Hello from HarleyHuskerMan (Mark) from Colorado

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Original poster
Nov 8, 2012


Here is some info. on me as requested.......

I was raised in Northeastern Nebraska and am a big Cornhusker Football Fan.  (That's pretty much required if you're born in Nebraska!)  I graduated high school in 1980 and moved to Colorado in 1987 after graduating from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

Since this is a food, cooking and smoking forum, I will stick mostly to that.....   In Nebraska we hunted pheasant, quail, rabbits, squirrels, coyotes and raccoons.  I also trapped Raccoon, Fox, Beaver, Mink, Muskrat, etc.  Unfortunately I also trapped skunk and opossum but seldom by choice.  Fishing was mostly Catfish, Bullheads, Carp, Bass, Crappie and Northern Pike.

In the spring when the creeks flooded the carp would swim upstream to spawn.  We made good sport of wading through the flood waters to spear carp with a spearhead on a long pole.  I also used a bow and arrow with a line attached for some situations. 

Most people find carp inedible but we ate what we killed without complaint.  The scary part of the flood water was not so much stepping off into deep water as much as avoiding the water moccasins.  I was once within about 12 inches of getting bit in the face but God decided to allow me to escape the serpent.

My first experience with smoked meat was when my father purchased a "Little-Chief" smoker which worked on charcoal.  We used it to smoke the carp mostly because carp have a lot of bones in them both large and small.  The bones are impossible to avoid and when eating the meat you are constantly picking tiny, thin bones from your mouth and teeth.

We discovered that after smoking the carp in the smoker all of the tiny, thin bones pretty much softened, dissolved and became edible.  The meat also tasted great and was now good meat to eat. 

Occasionally the neighbors would go on a deer hunting trip to Western Nebraska and give us some venison sausage which I really loved.  I also ate raccoon, pigeon and other things but never had the nerve to try opossum or skunk.  (Although I would do it if someone knew how to prepare it good.)

After moving to Colorado I immediately hunted (and ate) deer, elk, bear, rattle snake, grouse, etc.  The fish here are way better as we have mountain fresh trout everywhere and salmon in some areas when they spawn.  Catfish are also available but trout are so much easier to prepare and much better eating to my taste.

So I'm the kind of guy who will try literally anything....  including ants, grasshoppers, larva, etc.  I must say however that Rattle Snake is one of the best!  I did manage to capture one once and pick it up and handle it with my bare hands.  That was one of the better thrills of my lifetime.  Roller coasters and a bear sniffing my feet (that's another story) are nothing compared to a live viper in your hands!  I absolutely hate snakes and they scare the crap out of me but I did it anyway.   That one also ended up in the fry pan.  There is some more to this story as well but most of you probably would not believe me anyway....

My big interest in getting into smoked meat came after serving as a Civilian Contractor in Afghanistan from 2010-2012.  While there I worked with men and women from all over the world including a great bunch of guys from Bosnia.  I soon learned that Bosnia is a very beautiful country and looks almost identical to Colorado.  They also have the same type of game and fish as well as pork, beef, etc.  Probably more beef than pork because a lot of them are Muslim and Muslims do not eat pork.

The Bosnians almost always went home on R&R so when they returned to camp they packed along as much Bosnian meat and cheese as they could carry.  The meat was mostly smoked and was absolutely out of this world!  The cheeses were fabulous as well.  I have never eaten such wonderful smoked meat and cheese in all my life! 

My favorite type of smoked meat did not "look" cooked, but it was cured in some sort of long, long smoke process that cured the meat as well.  Both the beef and pork were wonderfully chewy and the taste stayed in your mouth like the flavor of a Cuban Cigar.

The Bosnians still do things "the old fashioned way", probably much like my German and Russian ancestors did.  They bake home made bread and most all have small gardens with fresh vegetables.  Everything there is the real thing and the meat......... well, I just can not describe the smoked meat.  It can only be experienced.

So!  If anyone out there has been to Bosnia or any of the Old World Countries and knows how to make meat the Bosnian way, I would love to learn!  (They also make their own distilled hard liquor - moonshine form fruit - but that is another story still....) Ha, ha.  Oh, by the way.......  I should probably clarify that there was no alcohol allowed on base so I never had the chance to try the Bosnian moonshine, but I bet it is as good as the meat and cheese!

Unfortunately I got laid off from Afghanistan last April and have been unable to find a decent job since.  So I am job hunting now for sure.  Today, however, I purchased an old smoker for $20 bucks and hope to make some smoked meat.  The problem is that I do not really know what I have here and can not find anything exactly like it on the Internet as it must be pretty old. 

I will enclose some photos here and hope that some of you might be able to tell me how to put this thing together.  It is round with a round top and only one grate in it but there is provision to hold two grates.  So I assume one might be missing?  The legs on the bottom are very short and there is a round hole in the center so I assume this is for a propane burner pipe?  But I am not sure.  Also pictured in the last photo is an old propane burner that I might be able to adapt by making the center hole larger or by cutting a new hole in the side to accept my burner.  I have some concern that my burner may be too large for this unit?

Please take a look at the photos and tell me what I have here and how it works.  That would be a great start.  There appears to be a base, then a pan with slots and breather holes in it, then a water pan, then the body of the unit and then the lid with a heat sensor.  The gauge does not show exact temperature however.

The photo with me holding the cannister is how "I think" this thing goes together.  Am I right or am I wrong?......  Does the water pan set directly on top of the pan with the slots and holes in it?  Do I have the pan with the slots and holes in it flipped over in the correct position?  Is there supposed to be two grates inside?  What else can you tell me?......

Larger pan on left has slots in the bottom and holes around the outside.

Pan in the front center must be a water pan.

Round base is on the right front with hole directly in the center and small legs underneath.

Body of unit is in the rear with provision for grate on top or grate directly above the water pan.

Round lid with themperature gauge is on rear right.

I assume the propane burner goes under the bottom base.  Then the heat goes through the slots in the next pan up to heat the water pan on top while at the same time heat moves through the holes on the outter edge to allow heat up the chimney.

Question:  Where does the smouldering wood go???

Does the wood go on top of the pan with the holes and slots cut into it and then the water pan on the lower rack position?

Do I have this thing assembled correctly or are there parts missing?

What does a temperature gauge like this one tell you?

Where should I be smoking at?

Inside view with grate placed on lower hangers.  Grate will also set on top hangers.  Is there a grate missing?

This is a propane burner I just happen to already have on hand.  I assume this is supposed to be a propane smoker and that the burner is missing.  Am I corrrect or is this smoker supposed to be wood fired or have an electric coil inside with the cord running through the cord in the bottom?

One goal I have is to smoke meat but to cure it as well so refrigeration is not required.  How is this done?

Those are my questions if you can help.




Hi Mark! 
to SMF!!! We're happy you found us! You've come to the right place, we have over 40,000 members and over 800,000 posts so you should be able to find almost anything you want to know. Remember the search bar at the top can be your best friend for finding answers fast!

Would you do us a favor and update your profile to include your location, Thanks!

You might want to check out Jeff's Free 5 day E-course it will teach you all the basics and a whole lot more!

I'm not sure what kind of smoker that is but I'm sure someone here does and can help you a lot getting it going. I can tell you what a temp gauge like that tells you, it tells you to buy a good accurate reliable thermometer!
Welcome aboard Mark. Glad you found us. You're gonna love it here. Lots of great infomation and advice. Not to mention the folks are very friendly and always willing to share. Again,
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