Hello from South Central Nebraska!

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Original poster
Jun 3, 2006
Well, I got my father's day present early.
The wife and kids and I were at Walmart and saw this:
It's an "American Gourmet Smoker, BBQ, and Grill"

Please, someone, tell me it's not complete crap. :)

It's small, but the kids are 6 and 3 and don't eat much. I wanted something that I could use to grill and smoke, and this looked like the ticket.
Can someone tell me I didn't throw away 80 bucks? Can someone point me to mod threads if required?

Anyway, I'm VERY VERY VERY new to this, I know how to eat good 'q (I spend 2 weeks in KC every year) but I have no idea how to cook it. I'm picking up a lot on the forums, I'm reading like mad and got the "audio CD" from this site to help get me started. I did grill steaks, and they were amazing, but grillin' ain't smokin'. :)

So far, my only trouble is keeping the temp down, but I think I had WAY too many coals. The firepan (and the cooking area) are really small.

Nice to meet you all!
Melcrose, welcome to Smoking Meat Forums. That looks like a nice little unit (I fixed your link btw-the one you posted linked to the warranty page). Around here we have a simple adage, "Find the smoker you like and get the next size bigger!" The reason for this is once you get the hang of smoking foods, you'll want to share with guests and if you have a small smoker, you'll wish you had a bigger one.

You're on the right track-you have the Smoking Basics Course and your reading the forums so now there is left to do is to put into practice everything you've learned here. Start off with something small like some chickens-they're inexpensive so if you really botch the smoking session and you can't eat your mistake you won't be out of a lot of money. Once you master temperture control, try a pork butt-these are rather forgiving if you happen to wander away from the smoker and the temps go up.

A couple of tips-check out the Charcoal forum in the Equipment section and get you a good thermometer. Several of us use the Maverick ET-73 as it allows you to monitor the internal temp of the food PLUS it allows you to monitor the temp of the food chamber. The temp. dial on most smokers do not accurately reflect the chamber temp. We want to know the chamber temp at the level of the food rack not 6 inches above it.
Thanks! I had my first test, I made some ribs and a pork roast. The temp on the smoker must be lower than is actual, it took a LONG time to cook, way above the estimates.
One funny thing: after I let it rest and cut into it, I thought it was ruined. It had about a half-inch (little less) pink ring around the outside. I told my wife, "Don't eat it! let me hit the net and see if it's edible!"
A few links later I realized I did pretty good! It was amazing, none of it needed sauce at all.
I'm enoying my new hobby!
Melcrose- A 1/2 inch smoke ring sounds good to me!! :D

Sounds like you did all right for your first test-so how were the ribs?

You can sometimes calibrate door thermometers providing that there is an adjustment nut where the probe comes out of the back of the thermo. IIR there are calibating instructions in the Thermometer
Thanks for the tip on calibrating the thermometer. I have a digital probe, I'll put that at "meat level" and get a reading and adjust the other to match.

Thanks for your help!

The ribs were.. ok. There were done just right (I pulled the spare ribs at 174, not 172 like jeff said in his basics CD I bought, but they were still REALLY good..) but there was almost no meat on them and I put on WAY too much rub.
Live and learn!
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