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Posted: 5/9/2004 8:18:56 AM EST
I have a smoker BBQ. It has two chambers, one small one where you put the wood and the charcoal, the other bigger chamber is for the meat. The heat and smoke rises from the smaller chamber into the bigger one thru an opening where they are atteched on the side.

Here is my problem. When I cook meats it always turns out dry and seems to be cooking way to fast. I tried wrapping the meat in tin foil and this helped, but I need more ideas.

anyone?

SGtar15
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:22:33 AM EST
did you soak the wood first? Also, if you've got one of those two chamber black ones you should be using wood chunks not chips.

You can also put a metal bowl of water in there. It will evaporate & keep the meat moist. We used to put water & beer in it, and cook some new potatos in there with it. Came out fantastic with the ribs.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:25:26 AM EST
wrapping it in tin foil defeats the smoking purpose doesnt it? (Not like I am talking from authority... just asking)

I know that when we are servicing warming drawers, people complain that the food dries out. the manufacturer recommends that you put a container of water to add steam to keep food moist. I dont know if this may help with smokers. Just a suggestion.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:26:18 AM EST
Check to see how hot it is, shouldn't be more than 220 degrees.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:29:27 AM EST

Originally Posted By DrFrige:
wrapping it in tin foil defeats the smoking purpose doesnt it? (Not like I am talking from authority... just asking)

I know that when we are servicing warming drawers, people complain that the food dries out. the manufacturer recommends that you put a container of water to add steam to keep food moist. I dont know if this may help with smokers. Just a suggestion.



Unless you wrap it REALLY tight, alum foil isn't airtight. Wrapping the meat sort of steams it in it's own juice. SgtAr15, try the above mentioned water pan, it works. As for chips vs. chunks, if you soak the chips long enough, they will work, but chunks do work better. Also be sure to kepp the temp under 225 it produces better results. Happy smokin'!
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:30:51 AM EST
You need to purchase a digital thermometer and keep the temperature in the cooking chamber at no more than 225 degrees. Use your air dampers to hold down temperatures to about 225. Smoking is done "low and slow." It's a lot of work but when done right, it's well worth it. Get a case of ice cold beer, sit back and relax. I cook a pork shoulder for about 16 hours.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:35:47 AM EST
I bought the same style smoker two months ago and if you aren't soaking your wood chunks or logs for 24 hours before using, your meat will always turn out dry.

Wood chips are too small and cannot absorb enough water to moisturize the air which in turn keeps the meat from drying out during cooking.

Use wood chunks or logs and make sure to soak 'em for atleast 24 hours. That'll solve your dry meat problems.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:37:21 AM EST

Originally Posted By Mmanwitgun:
Check to see how hot it is, shouldn't be more than 220 degrees.



My suggestion too. Too hot is bad ... too cold is bad too.

Slow and easy is the way to smoke meat. If too hot splash a bit of water on the fire, too cold just put a handful of chips on.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:39:14 AM EST
If I soak the wood then how the hell do I light it???

And there are two vents, one by the small chamber for the fire, and the second at the end of the smoke stack pipe in the second chamber. DO I keep the second vent closed? Won't this kill my fire?

SGatr15
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:42:33 AM EST
As has been mentioned, the temperature has a lot to do with it in my limited smoking experience. If the problem is pesistent, then this may be a lot of your problem. If not, you may have to look at the meat you're buying too.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:45:51 AM EST
White men can't BBQ (OK, I can't either and I'm not a brother so I feel your pain).

Build a smaller fire then put the soaked wood atop. Wood doesn't soak all the way through so it's not like you're trying to burn a wet sponge. As suggested earlier, sometimes you have to spray water onto the fire to bring it down. Slow cooking with a low heat seals in the juices and makes for a moist BBQ (so my buddies who are brothers tell me). If you can create extra distance (raise the grill), do that too.

Culinary challenged, I have the honour, Sir, to be

your obedient servant.



Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:48:45 AM EST
Soak the big wood chips mesquite and hickory for at least several hours if not overnight and then get a med sized coffee can and fill with water and liquid smoke and set it in there as well and you might have some success.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:50:50 AM EST

Originally Posted By sgtar15:
If I soak the wood then how the hell do I light it???
SGatr15



Start a fire in the firebox with regular charcoal. Once it's going good then you can put the soaked wood on top of that. Or you can simply start the fire with unsoaked wood, and add the soaked once it's going.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:51:51 AM EST

Originally Posted By sgtar15:
If I soak the wood then how the hell do I light it???

And there are two vents, one by the small chamber for the fire, and the second at the end of the smoke stack pipe in the second chamber. DO I keep the second vent closed? Won't this kill my fire?

SGatr15


Think of the vent by the fire box as the throttle. Get and use the thermometer. Keep your smoke chamber under 220 by using the throttle. Also dont try to smoke lean cuts. A little fat is a good thing.


P.S. I'm smoking ribs right now.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:54:52 AM EST
I am assuming you have a New Braunfels Bandera or something like it. You need several modifications to your smoker that are easy to do and make a world of difference. Start here:

BBQ links

and if you have a Bandera also go here:

Bandera Forum

It also just takes some experience. Smoke and Spice is a damn good book. Get it.

Here is how I do a Boston Butt. I season it up and then wrap it in heavy duty tin foil. I build a nice big fire using charcoal and put the butt in for 6-10 hours. After that, unwrap the meat and place open on the rack. I then light more charcoal and add it at this point. I add water-soaked wood chunks (doesn't need to soak but for several hours) Soaking makes the wood smolder and produces more smoke than throwing dry wood on. You can use dry wood for the whole project if you have a bunch for free but I use charcoal to save money and it burns nicely. I then let the meat smoke for another few hours, cooking it for around 12-14 hours total. If the fire is too hot, you can overcook the meat. If the fire is right, you can go several hours past when the meat is cooked and it will not hurt it. Water pans can help but some of the heat energy from the fire has to go to steaming that water so you have to use more fuel (charcoal). I used to use the water pans but have quit. If you use one and the water is boiling, the fire is too hot. As far as working the vents on the smoker, here is what I do. I start with the fire vent all the way open. After about an hour, I close it down some to conserve charcoal. I also leave the exit vent about half open during the whole process. It depends on your smoker. Just experiment with it. Some say to leave the exit vent all the way open and control the fire at the firebox vent, but I control both. I am also thinking about getting a fire resistant cloth sleeve made fr the smoking cabinet to keep in heat and smoke. Mine leaks a good bit around the seam between the pit and smoker and at the smoker door. The baffle described in the Bandera forum helps stop leaking at the seam. Hope this helps.

The cabinet style smokers are inefficient and leak out heat. You need a baffle and you need to build a new grate for the fire pit. It is a great smoker but it needs mods.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 8:57:11 AM EST
Go read here

BBQ FORUM
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 9:07:35 AM EST

Originally Posted By otar:

Originally Posted By sgtar15:
If I soak the wood then how the hell do I light it???

And there are two vents, one by the small chamber for the fire, and the second at the end of the smoke stack pipe in the second chamber. DO I keep the second vent closed? Won't this kill my fire?

SGatr15


Think of the vent by the fire box as the throttle. Get and use the thermometer. Keep your smoke chamber under 220 by using the throttle. Also dont try to smoke lean cuts. A little fat is a good thing.


P.S. I'm smoking ribs right now.



