I don't know what I've gotten into... (with questions)

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by aggro, May 27, 2016.

  1. Hi all! Just to Reiterate from role call. Brand new to the smoking world (and charcoal grilling for that matter) , haven't even tried it yet. Bought a smoke hollow 4 in 1 (the new model with supposed upgrades to the durability and thickness of metal. See my avatar picture. ) I'm still in the mindset of getting everything ready to cook. I just used the propane grill for burgers for the first time last night. I had a nice fire burning in the charcoal grill side already to help season the grate. I have green egg gasket on the way to help seal the lids and high temp food safe silicone to do the seams of the lids/box. I also bought a thermo pro dual channel wireless thermometer for air temp and meat temp.  Now that you have the back story, I have a few questions.

    1. I know there are a lot of different modifications that people do to their offset smokers right away. Being new, is there any you would recommend?

    2. What is the grate on the smoke box for? So far I've been lighting my chimney there, but can you actually cook there?

    3. Water pan? Do I need one? Would it make things easier as far as normalizing temperature?

    4. Kinda related to (3), where should the wood chips go relative to the charcoal? I'd there a set up diagram for beginners that someone can draw me?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!
  2. Hello.

    1:  You are headed in the right direction with sealing leaks.  I'll bet you have a thin chrome coated rack for your charcoal.  That needs to be replaced.  Use your charcoal rack as a template and make or have made a charcoal rack from 3/*2-1/2" concrete rebar.  A charcoal basket can also be used.  That thin chrome rack will bend under the heat.  It will sag down onto the ash which will stop air flow.  No air flow, no cook.  Last tip is go buy a cheap garden trowel.  Knock the wooden handle off and weld a 2-2 1/2' piece of that rebar to the shovel.  Now you can gently scoop out the ash without them blowing all over your meat and you won't burn your hands.

    2:  The grate on the firebox is for grilling steaks and such. HOT fire, 2-3 minutes a side and job done. Also good for the chimney.

    3:  Water pan; in my opinion, nope.

    4:  Easy solution; just sprinkle the chips over the hot coals.  Handful at a time.  When using charcoal; been doing it that way for years.  Nothing fancy.  Mix your chips and add a handful as you think needed.

    Don't stress or over think this.  It ain't rocket science.  You will be fine.

    Make fire, throw on meat, add chips for smoke.  When done; remove meat.  DONE!  Caveman stuff works!

    Of course things can get more complicated but just start with the easy stuff first.  Relax and have fun.

    Keep Smokin!

  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Chunks of wood last a lot longer than Chips. You want a small hot fire. Add air with the firebox damper if more heat needed or close most of the way to maintain. It is easier to control a small fire letting it get hotter than trying to choke off and cool a fire that is too hot. Do a search for the Minion method of mixing chunks with charcoal and then lighting just a few coals and adding air as needed. A charcoal basket is a good idea. can be as simple as a perferated Grill stir fry pan to one you bend up from expanded metal. No need for a water pan but search horizontal offset damper plates for a way to better control the heat entering the cook chamber...JJ
  4. chad e

    chad e Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    You sound like I side when I started. Wanted all the answers up front. My best advice, and I'm still a rookie, fire it up and try it! I've learned more from doing it than I ever did reading about it. Many suggest a log book to help you fine tune your skills.
    Learn to control your fire temp and the rest is a breeze. Good luck
  5. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I wouldn't get too far ahead of myself.

    I would start with some dry runs with your therms to tell you what is actually happening in the pit. A good time to season. No reason to over-mod an untested unit?

    Patience and experience, along with the info from the great members here, will be a great help to you.

    Good luck and good smoking.

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