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The Charcoal BBQ & Smoker Enthusiast's Thread!


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#1 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 07:01 PM

Today we are receiving a kamado BBQ - I am so excited to get grilling over a real charcoal fire once again!
:jump: :jump: :jump: :jump: :jump: :jump:

We had decided to splurge on a Big Green Egg as our anniversary gift to one another... It's a little early, but we found a great deal and had to snag it... Plus, this way we will get to enjoy cooking on it for the remainder of the summer!

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We're looking forward to smoking all sorts of foods - this bbq is big enough to smoke a 20lb turkey (guess what we're having for Thanksgiving dinner?) and we are really looking forward to smoking all kinds of food!

We're new to smoking, and I'm going to check the library for some books and such, but I know there are plenty of experienced smokers on these boards b/c I have read all your posts with wistful envy... I am excited to finally be able to join in the conversation!

We want to try smoking some cheese and salmon and beef jerky to start with b/c we know what that should taste like when it's done right. Of course, I want to get a brisket on there, and some ribs and some chops and such as well! I saw there is a thread on smoking bacon, so I will be sure to check that once we get a side to work with.

Anyways, I figured why not have a thread for us charcoal BBQ/smoker enthusiasts to all chat in, share tricks and tips, and such... Looking forward to sharing some of our experiences with you all once we get this thing a-cookin'! :mrgreen:

#2 Feck

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:22 PM

welcome to the ww of smoking.

look for me @ camp and i'll give you a little rub.
this year's batch is the best one so far.

#3 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:50 PM

Oooh, thanks - I'd like that very much!!! :mrgreen:

#4 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 09:08 PM

So I have a spice-rubbed organic 4lb chicken with fresh rosemary, garlic, onion and lemon quarters tucked inside the cavity for extra flavour chilling out in the fridge, and a handful of hickory chips soaking in water. I also picked up a couple beef ribs, rubbed them with spices, and the re-wrapped them to chill out with the chicken for a couple of hours... The countdown to the first smokesperiment is on!!! :mrgreen:

#5 kramer

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 03:00 PM

yummm, i have had some particularly amazing smoked briskets this season!!! one was done on the egg... gotta love that pink smoke ring!!

#6 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 09:09 PM

I love smoked brisket so much, but a friend advised that I try smoking easier foods first, and take on brisket once I am more familiar with how our set-up works.

That said, our first smokesperiment was a success!

We smoked a 5 lb organic chicken on Friday evening. We decided to flavour the chicken with a spice rub, and then added a quartered onion, half a lemon, 3 garlic cloves and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary to the cavity to flavour it from within:

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I mixed the spice rub with a little cooking oil so that it would coat the chicken well:

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Soak the wood chips you intend to smoke with for an hour or more. We used hickory wood chips for this smokesperiment and soaked 'em for 2 hours before adding them to the fire:

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The virgin firebox of the Big Green Egg before adding charcoal - everything is so clean, and shiny, and white!

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The hardwood lump charcoal catches fire quickly:

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Looking down thru the top vent as the charcoal catches fire - it's kinda like peeking into a volcano!

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In less than 5 minutes of lighting the charcoal, our Big Green Egg rocketed to 500 degrees fahrenheit!

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The ideal smoking temperature for meats on the Big Green Egg is between 225 - 250 degrees fahrenheit, so we dropped it down a bunch by dampening the vents:

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Smoking takes several hours, so Tyler made us a nice quesadilla appetizer with leftovers from last night's ground-turkey tacos:

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#7 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 09:09 PM

(I had to break this post in half b/c apparently you can only post so many pics on these new boards... :rolleyes:)


3 hours later, we are excited to open the smoker for get our first glimpse of the results!

