Newbie with a new smoker

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jul 20, 2007
Hi all....
I just picked up a smoker at a garage sale and have a few questions???
I am going to do a whole chicken and one slab of ribs. I have done a lot of reading and have the chicken in a brine and tried to remove what I thought was the membrane on the ribs. I found out it had already been removed and i was tugging at the very thin layer that is underneath

My smoker is a charcoal type with a base for the charcoal, a rack about 1/2 way up (which I thought was to hold the ceramic water pan) and a rack on top. After reading about placing the chicken on the bottom.
I am confused. Where do I put the water pan?
How should I stack my food? I was thinking I would stand the bird up and place the ribs next to it?

Help a newbie out please....

Thanks, Kevin
Hi Kevin -

SOunds like you have a Bullet water smoker. Maybe even an ECB.

Mine has three tiny clips that the water pan hangs on just below the lowest rack just like the ones the racks sit on. I they aren' there you could put it on the same clips as the lowest rack. Not knowing for sure what smoker you have it's hard to say exactly.

Don't for get to rince the bird after the brine!
I think Debi is on the right track, you probably have a bullet type that has a water pan directly below a rack. Anyway, welcome to the SMF and just go for it with what you've got. You'll work out the kinks as time goes by. Good Luck.
Kev, you need to tell us what kind of smoker you have. Brinkmann, Weber, ???

If it is a Brinkmann ECB go here for some good info, follow the thing all the way through - (put your courser on "ECB" to get the definition) -

In ECB smokers your fire pan goes in first, it's on the bottom, sits on top of the three legs. Then the water pan goes in next, sits above the fire pan, rests on 3 tabs inside the smoker body. The lower rack lays directly on top of the water pan and the upper rack sits on another set of 3 tabs near the top inside the smoker body.
The "thermometer" in the lid is generally worthless. You need a remote meat thermometer with a probe. Cook to temp, not time.
Use lump charcoal, not briquettes. Briquettes contain coal dust, clay, and other things, lump is pure charcoal.
Line the water pan with heavy duty aluminum foil to simplify cleanup.
Spray the racks with Grilling Pam.
Use chunks of smoking wood, 2-3, don't bother soaking it. Chips work but burn up fast.
Get your fire going, then put the water pan in place and fill it to 1" from the top. Be careful, if you spill it will kill your fire! Use a watering can, steal your wife's she uses for her flowers. Put the lower rack on top of the water pan and then put your meat on the rack. Put the top rack in place and put meat on it. Put the thermometer probe in a selected piece of meat and turn it on. Put the lid in place. Go find "something cool to drink" and a shady place to sit while you watch the smoker for a bit. An ECB is pretty foolproof and easy to use. And it will surprise you with what it can do.
If you don't have an ECB, other "bullet" type smokers are similar.
Now smoke something and let us know how you do. Post some pics!
It is a Brinkman.
I kinda thought the thermometer was a little cheap.
I will let you know.....
Only thing I have right now is briquettes and large hickory wood
Kevin, I have an ECB and it turns out some very tasty meat. As a novice, you're in the right place by coming on here with your questions. I don't know how many cows, pigs and chickens gave their lives so I could practice smoking their flesh through trial and error. *lol*

The 3-2-1 Rib Method (linked in the left column) is THE best method for cooking ribs. I destroyed I don't know how many racks trying to figure out timing, etc, but the 3-2-1 is foolproof and my ribs were perfect the first time I smoked them that way.
I was planing on the 3-2-1 but the meat started to pull back at 1:45 min
I am at 220 degrees. I have only one rack on the upper and a whole chicken on the lower.
I wrapped the ribs in tinfoil at two hours. I think the chicken will be done soon fig 3 hrs total or so...
Does this sound right?
Kevin -

It' not like baking a cake - it's very flexible! Don't worry as long as they're tender enough to eat and not burnt or underdone your good! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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