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Hey guys/girls, I have recently purchased an sm 26 cookshack smoker for my bier cafe in Mornington, Victoria Australia. I did my first cook today with some problems which I will outline below and would certainly appreciate your help and feedback.

First cook:

one 6 kilo brisket (12pounds)
cooked on the probe setting with the probe temp set to 185f. Hold temp set at 165f and the cook temp set at 225f.

I loaded both wood boxes with a total amount of around 11 – 12 ounces – approx 320g in total of hickory chips. They are chips not chunks and not the small beech wood that came with the oven.

I did make the mistake of putting the wood in first and when it started to smoke I opened the oven to put the brisket in and of course the wood caught fire! Lesson learnt!! I quickly removed the wood boxes threw the wood in the sink and wet it so no crisis. Dried the wood boxes and refilled with the same amount of wood chips.

I put the brisket into the oven on the second shelf above the hood, put the wood chips in and closed the oven. I reset the settings as per above and pressed start. For the next six and a half hours the oven did not hit or stay on the cooking temp of 225f which I set. It sat at 259 – 265f.

I eventually called the Australian distributor in Sydney (Smo-king) and talked with them about it. They suggested I turn the cook temp down which I did to 210 and over a period of 15 minutes the oven temp dropped to 236. When I turned the oven back to 225 the oven shot back up to and sat at around 251 – 259.

After about 5 1/2 hours when the meat probe was at 183 I opened the oven and removed the smoke boxes as the sydney people thought perhaps it was contributing to the heat. There was only ash in the boxes no coals, no charcoal and no real heat as I could hold my hand very close over the boxes with no discomfort at all.

The door was open for several minutes , when I closed the door the oven temp was 208f. I reset the cook temp - 225, probe temp - 185 and hold temp - 165 and pressed start. The oven temp rose steadily right back to 259 – 263f and stayed there.

I turned the cook temp down to 200 and the oven temp dropped down to 230 and when I ajusted the cook temp to 225 it went back and stayed at 259 – 263 until I eventually turned it off and removed the brisket.

After the oven had been off for some time I turned it on again and it read that the oven temp was 100f. I set a cook temp at 150 and a cook time for 4 hours. The oven was empty. The temperature rose past 150 until it reached 193 – 195f where it stayed until I turned it off.

I hope I am doing something quite obviously wrong........but it is my understanding that if you set an oven temp to cook at it should sit at that temperature for the duration of the cook? The fact that the oven sat at the highest setting it is designed to go is of great concern. If I change the temp for the cook I would expect the oven to reflect that? This was backed up by John and Vicki at Smo’kingovens.

John has suggested i do another cook and see if it works but that was on the basis that I may have overloaded the smoke boxes. I filled them 3/4 full with the chips, I have since weighed the amount of chips I used and I can absolutely guarantee that the weight was between 11 – 12 ounces in total so I see no need to do another cook.

Could the calibration for the temp controller be out by 45 degrees f ie cook temp set at 225 but oven temp sat at 263?? cook temp set at 150 but oven temp sat at 193? as examples above.

Could the thermostat be broken? Has anyone else experienced something like this?

I look forward to some guidance.
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You only need about 2 oz of wood. Avoid using chips which really are for grills. i buy an assortment of wood on eBay that's nice, it's 1 x 4 inch pieces of red oak, maple, hickory and cherry. Check the BBQ Center link at the bottom of this page for the specs on this smoker. Look up videos on YouTube to do a break in run on your unit. It's essentially 2 oz of wok, a small pan of water, run at 225 for about 2 hours. Your first smoke should be something fatty like a pork butt. Line the top of your wood box with aluminum foil, and line the floor of the smoker with foil, punch a hole in the foil so the drain hole is free, put 2 oz wood in wood box, place rub all over the pork butt, place butt on middle shelf, close smoker, set at 225 f for 10-12 hours. Leave the damn smoker closed !! At about 10 hours use a digital quick read thermometer to probe temps in different parts of the butt. You want 195 and the probe should glide like a hot knife into soft butter.

Read all of Smokin's 101 here. I would think any cut ifmeat that had that much wood applied to it would be nasty. This is not a regular stick burner smoker, it's a Cookshack and a couple oz wood in your unit will go a long way. In no time your neighbors and half the dogs in your county will be hanging around. You're gonna do just fine. Take notes on what you did. I'd skip the meat probe, it's a pork butt, keep it simple.
Last edited by bigmikeinnj
looks like you might be cooking on a sm260 with two smoke houses.

did you season the smoker prior to putting in the brisket as per cookshack manual??

seasoning helps control the wild temperature swings due to the nice shiny interior surfaces.

is the smoker temp probe touching the brisket??
this would cause the smoker to underestimate the oven temps.

other than short cooks, i'd stick to chunks for smoking. 320g is pretty excessive for this type of smoker. Smiler a couple of oz is a pretty good start.
yes the smoker had been seasoned prior to delivery. I cooked the brisket on the second bottom shelf the temp probe is at the top of the third shelf so no contact could have occurred.

I would have thought that if I set a cook temp the oven would hit that temp and stay there not constantly sit 45 degrees above it. As the brisket hit its internal temp of 183f in just over six hours I can confidently say the oven temp was certainly not the 225 that I set the cook temp at. It read that it was at 259 - 263fmost of the time but it could have even been high? What does the temp probe go up to?

What sort of fluctuations would you normally get if any?

The instruction manual that came with the smoker said to use 12 ounces of wood. I didn't find the brisket over smoked at all. I will try wood chunks though as I would like the smoke to last longer rather than all smoulder out after the first hour or so.

Just curious, was the brisket tender? 183 seems pretty low. Six and a half hours to hit 183 is a possibility even at 225. It could have been in the middle of its plateau and needed a few more hours. While I haven't cooked a lot of briskets, i did have one or two that came up to temp rather quickly and were in the plateau for upwards of four hours.

As many of the cooks here will tell you, you can't use time or temp to tell when a brisket is ready. Probe it with a skewer to see if it's tender. I would still verify the smoker temp with another thermometer.
Hi Andy, I stopped the cook at 183 because I was frustrated with the oven not holding the specified cook temps and felt that the higher heat was not going to produce good results. The meat was tender in parts but not pull apart. When I smoke at home on my weber I always aim for an 85Degree c (185f)and that would usually take 10 - 12 hours. I know things will work different in the cook shack. You are correct though I could have left it for a few more hours to see what would happen but I thought the internal temp would just keep going up. I know someone who has this oven and they cook their briskets at 250f for 8 - 9 hours but don't probe them just judge it by feel.

That said if I want to have a cook temp of 210f or 225f the oven should give me that?

I have found that my briskets tend to stall in the 140's for a couple of hours, never heard of a stall in the 180's?

thanks for your response.

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