't broken that one in yet, either. Also, although I do have the smaller table top grill, and the small cast iron smoker box, they too have not been used yet either.

However, my front porch now has 2 smokers/grills on it, and I think my hubby has the electric one in front of the house, by the wall of our bedroom. (I am going to remind him again this evening that we need to get it put in the garage!)

My plan is to smoke at least 1 turkey for Thanksgiving. The other turkey is destined for my rotisserie. (That has been a big hit with my hubby as well!)

I look forward to more experiments with our various smokers, and maybe even getting hubby to try some of Jeff's suggestions!

Also - I have not given up on my search for the Danish Sausage recipe! I am going crazy trying to find it, and know that when I stop looking for it, it will be showing up in every cookbook or recipe file that I open!

Well, congratulations, Dawn, that tale was certainly entertaining, I guess you will become a smoker junkie now (3 successful smokes in a row!) I will be waiting for your next entry and I hope to see lots of photos of your gastronomic accomplishments in the future!
Thank you Carl!

I hope to get some pics - as well as updated info on all 3 of my smokers!

Sadly, tonight, I have been trying to locate 2 of my pups who seem to have gotten out either by jumping over - or crawling under our fence. One escapee even was on a cable/chain (with plenty of food and water available).

I have lost my voice, but will need to check the Pound in the morning - and will most likely worry myself sick all night.

that was very funny story with a happy ending. if it were a movie it would win awards!!!!

congrats on your first smokes. i have heard (only because i have yet to try) it is wise to smoke your first turkey before thanks giving incase you miss judge the first one. but do not quote me on that, it a erband legand.

i found you some danish sausage recipes.
Dawn, I'm glad to see that you're still hanging in there with us. Glad to see that you got around to get the smoker that you wanted.

The Jester (Buzzard) is right about doing a practice turkey smoke before turkey day. Besides leftover smoked turkey makes great sammiches.

Nothing like a pup or two to find all the holes in your fence for you. We bought a couple of Beagles (5 & 4 years old) last March and didn't have a problem with them escaping from the backyard. Last July we adopted a another Beagle (1 1/2-2 years old) and within the first hour he found his way out of the yard on 5 different occasions using five different holes in the fence line. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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