New to Smoking ... Learning curve with smoker

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by sparksals, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. We bought the Masterbuilt 3 Rack electric smoker from QVC a few weeks ago.  Our first endeavour was a pork Butt from Dadgum II and it turned out great - the one rubbed in mustard.  We have found quite the learning curve with the smoker in terms of time to cook, heating, temperature gauge etc.  

    Took it to a friend's party yesterday and put three racks of Chicken Wings on.  Used this recipe that I have also seen posted here:    Followed the recipe to a T.  They turned out FABULOUS and people said they were the best wings they ever had.   

    Here is where the learning curve comes in.  I checked the forums here and followed the advice to cook the wings at a higher temp.  I set the smoker to preheat to 300 which was around medium.  Heated up that hot no problem.  Took a bit of time, but got it up there.   When I preheated it, I had all three racks out to put the chicken on and put them in all at once to minimize the time the door was open after it heated up.  The temp went down to 100 very quickly, no doubt from the door being open.   This is where I am wondering if something is wrong with my Smoker thermostat b/c I couldn't get teh temp back up to 300 even on high.  I don't know if it is because all three racks were covered with the chicken.  I had to up it to high and even then it only got to about 200 to 225.  Yet, the chicken on the lowest rack cooked faster than the other two.  I took out the chicken that was already cooked and then cooked the rest on the two racks.  It just seemed the temp gauge was not in line with the actual temp in the smoker.  It was very hot in there, but the guage didn't indicate that.

    Is it normal for the temp to go down... WAY down when all three racks are covered?  I didn't use pans, I put the chicken directly on the racks.  It seems the interior was hotter than the temp gauge said b/c the chicken when it was done was nice and crisp and brown.  I want to make sure it is working correctly or if there is a problem with teh temp gauge.

    I did the sauce on the stove, drizzled it on the chicken and it adhered like a glaze.  VERY tasty.

    Also, I have seen posts that people have used drip pans from Sam's.  Where do you put them? The cleanup is pretty nasty for chicken wings!   I was thinking of putting one of the pan lids from Sam's on the very bottom to make cleanup easier.  Has anyone done that?  I can't figure out where to put the pan or what size to get that will otherwise fit i without taking up smoker rack real estate..

    Here are some pics of the wings.  I forgot to take a pic with the glaze on them.  Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  2. One other thing.. there was fluid coming out of the front legs.  I don't know if it was just condensation or something wrong?  Is that normal?
  3. Sparksals , hello and welcome to the SMF Famliy. Hope you enjoy your stay enough to call this home for all your Smoking needs. [​IMG]

    Your Wings looked great. The drop in temp. is normal, you are placing cool/cold Meat into the unit and on all racks. The meat mass helped cool it of , an unavoidable problem with Poultry.

    Beef or whole Muscle Meat can be set out and hour (however I don't , just because) to get room temp. and avoid such a drop in temp. 

    The beginning temp. was good(300*) and cooking temp. was good at 200*-225* . That may not have been your real time temp. using the 'Stock' therm. A back-up is always suggested ...a good one like a Thermoworks or Maverick , so you can depend on it -then calibrate it often also...

    As for the drip pan... I haven't purchased a MES as of yet, however , looking at the Q-view- it looks as if there is roon for a short sided pan at the very bottom under the element.

    Keep on practicing with your new toy using the Cheap cuts so you don't get frustrated and stop using it...after 3-4 more Chix, move to Pork Butt. The Butt is a forgiving piece of meat and great to learn "Patience" in smoking.

    You have a long fun and 'delicious' journey ahead , have fun with it and as always . . .
    bigtrain74 likes this.
  4. Oh, yes. Please stop in at our "RollCall" and get a proper Welcome.  Thanks,

  5. My friend Stan has ya sorted on the smoke.  Just a word of caution from the food police.  We want our members to practice food safety as no one wants family and friends getting ill.  Looking at your picts I see raw ( semi-cooked ) chicken above what looks like almost ready chicken.  So you have the one dripping on the other.  As a rule that is not a good thing.  Try rotating your shelves so that all the chicken cooks more evenly.  Looks like all came out great.  Keep Smokin!

  6. Thank so much for the welcome and advice, Stan!  

    We definitely need something for the drippage.  It is a pain to clean that bottom every time.  I don't mind the sides, and as I have read, it keeps the smoker seasoned, but the bottom and in summer months, I would think it would attract critters and stink.   Hubby happens to be away right now and it was my job to clean it.. normally it will be HIS to do that!! LOL   

    We did a pork butt the first time.. used a recipe from Dadgum II... seasoned and then slathered in mustard.  VERY tasty!  

    The chicken turned out fabulous.  It was very tasty and got lots of compliments, so pleased given it was an ambitious undertaking for the 2nd time using it!
  7. Hi Danny,

    Thanks for the tip.  I hear you on the chicken.  Actually, the lower 2 racks were seasoned with a hot rub and the top had little to no rub for those who have no taste whatsoever ;), so it looks like they were different cooked temps, but they really weren't.  All went on at the same time.  I had to switch the racks b/c the bottom cooked sooner than the top.  Put the non-seasoned on top originally b/c I didn't want the seasoned to drip on non-seasoned... again for those who have no taste!  :)  Definitely a very important warning!  

    I will take Stan's advice and get a thermostat for inside.  I was worried the low temp would not bode well for chicken especially.
  8. An Update of sorts: I am wondering if the built in temp gauge on my smoker doesn't work properly. Yesterday, I had two racks of chicken wings, had the temp set to medium and it never got about 225. Cranked it higher and then checked after two hours, they were crispy and brown. It is lucky I checked them when I did. They cooked MUCH faster than the first time, although I only had two racks instead of three this time.

    I definitely need to order that dual thermometer.

    Tomorrow Husband is doing his first smoke. Big pork butt, not for pulled, but for the roast. He has to learn to use it too and he was away the last two times I made the chicken wings and pulled pork.
  9. I have yet to find one temp gauge installed by the maker that is accurate enough to actually use.  Most folks with a smoker like yours use the Maverik digital thermometer.

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