New to this, Am i doing something wrong?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by ubernoober, May 3, 2009.

  1. ubernoober

    ubernoober Newbie

    I just started my smoker for the first time, its just a smoker pit like you get at home depot with the fire box off to the left side and a larger grilling area next to it.

    About an hour ago i started my coal, and put it in the grate right above the bottom of the pit. Then i put my soaked wood right on top of the coal.

    My problem is even with the vents closed and the stack fully open im getting about 300* on my thermometer... I dont know if that is correct because its an old one off my gas grill, the one that came with my smoker got lost. Now, i have a digital thermometer for powdercoating, i tried using that but everywhere i checked in the grill gave me a different reading. The bottom of the grill gave me like 220 but i dont know if that is correct.

    My 11lb brisket has been on the grill for about 30 min now, should i just keep it like i have it or should i change it up?
  2. waysideranch

    waysideranch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Utimately you want 225-240 range inside the smoker. Probe the meat and leave it in during the entire smoke. I smoke until meat hits around 160-170 then foil to 205. Then unfoil for at least an hour more. This is something you have to play with to get the meat to a finished product that makes you happy. Everyone uses a little different technique but we al strive for a similiar end product. sorry im not much help. Check the time/temp charts here and adapt from there. Good luck. well i went looking for the time/temp chart but........since the forum changed format i didnt find it. Someone has it.
  3. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You most likely started with to much fuel to begin with. I would leave it alone and let it settle down then try and maintain the above stated temps. One thing you need to do is; get yourself a good therm. It's all but impossible to smoke without one.

    Look for some mods for you offset here on the forum. Folks that do the mods say they help with getting more consistent temps along the entire smokers length.

    You started out with one of the most difficult products to smoke, good luck.

    Smoking times
  4. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to SMF glad you joined us. Take the digital thermometer you have and check it in some boiling water it should read 212 or very close. Once you have tested the thermometer take it and stick the probe thru a potato allowing about 1.5" to stick all the way thru the potato. Place the potato on the cooking grate right next to the meat and this will give you the temp at grate level try to keep that temp by adjusting the vents on the fire box and leave the top vent wide open. Try to maintain grate level temps of 225-250 once you have done this for about 3-4 hours take the meat probe and check the internal temp of the meat then back into the potato. With only one thermo you'll just have to keep switching the positions once in awhile to monitor both temps. Have fun and good luck. I too foil my briskets at about 165-170 and go to 195 for slicing and 205 for pulling. Let us know how it comes out

    By the way the biggest mistake I think new smokers do is to use too much wood you only want thin blue smoke or just the smell of smoke NO billowing white smoke
  5. ubernoober

    ubernoober Newbie

    I think your right, now the the fires died down the temp is falling slightly.

    Is it normal to replace the wood in about an hour using 4-5 chunks? Or is that because i had to much coal in there?
    Why start with something easy? Go big or go home ;)

    Edit, my digital thermometer is handheld there is no probe. I just got a meat thermometer from the store, and my grill has one on it. Should i go buy a second meat thermometer ?
    Ill try that thanks.
  6. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    The overly hot fire may have burnt up the wood fast remember light blue smoke or just the smell of smoke is what your looking for
  7. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What Piney said is right about what I would think. Your going to go through a lot of chunks of wood smokin a brisket though.
  8. smoke freak

    smoke freak StickBurners

    Nothing wrong with starting with something easy. Like chuck roast. The end results are similar but the learning curve is more on your side.

    My first smoke was a brisket flat. Had a hard time convincing my wife that I would eventually get the hang of it.
  9. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Handhelds er fine fer checkin cooked stuff, but yer pokin lots a holes with it. Most of us use the thermos with a long wire probe on it, that way ya stick it in the meat an it stays there durin the whole cook.

    Also get one fer yer smoker temps, the dial ones that usually come with the smoker can be off quite a bit.
  10. ubernoober

    ubernoober Newbie

    my potato thermo is reading 150 (im using a small potato cause i dont have a big one). Its 2 hrs in, is 150 for that about right?
  11. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You want 225 to 250 for a brisket. Add more fuel.
  12. pinkmeat

    pinkmeat Smoking Fanatic

    Just a thought, but if you added 4-5 CHUNKS that were soaked, it could've smothered your fire a bit?

    Next time, try not soaking and just warming the chunks on top of the firebox for a half hour or so before you start while everything is coming up to temp. They'll be ready to go when you add them!

    Good luck man!
  13. ubernoober

    ubernoober Newbie

    is 138 about right for the meat temp (at the thickest part) after 3 1/2 hrs, or is it cooking to fast?
  14. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It needs to hit 140 internal in 4 hours or less..... or it may be unsafe to eat. Your not cooking too fast. The higher the internal the slower it seems to progress. You'll probably hit a stall point. That means the meat will stay at a certain temp.... maybe even drop a degree or two for a period of time.
  15. ubernoober

    ubernoober Newbie

    Ok, thanks for the help. Im sure ill chime in with another question or 2 later.

    Well i can do that now :p Should i flip it or just leave it with the fat side up?
  16. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't flip but some do.
  17. You probably started with too much lit charcoal. I have also had better luck it I put the lit charcoal on the smoker side of the firebox away from the air intake.
  18. ubernoober

    ubernoober Newbie

    Well it seems like everything is going good, im going to leave it in for 1 1/2 more hours... I decided to change the foil and the brisket nearly broke in half when i tried to pick it up. To bad i wasnt watching close enough and i kinda chared my ribs on one side, oops.

    Im at ~ 170 deg internal right now, from my reading thats about where i should be right?
  19. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds about right.
  20. ubernoober

    ubernoober Newbie

    hum its only at 175 right now, and i want to take it off in half an hour. I added cole and wood, hopefully i can bring the temp up. On the plus side its tender and juicy

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