OK, your smoke wasnt perfect, what now?

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
OTBS Member
I wanted to know about some not so good things that happened when you tried something new (or old) to smoke and for some reason it didnt come out right and what you did to make it better next time. Did you see something going on that wasnt quite right and how did you fix it for next time.

Maybe if I run into a problem I can go by someone elses experience (i.e. screwup)
and divert disaster :)

thanks !!

Lisa :)

P.S. I had been sick the last week and all I could think about was wanting to get back here and look things up!!
My biggest problems arise usually when trying new spice recipies. The meat cooking part in and of itself is pretty much the same every time (minus letting the fire go out or get way too hot... Even then, don't panic. It's about averages!!!). Once you have fire control down, it just comes down to letting the cooker do it's job. Also, I've learned not to try to forecast when it's gonna be done. That's been one of the biggest problems (Dinner is scheduled for 7:00 and the meat isn't done until midnight :) ). As I've read in another forum, this isn't rocket science, nor is it as exact as baking a cake. The basic idea, as I've been taught, is to render a very tough piece of meat edible by applying low *averaged over time* heat to it for a long period of time until the fibers and collagen break down and the meat becomes tender. If you start chasing temps by +/- 10 degrees, you're gonna drive yourself crazy.

OH, I forgot to tell you about my screwup(s)... Rib rub that had WAY too much cayanne!!! Inedible for humans, but my cockatoo's loved 'em. Cut the cayanne by almost half and it's my favorite rib/pork shoulder rub now.

My biggest screwup... dropping the finished product (chickens) on the ground. Between the imbedded grass and dirt, dinner was held at the local tap room that night...
Yep, well, then there's that!! Got one or two of them too :) Funniest one happened when I was a freshmen in college. My roomate and I took my fathers '70 chevy 3/4 ton pickup with a cab-over, slide in camper to a lake for spring break. Well on the front of this behemoth was a 3000 watt power generator that ran on gas and had about 1 gallon tank on it which lasted about 3 hours when ran full open. Well, I was cooking the steaks we had for that evening on the grill outside of the camper, but we were chillin' in the camper where the AC was going full blast when sputsptusput, the thing ran outta gas. Well, it was my turn to siphon a tank full for the generator out of the main tank of the pickup. So picture this driver side tank fill tube placed right behind the pickup door, but underneath the cab over portion of the camper. I take the gas can and the siphon hose, place the hose into the main tank and start sucking the hose to pull the gas. I get a mouth full of gas, raise up way too quickly, hit my head on the overhang of the camper and knock myself completely out. I wake up several minutes later, gas all over the place, and still coming, so I quickly place the hose in the tank to fill it. Meanwhile, I'm still extremely woozy from the concussion I had sustained. I finish filling up the tank, transfer it over to the genset and get it running again. I finally make my way over to the fire/grill still wet with gas and bleeding profusely from the top of my head. I grab the steaks, put them on the nearby plate and promtly catch my shirt on fire. I rip it of, knocking the steaks to the ground, get all of the flame stopped from my body. Pick up the steaks, put them back on the plate and take them to the water supply. Rinse them off and head back into the camper. My wonderful roomate takes one look at me bloody, dirty, smelling of gas and asks me "which one is mine?" I let him pick :) He digs in, starts crunching on some of the dirt I must have missed, and takes a better look at me. "WHAT THE HE** happened to you?, and why does my steak taste like dirt?" We are still life long friends :)

Sorry this was so long, but it is still the topic of conversation anytime we get together :)
First of all there is no such thing as too much chile, whether it be Cayenne or other ...

I read where birds can't detect heat from chiles, so is suggested for bird feeders to discourage squirrels ... how good is that?
The biggest screwup I've made was to forget to wash the waterpan once. I don't know what I was thinking I got a phone call and lost my consentration I guess, but I filled the smoker to the brim as always and noticed I hadn't scrubbed the waterpan yet or changed the foil. So I grabbed the waterpan with some tongs and went inside scrubbed the waterpan and added new foil. When I came out about 5 minutes later there was a HUGE fire in the smoker from the dripping gease from the shoulders and briskets! YIKES!

Luckily this was a Brinkman water smoker so I just lifted the food section off set it on the cement and put the cover on the charcoal pan. The bottom of by shoulders were toast! I don't eat the fat anyway so it wasn't a big deal but it sacred the bejesus outta me! I though I'd ruined about 35 lbs of meat!

