First smoking

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SomeDudeOnline

Newbie
Original poster
Apr 26, 2024
11
25
Hello All,

I'm not really great at taking pictures (especially of food because I just want to eat it), but I wanted to share the results from my first smoking. For my first smoking, I decided to go with some 3-2-1 baby back ribs using manzanita chunks for the smoke. I used manzanita because I basically have an unlimited supply. I also use it for woodworking because it's a beautiful wood, but it's such a finicky wood that a lot of it it just too small to use. Anyway, I've made ribs in the crock pot quite a few times but they've always been lacking the smoky flavor, the appropriate texture, and it's always a challenge to caramelize the bbq sauce afterward. I was very pleased with the results from the smoker. They're not the best ribs I've ever had but I think they're the best I've made.

I think I listed it in my first post a couple weeks ago, but the smoker I got is a 2 door masterbuilt propane smoker. I took some of the advice from that post and replaced the original wood chip pan with a cast iron skillet, and made sure to use some separate temperature probes. I did do the initial seasoning with the original pan and the chips caught fire very quickly. Using the cast iron, I did not have that issue at all. However, it did suffocate the flame so I had to shift it off to the side in order to allow the flame to breath.

I discovered one big annoyance with the smoker and another minor annoyance that should be easily resolved (assuming I'm correct that it's an issue). The big annoyance is that the flame control should be a gradient from low-high but in reality, it's basically just low, medium, and high. So maintaining a consistent 225 was almost impossible. I was adjusting the flame every 10-15 minutes when it got down to 215 or up to 235. The minor annoyance is just that there was a fair amount of smoke leakage around the door. I believe that's less than ideal and can be remedied with some special weather stripping. Am I correct that it's an issue? Does it just cause a faster heat loss or does it reduce the smoke imparted on the meat?

Something I was surprised by was how much wood I went through. The chunks of manzanita I made were something like .5"x1.5" on average and I tossed a handful in at a time. The smoke produced from them (that I could see exiting the smoker via the door or the vent on the back) lasted something like 45 minutes. However, over the course of 4 hours (3 hours initial smoke and 1 hour of smoke to caramelize, but no smoke for the two hours in foil), I went through quite a bit of wood. I had read a post somewhere before joining here that a bag of wood chips that you can buy at lowes or walmart will last a very long time. Had I used chips for these ribs, I probably would've gone through a quarter of the bag. Is that fairly normal or can I get away with smaller amounts of wood at a time like 1 chunk instead of a handful?

Thank you all for your advice, I look forward to smoking more things and getting more advice to make those smokings successful!


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Josh
 
They look fantastic! Don't sweat and chase trying to keep it constantly at 225F. That range will average in the ballpark of 225 and that's ok. If you don't want to drop as low as 215 use a set temp a little higher.
 
What kind of smoke were you getting? Was it a light blue? Or did it look like a freight train?
A seal on your door is easy...and it will help with heat/smoke retention. Dont get hooked on that 225 degrees. I use a smoker much like yours....I have learned that you will drive yourself nuts trying to maintain a temp with the dial on the smoker. Its just not that fine of a control. Thats where a needle valve mod will come in to play. I Let the smoker settle in where it wants to as long as its somewhere between 225 and 275 degrees.
Ribs look good!

Jim
 
What kind of smoke were you getting? Was it a light blue? Or did it look like a freight train?
A seal on your door is easy...and it will help with heat/smoke retention. Dont get hooked on that 225 degrees. I use a smoker much like yours....I have learned that you will drive yourself nuts trying to maintain a temp with the dial on the smoker. Its just not that fine of a control. Thats where a needle valve mod will come in to play. I Let the smoker settle in where it wants to as long as its somewhere between 225 and 275 degrees.
Ribs look good!

Jim
Thanks! The smoke was mostly white but not super thick. Here’s a screenshot of a short video I took.
 

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Thanks! The smoke was mostly white but not super thick. Here’s a screenshot of a short video I took.
for the pieces of wood your using the length of time is about right. You says you threw away the chip pan? And the skillet was smothering your flames on the burner? Sounds like you need some space between your skillet and the burner. Your skillet is getting to hot.

Jim
 
for the pieces of wood your using the length of time is about right. You says you threw away the chip pan? And the skillet was smothering your flames on the burner? Sounds like you need some space between your skillet and the burner. Your skillet is getting to hot.

Jim
Still have the chip pan but didn’t use it for this cook. I’m planning to get a cooling rack or something similar to create that space but figured this time around, I’d just shift it to the side to give the flame the air it needed.
 
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