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As you can see, the chicken stayed nice and moist after 3 hours of smoking:

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Dinner is served! Smoked chicken with an avocado, red onion, and tomato salad:

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To smoke on the Big Green Egg, you need to use indirect heat - we accomplished this by inserting our pizza stone above the hot coals and under the removable grill. Note the colour of the interior of the Big Green Egg after the 3 hour smoking session:

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We really didn't burn much charcoal at all, and the chicken had a good, hearty, smoky flavour:

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We have some spice-rubbed beef ribs in there right now that should be done in about an hour, and we hope to smoke some cheese in time for Vibes. We are both really enjoying learning how to smoke foods, and of course, the results are a delicious incentive as well!

#8 Feck

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 02:45 PM

good luck with the cheese, i'm 0 for 2 with that stuff.

#9 kramer

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 02:58 AM

*LIKE LIKE LIKE*

NICE FOOD PR0N :D

#10 jme

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 03:53 PM

AWESOME. so jealous.. i'm getting pretty fed up with my offset, the temp rises / falls wildly, and one side to the other is vastly different temps. event with multiple internal thermometers I'm getting frustrated.

I keep looking at the kamados and I think the egg is where I'll go eventually. I've prolly go another season or two with my current rig.

I over cooked my ribs this weekend, and I'm pretty pissy about it. :lol:

my favorite place to go read about smoking / BBQ / all things meat is here: http://www.amazingribs.com/ good for recipes, techniques and product reviews.

ENJOY!!!!

#11 deadheadskier

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 05:38 PM

The traditionalists will scoff at this, but I'm just going to throw my recommendation out there for Orion Cookers. I've had one for three years and the thing is the balls. You can accomplish pretty much anything you can do with traditional smokers outside of low temp smoking applications for say making Bacon or Sausages. It's too hot for that.

However, for perfect Birds, Butts, Briskets etc, the thing is unbelievable. Does just as good of a job as a traditional smoker in usually under half the time. A whole chicken or a rack of ribs takes an hour and ten minutes. Butts and Briskets in 3-5 hours depending on weight.

http://theorioncooker.com/

If you're someone just looking to get into BBQ, but don't want to pay big bucks for a big set up or don't really have the time to tend to a smoker, I can't recommend this piece of cooking equipment enough. They're $169 from the website, but I actually got mine at Home Depot on clearance at the end of the fall for $44.

#12 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 10:44 PM

*LIKE LIKE LIKE*

NICE FOOD PR0N :D


Thanks! :mrgreen: The chicken came out great - and we still have a whole bunch left to shred (we froze the extras) and the carcass to make stock out of. For $6, you can not go wrong! Next time I think they have them on sale, I think we will pick up 2 and smoke 'em at the same time.

AWESOME. so jealous.. i'm getting pretty fed up with my offset, the temp rises / falls wildly, and one side to the other is vastly different temps. event with multiple internal thermometers I'm getting frustrated.

I keep looking at the kamados and I think the egg is where I'll go eventually. I've prolly go another season or two with my current rig.


The BGE takes some getting used to, but once you figure out the venting to control the temp, it holds rock-steady. I have since learned that the most affordable place to pick up an Egg is at their EGGfest events - the only one in the NE is in PA, but it might be the place to purchase if you ever decide to get one.

The site you shared is great, thanks for passing that along, I have it bookmarked for future reference

The traditionalists will scoff at this, but I'm just going to throw my recommendation out there for Orion Cookers.


I researched that one when you posted it another time and it really does look great! We decided on the Egg partly b/c one of our big goals of living out of the city with a little land is to build an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven. Since we are renting, we can't possible build one here, tho. The Egg works great as an oven, altho I need to get some firebricks so I can raise the stone up to the lip of the Egg so we can slide the pizza on to the hot stone easily.

We smoked some beef ribs on it before Vibes, and bbq'd some burgers last night. I'm looking forward to cold-smoking some cheese (waiting for it to be a little bit cooler first) and I can't wait to smoke up a big batch of dry-rub Memphis style ribs... :drool: So far, we are really enjoying our new toy. :)

#13 Feck

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 06:42 PM

This year’s chili mix -
NEW MEXICO 3oz
GUAJILLO 15oz
MULATO 3oz
ANCHO 9oz
CHIPOTLE 3oz
After I roast the dry chilis in the oven I seed them and grind them down to a fine powder in an old coffee grinder.
This year I left the Guajillos stay more on the red side than a darker roast like the rest.
This years rub
2 cups chili powder
1 bottle La Flor Garlic Powder 9 oz
1 lg bottle La Flor Onion Powder 6 oz
1 can Szeged Sweet Paprika 5 oz
1 bottle Mc Cormic Celery Seeds 1 5 oz (?)
1 tin Coleman’s Mustard
1 empty celery seed bottle of fresh ground black pepper
1 small package annatto powder

#14 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 06:49 PM

Can't wait to try this, thank you so much for your gift at Vibes - it smells amazing!

What are your suggestions for using it? What should we try first with it?

#15 Feck

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 05:50 PM

i mostly use it on ribs, but it's pretty basic so chicken, turkey, pork loin - blackened fish

you can even add some to any brine you might be using, or even just mix with water and inject it

add some brown sugar for a better bark on ribs, etc.

#16 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 05:45 PM

We've been smoking beef ribs with your rub, and adding a little bit of brown sugar to it as recommended - OMG, the ribs come out divine with a perfect bark! We did a dinner party last weekend and everyone was RAVING about them!

Going to pick up some cheddar this weekend and do our first attempt at smoked cheese. We want to get some ready for when I go and see my family for Thanksgiving... Here's hoping all goes well!!!

#17 hoagie

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 06:02 PM

I love smoked mozzarella cheese!

#18 Feck

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 06:32 PM

We've been smoking beef ribs with your rub, and adding a little bit of brown sugar to it - OMG, the ribs come out divine with a perfect bark! We did a dinner party last weekend and everyone was RAVING about them!

Going to pick up some cheddar this weekend and do our first attempt at smoked cheese. We want to get some ready for when i go and see my family for Thanksgiving... Here's hoping all goes well!!!


it was a very good batch this year - thanks
hope you have better luck with the cheeses than i had.
from my results, my guess - it was way to hot.

#19 jme

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 07:04 PM

cheese is a whole nother beast. you need to keep the temps below 100. i've read anywhere from 75/80-100 depending on the person providing the input.

As i understand it, from my own research you typically need some other equipment to keep that low temp and smoke going. But admittedly I've never tried it.

GOOD LUCK.. let us know how it turns out. :beer:

#20 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 07:17 PM

Thanks for the tips, guys - I know that cheese can be real tricky, but it is SOOOOO GOOD that we just have to try!!! :drool:

You can cold smoke with the BGE by building an outside firebox for it and venting the smoke in thru the bottom vent so that there is no actual fire in the cooker itself, but we are going to try the technique used in this link and hope for the best:

http://www.nakedwhiz...mokedcheese.htm

I will indeed report back! :)

#21 Feck

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 08:34 PM

another site blocked by work, i guess the word "naked" is on the bad list.

i've read the cardboard box + hot plate smokers are good for cheese - very low heat
with my luck, i'd just wind up with burn cardboard fondu

#22 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:35 PM

This weekend we mastered smoking cheese on the charcoal smoker! :v: 

We'd had a few meltdowns in the past... Tastes good, but not so pretty to look at when everything gets all melted and blobby... :funny1:

Anyways, the success story: we got a sharp white cheddar, cut it into long rectangular blocks, and set it in the freezer for about an hour while the coals got to smokin' speed. We mounded the small amount of coals, and vented down to hold steady below 100 degrees C before adding the hickory chips. We put the plate with the very cold cheese directly on-top (and in-contact with) the tray of ice, smoked for an hour, and the cheese wasn't melted a bit - success!

We actually went in for a round two the very next day and double-smoked this batch. It came out killer! :ura1:

I also smoked and then BBQ'd wings for the Super Bowl, and the next-day leftovers were still succulent *and* crunchy even after being doused with sauce that whole time. Total win! I had dusted the wing's with Feck's spice-rub before smoking them, and they were super flavourful and spicy. I don't think we'll ever fry wings again.

Love-love-lovin' the smoker! :heart:



#23 Feck

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:09 PM

what was your weather last weekend ?

i usually don't do anything in the winter, but now i'm thinking it's the right time to smoke cheese.



#24 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:31 PM

It was cold... Like -15 C. That's the best time to smoke cheese, when the ambient temperature can work in your favour.

 

Let me know how yours goes! Putting the cheese into the freezer for an hour and having the plate hold the cheese in-contact with the pan of ice has brought us the best results thus far. It may work well for you, too! :)



#25 jme

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:50 PM

Spring cleaner for my rig this weekend.. as a reminder I've been running a Chargriller DUO, gas / charcoal, with an offset on the charcoal half.  This was my first rig, totally cost effective, and not all that well made.  The gas half of the grill took a BEATING over the winter.  I have parts rusting, and grates going to shit.

 

I need to get this thing through this year, so I made a couple of purchases, most importantly, Grill Grates: http://www.grillgrate.com/  I've wanted these for awhile after reading reviews on Amazing Ribs and other sites.  i CANNOT WAIT to get a fat hunk of meat on these fuckers.    I also picked up replacement probes for my Dual (meat / ambient) therometer.  those twisted metal cables only last so long.  And a 6 second read thermopen. for $20, it's good to have a 2nd one.

 

I had a lot of anxiety leading up to opening the grillcover, and in my sleepless nights, with a newborn I've scoped my next setup.   I like the ability to do the big smoke but also the simple grill on another given day.  I think I'm going to go with the following setup:

 

22.5 Weber Kettle:  Maybe the gold, maybe the performance, not the platinum.  if I get the gold, I'm going to need the side table, no big deal. I've had lots of success in my BBQing with the help of online forums and communities, and Weber's Kettle community is borderline psycho.  there's more info than you need out there, and frankly, Weber makes some really quality shit.  I see people talkign about thier 10 and 15 year old rigs from Weber. 

 

SMOKENATOR: http://www.smokenator.com/ people RAVE about this thing, and if you can turn a kettle into a full blown smoker for about $75, why not?  three levels of cooking with a "hovergirll" rack that comes with the $75 package

 

BBQ Guru PartyQ Thermo / Blower: http://store.thebbqg...erentry/Party Q 4 AA batteries power this thermometer and fan package.  These guys make some serious equipment for the professionals, and this is the first one that runs on batteries, and is geared for the home enthusiast   .  keep your temperature within 3 degrees over a 14 hour cook without touching a damper?  FUCK AND YES. :beer:

 

there 's a SHITLOAD of aftermarket stuff beyond this too.  Here's a taste

Kettle Pizza - http://www.kettlepizza.com/

Cast Iron Grate system: https://www.cast-iron-grate.com/ modular grates include a griddle, a pizza stone, and a veggie basket.

 

Any other Kettle owners that have war stories, or anything, feel free to share!



#26 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:52 PM

Nice new toys, JME... I'd like to get a platesetter for our BGE, but the pizza stone is doing it's job, so it's note likely it'll happen this year... We do need to replace the gasket, but that's a mere $12.

 

I want to try smoking some haddock in the near future. Any wood recommendations for that?



#27 jme

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 05:24 PM

the grates are awesome.   a bit of some trial and error on finding the most efficient cleaning solution, but we're getting there.

 

after making bacon this weekend, I almost want something awful to happen to my rig so that I can replace it.  i am really beginning to hate babysitting this POS i have now. 



#28 Feck

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 06:12 PM

no war stories, but i do enjoy cooking on my friend's weber when i'm over for a bbq.

the fresh caught/grilled sea bass was so good, even the non fish eating guy that caught the sucker came back for seconds. 



#29 georgi

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:44 PM

I can't wait for Rich to use the smoker.  I'm craving pulled pork like WHOA!  Mmm!



#30 jme

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 05:35 PM

I can't wait for Rich to use the smoker.  I'm craving pulled pork like WHOA!  Mmm!

 

If he hasn't fired it up by father's day, then that's the day. :beer:   

 

and I'm curious to know how BBQ works for the low salt intake, Georgi.  there's a TON of salt in rubs, along with an even larger amount of sugar (though, i'm not sure that effects you).  I've got some friends with low sodium diets too, so I'm genuinely curious to know if Rich changes up the amount of salt in the rub, or alters any sauces that might go with the meat??



#31 Feck

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 05:52 PM

i never put salt in my rubs, and only use sugar once and a while.

i've also gone bare on the prepaired mustard, and all the ribs still went* :)

 

 

* bbq sauces usually include both,ymmv



#32 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 12:38 PM

I think I'mma pick up a chicken to smoke this weekend.



#33 jme

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:03 PM

when I do chicken I Cut it in half and smoke it in parts. I cut out the spine, and keep it in half.

 

I have never made a chicken BBQ rub.  I use an herb rub (Meathead's Simon and Garfunkel to be exact - http://www.amazingri...funkel_rub.html

 

I also do the "reverse sear" by putting it skin side down on a hot grill to crisp up the skin at the end.  

 

I usually run the box a lil hotter (275-300) with a heavy smoke, so I guess it's essentially a roast.   I sauce with a mustard BBQ sauce, or tomato BBQ sauce at the end.

 

https://lh3.googleus...5-24-11_860.jpg

 

I'm doing ribs this weekend... my brother is making one of the racks with a spicy peanut rub / sauce.  should be interesting.

 

I'm making a smoked pork butt on Father's day.  I think I'm going to do a mexican spiced rub, and set it up for CARNITAS. mmmm



#34 MeOmYo

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:12 PM

doing 125 chicken halves on Monday for the Veterans Club.  Using the Cornell marinade.



#35 Eddie Z

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 02:18 PM

I need to visit this thread more often.  LOL



#36 Lazy Lightning

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:54 PM

when I do chicken I Cut it in half and smoke it in parts. I cut out the spine, and keep it in half.

 

I have never made a chicken BBQ rub.  I use an herb rub (Meathead's Simon and Garfunkel to be exact - http://www.amazingri...funkel_rub.html

 

I also do the "reverse sear" by putting it skin side down on a hot grill to crisp up the skin at the end.  

 

I usually run the box a lil hotter (275-300) with a heavy smoke, so I guess it's essentially a roast.   I sauce with a mustard BBQ sauce, or tomato BBQ sauce at the end.

 

https://lh3.googleus...5-24-11_860.jpg

 

I'm doing ribs this weekend... my brother is making one of the racks with a spicy peanut rub / sauce.  should be interesting.

 

I'm making a smoked pork butt on Father's day.  I think I'm going to do a mexican spiced rub, and set it up for CARNITAS. mmmm


Ooh, did not see this till now. Thanks, I will try this next time! :)



#37 Feck

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 05:59 PM

we used one's bbq sauce a couple of times, s.i.l. even asked for the recipe once.

 

 

BBQ sauce - one

This sauce can be made in large quantities and kept refrigerated for up to two months.)

1 cup sweet chili sauce (available in Asian markets)

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup A1 steak sauce

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 T. crushed garlic

1/4 cup white horseradish

3 T. Dijon mustard

1 T. Tabasco sauce

3/4 cup molasses

1 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/2 cup sesame oil

1 cap liquid smoke (optional)



#38 jme

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 05:24 PM

yo, Eddie, check this out.... Cooking whole CALF.  200lbs.

 

http://www.seriousea...xcerpt_readmore



#39 Feck

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 11:59 PM

so I'm going to fire up the smoker tomorrow while I clean out the garage and look for baconman.

small rack of babybacks, 1/2 turkey breast w/ wing, 2lb of bacon and some brats.

the rib's are rubbed, the turkey injected, bacon, has cured.

lumpwood charcoal and apple wood chips ready.

I figure 3-4 hours and I'm done.

time for a beer 



#40 jme

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 03:50 PM

right on FECK!!!  I opened mine up on SAT morning and it's official.  I need a new rig!!

 

AND my patience was worn thin at the Lowe's back ordering and not enough staff to assist.  

 

SO, I came home from Lowes and ordered the grills and covers from Amazon.  Free Shipping ,no morons, no hassle in transport.

 

The Weber 2 burner Spirit e-210 gasser and the 22.5" Kettle, Performance Gold are on their way!!!

 

I'll order up the smokenator and the partyQ over the next couple weeks, and I'll be in business by May.  

 

whew, it was getting close. :lol:



#41 Feck

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 03:57 PM

yeah, Lowes' was no help, but Home Depot was worse, replaced my barrel smoker for a new one.

It is missing a few vents, but did an ok job last weekend.

I'll make a few modifications to increase the air flow when needed and i noticed the thermomiter on the dome was reading lower than it was.

either that or the wind just cooled it off too fast.

wound up finishing the turkey inside, but the rest came out with no problem.



#42 syd_25

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 12:36 PM

Got a new smoker over the winter and still wondering if I should build a smokehouse.

 

Anyone built one before?  Wondering what your experience has been.

 

 

And that whole calf looks damn yummy.



#43 jme

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 03:53 PM

what rig didya get Syd?

 

I certainly don't have the need for a smokehouse, but this certainly looks fun!!  http://www.diyready....let-smokehouse/



#44 syd_25

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 04:45 PM

Got it for xmas.....  Hoping its not raining too much this weekend.  Would like to get it seasoned.   Also have to figure out a way to cover it.  Not looking forward to dragging it back and forth from the shed.

 

http://www.homedepot...732f744_300.jpg

 

and with the smokehouse thats it... it looks fun.  And my wife isn't against the idea.  Always a bonus.



#45 jme

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 06:45 PM

PLENTY of room in that guy. I like the hooks, good feature.   It's ridiculous that the manufacturer doesn't make a cover for it.  and I can't find any suggestions yet.

 

here's a guy that did some mods with that unit.  http://www.smokingme...ertical-smoker


#46 syd_25

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:19 PM

Wow, that thread has tons of info.    Looks like I'm gonna be building a charcoal basket this weekend.

 

And in there they showed Brinkmann now makes a cover for it!   And that just made my day.

 

Thanks jme.  Really appreciate it.



#47 syd_25

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 01:18 PM

Seasoned and smoked up the first batch of the season.   Still working on the learning curve with the new smoker. 



#48 Taarven

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 04:51 PM

The Egg does look really cool, and would solve the problem of smoking in high winds (or winter). I overcame that with some chimney insulation, wires, and thermal tape to make a blanket for it. For the price this is about the best grill / smojker I have found, and love it dearly.

 

http://www.chargrill...cchk=1&Itemid=1



#49 jme

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 06:01 PM

The Egg does look really cool, and would solve the problem of smoking in high winds (or winter). I overcame that with some chimney insulation, wires, and thermal tape to make a blanket for it. For the price this is about the best grill / smojker I have found, and love it dearly.

 

http://www.chargrill...cchk=1&Itemid=1

 

i learned how to smoke on that and the Duo model.   very good entry units, no doubt.   But I am over the offset horizontal setup.  way too much to baby sit, and very inefficient.   Don't get me wrong, I've had a  blast with mine and learned alot, but I like to get away from the smoker for more than 15 minutes at a time. :lol:

 

and after 3 years I would have had to replace nearly every internal part in a leaky rust bucket.  and I bought a new cover for it each winter, too. 

 

loving the Kettle Grill so far.  need to get the smoker setup going, but we're getting there.



#50 jme

jme
  • VibeTribe
  • 6,093 posts

Posted 08 May 2014 - 03:23 PM

OH YEAH!!!

 

IMG_20140504_134042.jpg