Me too! I've got 20 lbs. going right now in the ol' Brinkmann Pit Master Deelucks! (Similar to the smoker Sarge decribed). Low heat and high BAC are the key to great smokin!
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 9:16:25 AM EST
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 9:31:11 AM EST
I have one of those and only use it really for poultry, I prefer steaks grilled over the flame and not smoked. Get the thermometer and adjust the vent on the firebox and on the chimeny until you get the correct temperature, I usually have the firebox vent about half open and the chimney about three fourths open. I did my turkey this way last Thanksgiving and it was awesome. I usually keep the temp about 250-300 and use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 9:37:16 AM EST
its easier for me to drive over to 95th and stoney island and buy em allready cooked
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 9:45:17 AM EST
Glad to see a lot of fellow smokers on the board. I use my gas grill with a tray of charcoal to the side. Water is a must to keep things moist. I use a small cast iron pan. I also use a vinegar based mop about every hour. Sounds like your temp is too high. Like most have said, long and slow cooking is the key.

Wood soaked chunks are the best I have found. I also have used some "wood dust" just really small chips. they give off a lot of smoke quick but don't last long. Best to use a combination of different size chips to get a longer smoke time. Try the Jack Daniels brand of wood chips. They come from the wood barrel used to make fine sipping whiskey.



Link Posted: 5/9/2004 11:05:00 AM EST
Only a Yankee would ask how to BBQ.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 11:28:33 AM EST

Originally Posted By GreyGhost:
Only a Yankee would ask how to BBQ.



True, and a southerner would keep quiet while fucking up food for the rest of the summer

SGtar15
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 11:35:24 AM EST
A BBQ is an extension of the Kitchen, why are you operating the BBQ?
Let the wife do it, after all it is mothers day
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 11:41:55 AM EST

Originally Posted By dpmmn:
A BBQ is an extension of the Kitchen, why are you operating the BBQ?
Let the wife do it, after all it is mothers day


Because my pit is out in front of the garage, where I have my beer refrigerator, stereo hookup, couch, and easy chair set up
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 11:42:21 AM EST
then again, a southerner wouldnt call smoking BBQ...

it aint BBQ till ya get the sauce or a rub. otherwise its smoking or grilling.

'nuff said.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 11:43:44 AM EST

Originally Posted By dpmmn:
A BBQ is an extension of the Kitchen, why are you operating the BBQ?
Let the wife do it, after all it is mothers day



another obviously yankee comment.

the grill is for the man, the kitchen is for the woman, and ne'er the two shall meet.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 11:53:52 AM EST

Originally Posted By Hank:

Originally Posted By dpmmn:
A BBQ is an extension of the Kitchen, why are you operating the BBQ?
Let the wife do it, after all it is mothers day



another obviously yankee comment.

the grill is for the man, the kitchen is for the woman, and ne'er the two shall meet.



Sure I am Yankee
I am also a Tennese Squire from down Lynchburg way, are you?
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 12:58:49 PM EST
Doctor smoker here



My smoker has a water pan in the bottom like right above the heat box, prevents dry cooked meat.

What brand do you have?

Information here

My smoker



I also have 3 large apple trees in the back yard and 2 cherry trees for my wood. Never have bought any wood yet
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 1:12:12 PM EST

Originally Posted By dpmmn:

Originally Posted By Hank:

Originally Posted By dpmmn:
A BBQ is an extension of the Kitchen, why are you operating the BBQ?
Let the wife do it, after all it is mothers day



another obviously yankee comment.

the grill is for the man, the kitchen is for the woman, and ne'er the two shall meet.



Sure I am Yankee
I am also a Tennese Squire from down Lynchburg way, are you?



I think you ment Tennessee squire No flame intended
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 1:12:34 PM EST
First thing you are doing wrong is asking anyone on this site about anything involving smoke unless it comes out of a barrel.

Tj
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 2:47:05 PM EST

Originally Posted By dpmmn:
A BBQ is an extension of the Kitchen, why are you operating the BBQ?
Let the wife do it, after all it is mothers day



Breakfast and BBQ are the man's domain. Why let a woman ruin them. Have you no shame.
Link Posted: 5/9/2004 3:01:31 PM EST
The secret is in three things:

Temperature, water, beer.

As previously stated, control the temperature in the smoking drum with the vents. Keep it below 220 degrees.

Put a pot of water in with the meat to steam it.

Slowly pour a couple of very cold beers down the cooks throat.

It will turn out great.
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