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  1. #1
    Regina...rhymes with fun RockPile's Avatar




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    Default Tips for a bbq/smoker newb?

    I just bought a smoker bbq. The drum type with offset smoker box and chimney. I figured, hey, pick up a book or two and I'll figure this out in no time. The more I read the more I find that there is little relation between grilling and smoking. I have the lump charcoal, hickory and whiskey chips and fair amount of cluelessness. Mainly my questions have to do with how to lay the coals and how to maintain an even, low temperature and even smoke production. Does using the offset box contribute heat to the main area or just smoke? I know it depends a lot on what it is you're cooking. I'm thinking of starting with a brisket and slow roast it all day. After reading Hipcheck's posts I'll probably try cedar plank salmon and Chef Paul's seasonings when I get a better handle on what I'm doing.

    Feel free to chime in with tips, stories or mistakes that I can learn from.

  2. #2
    Genghis John
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockPile View Post
    I just bought a smoker bbq. The drum type with offset smoker box and chimney. I figured, hey, pick up a book or two and I'll figure this out in no time. The more I read the more I find that there is little relation between grilling and smoking. I have the lump charcoal, hickory and whiskey chips and fair amount of cluelessness. Mainly my questions have to do with how to lay the coals and how to maintain an even, low temperature and even smoke production. Does using the offset box contribute heat to the main area or just smoke? I know it depends a lot on what it is you're cooking. I'm thinking of starting with a brisket and slow roast it all day. After reading Hipcheck's posts I'll probably try cedar plank salmon and Chef Paul's seasonings when I get a better handle on what I'm doing.

    Feel free to chime in with tips, stories or mistakes that I can learn from.
    The coals/wood chip laying really doesn't matter at all. I think a brisket is an excellent thing to start off with. Believe it on not it's pretty hard to **** up smoking. While it is completely different that grilling it is IMO much easier. You should and have the luxury of paying little to no attention to the food, just watch the thermometer and make sure you put in new wood chunks as needed.

    Smoking is closer to baking than traditional bbqing. It's really indirect heat taken a step or two further. When you smoke you are cooking at very low temps 200-250 degrees for much longer periods of time. One tip I can give you is to go a little easier on your spices and rubs because the smoke will intensify these flavors and rookie smokers almost always overseason their food

    The wood chips do produce heat and you'll need to lean heavily on the thermometer on your smoker until you get really good with it

    You can learn a ton from this guy. This guy ios far and away the best celebrity bbq'er. You can find him on PBS

    BarbecueBible.com: Steven's Blog
    Featured Recipes & Techniques


    If you want to buy a book on the subject, I recommend this one
    Last edited by Genghis John; May 2nd, 2008 at 09:33 AM.

  3. #3
    FBJ
    FBJ is offline
    LGK's Red Baron FBJ's Avatar




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    The "offset box" allows you to keep the heat in the main chamber relatively low (i.e. indirect-heat) while allowing the smoke to flow through the main chamber to flavor and cook the meat.

    The key is "LOW AND SLOW." Low-heat, slow cook.

    I like Derrick Riches' recipes and tips on bbq.about.com.
    Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Bullets are cheap. Life is priceless.


  4. #4
    Genghis John
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyBoeingJets View Post
    I like Derrick Riches' recipes and tips on bbq.about.com.
    Good call

  5. #5
    Team LGK Chateau Bow Wow's Avatar




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    I second KJs Smoke and Spice recomendation, buy it!
    Also FBJ is right low and slow is the way to go, I find that 200-225 is the sweet spot. I dont use any charcoal when I smoke, i use wood chunks, not chips, in an offset firebox. When the temp goes down, I just add another chunk of wood to bring the temp back up.
    I go to The Woodshed in Orange, http://www.woodshed.verizonsupersite.com/door/ for all my cooking wood.

  6. #6
    Team LGK x-wingcamewest's Avatar




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    If you get brave enough to try some "lighter" meats, ie; lamb, fowl, pork, and fish. Try using some fruit woods or olive. It's very nice.
    I'm younger than my tongue, and older than my teeth.

  7. #7
    Super Sexy Birdman's Avatar




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    Everyone is pretty much hitting the nail on the head above. Low and Slow, and go light on the Rubs, if at all and use chunks not chips.

    I smoked 2 whole chickens with no rub at all and Mesquite Wood and the food was fabulous.

    Don't stress about it tho, this is supposed to be fun. Its going to take HOURS to smoke stuff, so just enjoy it with a few beers while you do it. If your worried about ruining what your cooking, keep a backup of something in the fridge that you can toss on the gas grill real quick "Just in Case".

    And don't be afraid to experiment mixing woods and such, and soaking them in different juices to intensify the taste.

  8. #8
    job
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    Gross Impressions job's Avatar




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    And always keep a tin of water on the bottom of the main cooking area. It makes a difference.

  9. #9
    Team LGK Chateau Bow Wow's Avatar




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    Quote Originally Posted by job View Post
    And always keep a tin of water on the bottom of the main cooking area. It makes a difference.
    And season your rig. Intructions for seaseoning should have come with your grill.

  10. #10
    FBJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by job View Post
    And always keep a tin of water on the bottom of the main cooking area. It makes a difference.
    ESPECIALLY when smoking baby-backs. I did my first set dry when I first got my smoker and they were okay, but the second set I smoked a couple weeks later with the pan of water on the bottom of the smoke chamber were fall-off-the-bone AWESOME.

    The one downside to my smoker is its size. I can't really cook for just the three of us, since it takes the same amount of wood or charcoal to cook one tri-tip or rack as it does to fill the grate and cook enough meat for 10 people. That's why I usually have family over when I'm smoking meat.
    Last edited by FBJ; May 2nd, 2008 at 11:55 AM.
    Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Bullets are cheap. Life is priceless.


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