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Old 01-19-2008, 01:59 PM  
Buehler445 Buehler445 is offline
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HELP! I have a smoker and don't know how to use it!

OK. Here's the deal. I got a smoker for Christmas. But the deal is that I have no idea how to use it. I know there are some excellent smokers on the Planet, so here is my plea for help.

Description of smoker here

Basically, I know nothing about smoking meats. I'm looking for advice from you guys as basically a beginners guide to smoking. I know the recipe supercenter is out there, but as far as how to smoke something, I have no clue.

As far as what kinds of meat to use, how long to cook it for, what to season it with, what kind of wood chips to use, and what to do to keep it from drying out. As well as any tips for me to get started.

Any recipes that would be good for beginners would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance for all your help.

(I already know that antifreeze makes an excellent marinade)
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Old 01-21-2008, 12:48 PM   #61
Stewie Stewie is offline
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Yeah, that's not a Weber he's using. The WSM was the first smoker I ever bought and still use it alot. The WSM has three vents on the bottom and one in the lid. Using lump charcoal and wood for smoke you can get the smoker to way over 300, no problem.

As tooge suggested don't use starter fluid. Invest in a charcoal chimney. They're only about $10 and easy to use.

Hey tooge, have you signed up for the Great American BBQ contest yet?
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:05 PM   #62
Fire Me Boy! Fire Me Boy! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewie
Yeah, that's not a Weber he's using. The WSM was the first smoker I ever bought and still use it alot. The WSM has three vents on the bottom and one in the lid. Using lump charcoal and wood for smoke you can get the smoker to way over 300, no problem.

As tooge suggested don't use starter fluid. Invest in a charcoal chimney. They're only about $10 and easy to use.

Hey tooge, have you signed up for the Great American BBQ contest yet?
My experience with the $10 chimney starters from Wal-Mart and $13 chimney starter from Weber says the extra $3 is completely and totally worth the money.

Those el-cheapos from Wal-Mart suck ass. It amazing that something with the same basic structural design on something so simple can have a major difference in how it performs.

If you're smoking a lot, buy two. They'll come in handy.
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:09 PM   #63
Stewie Stewie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Me Boy!
My experience with the $10 chimney starters from Wal-Mart and $13 chimney starter from Weber says the extra $3 is completely and totally worth the money.

Those el-cheapos from Wal-Mart suck ass. It amazing that something with the same basic structural design on something so simple can have a major difference in how it performs.

If you're smoking a lot, buy two. They'll come in handy.
I didn't even know Walmart sold chimney starters, but then I've never looked. Yeah, go to ACE and get the real deal.
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:11 PM   #64
tooge tooge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewie
Yeah, that's not a Weber he's using. The WSM was the first smoker I ever bought and still use it alot. The WSM has three vents on the bottom and one in the lid. Using lump charcoal and wood for smoke you can get the smoker to way over 300, no problem.

As tooge suggested don't use starter fluid. Invest in a charcoal chimney. They're only about $10 and easy to use.

Hey tooge, have you signed up for the Great American BBQ contest yet?
Yeah, I believe so. One of my teamates always signs us up. We should be in the same spot as last year. We will bring more tarps though as it seems to rain its ass off every year at that one. Are you going to it?
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:18 PM   #65
Stewie Stewie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tooge
Yeah, I believe so. One of my teamates always signs us up. We should be in the same spot as last year. We will bring more tarps though as it seems to rain its ass off every year at that one. Are you going to it?
Planning on going. It may not be our whole team, but should be a good time. Do you guys just do the basic four entries, or do you do the sides, OK Joe's brisket, etc.?
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:26 PM   #66
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We do the four basics, the OK joes brisket, and One of our guys does a beans dish and I usually try a potato side dish. Last year I tried a potato dish which is diced up taters with skin on, mayo, garlic, onions. grated cheddar, and cilantro with a little lime juice. sort of a spruced up tater salad. People at parties and tailgates etc are always asking for it, but it absolutely tanked at the competition. What gives? Oh well, back to the drawing board I guess with the tater entry.
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:28 PM   #67
Fire Me Boy! Fire Me Boy! is offline
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I want to do a competition... think it'd be a lot of fun.

HEY PHIL! We gonna get something going to represent?
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:32 PM   #68
RJ RJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomahawk kid
Instant light.

Stacking it in pyramid style like you would a grill. Lighting it up - letting it burn off.


That's likely the reason you're getting the "fuel taste" you mentioned earlier. As others have mentioned, buy a $10 chimney starter and get rid of the instant light or any starter fluid. That should solve that problem.
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:36 PM   #69
Stewie Stewie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Me Boy!
I want to do a competition... think it'd be a lot of fun.

HEY PHIL! We gonna get something going to represent?
You should do it. It's basically a big party with a BBQ contest as an excuse. I told Phil he should compete since I've heard his Q is very good. BTW, it's a party, but a hell of a lot of work, too.
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:57 PM   #70
tomahawk kid tomahawk kid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ
That's likely the reason you're getting the "fuel taste" you mentioned earlier. As others have mentioned, buy a $10 chimney starter and get rid of the instant light or any starter fluid. That should solve that problem.
Thanks.

The chimney will effectively start the charcoal without any fluid?
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:05 PM   #71
Stewie Stewie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomahawk kid
Thanks.

The chimney will effectively start the charcoal without any fluid?
No fuel needed. It starts the coals really quick using newspaper. Another bit of information that may help. Use lump charcoal. I use Ozark Oak in my Weber, but if you shop at Price Chopper buy their brand of lump. It's made by Royal Oak. Briquettes have too much ash and don't burn as hot. Just a couple of ideas.
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:14 PM   #72
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I didn't discover lump charcoal until I'd graduated to my current rig. But for a cheap vertical smoker, that is a GREAT recommendation. Hotter burning and less ash to impede oxygen flow to boot.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:01 PM   #73
tomahawk kid tomahawk kid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewie
No fuel needed. It starts the coals really quick using newspaper. Another bit of information that may help. Use lump charcoal. I use Ozark Oak in my Weber, but if you shop at Price Chopper buy their brand of lump. It's made by Royal Oak. Briquettes have too much ash and don't burn as hot. Just a couple of ideas.
Will do.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:10 PM   #74
tooge tooge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewie
You should do it. It's basically a big party with a BBQ contest as an excuse. I told Phil he should compete since I've heard his Q is very good. BTW, it's a party, but a hell of a lot of work, too.
We have always had a huge party at all the comps we do. It is a ton of work though. Last year we did Paola and didn't tell anyone at all. It was probably the most fun of any of them just becasue it was so much easier. If I were gonna do it all again, I would suggest only telling your close friends and a few bbq pals (ya know, like me for instance). Then build the party size up from there if you want. It is kinda hard Qing for 70 people in the wind and rain when you have competition meat to get ready and cook. Plus you (well, me) are usually somewhat impaired the entire time. Having said all that, I will let you all know where we are at the Great American as it gets closer to Memorial Day.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:20 PM   #75
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Good thread! I always learn something from these smoker threads from you guys. I have a question please.
I have a offset firebox smoker, it was new last spring. I remember reading on here about breaking them in and getting it seasoned.

What do you guys do about cleaning them? I used it so much last year, it has a very thick "crust" of black stuff covering the entire inner surface of the lid and sides. Should I clean that stuff off? What are your smoker cleaning regimens?
Thanks.
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