Few questions before smoking my first butt

Discussion in 'Pork' started by bigwalk, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. bigwalk

    bigwalk Fire Starter

    Smoking my first butt in the morning and had a few questions. First, I just got some hickory chunks and fired up the smoker to play with the smoke. I only put three pieces in and let them sit for a while. I never got any smoke at all coming from the smoker. Picking the wood up, it was charring and smoking a little. How many pieces do I need in my pan? Load it down or just three or four? Also, could I sprinkle a few chips in with it to get just a little more smoke? Second, I have a Brinkman vertical gas smoker. I have heard that the factory thermometers are unreliable so I put my meat probe on the rack and let it sit a while tonight. At the lowest setting, it was reading 267. Is that too hot? Is using the meat probe a reliable source for the smoker's temp? What could I do to cool it off? The door was reading about 180 or so. I know this is a lot of questions, but I really do not want to mess up two butts tomorrow. Thanks!
     
  2. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    First, how big of ckunks are they? 3-4 golfball size should be enough for a good amount of smoke.How long did you give it to start smoking? If you can smell smoke,your smoking. Yes you can use a combinationof botl chips and chunks,do it all the time to mix flavors.Second i would never trust a factory thermo,but do not just lay it on a grate.You could use a small block of untreated wood and drill a hole threw it and run your probe threw it so about 2 inches stick threw.Or you can do the same thing with a potatoe,then put it on your grate.Last i don't know about your smoker but i would think you should have some type of regulation to your gas to slow the flow??If not maybe try your valve on the gas tank.Hope this helps some.I'm sure more people will be along that have your type of smoker to help ya.
     
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Les had you going the right direction. What you are looking for is Thin Blue Smoke (TBS) it should be a light blueish color or no smoke and just the smell of the wood. If you can smell it so can the meat. Don't let the temperature probe touch the grate try inserting it through a potato just make sure you get enough though it so you get a proper reading. Place the potato on the grate and that should give you a good reading.  Good luck with your smoke and don't forget the Qview
     
  4. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    If you can smell it and not see it thats a good thing. Wisps of smoke is what you want. Get yourself a chef therm for now, avaliable in the grocery store. Run it under cold tap water and set to 78* and you will be very close. I smoke between 225*-250* myself.
     
  5. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I haven't seen any of your other posts yet, so I'll begin by welcoming you to SMF. Let me inject my thoughts in bold into your quote so we can both follow this easier.

     
    One last note: you never want to regulate the gas flow with the tank valve. The valves have either brass or nylon packing washers, and brass valve stems and valve seats. The packing washer will get forced tightly against the vale stem and valve housing simultaneously when opened fully to prevent gas leakage, and this will only seat tightly when the valve is either fully opened. The valve stem will only seat tightly when the valve is fully closed. There's no inbetween with these valves if they are to be used safey. If gas flow regulating is not handled properly by the regulator and control valve, then there could be a defect in either one of the two, or possibly foreign matter (debris/dirt) could have gotten inside the gas regulator and this can cause the regulator valve to not fully seat, which in turn can cause excessive pressure being fed to the burner control valve.

    So, let us know if there are still high temp issues with the smoker, and we'll talk about what to do about compensating for it...I'm sure there are a few tricks we can come up with for you on that...like baffling with aluminum foil...I'm thinking a foil fence hung from the grate going around the meat, but under it, just above the water pan to redirect most of the heat upwards along the chamber walls instead of it circulating inwards as much once it passes around the water pan...another one not quite as low reaching could be attached to the upper grate if two meats were being smoked...there's more than one way to skin a cat...[​IMG]...we'll figure it out brother, no worries.

    Eric

    EDIT: started this reply quite awhile ago and didn't see most of the other's replies before I started...getting slow, and/or long winded...LOL!
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2011
  6. bigwalk

    bigwalk Fire Starter

    Thanks for all the input guys. That is a big help. I am warming the smoker now, the butts are about to go in. I will try and post a follow up tonight!
     
  7. pussiwillow

    pussiwillow Newbie

    i just made my first pulled pork tonight in the same smoker you have. smoked a 3.18 pound picnic roast for 5.5 hours. i found if the temps get too high and you cant lower it, make sure water is in the pan, and since it isnt insulated well put a small desk fan blowing on it. cools it down pretty good. good luck and have fun hope it turns out great!
     
  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What he said X2

     
     
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Eric, You da man!
     
  10. mattyboombat

    mattyboombat Newbie

    I also just got the Brinkmann Vertical gas smoker recently and have had great success but I have notice that just using the control on the grill set to the lowest setting will make the smoker run way too hot and it's been really cold out when I've used it.  I have been closing down the valve on the gas tank to regulate the temperature more accurately. Am I about to kill myself using this technique?? An suggestions on modifying the smoker to get lower temps using a safer method?
     

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