Pre-Smoke Set up

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by naturemuzic, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. naturemuzic

    naturemuzic Newbie

    In the next few days, I will make my debut with a 3# Tri Tip, but before I get into the meat/rub, baste questions, I have a few with respect to setting up my new Master Force CBS1301L.

    Prior to landing here, I read a lot of advice & tips from various sites & obviously there was a difference of opinions, re: the fuel, water/other liquid, etc.

     First, I read to run a clean smoke with no food, to eradicate any odors that may exist. Do I do this with or without water in the pan?

    Next, to begin with, I have regular briquets, lump charcoal & some wood chunks. Should I burn regular briquets, then when ready add wood chunks/ Or use only wood chunks, or use lump charcoal then add wood chunks?

    Third, I don't have a wood chip box, so let me ask; if I use briquets, then add a few wood chunks, I can add them directly to the coals? Or perhaps use a throw away foil roasting pan ?

    Lastly, (for now!), again, if I use the briquet, then add a few wood chunks method, for a 3# tri tip, will I need to add a few more chunks of wood 60 minutes or so into the cooking? & if so, do I pre heat them before adding?

    Many thanks in advancee
  2. smokingma

    smokingma Smoke Blower

    Hello,  Let me see if I can help with your questions:
    Hope this helps.  Don't forget to get some q-views to post :)
  3. naturemuzic

    naturemuzic Newbie


     Oh yes, it helps a great deal, thanks so very much for this ! I will use all your advice ! I do have a follow up, thanks. If I add preheated briquets or lump charcoal, I first put down 3-4 chunks of wood, then cover with the heated briquets?

    If I may, what method do you use for your fuel? I read of the Minion Method & seems interesting.

    Again, thanks for your help !
  4. naturemuzic

    naturemuzic Newbie

    Well, I got the First-Burn-No-Food-Burn-To-Clean-Blues !

    I settled on the Minion Method. I made a nice bed of charcoal, hollowed an area in the center, poured in about 15-18 hot coals, put about 3 pieces (2-4" in size) of chunk on the hot spot, lowered the body over it & within 15 minutes, it was at 380 & for the past 45 minutes, it's running about 450 ! 

    I'm using the Master Forge, so therefore no vents yet, tho' I am not sure that is the answer at this time. I can see I am going to have to secure the door with something as smoke streams thru there & just around the lid itself, a lot more smoke than I imagined is escaping.

    So that is where I am at a little over an hour into it - smoked & frustrated ;-)
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  5. naturemuzic

    naturemuzic Newbie


    3 hours after I started the smoke, it is still hovering around 350-380. I may have to just grill the tri tip tomorrow until I get the hang of it, as it's already thawed & rubbed, in the fridge.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  6. naturemuzic

    naturemuzic Newbie

    Now, at 4 hours, it is at 225, all coals are ashy, but there's no visible smoke.
  7. naturemuzic

    naturemuzic Newbie

    Now, 6 hours after starting, it's hovering around 200. never added any other fuel, after the initial set up.
  8. naturemuzic

    naturemuzic Newbie

    Any ideas? I don't even have the vents installed, however, they would just make the fire hotter, right?

    I have to cook the Tri Tip today as  I removed the roast from the freezer, 2 days ago & it was rubbed & wrapped all night, but I don't want to ruin it either. At worst, I can simply grill it on my reg. bbq.

     But given my current set up, the Master Forge, no vents & no charcoal grate yet, how can I keep the heat down?

     As I said previously, I used the Minion Method, had the pan filled about 2 deep all around, with the hole in the middle, where I put in about 20 or so briquettes, then 3-4 chunks of wood directly on the heated coals.

    Maybe I should have used only 10 or so pieces of charcoal to begin with? Should I have placed the wood several inches apart, on the then unheated briquettes, rather than in a pile right on the heated coals?

    Or maybe I should have preheated a single layer of lump charcoal?

    I am already lost, sorry !

     Thanks for any/all !

    Below you will see on the left, the MF Smoker most people have. On the right is mine - note the one on the left has an additional 6"-8", below the door to the fire pot? Could that make a big difference? This was the only model Lowes had. I had not even planned on buying one as I was shopping for a few other things, saw this, the price & decided to jump in feet first. I wanted to add; the size of the door on mine, is the same as the one on the left. I say that as the photo on the right has a longer door, so those 2 models I added may well be the same height. Point is, the unit I have has some 6-8" less space between the top of the fire pot & water pan, as the one on the left, clearly has.

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
  9. smokingma

    smokingma Smoke Blower

    Sorry I'm just seeing this, but I was so busy smoking my meats for our cookout yesterday.  Today was clean up.  Let me see if I an figure what happened with your first smoke.  First let me say I have the same Master Forge you have.  I have done most of the mods on it though.  I'll post a pic after this.  Now for the minion method I believe you put too many lit charcoals in the center of your ring.  You should only use 6-8 lit coals to get things started mixing wood chunks in the mist of your ring..  My temps shot up to about 300 in the beginning then after about 1 hr settled down to between 225 and 250.  Since you did not get to do the mods.  Maybe lifting the lid or opening the door for a minute or so will help the airflow to bring the temps down.  I also have a Brinkmann vertical smoker with the legs and it gives me the dickens with constant temps.  I didn't make all the mods on it as I should have and let's just say I was up doing the replace the charcoal dance every 30-60 min or so each time I used it.  After doing the mods on the MF I got better control of the temps and only had to add fuel once after about 8-9 hours on an all night smoke.  Also I filled the water pan with sand covered with foil to help with heat retention  I think though I will start using a flower pot saucer covered with foil from now on instead of water or sand. 

    If you join the ECB group, you can see pictures of mods by members who use Brinkmann and Master Forge and help with so much more.
  10. naturemuzic

    naturemuzic Newbie

    Thanks so much smokinGMA! How did your cookout go? if I may, what did you cook? And no reason to apologize as I forgot it was even a holiday !

    Okay, yea, I over did it with the initial charcoal ! I was pleased to see how the heat slowly spread throughout the pan & how long it lasted! I should be receiving the charcoal grate & 3 damper units in the next few days & will make the mods to give me more control.

    My first project will be a rack of 5+ pounds of spare ribs! I will have to cut in half to fit on the grill!

    Thanks again & have a good Wednesday !

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