New Smoker

Junior Burger
2003/10/12 01:10:04
Quick overview.

New to the Forum
New to Smoking but not new to Grilling
Been working on my own Rub through Trial/Error and research
Picked up alot of good tips on here, especially from Stogie..

The past two weekends I've done a couple racks of Baby Backs with this rub I've concocted. First weekend everything went smooth and Ribs turned out wonderful! I was Thrilled...Friends raved. Second weekend Ribs were too sticky and not nearly as tender (possibly got too hot).
I've been using my char. Grill and shoving my coals to one side and putting my drip pan at the other end. Had a deep fryer Thermometer stuck under the lid to keep track of temp. Resulting in a big pain in the ass trying to keep the temp regulated.

So I picked up a little smoker from a friend and will try it tomorrow....

Anyway...I most likely be asking several questions here and there. So I apologize if some of mine have already been covered at some time. I try to look for answers before asking.'s my first question:
Wood some Hickory Chips and I've heard several different things to do with them.....

Soak Em
Don't Soak Em
Throw em on the Coals
Wrap them in foil and poke holes in it

SO.....WHAT DO I DO? What's the best way to use the chips?????


RE: New Smoker 2003/10/12 02:14:02
Well josh you left out a lot of things one may need to answer your questions. but I will try to give some help. depending on the type of smoker you have. If it is a pit style smoker that looks kinda like a barrel laying on its side with an offset heat box it is going to be an entirly different experience then if you have an electric smoker or an upright style smoker with the water pan and all that. either way consistant heat is a major key to success 185-225 works best for me . The best way to moniter your temp is by using a pit thermomater like the one on this link.

but anyway to get started the first rule of BBqing is make sure you use the hot coals from wood or charcoal. it is very importent to make sure that the wood or coal is just coals because if it has not burned to coals the food youa are bbqing will have a very strong funky flavor, though you want the food to taste smokey it may tast more like a hit off a wood chip ciggarette. even if you use perfect coals you may still get too smokey of a flavor if you dont mop during the long slow cooking proccess. mopping is the proccess of coating the meat with a mixture if various liquids and spices throughout the cooking time, generally applied about every 45 minutes to and hour. myself I cheat using a 32 OZ spray bottle fullof water and one tbs spoon of each of the next salt, suger, garlic powder and onion powder. The mop or in my case spray creates a barrier that keeps the meat from drying out and also stoppes some of the smoke from penetrating the meat too bad. and last but totally not lest tomatoes, suger and salt are all the enamy during the long cooking time of smokey or bbqing because salt and tomoatoes extract the juices out of the meat of the cooking time and suger burns so save those for when the food is almost done or even beingplated. tomato based sauses with suger or molasses should be applied about 20 minutes before the meat is removed from the pit and the meat should always set uncut for atleast 10 minutes before being cut. because when the meat first comes off the grill the juices are very hot and in most cases boiling inside and when you cut it the juices run out and you have a juicey plate and dry meat. oh yeah and if you feel the need for wood chips or chunks during the bbqing proccess I say soakem they produce more smoke longer that way. Here is a link I use when I get stuck or in a slump. also I have a BBQing group on yahoo if you would like to join.
I hope this helps

PS sorry about the spelling I am holding my 3 year old and he wants to type too.
Fire Safety Admin
RE: New Smoker 2003/10/12 07:13:36
Now for a different side of the story...

Low and slow it is, about 225 - 250 at the grill/meat level. I use a Polder probe t'meter stuck thru a potato and placed next to the meat to keep track of the cooking temp.

I keep a bucket of hickory chunks, not chips, in water and put 3 or 4 of these on top of my well lit charcoal. The charcoal should be ashy brown all over. I will add more lit charcoal after about 2 hours, I watch as the temp starts to drop at the grill and go from there. I will also usually add 2 more chunks of hickory.

I use a Weber style grill with the charcoal off to both sides, the meat in the middle and a drip pan underneath. I cook ribs for 4 - 6 hours and pork shoulder/butts for 10 - 14. The same for beef brisket. The ribs usually get 2 servings of hickory chunks and shoulder or brisket get 3 or 4.

I have never used a mop or a spray, don't find the need to.

Sugar will burn, at about 265. I have never heard or read where tomatoes will extract the juice from the meat, thats OK because I don't use any. For the ribs I do sauce them the last 10 minutes or so but I keep a good eye on them.

I do use salt in a rub on all my meats, don't know of a problem from that.

For shoulder I leave the skin on and pull it off when done. It usually winds up in a pot of beans, along with the bones and scraps. Great beans! For brisket I buy one with the fat cap still on and cook it that side up.

Feel free to ask!

Junior Burger
RE: New Smoker 2003/10/12 13:35:11
The smoker I'm currently using...(in fact, right at this moment) is one of those little brinkmann smokers...about 3 or 4 feet high...upright with the water pan....

I'm soon gonna build my own smoker as this little is just way to small for what I wanna do...and I can't drop alot into a big fancy smoker....Plus, it would be more fulfilling to use one I built myself.

Anyway....I'm concentrating on baby backs right all tips will be read with much enthusiasm.....