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smoker dilemma

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by n3pro, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. n3pro

    n3pro Minister of Fire

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    I'm a year round griller, I always shovel out a path to my gas grill. Over the last few years I have been putting a few of those smaller branch size pieces and kindling size pieces in just to give a little smoke smell (more in the air and me then the food). I have wanted a smoker for a long time but my dilemma is patients (which is why I got a gas grill and not a charcoal grill though I'd rather have the taste of a charcoal). I know the best thing comes to those that wait but when it comes to food for me, ain't nobody got time for that.

    Most of the videos and people I know who smoke use the small nuggets mixed with charcoal. I hate to spend money on a smoker just to have my ADHD kick in and never use it. I've seen people use the cheap Weber charcoal grills again with mixed wood and charcoal but what about just using a supercedar and those cut offs or odd ball chunks which I seem to have a bunch of? Though it would be more grilling temperatures instead of smoking would it be of any value (smoky flavor wise) or nothing more then the fun of grilling with wood and fire? Is there any reason not to use the cut offs and chunks instead of briquette size?

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  2. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    If using a gas grill, there are stainless smoker boxes sold in the griling sections at box stores. Soak a good handful of chips for a few hours and drain them, add to box and off you go. The boxes aren't huge, so chips versus chunks may be in order.
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  3. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Meats don't absorb the smoke unless they're at pretty low temp, so low and slow for a bit. It still will smoke veggies etc ok
    ScotO likes this.
  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Wait... I'm confused as heck. Patients, or patience? Are you a doctor?
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  5. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    I just wrap some soaked chips up in some tinfoil and throw the packet on the grill and poke a few holes in the top to let the smoke escape!

    Gary
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  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Anything above 160F (meat surface temp) and the meat is done taking smoke. After that temp (of the meat), smoke can start to produce a bitter taste. THIS is the reason for the low and slow of all things Qd'. (well that and the conversion of fats/etc. to a finger licking product call gelatin.)

    There is a very distinct difference between grilling and BBQ/Smoking. Both can use smoke, but the grilling is a short cook time over high heat. The BBQ/Smoking is low temps over long durations. (all things being relative).

    There are ways to hybridize the two. Beer can chicken is one example of this.
    ScotO likes this.
  7. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Yep, low and slow for true 'smoking'. Once the meat is seared (sealed on the outside) it can't really absorb smoke. When I cook steaks and burgers on the keyhole pit, I put the smoke to it heavy right off the get-go, while the meat is still uncooked. To aid the process along, I cover the meat that's on the grill with either a tin pan or pyrex pan, to make the smoke gather around the food. Frozen burgers are great on the keyhole pit because they take a while to thaw out, allowing them to take on the smoke even longer. And keep in mind, different woods produce different results. Woods like apple, pear, grapevine, oak, maple, and cherry, you can really lay the smoke to the meat and not get a bitter outcome, no matter how long you smoke it. But woods like hickory and mesquite, too much of that smoke can lead to a really bitter taste.

    Stainless steel manufactured boxes for your wet wood chips work really well in gas grilles. I used to do the tin foil with holes in it like Gary described above, but I've long since quit using the gas grille and I cook on the firepit several nights a week, especially in the summertime!
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  8. USMC80

    USMC80 Minister of Fire

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    if you have a weber charcoal grill you are all set. just setup the charcoal on one side and smoke the meat on the other (indirect heat). Light a dozen charcoal in chimney and get it blazing, then dump them on top of the unlit charcoal. This method will get you a consistent low temperature (200-225). I've managed to smoke a pork butt for 9 hours without having to touch anything this way. Make sure you soak your wood chips for at least an hour and pile them on once up to temp. Keep adding every couple of hours until desired smoke is reached. Don't forget to baste every so often!
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  9. Jack Fate

    Jack Fate Feeling the Heat

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    Weber kettle grills make good smokers . Great company great support ( parts) call 800 # get to talk to people , really

    Their stuff holds up very well

    And lastly watch PBS for primal grill / BBQ univeristy Steven Rachilin is a master


    Charcoal gives you more time to enjoy BEER

    Cheers
    n3pro likes this.
  10. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    Leave out the chicken and you have a good recipe!:)

    Gary
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  11. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    Pile them directly on top of the coals? No box or wrap?
  12. USMC80

    USMC80 Minister of Fire

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    No box or wrap. Just soak them for a couple hours.
  13. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    The only trouble with that method is eventually it will ignite......if you wrap it in foil, the air cannot get to the wood and it will smolder until it turns to ashes.........
  14. USMC80

    USMC80 Minister of Fire

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    Doesn't ignite for me. The main air is shutdown and the top is usually half open to allow the smoke to exit. Only time I've seen it ignite is with the top off
  15. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I also liked the foil pack method as it also contained the ash from the chips.....made for a fairly easy clean-up.

    But, I gave my gas grille away years ago.....I cook exclusively on the keyhole firepit.....several times a week in the summer.
    For that, I take slivers of apple, white oak, and hickory....and stand them up in a 5-gallon bucket. Then, fill the bucket with water (all the while pushing down on the standing slivers as they want to float). The slivers are cut so as to allow you to snap the lid on that bucket, put it off to the side, and allow that smoking wood to be saturated with water. The longer it soaks in that water, the better. That stuff will smolder for a long long time.

    I've used fresh cut green branches and splits from those same varieties of trees and they work just the same as the water-soak method...


    a little stack of 1" splits of apple, hard maple and white oak ready for the soaker bucket.....

    2012-06-16_17-43-26_619.jpg

    Here's that soaked wood in action, cooking some wings and burgers with heavy applewood and white oak smoke!! Probably will be doing this same thing over the weekend!!

    2012-06-16_20-30-46_317.jpg
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  16. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I use my Weber genesis gas grill for actual smoking pretty often. I turn one burner on low, set a foil covered Stainless steel bowl on the burner, and then add more foil on the grate directly above to deflect the heat. Place whatever I'm smoking on the top rack. One bowl of wood (usually chunks of hickory and apple) will last a couple hours, which is about all the smoke the meat will "take". Unless it is really hot outside the temp sits at about 190*, perfect for low and slow.

    Is this real smoking/BBQ - no. Is it a lot easier with about the same results - yup.
    ScotO likes this.
  17. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    These are OK, but usually will set the wood on fire even if you soak them. If you really starve it for air by adding some foil with holes poked in the chips last a lot longer. I do this and don't even bother soaking mine.
    ScotO likes this.
  18. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    I love this site. I always learn so much here. (Yes, I have bookmarked this thread.)
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  19. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    Is there a brand of thermometer that you recommend? Mine always breaks down but then I always buy the cheap crap.
  20. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Meat thermo or cooking temp thermo?
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  21. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    Sorry, cooking temp thermometer. Something I can use to register the heat in the grill.
  22. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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  23. ScotO

    ScotO Guest


    Like Jags said, if you are worried about not being able to tell when the meat is done (I do it all by eye), then you can get good stainless hi-temp meat thermometers (both mechanical and digital) that will do the job for you.....
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  24. will711

    will711 Minister of Fire

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    I always enjoy Beer no matter what time it is;)
  25. will711

    will711 Minister of Fire

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    Must have kicked in ;)
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