Qustions by a smoker virgin

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kickass32, May 27, 2014.

  1. kickass32

    kickass32 Newbie

    I have a few questions for you veterans of smoking.....hope this is the right forum to do so.

    1/ I assembled the smoker, there is a water tray in the bottom, but no where in the instruction booklet does it explain when, or how much or how often to refill......what's the protocol on that?

    2/ I am not getting much smoke billowing out of the smoker...a buddy of mine has one and said he gets a lot of smoke coming from his.  Is little to no smoke billowing good/bad?

    3/ Soak or not to soak wood chips prior to using....I've read on the internet virtues of both...what say you experts?

    4/ Foil or no foil.....the booklet I have said not to use foil, but again, a buddy said he uses foil for the first half of cooking and then takes it off for the second half.

    Thanks in advance guys.
  2. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    1.   Water pans are personal preference.   When filled, they will add humidity to the smoking chamber (which some people like) and they will act as a heat synch which will help even out temp spikes.    On the down side, using them will hold temps down and cause you to use more fuel trying to heat the chamber.

    All that said, some people fill their water pans pretty full and add more water as it evaporates.  Others start with a partially full pan and don't refill it, preferring to go with a "wet to dry" method.  Yet others forgo the water and use playground sand or rocks in the water pan to act as the heat sink.

    2.  You don't want smoke billowing out of your smoker.  That's thick white smoke or worse, black smoke and it will create creosote which has a terrible taste.    What you are after is a whispy Thin Blue Smoke, otherwise known as TBS.

    3.  Don't soak.  Just slows the process down and doesn't add anything.

    4.  Foil is personal choice.  That said, your buddy is doing it backwards (is this the same buddy who has LOTS of smoke billowing from his smoker ?  [​IMG]).  Smoke first, foil during the back end (if you decide to foil).    Makes for better smoke penetration of the meat.   (Foiling speeds up the cooking process, makes the meat tender in a shorter amount of time) and let's you "set" the color that you want on the meat as you wrap it when the meat hits the color that you want.
    kickass32 likes this.
  3. On 1, 2 & 3 I agree with Demosthenes9 in the above post.  On #4, though, I would like to add, above 140 degrees, meat take little to no smoke, so running raw naked (the meat), with a rub, in the smoker then foiling at certain point afterward is the way it should be done.

    And you must remember, there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers.

    Enjoy the new smoker, You are in the right place for all the info you need to smoke anything.  You will be doing most anything soon, so enjoy the fun your about to have.  That smoke, thin and blue as it is, has a way to attract the neighbours over to see what your doing, so keep the beer cold and always something extra on the smoker.
    kickass32 likes this.
  4. kickass32

    kickass32 Newbie

    Thanks for the info guys...I shall give my new found knowledge a chance to work this weekend.
  5. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Palladini,  it's a misconception that meat will take little to no smoke above 140.  It will take less than it does when it's colder, but the amount that it will take accumulates over time.    If you were to smoke 2 identical butts for 3 hours and got them to 140, then wrapped butt #1 and kept butt #2 in the smoke, by the end of the cook butt #2 would have a much more pronounced smoky flavor.
  6. resstealth

    resstealth Smoke Blower

    Not to mention you won't get nearly the bark if you foil at 140
  7. If you are using a charcoal uds like i am, i would recommend wrapping the wood in foil to avoid the wood from catching fire and creating a temp spike. But i also dont have dampers yet on mine to help control airflow for temperature
  8. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    All good answers , as for the smoke . . . you should have thin , blue smoke , like below , before you add meat , and maintain the TBS throughout the Smoke :

    Have fun and . . .

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