Newbie smoker help needed

Discussion in 'Pork' started by boomhower, May 7, 2012.

  1. boomhower

    boomhower Fire Starter

    Hello all.  Boomhower here.

      New to smoking.  Just finished a 100 gallon reverse flow build (I'll start a build thread with lots of pics when I get a chance.) and I have my little girls bithday party I have to cook for this weekend. (about 50-60 people)  I seasoned the pit this weekend, but I will not have a chance to do a test cook for this weekend. I got some questions.

    First,  I had some trouble keeping the temps regulated during the seasoning firing. Which do you use to regulate heat with, the firebox inlet, or the chimney outlet?  Or both?  Some general direction here please.

    Second,  what size in general do you split the wood to?  Leave as large logs, or split it down fairly small to get a more complete combustion?

    Third, I am cooking pulled pork for this party.  I would like to use apple or hickory wood, but I do not have any of either currently.  What I do have is very well seasoned oak, or fairly green (cut in January/February) silver maple.  Which would you recommend for the pork shoulders? I'm leaning towards the maple.

    Thanks

    boom
     
  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  3. newflame

    newflame Meat Mopper

    Hey, welcome to SMF!
    On mine, I find that the firebox vent gives you more temperature control because that's where the air is meeting the wood to generate heat, but the answer is different for each smoker, were your temps too low?  Too high?  or just all over the place?  I find that I have to set mine up depending on the wind so that's something to take into consideration, if your temps are too low maybe you need to turn the firebox in the direction the wind is coming from to get more air.  As far as the chimney outlets go I've found that I can use them to "fine tune" the temps, but the bulk of the temperature control on mine is done at the firebox.
    How big is your firebox?  I generally split mine or pick out the split logs at the beginning of a smoke, and once the fire gets going I'll take some of the bigger pieces and put them in to keep a constant fuel source.  What I do is lay down a layer of charcoal on the bottom, put some split pieces on top of that, and then some smaller stuff on top of that...then I use a charcoal starter (full) to light briquettes and once they're going I put that on top of everything else to start the actual fire.
    I would go with the oak, or possibly a mixture of the oak and maple, the green maple is going to give off a lot more smoke than the oak will just due to the fact that it's greener, and too much smoke can be a bad thing.
     
  4. boomhower

    boomhower Fire Starter

    Thanks for the replies.

    Ok, that makes sense on the firebox inlet to control temps.  I did find I could fine tune with the chimney vent, but when I really closed it off, I was getting a lot of smoke coming out of the doors. 

    On the charcoal.  I was using wood only.  Is it easier to control temps with the charcoal/ wood mix? Is the fire more stable this way?

    boom
     
  5. newflame

    newflame Meat Mopper

    The charcoal is going to give you a constant, smoldering heat source, so while it probably won't give you a lot of "extra" heat, what it will give you is a nice base to keep the rest of your fuel going, so in short, yes, it will help to give you more consistent temperatures...the thing you gotta remember though, as is true of any "custom" rig, is that they're all different, you're going to get good at maintaining temps on your  smoker, through practicing and smoking more food, which is great, cause hey, more bbq!  Could we get a picture of your rig by chance?  
     
  6. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Here's what I use to start the fire

    http://www.harborfreight.com/propane-torch-91033.html
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  7. boomhower

    boomhower Fire Starter

    Here's the only pic I have right now. I'm at work and it's from my cell phone.

    [​IMG]

    boom
     
  8. newflame

    newflame Meat Mopper

    nice lookin' rig man!  Yea you should be able to figure it out pretty quickly once you get going a few times.  Good luck!
     

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