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  #1  
Old 02-19-2018, 10:10 AM
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First off, if this is in the wrong place, apologies. Mods, feel free to move or delete.
I got a Broil King vertical propane smoker for Christmas
https://www.broilkingbbq.com/grills/...cal-gas-smoker
Decided to christen it this weekend.
Roast chicken, baked potatoes, baked apples for dessert.

Chicken was great ( took way to long, but possibly because it was big) potatoes (4 hours) & apples (3 hours) were both undercooked.
I had a couple of issues, possibly (probably) related.
1) used pecan chip for smoke. Soaked them for 30 minutes. Let them drip dry before starting burner.
I never saw smoke. I got a bit of a whiff of smoke, but no visible white smoke. This morning the chip tray was full of ashes, so maybe the invisible smoke was fine.
2) the recipe is was using for the chicken (From Traeger’s website) said to set the grill at 225 and cook for 2.5 hours. I couldn’t keep my smoker temp that low. I had the burner control set at minimum & the upper vents open all the way. Temperature in the box kept creeping up until after sunset. It was below 250 for the first two hours, and then rose about 10 degrees an hour.
Yesterday my high outside temp was about 50. Does this mean slow & low is a winter sport only for me?
There are lower dampers, but they are fixed. I think they use the same box for the charcoal model. Is it a bad idea to try to restrict combustion air to a propane burner?


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Old 02-19-2018, 10:13 AM
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Forgot to mention I monitored the temps with a GrillEye thermometer
One probe clipped to the grate with the chicken.
The other probe was in the breast of the bigger chicken.
(5.83 & 5.87 pounds, so I figure they would cook at the same time)


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Old 02-19-2018, 10:31 AM
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I've never used a gas smoker but that looks like a nice starter unit...

My only guess is that your temps weren't as high as you think they were...Have you checked the accuracy of your thermo in boiling water (212 degrees) and ice water?

Also no need to soak your wood...
And if you can smell smoke then it's doing the trick...Ya don't want heavy smoke ever...
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:33 AM
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Also I suggest that you start out with something easier...Maybe a chuck roast or something...Save the chicken for later when you figure out your smoker and what makes it happy...
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMOKE FREAK View Post
to Smoked--Meat

I've never used a gas smoker but that looks like a nice starter unit...

My only guess is that your temps weren't as high as you think they were...Have you checked the accuracy of your thermo in boiling water (212 degrees) and ice water?

Also no need to soak your wood...
And if you can smell smoke then it's doing the trick...Ya don't want heavy smoke ever...
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMOKE FREAK View Post
Also I suggest that you start out with something easier...Maybe a chuck roast or something...Save the chicken for later when you figure out your smoker and what makes it happy...
Ditto on all of this. Check that thermo for sure!
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Old 02-19-2018, 02:19 PM
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These guys ^^^ have you on the right track. I would like to add the following though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rexplex View Post
1) used pecan chip for smoke. Soaked them for 30 minutes. Let them drip dry before starting burner.
I never saw smoke. I got a bit of a whiff of smoke, but no visible white smoke. This morning the chip tray was full of ashes, so maybe the invisible smoke was fine.
LIke Craig said, don't soak. If you smell smoke you're smoking. You NEVER want to see visible white smoke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rexplex View Post
2) the recipe is was using for the chicken (From Traeger’s website) said to set the grill at 225 and cook for 2.5 hours. I couldn’t keep my smoker temp that low. I had the burner control set at minimum & the upper vents open all the way. Temperature in the box kept creeping up until after sunset. It was below 250 for the first two hours, and then rose about 10 degrees an hour.
Yesterday my high outside temp was about 50. Does this mean slow & low is a winter sport only for me?
Cook to temp not time. How long it takes depends on how long it takes the meat to get to the proper temperature.

The temperature of the smoker will tend to creep up as the meat gets closer to being done. Once the meat warms up and gets close to temp there is not much heat energy being absorbed by the meat so that excess energy shows up in increased temps. Not really anything to worry about.

