New to Smoking Meat Forums

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by moresmokejta, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. Hi All:  I am new to SMF and have never created a thread.   I have been smoking meat for a long time but I am still learning.  I have read a lot of comments in forums and have learned a lot in the past few months.  But I have wanted to ask questions concerning my own smoking and "Queing".  

    I do my work on a couple of Big Green Eggs which work quite well.  However, I have not perfected the product as of yet.  I have real difficulty getting spare ribs to have that nice soft texture when finished.  I have been using the 3-2-1 method and getting pretty good results but a lot of ribs come out tough.  I don't know if I am not cooking them long enough or too long.

    This is the type of stuff I would like to explore with you all out there.

    Also, I would like some comments on the best ways to get the Green Eggs fired up.  Recently I read in a forum about a method, which I assume is not new, of starting the charcoal by dumping a half chimney of coals on top.  Seems to work real well.  In the past I did the opposite with putting the coals on the bottom and pouring more charcoal on top.  This resulted in taking hours to get down to cooking temp.

    I have been messing with que for 20 years or more but still can learn more.  I live in Indiana now but in the past we have lived in Michigan and Georgia.

    I also would like some tips on how to navigate around the site. For instance I am not sure how to sign up for different forums.

    So all the help I can get would be apprecited.

    Hope to hear from some of you.

  2. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    Welcome to the site.  A "couple" of BGE's amounts to a pretty good arsenal, I would think.  I don't have a Big Green Egg but I do have a pale imitation;  The Char Griller Akorn and one thing that you mentioned,  (Having to wait hours for the temps to come DOWN) got my attention.

    My Akorn is not as efficient as your egg in creating heat from a small bed of coals but there is no way that I would light half a chimney of coals to start my fire in the Akorn. It would be asking for a difficult fire to control.

    I put briquettes in my cooker and then hollow out a cavity in the center, (Leave a briquette at the bottom of the cavity on the grate), set a large cotton ball on top of that briquette,  (Presoak the cotton ball in alcohol.  I keep a jar filled with cotton balls in alcohol in my smoking tool box).  Carefully pile a few briquettes above the cotton ball but leave space for air to get to the cotton ball.  Light the cotton ball and close up you egg.  Keep a sharp eye on your thermometer and start shutting down your vent as the temp in the smoking chamber gets up around 150*.

    Close the vent in small increments.  The idea is to slow the rise in chamber temps till you get close to your target smoking temp.

    If I let the fire grow at will in the Akorn it will take a long time to cool down to a working temp.  Adjusting your vent and draft  if needed as the chamber heats up, is key to controlling temp spikes.

    Hope this isn't too confusing and helps out a little.

    Enjoy your stay.
  3. Thanks for your reply One Eyed Jack.  I appreciate your suggestion on starting up an Egg.  As you say these ceramic smokers are so efficient that it doesn't take a lot of fuel to keep them going for a long time.  It is just difficult to imagine that a handful of briquettes and some smoker wood can keep going for at least 6 hours.  Good Stuff.
  4. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome from SC. It's good to have you on this great site. As you can see from the reply that you received from One eyed Jack, there are good folks here that are always eager to share their ideas and tips. All you have to do is ask and keep on reading.

    Good luck and keep on smokin', Joe
  5. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    Here is a picture of a briquette "snake" that I use frequently in my Akorn.  This amount of briquettes will generate very controllable temp's up to at least 275* and will provide that temp for at leas 5 hours.  (I usually stop the heat rise around 240* and cook at that temp).  When done cooking I shut all drafts and vent, the fire dies, and I have charcoal left un-burnt for the next smoke.

    I am not familiar with your egg's fire grate / area, and so don't know if you can use this exact method or not.  I added the picture primarily to show how little charcoal is really needed.  From what I have read of the BGE's, they are even more efficient than my Akorn so this should give you some perspective.

    You can also, more or less, see the cotton ball fire starter set up that I use.  It does take a while for the heat to come up using this method but it is very easy to control as the heat rises.

  6. Thanks for the picture.  I had read on other posts about the "Snake" set up and was just about to ask the forum about it.

    I will be doing some smoking tomorrow so i plan to approximate the layout you show in my BGE and see how it goes.  Cooking some ribs and a pork butt all at once.  Should be interesting keeping the timing right.

    Will let you know how it works.
  7. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    I'll be hoping for a successful experiment for you.

    Looking forward to seeing and hearing how it goes.  Best luck to you.
  8. Well the smoking cook went quite well.  I didn't copy the One eyed Jack process completely but I did glean some great advise.

    First of all I got ready with the fire layed the night before. Then I found I didn't have any alcohol that I was willing to burn!!!  And I didn't have any cotton balls either.  So what was I to do?  The cooking had to go on or there were going to be some disapointed folks for dinner the next day.  So I adapted from my previous process of using a chimney but on a real small basis.  I put down about 25 briquettes in the "snake" form ending on one side with an opening.  Sorry I didn't think to take a picture - next time.  The BGE fire grid is pretty close to that in the picture.  Then I put 6 briquettes in the chimney and set it in the middle of the "snake".   Lit it off and in about 10 minutes is was burning well.  I dumped this in the middle of the "snake", pushed the coals over to the end of the "snake", added some apple wood spaced as shown in the picture.  I let it burn and watched the temperature rise in the BGE smoker.  When it reached around 250 I started closing down the draft.  Now comes the amazing part.  I was able to stabilize that fire right at 250 in about 30 minutes.  I waited until I was sure, about another 30 minutes and then added the plate setter and grill and I was off to smoking.  I ran at a steady 240-250 for 6 hours.  Amazing!!  I always used to start a big fire that got so hot that if took 2 to 3 hours to get it cooled down.  Thanks for the advise.

    Oh by the way at 6 hours I opened up to add ribs to the butt I had smoking.  I added a few more briquettes (10 or so) at that point and went on for another 6 hours to end.  The butt came off at the 10 hour mark with the aid of foil wrapping.  The ribs ran to the end with 3-2-1.  All good stuff..

    I may try the cotton ball and alcohal at some time if i can come up with some alcohol that I am willing to burn??!!?!?.  But I was impressed with what I came up with based on the help from One eyed Jack. The secret is two fold;  first don't build too big of a fire, second follow the fire up as it grows and cut off the draft to stop it from getting too hot.  Don't do as I used to and build a big fire and let it rise to 500 degrees or more and try to cool it down.  Great advise.  I plan to do this again next week.

    Have a great day.
  9. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Welcome.  Hey dont forget the pics or QVIEW!!  Its a critical part of this site.
  10. Will do! I will get pics the next time I fire up the BGE.  
  11. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    :welcome1: have fun and . . .
  12. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    It's great to hear that you have a method figured out after just one try. I don't see any reason to try my cotton ball method as what you did seams to have worked just fine.  As long as you didn't have any trouble with the heat running away from you,  you're good to go.


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