Is a nice Bark possible with an Old Smokey?!?!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by rgautheir20420, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. I've been searching around trying to find some source of information on this topic. I have been unsuccessful, so here I am posting for help from this great community.

    This Saturday morning, I'm looking to do a 5 lb-ish pork butt on my Old Smokey and I'm trying to see how, if at all possible, to get that signature burnt bark on there. I've only done 1 butt in the past and it was sliced and not pulled. I didn't research or read anything on how to cook it, so it came out just OK. Definitely no bark.

    Please help!
  2. jbills5

    jbills5 Meat Mopper

    Don't wrap it.  Just let the meat go all the way to the internal temp.  This should give you plenty of bark.
  3. bobank03

    bobank03 Smoking Fanatic

    exactly what jbills5 said! 
  4. Thanks! Speaking from experience with the Old Smokey? If so, any idea on temp/time for a butt?
  5. jbills5

    jbills5 Meat Mopper

    I don't use an old smokey.  But if you keep your smoker temp at 225-250 you should be at about 1.5-2 hours per pound.  Without wrapping you may end up going a little longer as not wrapping can sometimes cause the stall to last a bit longer.
  6. Ok. So the deal with the Old Smokey is that it's practically an enclosed chamber. It get's VERY moist in the smoker because your not supposed to open it. Regardless if it's not wrapped, with all that moisture, it's not going to get a bark. EVERYTHING I've read about people using this smoker has them saying this exact same thing.

    My thought process for it is this: Smoke at the low/med setting (around 225 F) until the IT is 165. Then I'll kick up the temp to med (250 F...maybe higher?) and partially open the lid. At this point, I will put the butt in a foil boat filled partially with apple juice (and maybe bourbon?) and in a pan. I'm hoping that by partially opening the lid and allowing some of the moisture to escape, it gives an opportunity for a bark to form.

    Anyone with experience with this specific smoker able to chime in or am I the only one that's jump the gun and got this thing on here?
  7. bobank03

    bobank03 Smoking Fanatic

    I just did a search and there are over 1600 threads about Old Smokey smokers. I'm sure that someone else has covered this before?

    I think if you crack the lid a bit it should work. Is there no vent in the lid of those? I would probably use a small wedge of wood or a wood shingle to keep the lid open a bit. I have an ECB which is similar in shape, but with a domed lid and I sealed around the lid and then put a vent in the top of the dome for the smoke and all to flow through. 

  8. Ha 1600 threads? [​IMG]

    My google search showed plenty of results of people cooking with it, but none showing a proven way to get that bark. Maybe I'll give it another try.

    No there is no vent. Part of the design of it actually. There isn't even a door to get to the wood chips in case they need to be re-filled. The theory is that since it's an enclosed space, the smoke isn't able to dissipate and get's into the meat that way. Sort of like an oven/pressure cooker/smoker. 

    I'll do more searching, but I'll be sure to start a new thread once it's complete with the results and nice big self explanatory title!

    Any others please feel free to comment on the plans or if you've had any experience with this guy. Thanks so far for your replies.
  9. bobank03

    bobank03 Smoking Fanatic

    I was just thinking if a lid from another smoker with a domed lid might fit on the top of yours?

    Also, most of the threads I found say that the whole premise behind the Old Smokey is that the sealed unit keeps the meat very moist and never dries it out. Good luck, lol
  10. I had that exact thought the second I hit the submit button and saw your smoker.

    It's almost like the makers of the Smokey decided to pick 1 great thing about smoking and forgo the rest. That's the purpose of the foil boat and pan (hopefully). If I crack the lid, I'll loose the moisture, but hopefully it'll be made up for with the juices.

    We shall see.
  11. bobank03

    bobank03 Smoking Fanatic

    On my ECB I keep the vent wide open and no extra moisture while smoking. I actually foil over my water pan and put a foil wrapped cobble in it to help balance the temps. 
  12. I really need to get an AMPS (or whatever its called) smoking piece. I don't like the fact that I don't have continuous smoke with this smoker. It burns the chips on the plate then they smolder until they go out. Nor do I like having to remove 2 grates and a drip bowl to get to the chips. With the AMPS, I could use that for the smoke and the element for the heat. Maybe I'll get it this weekend.