Now I make a big ritual out of preping not only my meat but my smokers as well - top to bottom and I DON'T take phone calls until I'm done!

I tripped over a cat once and dropped a little turkey. The Darned thing rolled right off the tray - I washed it off and threw it back on the smoker.
My screw ups have always been when I decide to do things last minute and in a hurry. It NEVER comes out good.
Too dry. That's what mayo, diced onion, pickle relish, and what I feel like putting in the "stuff" into the processor is for. "Sammy spread"!
We were at a race and friends were in our RV making spaghetti for the crew and us. It was dark and we could see in just fine but they could not see out, because the light was over their heads. They dropped the spaghetti noodles in the RV. We all saw them look around, then drop down, pick up the noodles and carry on as though nothing had happened, and call us in for eats. Bits of stone, sand and gravel were in the food and we could not keep it in....we busted them so hard. RVsketty. We laughed for an hour over that one.
I don't know that I believe that. The first cockatoo that got her beak on the ribs ate for about 3 or 4 minutes, then we heard a CLUNK, where she had dropped it, and looked over and her head was in the water bowl :) A minute or two later, she had crawled down to the bottom of the cage and picked it up again to continue her feast. This repeated several more times. :)

Here is a picture of her ejoying her ribs :)
I'm thinking she was just thirsty ... I always have a beer when I'm eating ribs.
Seriously, I have laced bird seed with cayenne and it does not bother them ... however, perhaps cockatoos and Parrots are sensitive to heat, but then what is a meat eating bird that is not a raptor all about?
Rodger -

I damned near threw them both on the smoker but I was afraid the furr would fly!


Besides the cats are Jessie's! I'm a dog person!
Sounds like you almost had Chinese that day.. cats breed quick enough no one will miss just one
I could fill volumes with minor screw ups!

At about 10 or 11 on my first Boy Scout campout my mom had given me some styrofoam meat trays to use as dishes so I wouldn't have to wash so much after every meal. Well, Saturday morning is gonna start out with good old hardy bacon and eggs, I proudly presented my plate to the cook at the fire, who, with the skill of a great short order cook placed a couple of peices of bacon atop a couple of eggs on the grill and then scraped up the whole works and dropped it onto my plate. What nobody was expecting was for the whole works to melt right through the styrofoam and onto the ground!

A little trick to help with the clean up of your pots and pans when cooking over an open fire is to spread a thin film of liquid dish soap on the OUTSIDE of the pot. Yep, I have been on more than one campout where some young scout thought that "soaping the bottom of the pot" meant the inside!

Cooked a few game hens with the bag of inerds still inside. (who would have thought that they save that stuff from such a tiny bird)

Had one scout that wanted to heat a can of something by the fire, we told him that you need to use a can opener and puncture the top so that the can won't explode (turns out that you really need to almost completely open the can and leave the lid like a flap because you don't really want to try using a can opener on a hot can after heating) At any rate on this one occassion the scout used a P38 army can opener and cut a couple of holes as suggested, What we did not expect was the holes being so small that they clogged and the can popped anyways. (not real dramatic but wasted the food )

One of my near death expeirences was when I had a whole griddle full of about 3lbs of bacon. Because I was cooking using two logs to hold the griddle I had to slightly shim the griddle to be level to save the grease for the eggs to follow. Well the bacon was done and I went to scrape all of the bacon to one end of the griddle to make room for the eggs, but it didn't slide as easliy as it should have and I managed to slosh the grease into the fire while I was bent right over the whole works. I instantly knew what was about to happen! I turned and stood up as fast as the fire flared up! It must have looked pretty dramatic (I didn't see it because I closed my eyes) But other campers said that the flames were 30' high if not more and I was right in the middle of them) I was moving away from the fire pretty quick and was not injured but my eye lashes had singed and fused together so I had to rub my face to open my eyes. I wasn't too concerned because I wasn't hurt but eveybody that saw it said I was completly surrounded by fire and some even thought that I had spontainiously combusted! Don't worry, the bacon was fine.

Not too long ago I made some killer spare ribs and wanted to reheat them on the grill the next day. Yep. Flare up when I left them unattended to answer the phone and answer the call of nature. Errrr!!!! Thats what happens when you are in a rush!
Unfortunately Piggie these two sleep in the bed laying on top of Jessie they'd be missed! Truth be told I'd even miss them - a little ... Sometimes.
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