Like a virgin! Smoking for the very first time!

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by ajthepoolman, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. ajthepoolman

    ajthepoolman Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    No, it has nothing to do with sexual experiences, but I am losing my virginity in a sense today!

    Many of you know that I have smoked with an electric Brinkmann Gourmet for many years. It has served me very well, and continues to do so. But 2 weeks ago my neighbor told me that her brother was selling his offset smoker and only wanted $100 for it.

    So I went and looked at it, expecting a cheap Wal-Mart brand. Instead, he and his nephew were hulking this smoker from the backyard to the front. I immediately recognized the smoker as a New Braunfels.

    I looked it over and other than a few paint chips, it is in excellent condition.

    So I bought it on the spot and had it at the house the next day. But, we were leaving for south Texas for vacation so I had to sadly roll it into the garage and let it sit for 2 weeks.

    But now I am back and have my first offset pulled pork candidate lathered up with horseradish and Jeff's famous rub. She went in at 7pm.

    I feel like a virgin because I quickly learned that two heaping chimney's of coals was WAAAYY too much heat. I had to let the thing burn wide open for 30 minutes just to get the temp under 300!

    So, I am re-learning to smoke meats! I thought I would start with a very forgiving cut which is why I went with pulled pork.

    I think I am getting the hang of it. But my temps are fluctuating wildly. I have the firebox damper open half way and the stack cover open half way. My temp dropped from 258 to 207. Can you guys offer this newbie some tips on maintaining a temp? As far as I can tell the smoker does not have any modifications.

    Thanks! I will let you know how it goes!
  2. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mods.... smoke outlet lowered to grill heights helps maintain temperatures, lid has a fairly tight seal and a make sure the coal basket has breathing room. Oh Yea, and congrats on an great perchase !!!
  3. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Where in the heck have you been AJ...good to see you.
    Congratulations on the new toy too!
  4. bbqgoddess

    bbqgoddess Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Congrats on the new toy! That is a great find!
    I am looking forward to your q-vue!
    Happy smokes!
  5. It's tough going from electric where your heat is regulated very well to an offset. Especially the new braunfels, or even worse, the char-broil silver smoker (what I use) which is a lower quality version of yours. When char-broil bought them they used the same design just cheaper parts. It sounds like you're already learning a lot. It's a labor of love and you can't take near as many breaks as you do with the electric. I basically expect to be adding some coals every 1/5-2 hours so I just get'em lit and have'em ready. I keep a smokey joe, a chimney starter, matches, and news paper next to my silver smoker. You can help yourself quite a bit by making some of the suggested mods that you'll find not only on this site but all over the internet. Extend the chimney down the cooking grate. Install a baffle at the opening from fire box into cooking chamber. I did both of these very cheap and easy. For chimney extension I bought a small role of aluminum flashing for $6, rolled it tight stuck it in bottom of chimney and let it go. It expands for a tight fit and you can pull it down right on top of cooking grate. My baffle I made out of an aluminum cookie sheet we had. Made a couple of cuts, bent 1" of one edge about 45 degrees to use for mounting. Doing stuff like that not only regulates even heat throughout the cooking chamber but seems to help keep temp spikes from being so sever. I've also heard of guys putting a pan of water under the opening into the cooking chamber. I guess they're trying to turn it into a water smoker. Some more severe mods are to look for "leaks" all over the thing and plug them with JB weld or something like that. That's too hardcore for me.
  6. ajthepoolman

    ajthepoolman Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I'm back up to 237 and have a chimney of coals burning in the grill ready for when the temp starts to drop back down.

    I put two large chunks of hickory in and have more than thin blue coming from the stack. But as the chunks burn off that will taper down.

    I noticed that there is quite a bit of smoke coming from the lid too. I saw that the stack is already close to the grill, so perhaps the former owner did do some mods.
  7. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    ALWAYS leave the exhaust vent all the way open when smoking, no exceptions. You should regulate the temps with the air intake.

    The Charbroil silver is a cheaper brand of offset, but I can tell ya, it can be mastered. I spent alot of time and a few bucks modifying mine, and I managed to get the temps to with in 10-12 degrees from one side to the other, and turn out some very good Q with it. It just takes patience, and a little homework. AJ, you will get a feel for it, and have it mastered in no time. Charcoal smoking is quite a bit more difficult than the gassers or electrics, but once you get it figured out, you will love the difference in taste, and the rewards of mastering the fire!

    Hang in there![​IMG]
  8. ajthepoolman

    ajthepoolman Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Thanks for the encouragment! I just put on a batch of coals and opened the stack all the way up. I also added a pan of water to help regulate the temps coming from the firebox.
  9. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    now your talkin! Get yourself a charcoal basket in the future, you can add lump to it unlit off to the side, and it will catch fire and work its way across to the other side and lengthen your burn time to 55- 90 minutes, sometimes even more.

    Lookin forward to the finished pics, and report![​IMG]
  10. ajthepoolman

    ajthepoolman Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Is that a custom built thing or can I pick one up at a store?
  11. bb53chevpro

    bb53chevpro Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Congrads on the smoker. I know nothing about this smoke. Heck, I don't even know what it looks like. Got some pics???
  12. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    AJ, its a custom thing, but they are very easy to make. Buy a 2x2 chunk of expanded metal, clip 5x5 inch squares out of each corner, then fold up the flaps, no need to weld. Should end up at 14 x 14 when you are done. If thats too bigh, then cut bigger sqaures out of the corners.

    Kinda looks like this in action.

    Thats how I run the lump too. Put a couple lbs in the basket and add lump from the chimney starter to one end. It will work its way to the other side. When it gets close to the other side, shake the basket, and try to shake leftover coals to one end and refill the other end, it will burn its way back.[​IMG]
  13. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    AJ welcome to the Dark <charcoal> Side! LOL!
  14. ajthepoolman

    ajthepoolman Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I snapped some pics and will get them up soon. I figured if I was gonna smoke all night long (and I did) I might as well make it well worth it.

    Dutch's baked beans and my Corn Dish Bliss, some SoFlaQuer finishing sauce and I was full!

    I was going to reply to threads yesterday, but I slept most of the day away trying to recover. Then we have friends over to share in the feast. My poor vegetarian friends must of been suffering! But the rest of my friends ate well. Then we drank pina coladas and Bud light til 2 am! What a weekend!
  15. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You boys in Kansas know how to party, I would fit right in !!!

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