    I like the idea of the stone in there to help with temp swings.
  13. bobank03

    bobank03 Smoking Fanatic

    there is a tube and a tray smoker. I actually just won the 12 inch AMNTS in a contest they had here on SMF

    Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to try it out yet. On my smoker, the charcoal pan sits on a couple of paver and I can lift the whole unit off of the pan so I can add more charcoal or chunks of wood. I think that the AMNTS might be a good option for you. I plan to try mine out as soon as I can, but it won't be till next week at least. 
  14. Congrats on winning that contest. I'm planning on picking up one of the dented versions of the AMNPS on Friday I think. It's listed as "minor scratches" and sells for half off. Plus I'll get a bag of pitmasters choice pellets for it. 
  15. Hello.  You are spot on with your ideas on the Smokey.  Offset the lid to control temp and create bark.  Folks dismiss this smoker as a cheap piece of cr**.  These smokers have been used in Texas since the late 20's. I believe.  My Dad has used one for years and I shipped one to England 10 years ago and it is still going.  Have fed 6 people prime rib and potatoes on the 18".  Mighty fine smoker once you learn the tricks.  Keep Smokin!


  16. Thanks Danny! That definitely helps. Although I have the electric model, I still hopeful my plan works. I'll report back.
  17. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    So your Old Smokey looks more like this?

    This is the predecessor to the Old Smokey. Analog smoker, 7 speeds ( I think yours has 3), non-vented, with 2 grates, a drip pan, a chip plate, and an element ?

    Its is not built to be a dry smoker, but you are realizing that. Its not built to use more than one charge of chips. Its not built to have the lid opened. Its not built so that you can use an aux. smoke generator with out modifying the smoker as there is no air draft possible to allow the chips or pellets to smolder.

    Although it is an excellent smoker once mastered, its not going to give you a bark anymore than it will give you a smoke ring.

    As to the smoke, you start the unit on high for 15 to 45 mins. Depending upon your smoke type (I use pecan shells), Then you turn the controller back to your choice of settings. You're done. No more chips, no more opening, no basing no mopping no spritzing, completely no lifting the lid. The smoke is captured within the smoker and will continue to allow the meat to absorb it while cooking. The magic smoke meat temp is 100 to 140 IT. if you are cooking to a 165 then foiling to the oven its plenty. If you leave it for the whole ride, your still fine.  You don't need 20 hours of smoke for a butt, only maybe 3 hours or four tops! I don't know this but I assume this is the reason for the soaking of the chips. It retards the smolder a bit longer to start, remember the magic IT for smoke is 100 to 140 IT. There are other possible reasons but it makes the most sense to me. Don't get carried away with the chips thinking you'll get longer smoke, you'll only get too much smoke which will make your meat bitter. This is the easiest smoker I ever used for over smoking.

    Here is a digital copy of the manual if you don't have one.

    I have a couple of the Redi Smok manuals around here somewhere...... I'll look but I am not sure where to even start.

    Hope it helps.

    You have got to realize this type electric predates nearly any other electric smoker discussed here on the boards. They are excellent for what they were intended, a small apartment type unit. I got my first one, someone left at my camp long ago on 'Possum Kingdom. I came to the camp and they had tried to build a charcoal fire on the chip tray.....LOL I have worn two more out since them.

    You have to realize, its not a fire breather and it wasn't made to compete with them. Its a completely different animal.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
  18. I do in fact have the more recent version of that unit. I've read endless posts that this is a great smoker, and believe me I don't disagree. With that said, why can't I make changes to try and get what I want out of it? I don't like being stuck or having a piece of equipment tell me what I can or can't do.

    So, I've got a few pieces of equipment around the house that I think might be able to help creating this "draft" that's needed to keep an AMNPS lit. I've already drilled a hole in the lower side of the unit and I have random brass fittings around the house. Would if I rigged up an inlet tube to an air pump and pumped air into the unit while having a slight crack in the lid? I would think this would be enough from oxygen to keep the AMNPS lit no? Someone please confirm or deny this!!! I want to buy my AMNPS now ;)

    I know it would be easier just to go out and get what I want from another unit, but I'd like to make this one work if possible since I've already got it. 

    Not sure I've seem anyone make mods to an Old Smokey before....
  19. yotzee

    yotzee Smoking Fanatic

    I don't thing you could do anything like that with an electric device.  The air stokes the fuel combustion fuel source.  Doing that with an electric device would only burn your chips faster and that's not what you want.
  20. If pumping air through it would be too much, how about just leaving the hole open? I imagine other smokers have an in draft for the fire towards the bottom and a place for the smoke to escape up top right?

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