New Smokerperson--Need some suggestions

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Original poster
Aug 31, 2006
Hello all,

I got my first smoker this week. I have some mods to do and some questions on my first smoke this weekend.

About me:
I have had a grill very similar to the old standby Weber cans. I have learned from the BBQU show and the books how to indirect grill. Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]ve done country style ribs(I know, not really ribs) on it and beer can chicken as well as huge pork loins. So I have a little experience with the whole smoke/indirect grill thing. But I havenâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t had a “real†smoker before now and not done anything that took more than 1.5hours to cook.

About my smoker:
My smoker is a New Braunsfel Hondo Deluxe. Hereâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s a link to a picture.
Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]ve done a burn off/seasoning in it using vegetable oil and seasoned oak. Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m going to modify the chimney by making it come down further as well as looking for a shield to put at the juncture of the firebox and the chamber to help diffuse the heat more evenly. You can tell by the burn pattern after the burn off that it gets very hot right there where the firebox joins up. Still scratching my head to find a good source of the light gauge metal to use for that. Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m even looking at using aluminum flashing to just get it done this for this weekend. Any suggestions on that is welcome. My smoker doesnâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t have a thermometer and Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m working to hunt one down. If I donâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t find one, Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m not sure what to do other than use my meat thermometer lots and keep a medium bed of coals in there.

As far as fuel, Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m going to keep a fire made of oak burning to the side and shovel coals into the firebox. I was going to burn straight in the firebox, but after lots of reading found out itâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s not recommended in a smoker of this size.

What I want to BBQ:
We have some Boston Butts available (1.29/lb) for them. But these are big boys of 12-15lbs. I figure this would be a good cut to start with, but do I need to cut these in half so as to reduce cooking time and make it a little easier? Also, I read where someone suggested doing a brisket and butt at the same time and putting the butt on the rack above it to self baste it. Should I rig up another grill in there above it (think old grill laying on a few bricks above new grill) to maximize the smoker time?

Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m also thinking of putting on a chicken or two, or else some breasts or legs and thighs. A few brats or polish to have something to throw to people to keep them off of my back as we cook. Read where someone puts whole Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage rolls on there for a couple of hours. Also thinking of tossing on a pack of country style ribs(1.49/lb). Even debating having some pork spare ribs (1.80/lb).

What I am wondering is how much is too much and any suggestions on what to do to pull things off successfully. Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]ll have10-12 adults and 3 kids or so eating off of this right up front. Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m hoping to have lots of leftovers for the next day(s).

Any and all helpful posts are most welcome.
Hi There jamman!

Welcome aboard

Go Here:

For a tutorial on smoking pork butts that I did here some time ago.Read the whole tute and click on all the links which are posted in the tute and you will get an idea of what you are trying to achieve with pork butts.

They are large and take a long time to "que"....I usually start mine between 3:00pm to 5:00pm so that they will be ready for the following afternoon. :shock:

The length of time it takes is directly related to how old the animal was at the time of slaughter..older takes any rate they will probably reach a plateau at around an internal temperature of 160 degrees and sometimes they will stay at that temp for several hours before the temp starts to rise again. :o

The upside is that two butts will feed the crowd that you are describing and the process is simple and is a good project for someone new to this.It just takes awhile.

read the tute and good luck on your first big "smoke"

ranger72 :)

Knight of the Order of the Thin Blue Smoke # 14 8)
Welcome to the forum jamman. Looks like you've done some good research here. I smoke on a Char-Broil Silver Smoker, which looks very similar to your smoker. Mine did not come with a thermometer either. I got one at Home Depot for about $4 (made by Char-Broil), drilled a 3/8 inch hole in the lid, and popped the therm in...

Check out the post in the Smokers and Equipment forum under "Silver Smoker Modifications" to see the mods I made to my rig. Like I said, we have different smokers, but they are built very similarly. I used NON GALVINIZED steel flashing that I got at Home Depot as well. It was about 15$ for a 12 foot long by 12 inch wide roll. I cut the pieces with some tin snips. Rolled some of it up tight, stuck it up in the stack, and when I let it go it "unrolled" to fit perfectly. I went 12 x 12 on the "baffle" between the fire box and smoke chamber.
Hope you find this useful, let us know what you decide to do, and keep us posted when you begin your smoke. Good luck and welcome!
Well boys, it has come and gone.

I started at about 3am Fri Night/Sat morn and we had pulled pork for dinner Saturday. I also threw on a pan of Wicked Baked Beans. It was all a huge hit.

I put on a picnic shoulder then went back to the store and got a boston butt and put it on. I did a mustard and rub base and stuck it in aluminum pans. Then as we got closer to 5-6am, I threw on 2 rolls of breakfast sausage. I had no idea what to do with them, but just threw them on and took them up above 160F. Then on Sunday I did a pork loin and threw on some brats and a couple rolls of venison summer sausage I had from last years hunt.

Meanwhile, I fired up the old grill to the side and we grilled some shrimp and pork loin steaks to eat dinner off of and then I threw on a couple of beer can chickens.

I did it all with split oak firewood. I still have much to learn, but I like a live fire like this.

Thanks for everyone's help. It made for a success!
Jamman, If your wondering what to do with those fatties, check out my "Dutch's Gourmet Cowboy Gravy" recipe. My 'still at home' kids will eat biscuits and gravy for dinner if I'll let 'em. I've included the link to the recipe.

Dutch's Gourmet Cowboy Gravy is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.