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Old 01-20-2007, 11:09 PM   #1
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My first smoking experience

So I go to Lowes at 930am and pickup a Char Griller Super Pro ($119) and a couple bags of various wood chunks and charchoal. I couldn't decide, I've always been a propane person. I put the unit together and follow the directions on seasoning the grates (2-3 hrs). I had a package of cut pork ribs in the fridge which turned out to be my first victim. I also tried my first dry rub. Yea, I read a bunch of recipies, as long as you throw a bunch of spices together it will come out good. I decided to smoke with mesquite chunks. Basically, I made a small fire, just smaller than a shoebox, on the right side of the grill. There are 4 segments to the cooking grate, the one above the fire I placed aside so I could add to the fire easily. Directions said to soak the wood chunks in water for an hour....so I did a few pieces but it didn't seem to make a difference on how fast it burned or how much smoke developed. The ribs smoked on the left side (indirect heating) for 5 hrs at 200-225. Also, about every half hour I basted the ribs with a mixture of 1 c water, 1 c. red wine vinegar, and 1/3 c brown sugar. I must say, the grill puts out ALOT of smoke, I went through one whole bag of wood ( about the size of a small back pack. Be aware, your clothes will smell like the smoke terribly, almost to the point where it makes you gag. (my coat is in the wash now). when all was said and done... they turned out good. They had a real serious smoke flavor (I wasn't really familliar with) and the meat was hot pink and juicy. I had some BBQ sauce on the table for dipping which added even more flavor and cut a little smokiness.

Final word: PROS-Smoking is not too difficult, the equipment is cheap, it's fun tending to the grill (especially if you have a few cocktails on hand) and the flavor is tremendous. CONS - do not wear good clothes, if your hungry..forgeddaboutit.

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Old 01-20-2007, 11:36 PM   #2
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Yesi agree its fun until you try a brisket that takes 14 hours to smoke. Now thats a workout ;). Thats why the weber bullet smoker is such a great unit and worth the money.
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Old 01-21-2007, 12:28 AM   #3
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I have the same Smoker as you, and I absolutely LOVE it... Welcome to the club!

-Brad
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Old 01-21-2007, 12:31 AM   #4
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Sounds like you've done your homework & had fun. I'm thinking maybe a little more charcoal a little less wood. I like to get a good hot fire going, sear the meat, then move it to the opposite side of the grille & add the soaked wood. This will cool things down a bit, then just put the lid on & maintain a low heat.
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Old 01-21-2007, 07:59 PM   #5
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Jeekinz...

I posted a long post (this morning?) but I suppose it got lost in the shuffle this afternoon...Anyway I will give you the short version...

First... glad your ribs turn out ok for you...
A couple of things however....the smoke flavor that you "were not to familiar with" Could have been two things...The heavy mesquite smoke...some folks don't care for it...some do...Lastly the point I wanted to make is that it also may have been "Creosote"....Creosote forms when smoke cools(condenses) inside your cooker and and attaches itself to all interior surfaces...including your meat! There are many things that cause this and many remedies to prevent it...Again rather than going into the details here...google it and read about creosote in BBQing etc...The flavor may have not been either of these two things..but reading up on creosote will be something fun to know and read about.

Glad ya'll enjoyed your ribs!!

Edit: Smoke is like salt...a little enhances the flavor of food..to much sometimes makes it...well you get the idea!
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Old 01-21-2007, 10:51 PM   #6
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Here's a question about Creosote.. Today I was going to grill some chicken breasts. It's about 10 degrees here in Wisconsin, so this may have been a contributing factor. Either way, I put the Charcoal in the grill after using a chimney starter. About 10 minutes later I went out to check on it, and the Creosote must have been built up read bad, because there was like a ton of burned crispy material almost melting off of the lid. At first I thought it was paint, but then it dawned on me.

Is this normal?
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Old 01-22-2007, 07:53 AM   #7
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Candelbc...

The conditions you describe...10* outside temp. vs. very hot inside your grill is a "perfect storm" for creosote build up. This is NOT the only factor that can cause it however....I doubt that what you saw underneath your lid happened today as you prepared to cook your chicken...Could have been a couple of things...paint peeling....or creosote build up over many many times of using your grill...my guess maybe a combination of the two...Take a wire brush and give the inside of the lid a darn good cleaning to remove all of the flakey stuff so it want fall in small peices on your food! Again Creosote...the causes of and preventions of as well as the dangers of... are to lengthy to go into in this forum..I would advise you ...do some research on the subject.

Again...Smoke is like salt...a little goes along way! (I usually get big bucks for that tip )

Oh well....

Enjoy...
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Old 01-22-2007, 08:49 AM   #8
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I think it was the mesquite. After reading a few articles, I found that mesquite has a strong flavor. I used BBQ sauce as a dipping sauce which cut the smokiness a little. I'll try Oak or Hickory next time. The following day, I micked the leftovers and they were as juicy as could be! Thanks for the tips.
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:02 AM   #9
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Jeekinz...

I personally prefer Hickory...It is my go to wood of choice...I also enjoy
apple wood for pork...with a teeny bit of hickory added.