You want to be careful cooking chicken that low for that length of time because of food safety issues. Also if you like crispy skin you will be sadly disappointed. Slow smoked chicken skin is like chewing on a deflated balloon. I generally cook chicken north of 350°. Closer to 375° if my smoker is cooperating.

But if you want more smoke you could go low for a hour or two then crank it up to get the internal temp up and crisp the skin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rexplex View Post
Is it a bad idea to try to restrict combustion air to a propane burner?
Yes, this is a very bad idea. Really bad.

The burner won't burn clean for one. The flame will be yellow and the burner will get all sooty. And it will likely go out filling the smoker with propane. If you have smoldering chips that have an ember or two the propane could ignite causing an explosion.

Don't get too wrapped around the axle about the low in low and slow. The results from cooking at 250° aren't going to be remarkably different than those cooking at 225°.
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:22 PM
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I started out on a Masterbuilt propane smoker and the thermometer on the door wasn't even close. I'd suggest a digital wireless thermometer so you can get accurate grate temps. On the one I had the heat could come straight up the door and it read very high when the food was sitting above the "water" pan which acts as a heat sink and doesnt get that direct heat.

Looking at the website your wood chip pan sits around the burner. Mine sat on top and it would burn up wood chips in 5 minutes in a giant plume of white smoke. i switched to a cake pan with chunks. Doesnt look like your setup would accommodate that. Do some trial runs without food to get the smoke right. If you smell smoke, that should be enough to flavor the food.

Does it have a water pan? Manual looked like one sits on top of the wood chip pan. I filled mine with sand and it worked great. Don't need all of that steam in there. Trying to smoke food not steam it. I never bought into it keeps meat moist. Mostly just a heat sink/shield. I wrapped mine in foil to keep drippings out of the sand. Easier to change foil than clean grease out of sand.

Few notes about the temp creeping up.... I've had a couple of regulators go out on me while smoking. Whether debris clogged them up or what I can't say but I could watch the flame get big and small. Keep your hoses clean and capped/covered to keep insects out when not in use. The other think I noticed that would happen is if you start smoking and the outside temp changes with sunrise/sunset it affects smoker temp as the pressure inside the tank changes. If your tank gets too low during the cook that'll happen too. Gas grills/turkey fryers aren't affected by those subtle changes but in my experience a propane smoker is since it is throttled back and trying to maintain a much lower temp.

My first few cooks were far from ideal. Do some tests without food and see how it behaves. Then grab some forgiving cuts of meat and make some dinner. Pork butts tend to be really forgiving with a wide temp range and require little effort to turn out pretty tasty. Just keep learning and you'll get it.
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:39 PM
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Thanks for your answers, guys.
So far I tested the thermometer by putting both probes into boiling water. Both read 212, so that’s one potential error taken away.
I did cook to temp, which had the wife & kids cranky because dinner was so late.



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Old 02-19-2018, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a207769s View Post
My first few cooks were far from ideal. Do some tests without food and see how it behaves. Then grab some forgiving cuts of meat and make some dinner. Pork butts tend to be really forgiving with a wide temp range and require little effort to turn out pretty tasty. Just keep learning and you'll get it.
Sage advice indeed.

To say my first few cooks were far from ideal would be a serious understatement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rexplex View Post
I did cook to temp, which had the wife & kids cranky because dinner was so late.
Good for you.

Tell them that eating a late dinner is better than eating on time and horking it up a few hours later.
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Old 02-20-2018, 04:38 PM
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Plan ahead :-)

I find cooking the day before and reheating works for everyone. You get a hassle free cook with no time pressure, so you can enjoy it, and they get dinner 'on time'

Also pretty much anywhere from 250-300 is also fine for cooking. never really seen the point of the really low temps. The food will taste just as good on a higher temp and it's quicker. what's not to like :-)

ddave covered all the other things I noted.
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