New to smoking, new to the thread. First smoke FAIL!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by narcolepticpug, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. narcolepticpug

    narcolepticpug Fire Starter

    Well I bought a CHEAP smoker online. A bolt together 18g "smoker". Now I have no dilusions that this smoker will be easy to work with or produce the best quality cook. But it is my little expirment to see if I want to drop a couple thousand on a good smoker. So here is my story.
    MONDAY: smoker arrived in the mail. I put it together. Installed an after market temp gauge on it. Seasoned it for 2 hrs while inspecting it and practicing adjusting temp and adding wood. I decided the fore box had to many leaks to acuratly adjust temp.
    TUESDAY: welded up all bolt flanges and fixed the damper so it didn't leak.
    Next I decided to cook some bacon wrapped chicken. I got the fire box going. Thin blue flame. Holding steady at 250. Threw on the chicken in the middle of the grill. One hour latter I rotated and moved around the checken, also adding another small piece of wood to hold temp. 40 minutes after that I check the internal temp. It read 125f. So I cooked it another 30 minutes. It only went up 10 degrees. Moved the chicken closer to the fire box for 30 minutes, and bumped the heat up to 300 And it went up to 155. 15 minutes after that it was done. But it tasted like biting into charcoal. I was very disappointed.

    Today I will make a plate in the grill box to disperse the heat more evenly, and use three oven thermometers across the grill to check for acuracy of my outside therm and to dial in the plate to disperse heat. Does anyone else have any tips or suggestions to add.

    By the way I used misqite charcoal and some year old aged oak I had left over from winter.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
  2. smokinal

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

    Welcome to SMF!

    Glad to have you with us!

    There are many mods for smokers, but we would need to know what smoker you have.

  3. narcolepticpug

    narcolepticpug Fire Starter

    Sorry for the lack of info.
    Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker, Standard
  4. narcolepticpug

    narcolepticpug Fire Starter

    Sorry for the lack of information.

    What could be some of the causes for the taste??
  5. For myself, mesquite can be too strong of a smoke flavor for chicken.

    Another idea...

    Did you put the chicken in before you were seeing thin blue smoke out of the smoker? If the smoke was white or grayish, there's a large amount of creosote that can collect in the top, possibly dripping onto the meat and can cause the bitter flavor to permeate the meat.
  6. narcolepticpug

    narcolepticpug Fire Starter

    I waited tell the smoke was blue before throwing the chicken in. I did not however wait long enough when I added more wood. That might have been a contributing factor. I didn't taste much in the way of bitterness. Although it was a very strong smoke taste. Maybe I should try different wood.
  7. The amount of smoke flavor someone enjoys is unique to each individual. Each person's palate varies and experimentation is the best way to find what you like and enjoy the most. 
  8. bbqwillie

    bbqwillie Smoking Fanatic

    As was stated mesquite imparts a very strong flavor into the meat. Stick to unflavored charcoal and use a little pecan for your next chicken. Remember patience is a virtue in BBQ. It's ready when it's ready, you can't rush it.
  9. narcolepticpug

    narcolepticpug Fire Starter

    Well I figured out a couple issues. I made a plate in the cooking box to distribute the heat evenly. That got the cooking area within 60 degrees from stack side to fire box side. Also I checked with a oven thermometer to make sure the external thermometer was right. That was off by 100 degrees in the positive. Did a run of chicken last night, and it was much much better!! It was still pretty dry. So I guess I'll have to try throwing a water pan in there. So far so good. I keep reading as much as I can and keep learning more and more
  10. narcolepticpug

    narcolepticpug Fire Starter

    Also I used regular charcoal bickets. Still using oak because I have a LOT to burn, but I'm going to pick up some apple wood today to try
  11. I started with a cheap Brinkmann. The temp gauge was off about 100 degrees. Gave me fits in the beginning. I highly recommend brining any chicken you smoke. Or it ends up dry.
  12. paul6

    paul6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I agree with Brineing the chicken jeff has a simple cold beer brine recipe.Also try a charcoal basket they are expensive online but there is a you tube video on how to make your own I used diamond cut mesh that was made to go on the bottom of a screen door. Try the minion method works great for maintaining temps and as already stated above have patience and learn your smokers quirks.
  13. garyhibbert

    garyhibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I agree--brining chicken is a must unless you like it very dry.


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