You might wanna try this trick...wrap your wood in foil (loosely)...stick a few holes in the foil and just sit it ON the grill surface rather than in the fire...You will use a lot less wood...and still produce enough smoke...Not to worry if can't even see the smoke...it is there and will produce the flavor you are looking for!! I garontee! Ok?

Enjoy!
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by candelbc
I have the same Smoker as you, and I absolutely LOVE it... Welcome to the club!

-Brad
Did you pick up the side smoker box?
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Old 01-22-2007, 10:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeekinz
Did you pick up the side smoker box?
I did.. I use it primarily for smoking in fact.. I like to smoke Turkey's, Pork Roasts for Pulled Pork, and Tri-Tips.. I also have a vertical square style smoker, but I much prefer the Char-Griller with a dry smoke.

-Brad
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Old 01-22-2007, 10:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob
Candelbc...

The conditions you describe...10* outside temp. vs. very hot inside your grill is a "perfect storm" for creosote build up. This is NOT the only factor that can cause it however....I doubt that what you saw underneath your lid happened today as you prepared to cook your chicken...Could have been a couple of things...paint peeling....or creosote build up over many many times of using your grill...my guess maybe a combination of the two...Take a wire brush and give the inside of the lid a darn good cleaning to remove all of the flakey stuff so it want fall in small peices on your food! Again Creosote...the causes of and preventions of as well as the dangers of... are to lengthy to go into in this forum..I would advise you ...do some research on the subject.

Again...Smoke is like salt...a little goes along way! (I usually get big bucks for that tip )

Oh well....

Enjoy...
I do believe that it was the Creosote, not paint... I think this because of the colder temperatures, and because I use the grill more with the offset firebox for smoking. It's was like homemade black cheeto's... It was kinda cool in fact..

I ended up not grilling the chicken and just baked off all of the creosote.. Then I scraped the rest off and will vacumn it out once its cooled...

-Brad
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Old 01-22-2007, 10:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by candelbc
I did.. I use it primarily for smoking in fact.. I like to smoke Turkey's, Pork Roasts for Pulled Pork, and Tri-Tips.. I also have a vertical square style smoker, but I much prefer the Char-Griller with a dry smoke.

-Brad
So, I could have my wood fire in the side box and have indirect cooking on the grill, correct?
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Old 01-22-2007, 10:54 AM   #14
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That is correct.. I actually use the side fire box for my Charcoal and Wood Chips.. I find I get a really good quality smoke by taking the pre-heated charcoal, and then putting wood chunks in an aluminum foil basket (To keep it from starting on fire)...

I love my Char Griller... It's a great grill that you can also use as a smoker.

-Brad
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Old 01-22-2007, 11:07 AM   #15
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I'm going to pick up the side box for mine as well. I lost 1/4 - 1/3 of the real estate with the fire inside the grill.
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Old 01-22-2007, 11:31 AM   #16
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It's definitely worth the investment.. I am just now getting used to creating a good flow of smoke..

Remember to keep the Chimney Flip Lid open when smoking.. That'll keep the smoke flowing... You probably already knew this, but it was worth mentioning..

-Brad
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Old 01-22-2007, 11:55 AM   #17
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I used one whole bag of Char Broil mesquite chunks from Lowes. It recommended soaking the wood in water for an hour, so I soaked a few pieces to see if there was any difference (as I was experimenting the whole time). There really was no difference soaked or not soaked. I had the side damper opened about 1/4 and the chimney lid open about the same. When tending, I only added 4-5 3" pieces at a time, it developed some serious smoke. It only flamed up when I opened the lid to baste. I had a steady temp of 200-225 for 5 hrs (it was also about 30 deg. outside). How is the heat flow with the side mounted firebox? With the wood in a separate chamber, will I need a larger fire?
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Old 01-22-2007, 12:29 PM   #18
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I don't really personally soak my chunks in water any more. It was a step that I found I didn't need. Especially by using the Aluminum foil to prevent a fire. What's even nicer is that I can just remove one bunch of ash and replace with another bunch of Chunks..

Once I get my heat to around 150 I put the chunks over the fire and let it start smoking. Once I get the smoke, I close of the damper a little more and open the Chimney lid all the way as recommended. I get a nice white smoke for a long period of time.

Just my way of doing it.. I am always learning myself though..

-Brad
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Old 01-22-2007, 12:50 PM   #19
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I sent the LOML shopping, so now I have a rack ready for Saturday. I'll try the foil and top lid method you stated. Thanks for the tip. -J
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Old 01-22-2007, 12:54 PM   #20
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Welcome to the smoking club. Rather than buy the wood chunks, if you can get some fresh cut green wood. I grow a couple of apple trees in the back yard just for that purpose. Then soak the wood in a bucket of water overnight. The wood you buy is usually so dry it acts like firewood rather than smoke wood. The creosote is common and sometimes you just have to get a hot fire going and burn it out. In reality, creosote is jsut condensed smoke. Too much is a bad thing though. And by the way, the stuff, when it catches fire will burn really hot.
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