Complete newbie! Sorry for all the stupid questions!

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by minnowmc, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. minnowmc

    minnowmc Newbie

    OK, so I won a Broil King charcoal vertical smoker.  Until that point I had zero interest in learning how to smoke.  Now, I feel it's something I need to master.  But no one I know has ever used one.

    I've put it together, and read up on everything and have to admit - I don't know where to start.  Zero clue, and I feel like I'm BEYOND over my head.

    I've got regular charcoal and some seasoned wood chips.  

    So I should fill the charcoal tray with the charcoal and light it and leave it burning with lots of flame? Do I use the grate?  

    What's the plate that fits over one of the trays with all the little holes in it for?

    Do I soak my wood chips in water first or just throw them on the charcoal or do I fill a water tray and put them in the water there?

    Do I need to use water?

    Can I do multiple meats at a time or ?

    Do I add everything at the same time if I'm doing vegetable and pork and beef?

    Can I be helped?  

    Am I just overthinking it all?
  2. hawks05

    hawks05 Newbie

    First i'd like to say I don't know much about your particular smoker.

    Its a learning process.

    You need to season the smoker first. 

    Wood chips you soak in water, small logs you don't. 

    I personally prefer to use Hardwood Lump Charcoal and then I will throw on small logs of either Mesquite, Hickory or Pecan.  One thing I never do is use lighter fluid to start my fires to me that is a taste you can never get rid of.

    I have cooked Pork Butt, Ribs and Brisket before in the same pit at the same time.

    As for the trays you talk about I know nothing about.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  3. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    I don't know how much that helps, but hopefully it's enough to get you started...good luck with it and just ask if you have more questions.  [​IMG]

  4. minnowmc

    minnowmc Newbie

    Thank you so much!  I did a "season" burn and that turned out not bad in regards to figuring out heat control.  I went to do some easy chicken wings today, and unbeknownst to me, my 6 year old, had put a container of charcoal litter fluid in the top drawer of the smoker - explosion.  So, after the fire extinguisher, pressure washer and secondary hose down - I'm doing a 're-burn' so to say.  Lesson learned - check all drawers and doors before lighting!

    I did try soaking my wood chunks - and they fell apart into wood sawdust so I don't think I'll do that again - though one person did suggest I try soaking them in bourbon or rye?  For flavour I assume

    Tomorrow I am attempting Pork Leg roast, have had it marinading for 2 days - fingers crossed it turns out well!
  5. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sorry to hear about the mishap with the lighter fluid...that could have been much worse! Thankfully no one was hurt! I never light charcoal with starter fluid. I light my coal with a chimney takes a little longer than lighter fluid, but there's never a petroleum taste in my food like you can get with using lighter fluid.

    I know there are some folks out there who do it, but it's my opinion and experience that soaking wood is a waste of time. First, hardwoods won't absorb more than a trace amount of water, even if you soak for extended periods of time. But more importantly, any water present in the wood will have to evaporate before combustion would begin producing smoke. Until that water evaporates, the only thing coming out of your smoker is steam.

    I've never tried soaking in whiskey, but IMO the same principle applies. I doubt you can get more than a trace of liquid (whiskey) into the wood...unless you soak for a very long time (days or even weeks). But, having not tried it myself, I couldn't say whether or not you might affect the flavor of the wood smoke.

    Good luck with that pork roast! Be sure to let us know how it turns out! Thumbs Up


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