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Smoker Tips
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    This discussion was created from comments split from: How are you making your thanksgiving turkey? Here is mine..
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    azscoob said:

    Try injecting the bird with "creole butter" you can find it at your local grocer, I love that stuff for injecting poultry, not spicy, just flavorful.

    I love my offset smoker, it was a bit of a learning curve over my old vertical bullet smoker, but I love the results now that I know what I'm doing on it!



    i assume 'offset smoker' is similar to the one i just picked up.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    i really liked the results i got today doing some simple breasts and dogs.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    i had way too much charcoal in there for such a small amount of meat, but i was able to shift coals around and adjust the flue and damper to get exactly what i wanted
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    I have a horizontal smoker, with a separate 'offset' fire box on one end. Is this what you have?
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    Sounds like it. Here is mine
    smoker.jpg
    1920 x 2560 - 1M
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Yup, looks similar to mine, I did some of the common mods to mine to improve performance, I lowered the exhaust stack to cooking grate level, shielded the cooking chamber from the firebox with a shield, and added distribution plates to the bottom for more even heating, now it cooks like a dream!
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    that was my 'curing' test run
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    azscoob said:

    Yup, looks similar to mine, I did some of the common mods to mine to improve performance, I lowered the exhaust stack to cooking grate level, shielded the cooking chamber from the firebox with a shield, and added distribution plates to the bottom for more even heating, now it cooks like a dream!



    can you post pictures of your mods?

    also, why would you want the exhaust stack lower?
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    the first mod i plan to do is reinforce the little wire shelf under the grill. it's too flimsy to be useful.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    I will snap a few pics soon, the hot smoke is what cooks the meat and adds flavor, most offset smokers have the exhaust port right near the top, so the smoke and heat roll out of the firebox, along the top of the lid and out of the smoker without really getting good smoke flavor or more importantly heat to the food, by lowering the port to grate level, the smoke must build and fill the cooking chamber thus surrounding the food before it can exit through the lowered port. This gets you better flavor, and more even cooking, and is a real simple mod.
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    My exhaust port is made from a stainless pipe leftover from an exhaust build, I trimmed it to fit flush with the grate inside, been working great for like nine years or so.
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    azscoob said:

    I will snap a few pics soon, the hot smoke is what cooks the meat and adds flavor, most offset smokers have the exhaust port right near the top, so the smoke and heat roll out of the firebox, along the top of the lid and out of the smoker without really getting good smoke flavor or more importantly heat to the food, by lowering the port to grate level, the smoke must build and fill the cooking chamber thus surrounding the food before it can exit through the lowered port. This gets you better flavor, and more even cooking, and is a real simple mod.



    well, that makes sense, except that in my test run, the chicken cooked to doneness very fast and some of the first pieces were over-smoked, so im wondering if that would be an improvement or if it will make it harder to control. closing the stack damper pretty much filled that barrel with thick smoke and shot the internal temp up to 400 without adding any fuel.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    azscoob said:

    My exhaust port is made from a stainless pipe leftover from an exhaust build, I trimmed it to fit flush with the grate inside, been working great for like nine years or so.



    did you just insert it into the existing stack from underneath?
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    oh, and my firebox has two level of grates in it. one down at the bottom, and a second set at the mid point. i pulled the upper grates out and just put the charcoal and wood on the lower grate. I dont really understand what the upper grates are for.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Lakewood said:

    azscoob said:

    My exhaust port is made from a stainless pipe leftover from an exhaust build, I trimmed it to fit flush with the grate inside, been working great for like nine years or so.



    did you just insert it into the existing stack from underneath?


    Yup
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Lakewood said:

    oh, and my firebox has two level of grates in it. one down at the bottom, and a second set at the mid point. i pulled the upper grates out and just put the charcoal and wood on the lower grate. I dont really understand what the upper grates are for.



    I use the fire box as a small grill quite often, that's what the second grate is for, my smoker also came with a few charcoal grates so I could use the main cooking chamber as a standard grill as well if I wanted.
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Here is an action shot of the firebox used as a small grill.
    2012-02-129518.06.38.jpg
    1280 x 960 - 140K
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    azscoob said:

    Lakewood said:

    oh, and my firebox has two level of grates in it. one down at the bottom, and a second set at the mid point. i pulled the upper grates out and just put the charcoal and wood on the lower grate. I dont really understand what the upper grates are for.



    I use the fire box as a small grill quite often, that's what the second grate is for, my smoker also came with a few charcoal grates so I could use the main cooking chamber as a standard grill as well if I wanted.


    the upper grates are kinda tough to get into the firebox on mine. doubt i'd want to stick my hand in there after the coals are going. but maybe.

    yeah, the main chamber has a long charcoal grate in it. I plan on putting a few pounds of charcoal in there, as well as keeping the firebox humming. I figure with the coals up top i can get a little direct heat if i want to crisp things up a bit.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    azscoob said:

    Here is an action shot of the firebox used as a small grill.



    didn't show. gotta wait for it to upload
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    azscoob said:

    Here is an action shot of the firebox used as a small grill.



    does your firebox have a pull out drawer for ash removal?
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    I was told never to close the exhaust damper, leave it wide open and control the temp with only the air inlet and fire size, by closing the exhaust damper you can get creosote in the meat making it bitter and foul.
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Lakewood said:

    azscoob said:

    Here is an action shot of the firebox used as a small grill.



    does your firebox have a pull out drawer for ash removal?


    No, mine is a scoop it out when done setup.
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    azscoob said:

    I was told never to close the exhaust damper, leave it wide open and control the temp with only the air inlet and fire size, by closing the exhaust damper you can get creosote in the meat making it bitter and foul.



    yeah, it think that's a risk if you choke the fire. i just shut it about half way and it seemed like the temperature went up a good bit.

    but i was just reading a few other places that suggest the same thing you are saying.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    azscoob said:

    Lakewood said:

    azscoob said:

    Here is an action shot of the firebox used as a small grill.



    does your firebox have a pull out drawer for ash removal?


    No, mine is a scoop it out when done setup.


    same with mine. i'm not sure if the tray thing is a gimmick or if it would really be helpful
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    i'll look around the house for some piping that i could use to lower the exhaust.

    mines mounted a little below the 3/4 point, so it's not like it's sticking straight out of the top
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny