Smoker buying advice

Feel free to ask any questions, one of the experts will certainly respond, don't be afraid to ask anything, we were all beginners at some point.

Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby wade » 23 Sep 2015, 04:03

I have cooked my 12-14 lb Christmas turkey in my Weber 57cm for the past 8 to 10 years.
User avatar
wade
Got Wood!
Got Wood!
 
Joined: 14 Aug 2011, 21:03
Location: Woodchurch, Kent

Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby Chris__M » 23 Sep 2015, 10:36

My Weber actually suffered from dodgy leg syndrome. It took a drill and a retaining screw to fix the problem. I'm not over-practical with my hands, and even I managed it. The important bit - the kettle itself - cannot be faulted.

With regard to chicken size, when cooking larger birds I used to use two Weber charcoal baskets, and placed the chicken between them on the charcoal grate itself. It cooked brilliantly, with extra crispy skin.
Chris__M
Rubbed and Ready
Rubbed and Ready
 
Joined: 30 Jul 2010, 22:28
Location: Market Deeping, Lincolnshire

Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby QueFrescoPaul » 24 Sep 2015, 09:12

Nice fix for "dodgy leg syndrome" & good way to go for beer can chicken, will try with my vertical chicken roaster.
User avatar
QueFrescoPaul
Got Wood!
Got Wood!
 
Joined: 12 Aug 2015, 10:35
Location: Clitheroe, Lancashire.

Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby essexsmoker » 25 Sep 2015, 09:14

Think they have changed leg design now. They seem to be push in with a lock button. Much better.

I always spatchcock my chickens. Safer and cook in no time.
essexsmoker
Rubbed and Ready
Rubbed and Ready
 
Joined: 31 May 2013, 18:32

Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby wade » 27 Sep 2015, 09:54

essexsmoker wrote:Think they have changed leg design now. They seem to be push in with a lock button.


Yes - that would make sense.
User avatar
wade
Got Wood!
Got Wood!
 
Joined: 14 Aug 2011, 21:03
Location: Woodchurch, Kent

Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby Bryan_80 » 07 Oct 2015, 13:29

Thanks for all the advice guys. It's all appreciated.

In then end, I decided to go ahead and buy a ProQ Frontier Elite over the Weber kettle. There were a few reasons for this but I won't bore you with the details...

Anyway, it arrived at the end of last week, so Sunday was spent putting it together and seasoning it, which was all pretty straight forward and had no problems with it.

I decided to smoke a chicken for experimental purposes rather than doing 'dry runs' as I was so excited :)

After seasoning it at very high temperature, I brought the heat down to 250f, and popped the chicken in (with a standard dry rub). Here was where I had the first problem. The coal just couldn't get hot again and after checking on it, I noticed that there wasn't a great deal of it left so I topped up with hot coal from the chimney which did the trick for a while... then the same problem, so I topped up again... and to cook the chicken from start to finish, I had used 3 lots of coal. I suppose I could've put a ton of coal to start with, but as I'm still in the learning process I don't want to waste coal and food.

As it happens, the chicken did come out absolutely fantastically well. So juicy and succulent. I received many compliments! I can't wait until the next go, which will probably be next weekend.

So far, I love the smoker minus a few problems. I don't think the thermometer is up to much, but I have ordered a Maverick and it's in the post so that'll solve that one. The highest door isn't shaped very well, and a fair amount of smoke was leaking from there so I will have to bend it a little to minimise the smoke and heat waste. And lastly, the vents are very tight and without the use of gloves they are impossible to adjust due to the heat so I have ordered welders gloves. Other than that, I am over the moon!

The only other problem I've encountered is the charcoal. I had read that lumpwood charcoal was the best for using so I bought a big bag from B&Q. However, the vast majority of the coal in the bag is very small. Too small in fact to fit into the charcoal basket so it just fell straight through. This is probably why I had to keep topping up the coal to maintain a decent heat.

So a couple of last questions for you is which coal is the best to buy, and if I put unlit coal into the basket, once it's been lit by the other coals, does this not produce too much dirty coal smoke rather than the nice wood smoke?

Cheers

Bryan
Bryan_80
Got Wood!
Got Wood!
 
Joined: 19 Sep 2015, 16:26

Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby wade » 07 Oct 2015, 15:32

To keep a good long even temperature in the ProQ and WSMs I find good quality briquettes (Heat Beads or Weber premium) are best to use as a base and then add your wood of choice on the top. Use the Minion method. Place a can of beans in the middle and neatly stack the briquettes around it. Remove the can and place a dozen fully lit briquettes in the centre. On top of the unlit coals place blocks of wood (or pellets) of your choice. Have patience waiting for it to get up to temperature - it could take 45 minutes or so - and as it approaches the temperature you want then start to close the bottom vent. It can also be helpful to half close the top vent throughout too.

Yes, ignore the built in thermometer. The Maverick will give you a much more accurate grate temperature reading.

Good luck 8-)
User avatar
wade
Got Wood!
Got Wood!
 
Joined: 14 Aug 2011, 21:03
Location: Woodchurch, Kent

Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby essexsmoker » 08 Oct 2015, 09:00

I agree with Wade, except I tend to have the unit throttled back from the start. I find it's easier to throttle it back or raise it slightly from near the target temp and also it doesn't gobble so much fuel right at the start.

If you have no idea what the position is I'm sure there are pro q users that can give you an idea of the final position, then you just have to tweek it for your particular unit.

Maverick and minion are your friend. Use them. :)
essexsmoker
Rubbed and Ready
Rubbed and Ready
 
Joined: 31 May 2013, 18:32

Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby Bryan_80 » 10 Oct 2015, 07:35

Thanks again guys.

The Maverick has arrived, just need to wait for the heat beads then I'll have another go. I've got a couple rib racks in the freezer ready to go. Roll on next weekend :D
Bryan_80
Got Wood!
Got Wood!
 
Joined: 19 Sep 2015, 16:26

Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby Chasing blue smoke » 13 Oct 2015, 00:58

The weber kettle can last a very long time if taken care of.Mine is 16 and still going strong.It's being given to my son in a few months.He can't wait to get it,he was 7 when i got it as a fathers day gift.
User avatar
Chasing blue smoke
Got Wood!
Got Wood!
 
Joined: 03 Oct 2015, 20:34
Location: Eastern shore of Maryland USA

Previous

Return to New To BBQ/Smoking - Help & Advice

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest