Got me a smoker!

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The wife got me a smoker for my birthday, not sure of the model but it is a square propane/charcoal version with a temp gauge on the front.

Going to try my hand at something this weekend, probably a brisket or maybe pork chops.  I have done some smoking using my little Weber, this will be my first time using a dedicated smoker.


If anyone has any tips, tricks or suggestions let me know, also any resources you recommend.


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Nice!!!!! Get a good thermometer, dual probe type and an instant read. Don’t trust the built in thermometer. 

I use the dual probe to monitor meat temp, and smoker temp (one probe for each), and the instant read to test the meat in various places...especially a brisket. 

Get to smoking....and post pics! We are here if you have questions or need help. 

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Listen to the Texan.  Most of the dual probe thermometers also allow for remote monitoring, so you can keep an eye on the temperatures without having to hover over the smoker.  That is a very useful feature.

Some useful links are:

There are also some very good cookbooks out there.  I also recommend keeping a notebook with all of the details of things you smoke; prep, times, temperatures, how well everything turned out...  Also, don't forget to try making some less traditional things in the smoker...some of our favorites are smoked nuts, cheese (gotta do this with minimal heat on a cold day), baked potatoes, meatloaf (wrapped in a bacon weave), quesadillas...and don't forget appetizers like ABTs, moink balls, pig candy  (you can find the recipes online).

After I conditioned my smoker, the first thing I smoked was a whole bunch of assorted sausages.  That's a fairly foolproof starting point.   Chicken is also fairly simple, as are the pork chops you mentioned.    Ribs are pretty simple; I favor this recipe:  Best Ribs in the Universe  Brisket is more involved, and it's a loooong smoke, so with a wood or charcoal smoker it's best tackled once you've got down the basics of maintaining temperature in the smoker.  

You'll have a lot of fun with it, and your wife will consider it the smartest present she ever gave you.

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Now I’m going to spend your money (ask Zeke how much he likes when I spend HIS money, lol)....

I would recommend buying a vacuum bagger system. I use mine all the time with the smoker. I’ll put a few things on, and vac bag/freeze after they are done for easy meals during the week. Makes it handy for  stocking up on meat(and veggies)when they are on sale too. 

Pork tenderloins are easy for this, and a GREAT way to try out your smoker. I usually smoke 4 of them at a time, then vac bag and freeze them for quick meals during the week. I do the same with chickens too. I cut them in half after I smoke them, vac bag ‘em, and have a main course ready ahead of time.

Another easy one is a pork shoulder for pulled pork. Always a hit around my house. Brisket is much more involved, and, IMHO, requires more technique then most other meats. It’s a long smoke, as 10X correctly pointed out, amd required more attention to make it come out good.

Whatever meat I smoke, I dry rub, let the rub soak in overnight, and then hang it on the smoker. There are many different dry rubs commercially available, or make your own. I can post some of my favorite home rolled rubs if you desire.

Ask away if you have questions. There are quite a few bbqheads here that would be happy to help!!

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Some inspiration:

I get my cuts of meat from Restaurant Depot but YMMV.  I get my smoking wood from Walmart or Uncle Robby’s Smoking Wood in Elizabeth if your looking to experiment with smoke.

“M1A1” dry rub recipe below:

As stated previously, I've since refined with the addition of paprika. 
Also, one should consider this an overnight rub, particularly if it's going on the smoke. Unless your heat is going to get over about 220° F to carmelize the sugars, the bark (if there even is one) will be harsh. If you're doing it the same day, be sure and minimize the remaining dry rub before putting it to the heat.
M1A1 Dry Rub 
1/2 cup brown sugar packed 
3 tbs salt 
1 tbs chili powder 
1 tsp black pepper 
1 tsp cayenne 
1 tsp paprika 
1 tsp crushed thyme 
1 tsp onion powder 
1 tsp garlic powder 
The term 'dry rub' is somewhat misleading, as I primarily use this as a 'dry marinade'. 'Dry Marinade' is also somewhat misleading, as a marinade is a liquid. The point is that the proper use of a dry rub is to coat the meat entirely and let it sit refrigerated overnight in a bag, take the meat out to room temp the next day and then grill OR smoke. Since this recipe is relatively high in sugar content to what is commercially sold as 'dry rub'- salt- you should use it right.
If you are grilling, your grill should be well over 220° F. The term 'grill' intones that you are going to sear some By God Grill Marks on that murdermeat so get that prick up there white hot- that'll sear it proper and cook the rub in. If your grill is cold the rub won't cook and the flavors can remain bitter, and you'll cook every entire inch of that poor cow until everyone just laughs at you.
If you are smoking, your smoker temp should be between 200-220° F.
If you are using it as an overnight marinade, let it sit on the counter on a grill over a dish until the outside temp is ambient. If you are grilling candyass steaks less than an inch thick, you might want to scrape some of the syrup off at this point or, probably better, just sprinkle it on and gently rub then remove overage a couple few hours before grilling.
I rarely answer questions with a yes or no. 

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Did my first batch last night, I smoked some salmon, pork chops and ribs.

For a first try not bad.  The salmon was excellent, I barely got a taste before my kids devoured the rest of it.  Ribs came out good, just not "fall off the bone" tender, probably could have used more time in the smoker but I didn't want them to come out too dry.

The chops were good but a little over done, but definitely tasty.  I used 2 different rubs, my own home made dry rub and the M1A1 from WTF.

I definitely need to buy a dual thermometer, any recommendations on a brand?

I also think I may have been a tad hot on the smoker, with the burner turned all the way down it was hovering around 225 based on the built in gauge, I need to check the actual temp with another gauge.

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Did another smoke this weekend, bought a dual probe thermometer and what a difference it made.  I was able to run at a steady 217 deg F and did a pork roast that was out of this world.  Did another batch of ribs that were much better this time around. 

For the ribs I did the 3-2-1 foil method and they came out almost perfect, could have maybe used another 1/2 hour or perhaps kissed them off on the grill but other than that they were great. 


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