Help for a newbie

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Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
Sharpsburg, GA
So, I got a Char-Broil off-set smoker from the kids for Father's Day. I read all the books, and the 5 day course here. I smoked my first time yesterday. I used lump hickory charcoal and tried the "minion" method. The temp got way too hot. Up to almost 400 deg. according to the temp guage on the smoker. I kept taking coals out and closed the vent to try to cool it down. I finally got it down to about 325. I cooked two Boston Butts about 6 hours. I kept putting on more coals and hickory chips. I just didn't get the volumn of smoke I would liked to. The meat turned out very well, though. Any tips on keeping a cooler fire and more smoke? Do you keep some coals going so as to add them as you go along or just add them cold? Do you use wood chunks instead of chips and do you soak them? I kept a pan of water in the cooker.
Welcome to the forum Trekman

I use a gas smoker, so I can't help ya with the charcoal thing. Others will chime in soon.

As far as smoke I thought I had the same problem, I'm a NUBBY too.
I learn real quick, and other will say the same, that if there is wood in the smoker and you have heat you have smoke. What you are looking for is very thin blue smoke. Sometimes very hard to see it and you think you have no smoke. If you can smell the wood then you have smoke.
If you have heavy smoke you will probably over smoke the meat.

Hope this helps
exactly what john said wood + heat= smoke. lump charcoal will burn hotter than briquettes so you don't need as much. start small & add as you go or use the minion method. try the free 5 day smoking basics e-course here it'll tell you everything. also, soaking chips or chunks just makes it take longer to smoke. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.