When do you put your meat on?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by outlaw44, May 23, 2010.

  1. outlaw44

    outlaw44 Fire Starter

    I've got a limited number of smokes on my ECB and just wondering when you guys & gals put your meat in the smoker. Meaning, do you start your fire, let it run for 10 minutes or so, assemble the body over the fire pan then dial in the temperature before putting the meat on? Or do you pretty much put the meat on and then watch the temp and dial it in as the meat is in the smoker?

    Maybe I just get really anxious, but I can't seem to wait 20 minutes or so to let the smoker settle before putting the meat on. I'm having a bit of trouble this morning with my ECB runnin hot. This is my first smoke after making the mods, so I'm getting used to all the extra air! And this is also my first smoke using lump (probably shouldn't have changed two variables at the same time!). I'm sure my tolerances were a little off, but I wonder if I'm getting some extra air leaking in on the inlets. I've basically had the air inlets either closed or between 1/4 open and closed the entire time. I had them at 1/4 open and I noticed the temp sky rocketed over 300...looked in and noticed an open flame! Bah! Not sure if maybe I didn't let the lump settle long enough before assembling the smoker causing it to be hot???

    I have a lot of issues...[​IMG]
  2. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Close down the inlets and let the smoker settle down a bit before putting the product on. I always start my smoker long before the need to put meat on.
  3. outlaw44

    outlaw44 Fire Starter

    Awesome, Rick. I appreciate the help brother. I've been able to keep it around 230 with the inlets basically closed. I must have some leakage. I'll have to smoke 3 or 4 more times to figure out if that's just how it's going to operate or if I started it too hot.
  4. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sorry Outlaw,

    I should have posted this already. The first bag of the charcoal we got surprised the heck out of me!! I filled my basket, lit about 10 pieces in the chimney, they was a couple pretty big ones. After I dumped it, the temps took of quick. I shut down the air but I was too late, I should have started closing the vents at 150. Lesson learned, (note to self ). Don't forget to share lessons learned.

    I'm not sure if its the right way to do it or not. But what I did was pull my meat, shut down all the vents and cover the exhaust vent for about 10 minutes. That started my temps to drop by 10 degree's so I opened the exhaust and reloaded my meat. About 10 minutes after that I opened one vent and started over.

    I ran the drum for 8 hours the other night, thats from first light to shutting down the vents. Then lit it last night at 5:30, at about 11:30 I started having crazy temps, up and down then all vents open and couldn't hold 200. I guess 15 hours wasn't bad, I was out of charcoal. ( Another note to self ) Its always a good idea to fill the basket even if you think you have enough charcoal.

    It was a bummer that it was 1:30 and I was reloading charcoal. But being able to lift the drum off the bottom was a life saver. 190 when I lifted it off and set in the grass. 150 when I set it back on 15 minutes later.

    Good luck with the temps today. Hey, how bout the qview. LOL you can show us all how high your thermometer goes!!!!! JK, don't do that unless you want really tough jerky.
  5. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Same here my friend. It is an exercise in patience, something I have a problem with myself. The smoker should be stable before the meat goes on.
  6. outlaw44

    outlaw44 Fire Starter

    Haha! You're good Tom, no worries man. I do appreciate the help though. This stuff (Kingsford Charwood) does seem to be burning pretty hot. But, this is my first experience with lump. I'm surprised at how hot it is burning and the fire pan doesn't seem to look like it's burned very much. Like you said, I filled my fire pan with lump knowing that it will go well past my baby backs. I'm planning on seeing how long of a smoke level temperature I can hold on my ECB, so this is kind of an experiment for me too. So I'll know how full I need to fill the basket for certain lengths of smoking.

    I'll post some q after they're done. Didn't get any before pics, so that's out the window. I fired the Brinkenstein up about 6 this morning...after two hours of sleep...fiance wanted to go to the casino last night...apparently she doesn't want to actually get married anytime soon...[​IMG]
  7. ellymae

    ellymae Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I start the fire, make sure it's going then go in an prep the meat. That takes a couple of minutes. I like to get the Egg up to temp then put on the meat, and then let the temp stabalize again.
  8. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Two things.

    1 I don't regret being married one bit, so much so I did it twice. But man sometimes being single wouldn't be so bad either.

    2 Just wait till you see the pile of ash you have left after your smoke. I think a carton of cigarettes would make a larger ash pile.

    Opps 3 things.

