New UK smoker

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by uptonogood, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. uptonogood

    uptonogood Newbie

    Hey

    Im new to these forums and smoking meat.

    I have a fox hunter bullet smoker, very similar to the brinkman or "ecb" smokers. I fired it up for the first time yesterday and attempted to smoke a 3lb brisket. I used charcoal brickettes and hickory chips, however after 7 hours cooking it wasnt done so i finished it in the oven. Ill count it as a partial sucess as it was bloody delicious!

    I couldnt get the smoke above 180f although thermometer was a bit suspect (new digital one om way!). Im putting the lack of heat down to:

    1) insufficient fuel - i used the snake method to lay out the coals and lit up around 6 coals in a chimeny to get it going. Going to try a different method next time.

    2) i did drill holes im the tray to let ash out but at 1/4" may be too small

    3) although i used boiling water in the pan i filled it to 3/4 full which may have been too much?

    4) uk outdoor door temp is spring may be too low. Could i insulate the smoker?

    Any other suggestions?
     
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Welcome to SMF!

    When you can would you head over to roll call & introduce yourself, so we can all give you a proper SMF welcome.

    I'm going to move this to the charcoal smoker section.

    I think you will get your questions answered quicker there.

    Al
     
  3. Hi uptonogood. 

    I'm also new to this, though I've had my WSM for several months it doesn't get much/enough use. 

    You mention insufficient fuel but in my experiences it's often down to inefficient fuel, which brand are you using? 

    I've found it difficult to source a real quality fuel but think I've found one now. 

    I had a cook over the weekend and it took 14 hours so I think 7 hours is just fine, try longer :) 

    I use boiling water in the pan and it can add 30-60 minutes to the heat up time, less can be better to start with but you'll need to top it up later. 

    UK outdoor temperature should be ok, I've seen lots of photos from the US where people are cooking in the snow. 

    Tom
     
  4. uptonogood

    uptonogood Newbie

    How rude of me, I will head over and introduce myself right away!

    After some thinking and browing around online ive come the following conclusions:

    1) I need to seal the doors and points where sections join - so Ive ordered some BBQ Gasket material

    2) The foxhunter smoker only has a single damper in the top of the chamber, and not one in the bottom where the fuel is. Im guessing its relying on the fact that the door likes like a well worn whore to bring oxygen into combustion space. So what Im thinking is to seal the door and fit a damper into the bottom. But my question is this - where is the optimal point to fit the damper (Above, below or inline with the charcoal  tray?) and shoudl I fit one damper or two?
     
  5. uptonogood

    uptonogood Newbie

    Im using charcoal supplied with the webber chimeny starter I purchased so In respect may not be the best quality fuel source. What 'coals do you recommened in the uk?
     
  6. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Going point by point-

    1. The snake method will work just fine, i think that you used too few briquettes to start the snake. When using the snake I start with a half to three quarter chimney of fully lit charcoal. When I have used less I had the same trouble as you did in getting the pit up to the temp that I wanted.

    2. You are correct, try half inch holes and don't be shy about drilling as many as possible. Air flow is critical in starting and maintaining the fire.

    3. Ditch the water in cold air temps, best used in the summer when the air is warmer. When it is cold water absorbs too much of that heat that you need to use to cook the meat.

    4. Yes, this will help, but IMHO the first 3 points will do more for you.

    5. You absolutely need an air intake, it is crucial for the fire to have an adequate supply of oxygen.

    Good Luck[​IMG]
     
  7. The weber fuel, if that's the brand you have, is actually very good. 

    I've read that Big K is good but I've never tried it, you need restaurant grade. 

    My latest batch is from the london log co and seems to be very good. 

    http://thelondonlogcompany.blogspot.com/ 

    Obviously it depends on where you live. Move of the better brands can only be purchased in bulk as they are sold trade only but let me know if you find anything that works. 

    I'd be interested to hear if the gaskets make a difference, heard mixed reviews. Some say that the seals are lose to allow a little airflow and to reduce the heat. 

    I used my WSM as a grill for the first time over the weekend and immediately noticed the temperature difference by removing the water bowl. Keep it in for smoking IMO. It took 16lb of pork shoulder 7 hours to reach 65 degrees, it's a low and slow cook don't forget. 
     
  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

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