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Newbie Question about smokers

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by cseymour, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. cseymour

    cseymour Fire Starter

    Hi All,
    I know this has probably been answered somewhere, but as I have learned, sometimes all you have to do is ask :) !!!

    Am looking for opinions on 2 smokers I am looking at purchasing (I can only get one, for now [​IMG] )

    I saw the Char-grill with a side firebox that was reasonably inexpensive and seemed to have loyal followers and the Great Outdoors Smokey Mountain (just as a side propane or charcoal/wood, anyone fond of one or the other?)

    I know this is all a matter of personal preference and open for endless debate, but I was curious as to the thoughts of others far more "in the know" than I.

    Looking forward to this great new hobby (have used my Weber kettle grill 'til it nearly fell apart -- then my wife surprised me with a new gas grill, so I have grilling experience but now smoking)

    Thanks again.

    Cheers.

    Chris
     
  2. buzzard

    buzzard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    first off the egg came first, it was a mutation of what ever layed it to make the chicken.

    i am a firm believer in doing things the old fashioned way, so i used a charbroil for a while and have just upgraded to the same style but thicker metal and a little bigger unit.

    i do like the idea of an electric or propane unit and will probably get one for jerkey, cheese, and fish. but i am not sure i would do much else with it. it is nice to control the amout of smoke your foods get, so you can build your pallet so to speak.

    just like gofish i really enjoy sitting and tending to my fire as long as it is needed. it makes me feel more "one" with my food. i know that is stupid but it does, it makes it more enjoyable for me both while cooking it and eating it.

    I get to sit back read a book, play with my dog, maybe mow the lawn, aaaaaa im just kidding i just enjoy drinking for 12 hours! :lol: :lol:

    if you want to work and have the time get the charcoal (i think you will enjoy it more), if you want ease get the gas.
     
  3. cseymour

    cseymour Fire Starter

    Hi Randy and buzzard,
    Thanks for the replies. It does help to get some perspectives.

    Randy, have you done many mods to the Char-griller?

    Just curious.

    Thanks again.

    Chris
     
  4. cseymour

    cseymour Fire Starter

    Thanks guys,
    I did add additional length to ,y stack down to the grates.

    I have a quick question about seasoning the grill (hopefully tomorrow).

    When you season the grill, do you build the fire in the main chamber (I have the SFB attached)?

    I saw the posts about rubbing the grill and grates with vegetable oil, but I am not quite sure where I should build the fire in the SFB or in the main chamber.

    Thanks.

    Chris
     
  5. ultramag

    ultramag SMF Events Planning Committee

    Chris, build your fire in the firebox just as you would if you were going to cook. After your curing time, throw on a couple fatties. No need to do all that work and not eat. Good Luck!
     
  6. msmith

    msmith Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Chris when I first seasoned both of my smokers I rubbed down the cooking chambers with crisco and used the pam cooking spray all over the insides and grates. When i fired them up to start seasoning just for kicks I peeled some onions and set on the grates they seasoned up just fine.
     
  7. cseymour

    cseymour Fire Starter

    Hi all,
    Got my smpker seasoned but do nor have enough time left to smoke anything :( .

    Did notice a couple of things, the chamber seemed to be pretty hot ~300 deg F. Is that normal? Also the hardwood chunks seemed to burn real hot, should I soak them first?

    Sure I will have some more as I remeber.

    Thanks again.

    Chris
     
  8. ultramag

    ultramag SMF Events Planning Committee

    Chris, many factors will come in play to determine your chamber temperature. IMO, the main three will be, ambient temp, the outdoor conditions (wind, rain, ice, snow and such) and the size of the fire you build in your pit. The last one is the only one you can control obviously. The more smokes you get under your belt the more you will know what you need to do to control your temps.

    Almost forgot, your intake damper gives you a measure of control as well. Your exhaust damper should remain fully open for the most part so you have a good flow through the chamber so the smoke doesn't get stale or allow creosote build up.

    Hope this helps somewhat!
     
  9. cseymour

    cseymour Fire Starter

    Thanks Chad,
    I will definitely need to play with some of those.

    One real silly question:
    When you guys talk about fatties, are you talking about the fatties, what size package would you typically use?

    I went to store tonight and noticed there were different sizes.

    Thanks.

