New And Clueless...

Where 'ya from? Whadda 'ya cook on? Tell us a little about yourself. Is there a bounty on your head?

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CRAnderson52
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New And Clueless...

Postby CRAnderson52 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:11 pm

Hey guys, rookie here withs lots of questions!

Born and raised a Texan and somehow here I am 25 years later and never learned how to smoke meat before. Guess I've always been lucky to be friends and be on deer leases with guys that know how to smoke a brisket, so I've never had to worry about it. To make a long store short, we just bought a new house and the seller left behind his smoker. According to the tag on the side it is a Chuckwagon Cooker out of New Braunfels. Is this old HEAVY thing going to work pretty good for me? I've always wanted to learn, and now that I've got a free smoker I'm going to make the best of it.

I've been playing around with it and it's giving me problems getting the temp up over 150, and when it finally does it shoots up over 300. I'm trying to get it to hang around 200-225 (I think). What's going on here?

How does everyone start theirs? I stated with a bed of charcoal and then added some wood chunks, sound about right?

I appreciate any tips y'all have. I'm not even going to waste the money on meat until I can figure my temperature out!
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OldUsedParts
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Re: New And Clueless...

Postby OldUsedParts » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:57 pm

Welcome, CR, if you're wanting to make smoke turn out good meats then just ask away and you'll find these Members to be a winning team that's on your side :tup: :salut:
OUP

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Re: New And Clueless...

Postby Finatic » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:26 pm

Welcome to the forum!

I'm not familiar with that smoker. If I had some pics of the smoker (firebox, smoke stack, etc.) it would help.

There's a lot of ways to get a fire started in a firebox. Starting with a bed of charcoal is one of them. I would make sure the charcoal has burned down in a charcoal chimney before I dumped the charcoal in the firebox. I would also make sure the wood (whether you are using chunks or splits) is well cured. Keep in mind you won't get a big flame from the charcoal so the wood chunks or splits are going to have to be small to start out until you have a good fire going. Then increase the size of the wood as the fire gets going. Open the air intake damper (on the firebox) wide open when you put the first chunks of wood on the charcoal. You may even want to open the firebox door all the way to help get the fire going. As the fire gets going gradually close the air intake damper on your firebox. Keep the exhaust damper (your smoke stack) open at all times. Regulate the temps by closing or opening the intake damper on the firebox.

If you want to skip the charcoal step and just light the wood you can get a pear or weed burner for less than $50. It'll pay for itself in time and charcoal saved in no time.
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Re: New And Clueless...

Postby BluDawg » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:48 pm

I cook my briskets at 300-325 :dont: :texas:

fire101

Image

add lit coals
Image

Add wood
Image

add a split when the temp drops 25 deg
Image
Last edited by BluDawg on Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New And Clueless...

Postby cowboydon » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:16 pm

Welcome to the forum
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Russ
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Re: New And Clueless...

Postby Russ » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:24 pm

Welcome here, if you doing ribs start by boiling them for 40 mins....... :D :D :D :D

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Re: RE: Re: New And Clueless...

Postby woodenvisions » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:45 pm

Russ wrote:Welcome here, if you doing ribs start by boiling them for 40 mins....... :D :D :D :D

Russ

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Re: New And Clueless...

Postby egghead » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:15 am

Russ wrote:Welcome here, if you doing ribs start by boiling them for 40 mins....... :D :D :D :D

Russ


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Finatic
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Re: New And Clueless...

Postby Finatic » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:26 am

Russ wrote:Welcome here, if you doing ribs start by boiling them for 40 mins....... :D :D :D :D

Russ

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Re: New And Clueless...

Postby Boots » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:27 am

Russ' gonna fit in well here, he got the smart*** gene like the rest of us.

CR, two points of advice I can offer. First, if Bludawg suggests something you can pretty much bank on it working good. Second, an alternative I use that works real good is to buy a box of fat wood from Academy. Make a stack like Blu or a half tepee and stick a couple of sticks of fat wood off under there and light the ends good. Now, here's the critical, all important step, without which all smoking endeavors would be an utter and pathetic disaster:

Go off and find a comfortable chair and pop a cold beverage, soaking up the good smell of wood smoke in the fall air, until the fire burns down to cook ready. The rest is then up to you and yer imagination. A guaranteed 100% foolproof plan, every time.
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Re: New And Clueless...

Postby CRAnderson52 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:58 am

BluDawg wrote:I cook my briskets at 300-325 :dont: :texas:

fire101

Image

add lit coals
Image

Add wood
Image

add a split when the temp drops 25 deg
Image





I'm going to try your method tomorrow. Yesterday I started it with just some charcoal and a couple pieces of wood on top. However, I can see how your method would work. Is it important to add the lit coals or can I light them while they're laying in the pit? Still playing with this thing in an attempt to learn how to keep my temp steady.
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Re: New And Clueless...

Postby Txdragon » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:16 pm

First, welcome aboard!

The method Blu posted uses lit coals added on top of what you would think to light in the pit. It's a pretty version of the minion method. But you'll want to add lit coals to the pile rather than lighting the pile. Boots had it right about Blu; you can bank on just about any advice he gives ya. And for Russ, don't mind anything he'll tell ya about ribs!!

The smoker you have is a good one and I believe no longer made. I would clean it up a bit, especially the thermometer, before cussing it out for being junk.

Don't hesitate to ask any questions and we look forward to seeing some grub coming from that chuckwagon!
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Re: RE: Re: New And Clueless...

Postby woodenvisions » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:43 pm

Txdragon wrote:First, welcome aboard!

The method Blu posted uses lit coals added on top of what you would think to light in the pit. It's a pretty version of the minion method. But you'll want to add lit coals to the pile rather than lighting the pile. Boots had it right about Blu; you can bank on just about any advice he gives ya. And for Russ, don't mind anything he'll tell ya about ribs!!

The smoker you have is a good one and I believe no longer made. I would clean it up a bit, especially the thermometer, before cussing it out for being junk.

Don't hesitate to ask any questions and we look forward to seeing some grub coming from that chuckwagon!

LMAO .....

Russ, we love ya buddy never doubt that :) :)
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Re: New And Clueless...

Postby spacetrucker » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:56 pm

welcome to the forum, fire management is a critical thing to learn before adding meat...
Good Cue to ya..
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Re: New And Clueless...

Postby BladeRunner » Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:44 pm

Welcome to the forum CR. Thanks for jumping right in with a question- it's a bit tough figuring it out for yourself. I just hit my 1 year anniversary from my first brisket... And sitting here listening and asking questions has made a load of difference.

A few things to get you down the road-
1) don't apologize for asking a question or ever feel like you're bugging anyone. We all have insight and experiences to share. It is exactly why this forum is here.

2) get a cook journal. I write down the time I start the fire, the temp outside, the internal meat temp, the cooker temp, and approx. weight. Throughout the cook I jot down the cooker temp and internal temp, plus how much fuel I added. I constantly feed my fire with charcoal throughout (to keep a consistent heat) and add a chunk of hardwood for smoke. That's what works for me, and has less peaks and valleys than full stick only cooks.

3) this thug we do is personal. Ask a question, get some info and try something. If you don't do it exactly like you read, but your brisket came out better... then it's a success. I've adapted what I do, and am still fine tuning. That's part of what makes smoking meat fun.

Again, welcome to the forum.

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