I'm Pipp, new to the site

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Original poster
May 10, 2006
Hi! Nice to meet y'all! I'm from OH. Just got into the sport of smoking last year. I've produced some fine Q on my grill using hickory chunks. I got an electric water smoker for Christmas and can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. Everything I've tried to smoke in it turns out BAD. It's over smoked and undercooked.

Any brilliant advice on how to produce something that's edible? I'd sure appreciate it.
Pipp, Welcome to Smoking Meat Forum. Most electric water smokers are designed to reach a chamber temperture between 225-250 degrees. As for smoke you want a thin blueish smoke-not billowing white clouds of it. To monitor the temps of you meat you'll want to invest in a good probe type thermometer. Dial probes used for roasting will work (have to lift the lid to read) or you can go with a digital probe that will allow you to run the probe wire outside the smoker. Check out the Forum thread for electric smokers.
Howdy Pipp, I can't offer any advice on the electric smoker but I do want to welcome you to the SMF. This is a great place to learn the art of Que and I'm sure you'll love it here.
Thanks for the welcome and the advice. My opinion on what the problem is (not that I'm an expert) that in spite of the thermostat being all the way on high, the inside temp of the smoker doesn't get hot enough to cook. PLUS, having that pan of water creates all the steam inside and, especially with chickens, the meat never caramelizes or gets that nice "bark".
My next step is to get rid of the temp gauge that came on the thing and check it with a different thermometer.

If I do this and find that the inside temp isn't hot enough, is there anything I can do?

Thanks again.
The bottom line answer is no. There is nothing you can do. The heat coil goes to it's max setting and stays there. However, let me hasten to add. I also have one of the units that you are using and mine routinely goes to about 250 to 300*. I suspect yours will do the same. However, if you are using the thermometer that came with it (probably "low, ideal, high" readings), you'll need to do better. You can fix that via two methods. First, you can get a good digital read out thermometer with a probe into the meat and a readout meter outside. Or, you can get a decent analog or circular thermo at you local Home Depot. Drill a hole in the top and mount it. Just remember that ideally, you need two readings when cooking. One telling you the temp of the smoke at grill level and the other telling you the internal temp of the product you are smoking. My target for butts, hams etc. is 225*. Also, my favorite wood is hickory. But be aware there are lots of others .... like maple, apple, peach, walnut, cherry and on and on. There are also good threads here on the forum regarding woods to be used in the smoker. Good luck and please be sure to keep us informed as you experiment and start turning out professional grade Q. And don't forget the pictures.
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