    Chris
     
  10. ultramag

    ultramag SMF Events Planning Committee

    Any size is fine, but most guys are typically referring to the 1 lb. chubs of sausage most of the time. No one mentions them much anymore, but you can make skinnies as well. Those are the little breakfast links.
     
  11. buzzard

    buzzard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    skinnies dont sound as sexy as fatties. but i do make them all the time. the cook faster and i get to eat more!!!!!!!! and eating more is good. i look pregnant now!!!! but food is good
     
  12. chris_harper

    chris_harper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i did a package of skinnies last week. they turned out like the little smokies you can buy already smoked. i thought they would be like a fatty, just smaller- a fatty's mini-me.
     
  13. smokyokie

    smokyokie Smoking Fanatic

    :lol: :lol: I just thought, If I did some skinnies, I would be a "fattie eating skinnies". I think that's a good enough reason to do some.

    Buzz, tell us more about your new smoker. Is it a full blown stick burner, or are you still using the carbon fuel too.

    Chris, you'll not be sorry that you went for the chargriller, you've got alot of versatility there. For the $ it's probably the best starter out there.

    Stick around and keep us posted on you experiences.

    Tim
     
  14. cseymour

    cseymour Fire Starter

    Hi Tim,
    Thanks. I actually did a little test yesterday with 3 fatties. They came out great. Wife and kids were pleasantly surprised.

    The forums have been fun and I am impressed with how helpful and friendly everyone is.

    The Maverick thermometer was a huge help. When I was seasoning, I had left a probe on the grates, I think that is why I had gotten such high numbers.

    Maverick comes with a clip for the smoker probe. Stayed between 215 and 240 pretty consistently.

    I have found smoking is like ice skating, you can read as many books as you want, but until you hit the ice, you are not an ice skater :)

    And then it's practice, practice, practice.

    Thanks again.

    Chris
     
  15. smokyokie

    smokyokie Smoking Fanatic

    How do you do skinnies? I'm assuming you're talking about smoking breakfast sausage links. Do you wrap them in bacon, or just smoke them?
    Tim
     
  16. buzzard

    buzzard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    i just throw mine on in the smoker. it might not be a bad idea to throw some bacon over them. i think i will try it next time on half to see which one i like better. i was thinking of throwing some bacon over my smoked tofu, but have yet to do it.
     
  17. buzzard

    buzzard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    and dickidoobbq i forgot to answer your queston, i am sorry.

    actually mine has become a full blown stick burner, it seems to really work the best. i will start with some charcoal just to help get the base down and just keep adding wood. i went to lowe's and got a fireplace grate and put my logs on it and let the coals fall to the bottom. to maintain heat. i think my next smoke i will remove the grate and see about doing like the rest of the world and just do it on the bottom of the box.

    i did goto Northern and get some fire bricks which i think has helped quite a bit to maintain temp. it was cheep too, 6 bricks for 12 bucks.

    its cold here this weekend but i still think i am going to test it in cold weather and smoke something anyway. i have found i like using oak quite a bit for the heat and longgevity of the buring process. it seems to take a lot of work out of putting a log on every so often :lol:
     
  18. smokyokie

    smokyokie Smoking Fanatic

    :? Tofu? :?

    I didn't think tofu was allowed on the smoking meat forums. :lol: :lol: :lol:

    On the serious side, what do you do w/ the bricks?

    I like mesquite for the same reasons that you like oak. Denser, more resinous wood= more heat and longer burn.

    I'm w/ you too, I know other types of smokers make good food, but I don't think anything but a stickburner can do what a stickburner can.

    Tim
     
  19. buzzard

    buzzard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    mmm mmm mmm good old fasioned smoked tofu, you have my mouth watering. i remember growing up.

    the fire bricks just get lined along the bottom of your fire box and they hold heat in and keep the cold away. they use them in kilns and fireplaces. i am going to line the sides of mine with them too for a little extra warmth, i just havent done it yet as one box of 6 lined my whole bottom. i have been to lazy to go back to Northern to get more.
     
  20. smokyokie

    smokyokie Smoking Fanatic

    My firebox is round on the bottom...come to think of it it's round all the way around. so I don't think I could use the bricks. That's too bad, because they would probably greatly increase the longevity of the metal. My smoker moves enough air that temp isn't really a problem.

    :? :? Tofu :?: :? :?