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Old 05-18-2010, 12:36 PM   #1
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Default How much wood should I need in my brinkman smoker?

This isn't the exact smoker we have, but it's very similar http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053.

I've only tried to smoke a brisket and a chicken twice, and both times I had serious problems with not only overwhelming smoke flavor, but also with temperature control. I believe that both of which can be fixed by not using so much wood and playing with air intake, but I'm not exactly sure how to go about doing this.

So here is my question. How much hardwood do you guys typically use? Do you soak the wood first? How long do you let the hardwood burn before adding the meat to the pit?

Also this weekend I'll be attempting to smoke a couple of pork shoulders, so if you have any advice pertaining to that, that would also be appreciated.


Thanks,
Jacob

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Old 05-18-2010, 02:58 PM   #2
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HalfPint,

I personally use LUMP charcoal in my Oklahoma Joe's smoker that has almost the same size of wood box that ur smoker has. I use a charocal starter (no lighter fluid!) to get the lump charcoal nice & hot before dumping it in the fire box. After the temp becomes stable @ 225F, I add a few chunks of the smoking hardwood to get a good smoke going (dampers all the way open). Then I add my meat and depending on the style/type/cut I usually only let the hardwood smoke be exposed to the meat for a couple of hours. I learned through trial & error while smoking several batches of ribs that over exposure to smoke will make the meat taste similar to standing downwind of a roaring campfire . I don't soak the hardwood in water because I have found that while it makes a thicker smoke in the beginning, the diffused water quickly evaporates out when using lump charcoal and I have a pretty good supply on hand thanks to last year's ice storm. If you still prefer using all hardwood for the entire fire/smoke, try wrapping the meat in foil after a few hours of smoke exposure. Also, I have found that using lump charcoal makes maintaining temp easier & more consistent.

Here is a link to the lump charcoal I use: http://www.lowes.com/pd_44516-37442-23288_0_?newSearch=true&catalogId=10051&productId= 1087083&Ntt=lump+charcoal&N=0&langId=-1&Ns=p_product_price%7C0&storeId=10151&Ntk=i_produ cts&ddkey=http:CategoryDisplay##

I know it says it unavailable, but they usually have it for around $3 ~ $5 bucks in my area. One bag will usually last me for a 6 to 8 hour smoke depending on temp & weather. Hope this helps & good luck! Nothing sounds better than some smoked meat & cold homebrew!

One more thing, here is a link pertaining to pork shoulders: http://www.smoking-meat.com/pork-shoulder-recipe.html

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Old 05-18-2010, 03:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garr-Ro View Post
HalfPint,

I personally use LUMP charcoal in my Oklahoma Joe's smoker that has almost the same size of wood box that ur smoker has. I use a charocal starter (no lighter fluid!) to get the lump charcoal nice & hot before dumping it in the fire box. After the temp becomes stable @ 225F, I add a few chunks of the smoking hardwood to get a good smoke going (dampers all the way open). Then I add my meat and depending on the style/type/cut I usually only let the hardwood smoke be exposed to the meat for a couple of hours. I learned through trial & error while smoking several batches of ribs that over exposure to smoke will make the meat taste similar to standing downwind of a roaring campfire . I don't soak the hardwood in water because I have found that while it makes a thicker smoke in the beginning, the diffused water quickly evaporates out when using lump charcoal and I have a pretty good supply on hand thanks to last year's ice storm. If you still prefer using all hardwood for the entire fire/smoke, try wrapping the meat in foil after a few hours of smoke exposure. Also, I have found that using lump charcoal makes maintaining temp easier & more consistent.

Here is a link to the lump charcoal I use: http://www.lowes.com/pd_44516-37442-23288_0_?newSearch=true&catalogId=10051&productId= 1087083&Ntt=lump+charcoal&N=0&langId=-1&Ns=p_product_price%7C0&storeId=10151&Ntk=i_produ cts&ddkey=http:CategoryDisplay##

I know it says it unavailable, but they usually have it for around $3 ~ $5 bucks in my area. One bag will usually last me for a 6 to 8 hour smoke depending on temp & weather. Hope this helps & good luck! Nothing sounds better than some smoked meat & cold homebrew!

One more thing, here is a link pertaining to pork shoulders: http://www.smoking-meat.com/pork-shoulder-recipe.html
Thanks a lot man.