    I just brought my butts in to rest and noticed while I was outside that the sky is not looking all that good today. I sure hope it isn't gonna rain. I have 6 slabs of spares waiting for grad to get over so I can throw em on.
  9. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    After the smoker is COMPLETELY warmed up and stable.

  10. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Interesting thread...I ordered an ECB (Gourmet Charcoal) just for a back-up grill/smoker, and I wanted something more challenging to play with...sounds like I'll get my wish for a good challenge.

    I need to go pick it up...it's been waiting for me since the 20th and I've been too busy to make the trip.

    I'll get my mods done and season it for it's first smoke on my next days off (I hope).

    Depending on what's going on at the start of the planned smoke, I sometimes toss the meat into a cold smoker, if using a gasser (they only take 5 minutes to hit temp), but then I'm dialing the burner back for 15-20 minutes to get it where I want.

    With a charcoal fire, I start the chimney and do finish prep of meat. I wait until I at least have a hot fire built and rising chamber temps in My SNP before adding food (totally different equipment issues), then I get temps stable, which may take 30 minutes with my tuning plate mod. I get pretty even grate temps, but it's slow to heat up, and adjustments take quite some time to see results, as well. It's not the best way to start a smoke, but when time is an issue, I get the meat to grates ASAP and then let things go as they will.

  11. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good point. On my propane fired SnP it probobly doesn't matter if it is still coming up to temp. On an electric it shouldn't matter at all. With charcoal it will matter more. On my drum if I put the meat on before the drum is completely warmed up, I get some nasty tasting condensate and yuck on the grates.

  12. outlaw44

    outlaw44 Fire Starter

    As promised here is the qview of the ribs I smoked today...

    One hour left, right after foiling for two hours:

    Right off of the smoker, ready to sit for a few minutes:

    Smoke ring:

    They were damn good too. What do you guys think...a little too much bark? Maybe I should lay off the rub a little or maybe it was the apple juice spritzing every hour??
  13. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Its hard to tell but your probably pretty close to a comp turn in rib. If you take a bite where your teeth are right up to the bone close your teeth and pull away, you should be left with a bite gone. If the whole chunk of meat pulls off the bone you have past the comp stuff. But in most peoples opinion when the bone falls free is good too.

    I don't like it when they fall out before they make it to the plate. But its nice when you can clean the bone with little effort.

    All in all I would have to say your ribs look pretty darn good.

    Nice job.
  14. lugnutz

    lugnutz Smoking Fanatic

    mmmmmmmmmm looks awesome, I'm gonna go so broke trying out all this stuff, sometimes bein a noobie is awesome!!
  15. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks nice! A heavy bark is something to take pride in, brother smoker. It does make for a nice bite with a tender & juicy interior.

    I noticed what looked like approx. 1/4-3/8" of bone on the first pic...that's what I go by for my ribs is pull-back. You're there, man!

    Good job!

  16. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Darn nice ribs. I agree the bark is beautiful [​IMG]
  17. outlaw44

    outlaw44 Fire Starter

    Thanks fellas! They were very delicious. I have to be honest, I didn't think there was supposed to be that much bark. But, there was so much sugar in the rub that it was like heaven in every bark bite. I convinced myself that I liked it, even if there wasn't supposed to that much bark...but there is, so it's all good!

    I'm very happy with my ECB (gourmet) after making the mods and getting the fire settled down. Once I locked it in at 225, she stayed there with minor adjustments. I decided to see how long I could keep the smoker at or around 225 and it just fell to 200 about 30 mins ago. That's almost 9 hours without adding more fuel! I'm so pumped! I think it's safe to say I'm addicted! [​IMG]
  18. lugnutz

    lugnutz Smoking Fanatic

    got pics of the ecb and mods?
  19. earache_my_eye

    earache_my_eye Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Fine lookin' ribs!!

    One other thing to note when using the ECB....not all lump charcoal is created equal. And, Kingsford Charwood is on the LOW end of my favorite lump charcoal list....right along with Cowboy lump.

    Good quality lump charcoal can cost a few extra $$...the highest quality stuff generally runs around $1/lb...maybe even more these days. But, you can still find decent lump at a decent price...Royal Oak sells a couple different types of lump...one in a red bag, one in a green bag...check on the bag where it was made...if from the U.S.A., it will be much better quality.

    Just for reference, check out the reviews of various lump charcoals on this site... http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lump.htm
    it's a very valuable source for information relating to charcoal.

  20. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Those Ribs look perfect to me Nick...[​IMG]

    So what do you and Tom think of the Charcoal? Was it a good deal?

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