Central TX Newbie

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pdbarsallo

Newbie
Original poster
Nov 2, 2021
4
15
Austin, TX, USA
Hey everyone :emoji_wave:, glad to be here.

Having grown up in north Texas, and calling Austin home since 2010, I'm no stranger to good barbecue. I've always loved grilling (and cooking in general), but could never justify investing in a smoker as a renter moving frequently between apartments/houses. Well, I recently purchased my first home and FINALLY was able to take the plunge! I've had some exposure to pellet grills in the past and, while the final product was always great, the overall experience just didn't provide the challenge or satisfaction I personally wanted and knew I could get out of maintaining a fire in a stick burner. Side note: I'm also a big camper/hiker/backpacker so playing with fire is absolutely in my wheelhouse haha. Thanks to my location, I was able to track down a 1/4" steel pit with a decent size firebox locally (manufactured by Texas Longhorn BBQ Pits out of Uvalde, TX) and not long ago I brought her home and got her seasoned and ready to start my smoking journey. I'm real excited to be able to (hopefully) make some fantastic barbecue at home to share with my family and friends now.

I'll be using the forum as a resource for learning, finding recipes and tips/tricks of the trade, as well as generally seeking out inspiration. As a first request, I'd love if you threw some suggestions my way for what to smoke first! From my reading thus far, it seems pork butts are generally forgiving but can also take a very long time to smoke. If there's anything that might take less time while testing out my fire management skills and not necessarily breaking the bank then send it my way.

Happy Smoking!

Bonus pics of the smoker the day I brought it home as well as just before seasoning. Not pictured is a firebox grate for open fire grilling, can't wait.
smoker.png
seasoning.jpeg
 
Welcome from the Hill Country just a few minutes northwest of Austin. Looks like a really nice rig you have there. Can't wait to see it in action...and pics are required :emoji_wink:

Robert
 
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Welcome from the Hill Country just a few minutes northwest of Austin. Looks like a really nice rig you have there. Can't wait to see it in action...and pics are required :emoji_wink:

Robert
Duly noted! Hey, any recommendations for sourcing wood around these parts? Would be greatly appreciated.
 
Welcome to CenTX. I am south of you in Lockhart. Many farmers will let you cut the dead wood but you must clean it all up. They most of the time just want it gone and cleaned up.
 
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Welcome from Virginia! You might try a smaller beef Chuck roast. Those are real tasty and not as tricky as a brisket….takes less time too.
 
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Welcome to SMF glad you joined us. Congrats on the new house and smoker. Looking at the pic of the smoker I'm wondering if there is a grate in the firebox for the ash to fall away from the fire? Chicken would be a fairly good, cheap, quick first smoke. The only thing is if you smoke it at 225-250 the skin will come out kind of like rubber you have a few choices you can run the fire hotter or when it's about done stick it in an oven or grill to crisp up the skin, or just throw the skin away.
You will need a good quality meat thermometer to check to make sure the smoker thermometer is right and also to check internal temps of what your smoking almost everything we smoke is done by internal temp and not by time.
 
Welcome to SMF glad you joined us. Congrats on the new house and smoker. Looking at the pic of the smoker I'm wondering if there is a grate in the firebox for the ash to fall away from the fire? Chicken would be a fairly good, cheap, quick first smoke. The only thing is if you smoke it at 225-250 the skin will come out kind of like rubber you have a few choices you can run the fire hotter or when it's about done stick it in an oven or grill to crisp up the skin, or just throw the skin away.
You will need a good quality meat thermometer to check to make sure the smoker thermometer is right and also to check internal temps of what your smoking almost everything we smoke is done by internal temp and not by time.
Thanks for the advice! Yes, it does have a grate in the base of the firebox. Is that preferred? I figure it probably is since it will allow some oxygen under the coals as well as prevent a bunch of ash from building up in my coal bed, but would appreciate any insight otherwise.

I'd also love any tips on getting it fired up properly to ensure I'm not fighting to keep my fire going during long cooks. My current plan is to fire up a chimney of lump charcoal, burn down 2 or 3 splits of wood to get the smoker up to temp and start building a coal bed, and from there just keep a split preheating at the front of the box at all times, turning it over into the fire as needed to keep a flame going (and placing a new split to preheat). Any and all suggestions are welcome.
 
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