KC Smoker -- success! (LONG)

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by komponist, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. komponist

    komponist Newbie

    OK, I've been writing people for advice on the KC Smoker, after a couple of bad experiences. So, I decided to give it one last-ditch try after getting everyone's advice.

    I loaded it with 2 cups of dry hickory chips, no water in the pan, and powered it up (setting the thermostat to 200°) at about 7:45 am. At around 8 am, it started smoking, so I loaded it up with 10 chicken thighs (rubbed all over with Montreal Chicken seasoning), then an empty veggie grilling basket right on top of the thighs, and then a 6 lb. boneless Boston butt on top of that (butt seasoned with salt and pepper only -- added the veggie basket to allow for smoke flow around the butt). A Weber bbq thermometer inserted into the vent showed that the smoker was cruising at around 195° throughout this period -- the vent was closed, except for the tiny gap needed to fit the thermometer through it.

    The first thing I've learned is that I don't think I needed to replace the chips as often as I did. My trick for replacing the chips was to add two long strips of foil to the water pan -- then, if I lifted the rack with the strips of foil, I could lift out the rack and water pan as a single unit. I replaced after 2 hours (those chips were all blackened, but not ashy at all), 4 hours (those chips weren't entirely blackened), and 7 1/2 hours (again, not entirely blackened). So next time, I think I will trust the manufacturer, who claims somewhere that you can get four hours of smoking time from 2 cups of chips.

    The butt plateaued at around 168° -- I upped the thermostat to 225°, and the butt promptly went up to 171° and plateaued there!

    I took the thighs out at 7 1/2 hours -- they were registering 180°, and came out supremely smoky and nice (more below).

    After I took the thighs out, the temperature became a lot harder to regulate -- it was as if the thighs were acting like water in the pan, regulating the temperature inside the smoker. At one point, I had the thermostat turned down to 150° and the vent full open, and the thermometer inserted through the vent still had the smoker cruising at 195-200°.

    ANYWAY, the butt hit 195° at 9 hours, and it turned out beautifully, a deep dark red all over (I will try to post pics soon). It chopped nicely (served with a vinegar and hot pepper sauce, eastern NC style), and is just filled with smoky goodness!

    In summary:

    -- I got an EXCELLENT result from the KC Smoker this time -- really good penetration of the smoke into the meat, and great flavor.

    -- No water in the pan or on the chips worked well for me, but don't trust the thermostat settings at all, and be prepared to watch the temperature closely.

    -- The thighs at the bottom of the stack tasted great, but I wish I could have gotten the skin a little crispier -- of course, sitting under six pounds of smoking pork won't help that at all! I might try putting foil over the thighs next time to ward off drippage.

    -- The only downside was cleanup, which was pretty hard! I tried luv2camp35's suggestion of the disposable broiler pans, but the rack didn't fit down into the broiler pan properly, and I needed the vertical space in the smoker for my stack o'thighs. Took a LOT of scrubbing, and filled the entire house with the scent of hickory goodness -- fine by me, of course, but not necessarily OK with the other members of the family! I might foil up the interior like crazy next time, just to see if that helps with cleanup.

    Hope other newbies with the microsmoker find this info helpful ...
  2. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Interesting and detailed, great to hear you had a successful smoke in the KC !!!

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