Yeah, I'm a grilling pro, but smoking is new to me. I ALWAYS use lump charcoal when grilling, so I actually have a couple of bags sitting in the garage.

So do you leave the dampers all the way open for the entire cooking process? So what do you do after you smoke for a couple of hours? Have you ever smoked something for say 12 hours? If so, how did your process differ from above?

Thanks,
Jacob
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Old 05-18-2010, 03:28 PM   #4
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I am no pro at smoking but recently made one myself. Yours is an offeset smoker. Lots of info on offset smokers and their use and tweakage.

You adjust the air in dampers to choke the fire box just enough to maintain a temp.

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Old 05-18-2010, 03:34 PM   #5
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A couple suggestions first. Without looking at that smoker in detail I can bet that it probably needs a few modifications to make it easier on you. They usually need the exhaust extended down, a baffle of sort sort installed, and many times a different fire basket put into the fire box. Just google and you will probably find tons of things for that cooker.

Also as far as the amount of smoke, I would reccomend that you start with using charcoal as your fuel and adding 2 or 3 fist sized chunks of unsoaked wood.

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Old 05-18-2010, 03:46 PM   #6
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you keep the exhaust wide open and control heat by adjusting the offset box air vent. here is the information I used to mod my own smoke-n-pit.
I use a combo of hardwood and lump coal in my smoker, it took a good bit of messing around before I had good success, much like learning the quirks in your brew setup. I use foil to keep the smoke level where I want it by wrapping the food until it is cooked to perfection.

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Old 05-18-2010, 03:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
So do you leave the dampers all the way open for the entire cooking process? So what do you do after you smoke for a couple of hours?
When smoking for a "short" duration (4 to 5 hours), I leave my dampers all the way open because my smoker will maintain heat that long on a medium sized fire. I leave my damper all the way open when hardwood is on the fire, closing the damper traps smoke and can cause the "intense" smoke flavor. I like the smoke to flow around the meat and out the damper instead of being trapped/slowed in the smoker. If the hardwood is gone, I close the damper a bit to maintain heat on longer smokes. After I smoke for a few hours (again, depending on cut/style/type), I don't use any more hardwood, I move the meat away from the "hot spot" in the smoker, sometime wrap in foil or a wet towel, & then go with the "low & slow" method until the meat reaches preferred internal temp.

Quote:
Have you ever smoked something for say 12 hours? If so, how did your process differ from above?
Yes, I've done a few big briskets. Bigger cuts can take a longer duration of hardwood smoke so I extend the time and amount of hardwood I use. So, for 12 hours I would throw hardwood & smoke @ it for around 4 hours, then low & slow for the remaining duration.

Please remember this is only MY...er + SWMBO...personal tastes (and I haven't won any competitions!), many guys use hardwood for the entire smoking duration,and a whole different process. I just like the temperature stability of the lump charcoal and decreased fire attention needed. To me, using all hardwood in my smoker due to the size of the woodbox is more of a job than enjoyment.
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:27 PM   #8
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Well thanks for all of the suggestions guys. For now, I think I'm going to just use it as is, but mods could come in the future. To be honest with you, I never even thought about just using hardwood to heat the smoker. For some reason, I thought you just used charcoal to start the hardwood and then from there on out, it was the hardwood only. II think that since the lump is something that I'm more familiar to, this will work out much better.

Thanks for all of the suggestions guys.

Jacob

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Old 05-19-2010, 04:12 PM   #9
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Well, I rubbed my pork but and threw it in the smoker about an hour ago. I'm doing better than I ever have. I had a pecan limb about 5" diameter, so I cut about 5 fist sized pieces off and threw a couple of them in the smoker box with some lump charcoal I got burning really hot. It's sitting at a steady 225. I've got the smoker side damper half way opened and the other damper is all the way open. It's a 12 lb shoulder, so I think I'm going to do six hours on the smoker and maybe let it go in the oven for another 6-10 hours.

Thanks for all the advice,
Jacob

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Old 05-19-2010, 05:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Garr-Ro View Post
HalfPint,
I use a charocal starter (no lighter fluid!) to get the lump charcoal nice & hot before dumping it in the fire box.
Tell me more about your charcoal starter. I have only smoked one pork shoulder. But I had to use lighter fluid to get it started and I HATE lighter fluid. I was also using charcoal. I will use the lump stuff next.
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