Keeping Notes

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 28, 2020
If I was more flexible I'd literally be kicking myself in the behind for not starting this a few years ago when I began smoking. My last smoke a couple weekends ago I pulled out a new notepad and started my "Smoking Notes" book. Going forward I'd like to keep track of every detail of every smoke so I can refer back to it. How many of you do this?
I was going to start this exact thread.

I'm mostly new to smoking, so I started keeping a journal as soon as I finished my smoker. Not only am I learning the ins and outs of how my smoker runs, but I also have a long history of coming up with great recipes and never being able to recreate what I did,

I'm keeping track of everything.
-Rub and marinade timing and recipes
-Weather conditions
-Smoker and IT temps when it goes in and gets pulled out
-Fuel type
-Resting times, before and after the cook
-For longer smokes, I have a column where I keep track of temps every hour to learn a pattern
Theres probably more that I can't think of.

At the bottom, I even have comments about the finished product to remind myself if I want to make it again,

On the last page, I started a sort of table of contents with the date of each cook. Its easy to go back and find what I'm looking for.

The wife makes fun of my "little diary" but she definitely benefits from it at dinner time.
Great idea. I to lazy I guess. Been several times in cooking and home brewing had something turn out great and than not know how to do later.
Hi Nitty, i'm with N Nate52 , i'm new here also but been cooking for years , smoking just this year. Always took rough notes on things I made . So for smoking I write everything down on paper as I go and how it went than I put it into this book below. There are many different kinds . But this one was cheap and covered most of what I wanted to say

DSC_3020.JPG DSC_3021.JPG

I have two giant three ring binders going back for years. Notes are always good to have. Check out this thread, it includes some down loadable templates to check out.

Another tip is to use your phone to document the day's cook, the picture is often very handy for duplicating the cook next time.
good idea,
as an "old" redneck i suffer occasionally from C.R.A.F.T
As I get more used to the idiosyncracies of my offset OKjoe reverse, I do rely on, and go back and check my temperature graphs on my Inkbird IBBQ-4T.
I do. Started when I started smoking. The one thing I did change was, I made a book for each meat EX. Brisket, Ribs, Porkbutt and so on. If it was a bad idea I would mark the page with a red X, so I wouldn't make it again. and also mark it with a blue marker with a "grade" 1 thru 5, One being the best so I could go back and make it again .

I could go on and on about notes but that's what works for me may not work for some one else.
I've kept a notebook from the beginning, which wasn't all that long ago...1/11/2015, with just 64 cooks completed on the WSM since then.
I use a small hardcover charcoal-colored (seems appropriate) spiral bound notebook. It's handy and portable. I use one page per cook, and the pages are only 4" x 6", so I'm not capturing as much detail as I probably should...but I'll at least jot down times, quantities of charcoal and smoke wood both initially and additions, a brief description of any brines, marinades, injections, rubs, or mops used, and a few notes of smoker temp and meat temps, by time. I end each page with brief tasting notes, and maybe a suggestion of what changes I might want to try next time.

Of course, as a chemist, keeping a lab notebook is second nature.
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I used to do this with every cook, but after a few years you find the best method, because of your notes. Then you just stick with that & you really don’t need to take notes anymore. However I do have a recipe book with all my recipes, so if I forget what I did I just check my recipe index.
I started after getting the idea from someone here at SMF. I usually start out with good details but forget to complete my notes after the cook. Probably need to keep my notebook near the smoker to help me remember....
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I started after getting the idea from someone here at SMF. I usually start out with good details but forget to complete my notes after the cook. Probably need to keep my notebook near the smoker to help me remember....

This is usually me and pictures. I'll take the picture of the raw meat, throw it on the smoker and forget to take any more pictures. LOL. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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