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I'm back, new birthday smoker

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#1 Mike R.

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 09:54 PM

Howdy folks. Haven't been here forever, you all probably don't even remember me. I was involved in the big photography discussions way back.

Anyways, I turn 40 on Saturday. Wifey asked me to move the big bag of chicken feed into the shed and I knew something was up. She's a resourceful lady and would never ask me to move a half used 40 lb. bag of chicken feed for her. I walked into the shed and there sat a smoker she bought me for me B-day!

It's nothing special, just the old cheap Brinkmann vertical charcoal smoker, but I've been wanting one after reading a bunch on how to mod it to work better. The cheapo one is much easier on our pocketbooks.

So, tomorrow I'll be seasoning it up getting ready for something to smoke on Saturday. Instead of taking me out to dinner, I get to cook! This will give me 2 days to do a dry run if I need it to figure out how to hold at 225°.

She has a whole chicken roaster in the freezer. I was going to start with that, figured it would be simple enough. I plan to just season it up with sage, thyme, and rosemary, Wifey's typical seasonings she uses on the Thanksgiving turkey.

Sunday, she has a picnic planned out at the local state park. We typically do a BYOF when we get the family all together out at the park, but I think I will be waking up early to try my hand at my first ribs to take along.

I'm already penciled in by Wifey to do the Thanksgiving turkey come November. She doesn't even know how it's going to work out for me yet, LOL. Been reading a lot here and there about smoking, so I've got a lot of book knowledge, just no practical knowledge yet. Got 6 new chicks a few months ago and 2 of them we think are roosters, so I've got at least 2 future birds to practice with smoke probably come fall before Thanksgiving time.

Look forward to spend some time here again. Not to worry, I still have the same old camera and can get the smoker porn going that you all love.

#2 richlife


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Posted 26 April 2012 - 08:14 PM

Well, you do show up now and then, Mike. :) Have fun customizing and learning to use that smoker. Have the bears decided to leave you alone? (And you thought you were forgotten!)

Keep us informed and maybe we can toss you a tip or two now and then.


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#3 cuskit


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Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:49 AM

Welcome back Mike! Long time no see.. Miss your photography expertise!

Hoping to see some of that skill posted here with the new smoker. You are going to love it! I can smell those ribs already! :)

The other mike
"Grill der Steaks, Smoke dem Ribs and post yer Porn"
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#4 Mike R.

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 01:25 PM

Ha ha about the bears. I forgot I asked about that not long ago. I guess you guys do remember me, LOL.

Smoker been chugging along for about an hour now with a whole chicken in it for my first smoke. Also wrapped up a few potatoes (don't know if I would want the smoke on them) and left them in the box. Plan on twice baked potatoes for those guys.

Royal Oak lump charcoal, found a site online comparing the lump charcoal and this is what I chose (Wifey works at Lowes, but after looking at the site, I didn't want the Cowboy charcoal that Lowes sells.)

Haven't sealed the doors, but Wifey also bought a metal kitchen collander for the charcoal. It seems to be choking off after about an hour. I forgot about the vegetable grill woks that I've since read folks are using. That would have much bigger holes to shake the ash down out of and get air to. Bottom vents wide open.

Using Hickory chunks. Wow, they burn up fast. I thought they would just sit and smolder a long time. They are burning up in minutes it seems.

I wanted to cook the chicken at 250-275, but I can't hold it there. It was sitting nice at 275 exactly for about 45 minutes, but it dwindled down to about 230 right now.

Difference between an oven thermometer inside and the gage on the outside is just about 75. I've been reading the difference is generally 50 from the door gauge to a thermometer at the racks.

One more thing is, the water in the pan goes fast. I didn't expect it to go that fast (about an hour.) It's tough to refill it when there's food in there and a fire underneath it.

Couple more hours and we'll see how she did. I'll post back.

#5 Mike R.

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 04:56 AM

And here I sit at 5:30 in the morning. What the heck am I doing up on a weekend at 5:30 in the morning?!?!

Have a small get together with the fam at the park at noon. Now I have 2 racks of ribs going in the smoker, hayooo!

Chicken last night was fantastic. I had no idea how long to cook chicken. I can find times for everything but chicken. I figured it would be about 3-4 hours, but have no idea about cooking chicken at all, let alone cooking it on a smoker. After the dry run holding out at 250-270, I couldn't keep the chicken there. It held around 225. Put it on at 1 pm and we usually eat at 5. Figured, it's the weekend, no one working or have homework or have anything else to do, if we eat later, we can eat later. By 6:00, the kids were ready to tear into anything in the fridge to eat. Chicken was at 140. Had some potatoes as I said sitting in the smoker after I scooped and mashed them up for twice baked which could have used some grill time, so I fired up the outside burners, laid a sheet of foil in the middle and put everything on the grill for a bit. Everything crisped up beautifully, the skin, the cheese on the potatoes, the skin of the potatoes unfortunately a good bit too much.

I'm not a huge fan of chicken. In fact, I don't like chicken much at all. Thus, I wouldn't say it was out of this world yummy, but it was quite good. I went with the philosophy of you can always add more smoke next time but you can't take away smoke now if it's too much, so I had smoke going for about half the time in the smoker. It definitely wasn't enough and could have used a good bit more. Some pieces of chicken had a bit of smoke flavor and some didn't. Well, I know next time (if there is a next time with chicken, as I said, I'm not a huge fan of chicken.)

Now, my mouth is watering already for ribs. This is why I wanted a smoker, for pork. Grabbed spare ribs from Sam's and cut them St. Louis style (first time cutting.) Had to cut them in half to fit as well as I stuck the chunk on the end (brisket I've read in the cutting instructions around the internet?) on the racks also. Could fit 2 racks with the brisket chunk on the 2 grates. That will be plenty, the ribs are a side dish today so everyone can have a try. Third rack I tossed in the freezer for a meal later for myself and my oldest daughter who recently found out loves ribs.

Tried to do a shoulder not long ago before the smoker in a regular roaster. Had it thickly coated up with rub and found out we aren't a big fan of a lot of rub. It really overpowered the flavor of the pork. Thus, I dusted the ribs pretty well, but didn't coat them like I see in so many videos, pictures, and TV BBQ shows. The BBQ sauce we normally make is a fam. recipe from my mother-in-law, so I know that will be a hit.

Can't wait til lunchtime!

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