Heres some tips my brother uses for his....
Use Pecan wood. Seems to really have the best flavor out of all of the ones we have tried. Try not to use pieces that have Bark as it can leave an off or bitter flavor.
Use the smoke stack valve on top to control temp. If you need to get the fire blazing the sliding door in the firebox is good but use the top smokestack cover to make the little adjustments.
By all means use the water on the bottom idea....for an extra touch fill it with beer and some garlic.
SLow and long is the way to go and thr rough rule of thumb is one hour for every pound. For super long smoking times not a bad idea to rotate the food 1/2 way through the cook. Also keep in mind food cloer to the smoke box willl cook hotter while food placed by the stack will cook cooler.
Some Fun items to do when cooking..
Smoked Onion-Place a whole sweet maui onion on the grill. The outside will turn black as coal but the inside will cook slowly and gently.
Smoked Cheese-Use a Cedar Plank and cut various blocks of cheese on top. Cheddars and Swisses work very well. Get some crackers ready because when you take it right out of the smoker its still semi soft and spreads very easily.
For those who love to BBQ the smoker is a dream come true as it prolongs the BBQ process ten fold.
One item we make occasionally that is unusual but delicious is something we call Tokyo Tacos.
Its basically a cut of Round Eye-which is a cut of meat that is tough as hell but round. Smoke the hell out of it and then slice as thin as possible. I use a meat slicer but a sharp knife should do the trick. When youve got your thin slice, top with some grated daikon, and a small drizzle of soy sauce and a squeeze of lime. Its a very interesting taste with the coolness of the daikon contrasting with the smoke of the meat and the tartness of the juice and the salt of soy.
My first tip would be to invite me over when you figure it out.
One thing that I don't think has been mentioined yet is to NEVER use green wood, always well aged dry wood. The green wood will produce creosote and ruin your meat.
In addition to a water pan filled with water, beer or juice, I also like to keep a spray bottle nearbye with applejuice in it and give the meat a squirt every now and then.
If your rig didn't come with a thermometer, buy all means buy one and a meat thermometer for thicker meats like pork shoulder.
One mistake I made in the past was getting too much smoke into the meat when using a strong flavored wood like mesquite. I got a bitching smoke ring on the brisket, but it can almost taste bitter if you go overboard.
Thanks all for the great suggestions. I've ordered the smoke and spice book and am looking forward to my 1st stab at smoking.
Sloppydog - the bbq instructions didn't mention seasoning at all. It has a rough powder coating to it. Would I season it in the same way as cast iron? Thin coat of veggie oil and high heat?
Originally Posted by RockPile
Yep thats the way to do it. I've owned 2 offset smokers in my life, a New Braunsfel and a now a Char griller, I season all cast iron parts, it helps prevent rust.
I find that a pan of apple juice works wonders, especially with pork and chicken.
The side firebox is nice, but be aware it's a LONG process. Think starting first thing in the morning and eating dinner at dusk if you want to do it right. If I'm doing that, I tend to fill up the smoker with as much meat as I can fit in there. It's the same amount of effort....
You can speed up the process some by using the main drum and off-setting the coals or wood chunks to one side, away from the chimney. It cuts the cooking time by a few hours.
Also, if you like eggplant, throw a couple in there whole, and you can whip up a really good babaganoush with very little effort.
The key to good smoking is getting drunk on your ass.
I thought it had something to do with good rolling?
Originally Posted by rinkrat
Don't be afraid to give Manzanita a try too. My mom raves over steaks or tri-tip smoked with this wood.
Originally Posted by Salty Dog