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Rookie with a Propane Smoker

crusader

Newbie
2
10
Joined Nov 13, 2010
My wife just bought me a Masterbuilt vertical gas smoker from Sears.  They assembled it and I am not sure I got all the pamphlets that came with it.  Chart in the back of the pamphlet lists amount of time, temperatures, and amount of wood chips needed to cook a given item.  One of the things on the chart says how much charcoal to add.  Example...for a 12 lb turkey it says 3 cups of wood chips and 8-10 lbs of charcoal.  I am a rookie at this so I am not understanding why I would use charcoal in the chip pan if it is a gas smoker.  I am cooking a turkey right now using only wood chips (hickory and apple) but they smoke out in about 10-15 minutes.  If I have smoke rooling the entire time this thing is cooking, I am going to need three bags of chips not three cups.  Should it smoke the entire time or just for a while and should I be packing some charcoal on the pan as well next time?
 

rdknb

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
3,877
50
Joined Jan 23, 2010
You want a thin blue smoke, you almost do not see it.  If you have the white smoke coming out you have too much.  If you are using gas then you do not need the charcoal.  Seems you may have the wrong instructions.  I suggest you sign up for the 5 day e-course
 

richoso1

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
8,433
39
Joined Jun 21, 2007
Hello, and welcome to the SMF. You might consider using chunks instead of chips, ,longer smoke and less loading. Some folks use a little charcoal to get the chunks started. I moved your thread to roll call so that others can welcome you. It's all good my friend.
 

mballi3011

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
14,478
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Joined Mar 12, 2009


First off Welcome Crusader to SMF. You'll like it here for there are alot of really good folks here that would just love to help you with just about anything to do with smoking. Now there are alot of proven recipes for some amazing things here too. So if you need sign up for the E-Course it's free and it will give you the basics of smoking and some good methods to use also. So the next big thing for you to do is go out and get you something to smoke and if you happen to have any questions just post it here and we will be happy to answer them for you.

Welcome To Your New Addiction            
 

crusader

Newbie
2
10
Joined Nov 13, 2010
Thanks for the advice from all three folks that replied.  I already had a 12 lb turkey smoking when I posted and it ended up being great.  I followed this website's advice and brined it overnight...man it was juicy and had a good smoke flavor.  I already had the turkey and it had a pop-up timer.  I was going to follow the manufacturers book and smoke it 6-7 hours and check it with a meat thermometer but my wife convinced me that if the timer poped up it should be fine.  It was done.  Took 5 hours and not the 6-7 descibed in the Masterbuilt manual.  Anyway, I am looking foreward to learning more about this stuff and get something else to smoke.  Thanks again for the tips and I believe I will look into that on-line e-class on smoking meats.
 

caveman

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
1,798
15
Joined Feb 5, 2010
Welcome to SMF Crusader.  You will find that sometimes, smoking by the seat of your pants beats any instruction manual out there.  Invest in some electronic thermometers to make your life easier & always go by the temp of your product and not the time.  It can never go wrong that way. 
 

raptor700

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
4,067
56
Joined May 20, 2010
Welcome to SMF, Congrats on your bird! You've got the right idea,go get something else to smoke,and post any questions you may have! Oh Yeah, don't forget the Qveiw!!
 

bmudd14474

Legendary Pitmaster
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Joined Jun 1, 2008
Welcome to SMF. Glad that your bird turned out good. The charcoal is to help keep the chips or chunks. I have tried it and I didnt see a big difference. I just use chunks and all is good. 
 

dinosmoker

Newbie
1
10
Joined Feb 5, 2011
I was wondering if you could help me - I am in the same boat with the Masterbuilt Propane smoker.  I was hoping to use it tomorrow to smoke some brisket for the superbowl (Go Steelers - we are from Pittsburgh :)) - but I am having problems finding anything on actually "how" to use it.  From this post, I am guessing that it would be better to get wood chunks instead of chips.  Also - an I am almost embarassed to ask - do you put the water and wood in that bowl that sits above the flame??  Also - it seems that you did not use charcoal...is that correct?  Thanks for any help!!
 

rbranstner

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,700
38
Joined Oct 18, 2007
I would suggest that you do not go by the pop out timers especially if you brine the bird. I did 9 birds for thanksgiving and they were all brined and only one of the nine actually popped out. My conclusion was that once they are submerged in water for a while they can't be trusted. Always go by temperature to make sure your meat is actually done don't go by time. Invest in a good thermometer as it will be your best friend.
 

SmokinAl

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
45,618
6,856
Joined Jun 22, 2009
Yes definitely check out the E-course, but you have the right idea. Just keep on smoking & with the experience & the help you get here you'll be a seasoned pitmaster in no time. Glad the bird turned out well, now you have to start posting photo's of your smokes (Qview).
 
Thanks for the advice from all three folks that replied.  I already had a 12 lb turkey smoking when I posted and it ended up being great.  I followed this website's advice and brined it overnight...man it was juicy and had a good smoke flavor.  I already had the turkey and it had a pop-up timer.  I was going to follow the manufacturers book and smoke it 6-7 hours and check it with a meat thermometer but my wife convinced me that if the timer poped up it should be fine.  It was done.  Took 5 hours and not the 6-7 descibed in the Masterbuilt manual.  Anyway, I am looking foreward to learning more about this stuff and get something else to smoke.  Thanks again for the tips and I believe I will look into that on-line e-class on smoking meats.
 

SmokinAl

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
45,618
6,856
Joined Jun 22, 2009
I'm not familiar with your smoker, but generally there is a chip pan right above the flame. Then if your smoker has one a water pan above that. If it doesn't have a water pan you can just use an aluminum pan, and yes chunks are better than chips. You do not need to use charcoal with a propane smoker, however some of the guys put a couple of pieces in with the chunks to keep them smoking better. Also if you would, go to the roll call section and introduce yourself & let us know a little about you.

Al
 
I was wondering if you could help me - I am in the same boat with the Masterbuilt Propane smoker.  I was hoping to use it tomorrow to smoke some brisket for the superbowl (Go Steelers - we are from Pittsburgh :)) - but I am having problems finding anything on actually "how" to use it.  From this post, I am guessing that it would be better to get wood chunks instead of chips.  Also - an I am almost embarassed to ask - do you put the water and wood in that bowl that sits above the flame??  Also - it seems that you did not use charcoal...is that correct?  Thanks for any help!!
 
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