<Humble request for temp. help...> Update: Results of first smoke are in!!!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by smokin scott, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. I have a 6 lb brisket on a charbroil barrel smoker. Every 5 minutes the needle does a plunge. Do I need to feed the fire box all day and if so, should I add more charcoal or more hickory or a mix of both?  

    Vents are open wide, no water or wet chips or anything...it gets up to about 250 and then heads south after a few minutes...I dont have a chimney... I am using  KF Matchlight charcoal and Target bought hickory chips...

    Any help would be really appreciated. Thanks
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
  2. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Ugh! Don't use match light..send someone to the store for regular charcoal and we'll get you more advice from there.
  3. Get some natural hardwood charcoal like Royal Oak. Match light has many chemicals in it you don't want in your food and it burns to quick. That could be the reason for the temp fluctuations.
  4. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    dump the match lite and use real coal, bottom vents closed if any and top open-search and use the minion method and use it with your smoker and things should improve. good luck
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
  5. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The reason I do not use match light is it has a lighter fluid type chemical in it to assist with the lighting. This fluid can cause an off flavor in the meat, almost a chemical taste. If that is all you have to work with, light them out side the smoker in an old pan or something. Then add them to the fire box.

    I am assuming that your smoker looks like this.


    A few tips to help:

    Exhaust fully open. Use the air intake to control the heat.

    If you do not have a charcoal basket. Place the charcoal on top of the grate in the firebox. This will raise the coals out of the ash and give a cleaner burn. You will want at least 8-10# of lit coals to work with. By adjusting your air intake it will control how fast and hot they burn.

    Every time you open either the cook chamber or the fire box you give a blast of oxygen and will cause the temp to change.
  6. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Charbroil (barrel) smoker I'm thinking he is referring to an ECB type smoker?
  7. Thanks so much for the advice everyone!!!

    JJ Chef: that's the culprit.

    Here is my update:

    11:00 am: read all the feedback and make an emergency run to Wal-Mart.

    11:10 am: Leave Wal-Mart with 10 lb bag of Royal Oak Lump Charcoal and a Chimney starter

    11:20 am: Throw out remaining Match Light and light Royal Oak in Chimney

    11:30 am: Dump chimney in fire-box using a 'Minion-esque' method (thanks desertlites)

    Smoker has been humming at 240 - 260 ever since (re-upped on Royal Oak only once so far after I added Chicken thighs)

    Now I'll just maintain, wait...wait some more...and then see!

    Thanks again to all of you who responded!!!!
  8. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds great. Glad to see it is coming along.

    We all love to drool over what others have made. If your able to don't forget the Q View!!
  9. Hello Smokin Scott.  Looks like the guys got you heading in the right direction.  jarjarchef knows his stuff. That's why they pay him the BIG money [​IMG]   When you add in desetlites and the other's tips, well it's just a down hill slide from there.  Good luck and don't forget the Qview.  Keep Smokin!

  10. Wow, what a really long and exciting day. In the end, I would say my first attempt at smoking went very well. If this was like my first at bat in the big leagues, I'd call it a double into the gap.

    With a house full of hungry people, I only had the chance to snap one pic, but here it is:


    The bark was so tasty and the point (sliced off on the right) was truly melt-in-your mouth wonderful. I had 12 guests, and so I diced up the burnt end into 12 little pieces and gave every one a morsel (I should have stuck with plan B- hide it for later so I could it eat all by myself). The brisket was moist and tender and had a great smoke flavor/rub flavor mix. I especially loved the smoke ring (I did that!).

    My only beef with the brisket was that the middle of the flat was not pull-apart tender. Considering how the day started, though, this was a small issue. 

    The chicken thighs were also a huge hit. Sorry no pics, I had 12 hungry mouths to feed. Several people commented that the difference between smoked pulled chicken and crock pot pulled chicken was tremendous.

    So, in review, I feel very proud of what 'we' were able to accomplish. I learned that smoking is A LOT of work and that it is worth it (it seemed to genuinely make people happy).

    I need to focus now on a more detailed approach to temp. control and when to add wood chips. I was very heavy handed with the Hickory today, but it seemed to work out.

    Thanks again for all of the great advice- I can't believe I started by using Match Light- what a noob I was!
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
  11. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group


    You are a Brave Man! Taking on 12 critics for your first smoke, I'm happy it all was Good and everybody was happy! It just gets better from here!
    Hey we were all "noobs" at one time and before you know it this will all be old hat to you! You are well on your way, just keep reading and asking questions here, this place will teach you everything you want to know!
  12. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great job!  You hung in there and worked it out!  Cheers!!!

  13. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You made 12 hunger people very happy, sounds more like the winning run to me.

    Congrats on your first smoke, you are hooked now.
  14. Nice looking brisket Scott, love that smoke ring, you definately came to the right spot.
  15. Great job Scott.  If the chips ran you ragged you might try chunks next time.  They will last longer.  Keep Smokin!

  16. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great job!!!

    It will get easier with practice. By the sounds of it you will have no shortage of tasters...
  17. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good looking brisket!

  18. Great job, Scott!

    Definitely get a chimney starter, and I would recommend a Weber. The cheaper ones are just that: cheap! I've accidentally left my Weber chimney starter out in the rain on several occasions, and it's still in very good condition. I would have gone through several of the cheaper ones by now. (I know this from experience.)

    As for "...smoking is A LOT of work...", like jarjarchef stated, it really does get easier as you go along.

    Not sure how you're monitoring your temps, but you might want to get a good remote unit. You can keep an eye on your pit and food while watching the game in air conditioning! But again, beware of the cheaper units. I bought a Maverick ET-732, and am very happy with it. Just wish that it came with the longer probes that you can buy separately. I've been toying with the idea of buying a BBQ Guru (sounds like it would be really great to have for overnight smokes), but they're not cheap!

    Let us know how Smoke #2 goes!

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