Lessons for new users

Smokin - Finally graduated to a 009 from a long history of various other types; started w/a Little Chief in 1972! Seasoned the CS 8/25. a chicken on 8/26 (tough skin, not like a wood fire, as someone pointed out), and have a flat briskit on right now.

Referring to Bobby Que's post of 12/04, all outdoor sockets are required to be protected by a Ground Fault Circuit Breaker. If it's a typical double socket, you can plug in a disc-type nite light in one socket and the smoker in the other. They're about 1" diameter and their glow will show whether the socket is "live" or off.

Pete
The idea of the iron "cap" is good if there is a possibilty of rain, but I wouldn't deliberately use the unit if it was raining. However the rain possibilty existed I would use the elbow and take a piece of aluminum foil and cover the thermostat knob area to keep water out. I started my pork butt only to have brief light showers threaten. I used the aluminum foil over the knob area and the smoking continued. There was no effect on the smoking time,etc..
quote:
Originally posted by mtcooler:
[qb] I just have to wonder how many people have at one time or another forgotten the drip pan. it is not a funny thing. and the evidence is everlasting. jan [/qb]
I put my smokers in or on something because I have CRS (Can't Remember S**t, I apologize in advance if I have offended anyone). I have used those pans you put under your car when you change the oil, steel mounted on my wood deck, stuff like that. My current deck has a large grease stain where the drip pan overflowed. I maintain that my husband failed to empty it from the previous load. He says the person putting in the next load (me) should have checked. Men, can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em.

Donna
Just a reminder for all who are going through their 1st winter with a CS, and with the night time temps in my part of the world dipping into the teens in the next couple nights

Check the drip pan often as there will be a grease-cicle that can form from the drain hole to the pan. It can get big enough to prevent the drippings from drippin'.

All you have to do is knock it off once in a while, and make sure the hole is open. No need to open the door for this either. Just use a bent hanger to knock loose and to poke up into the hole.
Here is a valuable lesson I learned this past weekend, not necssarily to do with smoking, but general food preparation...

When chopping a lot of peppers (jalapeno, poblano, etc..), do not go to the gym afterwards and sit in a Steam Room. Afterwards, my hands and face were burning for the remainder of the day.
quote:
Originally posted by GeiyserQ:
[qb] Just a reminder for all who are going through their 1st winter with a CS, and with the night time temps in my part of the world dipping into the teens in the next couple nights

Check the drip pan often as there will be a grease-cicle that can form from the drain hole to the pan. It can get big enough to prevent the drippings from drippin'.

All you have to do is knock it off once in a while, and make sure the hole is open. No need to open the door for this either. Just use a bent hanger to knock loose and to poke up into the hole. [/qb]
Don't forget to either remove the grease-cicle from the drip pan or move the drip pan so there is room for a new grease-cicle to form. If you move the pan each time, and do it right, you can form a little grease mountain that looks like the mountain in Close Encounters of the Third Kind... Roll Eyes
Here are a few things I've learned in the short time I've had my CS 008(about 2weeks)
1)Becareful when opening the CS door the first time using it. The release of steam can be startling the first time. Eeker
2)Learn to use the Search function & use it often!
3)Consult "Smokin' Okie's BBQ Guide" at the top of the page. It contains a tremendous amount of information for new & experienced CS users.
Sal
When smoking summer sausage, I use the hi mountian mix, but go through one more temperature step. It seems to help keep the casings from getting dark close to the smoke chamber. When they do discolor, the meat is not affected, and it looks fine when you remove the casing. I smoked 90 3 lb. sausages over a five day period. The Cabela's sausage stuffer, and meat mixer is a bit pricey, but if you are processing a lot of meat it is well worth the price.
Dave / Rhino
quote:
Originally posted by mainelydave:
The most valuable lessons that I've learned are:<br /><br />1) Don't worry. Unless you REALLY screw up, you're probably gonna have edible product. Don't be afraid to experiment - but keep notes. <br /><br />However, to be on the safe side, don't try something new when you're going to have guests over. Not so much from a "taste" issue, but more from a "when will it get done" issue.<br /><br />2) There isn't necessarily just ONE correct way to cook something. It all comes down to your preferences. For example, I've experimented with rubbing pork butts with mustard before applying rubs, and not rubbing, trying different rubs, and trying different woods. My conclusions have been, well, inconclusive. Great results with different methods. And the differences, at least with pork butts, haven't been all that great. <br /><br />3) Buy a decent thermometer, use it, and believe it. This will keep you from opening the door on the long cooks (pork butt, briskets) and keep the moisture in. It's rumored that each time you open the door, you add an hour to your cook time. I think that's pretty accurate. <br /><br />4) Chicken skins will not crisp in a Cookshack Smokette. Period. Simple solution - finish on the grill, under the broiler, in a hot oven, even a deep fryer. <br /><br />5) Don't tell your guests how easy it is to do. You'll find it easier to convince your friends to help you out on those nasty household projects by offering a meal of pulled pork in exchange.<br /><br />5b) Don't tell the Mrs. how easy it is to use. She'll attempt to fill the free time you now have (no tending the fire, adjusting air, etc.) with an expanded "honey-do" list. <br /><br />6) Learn about the cuts of meat, pork, etc. (many of the so-called "butchers" in todays supermarkets have little knowledge as meats arrive pre-cut) Find a good supplier of meat. It took me a bit of research here in Maine. Finally have a great butcher, plus use BJ's wholesale club. I still usually have to pre-order to get a Pork Butt or Shoulder, or packer cut brisket. Seems like the stores cut them up into various pieces pretty quickly. <br /><br />7) Finally - we're a real friendly bunch on this site, but sometimes get tired of answering the same old question again and again. Learn to use the search function on the forum. It's quite powerful and you'll find that most questions have been answered many times already. Also - read Smokin Okie's guides. Well-done. There are lots of other bbq sites as well. I like the virtualweberbullet.com forum. Even though it uses another smoker type, theres a lot of valuable information on it. <br /><br />I think someplace in the archives is a list of favorite bbq books. I don't have many, but use the "Smoke and Spice" book a lot. <br /><br />A shameless plug. Take a look at my website. (listed below) I've gotten lazy the past few months, but have documented some of my experiences with the Smokette.<br /><br />8) Repeating #1. Relax. Don't worry. Experiment. Load the smoker, have a few adult-beverages ready, and enjoy the result. You're gonna love it.

Great advice right on the money I'm a new user Smokette 009 THANKS!
This may not be the correct place for this catagory but here goes. I have noticed that a lot of you are using the Maverick Remote Smoker Thermometer with success, so I bought one. Now I know I'm stupid but I am having no success at all even getting started with those convoluted instructions. It has yet to have the probe stuck in a Boston Butt! All I want to do it set the thing up to remotely inform me when the meat has reached its desired temperature. Will some kind user please give me the steps in "Small Baby Language" so that I can start the BBQ season off as a happy boy? Many thanks.
trick is to have the cover off of one unit (see your instructions for which one) turn the main unit on while then turning the other unit on. had one of the things but it got burned up in my fec fire. turned out to be a blessing since all i have now are taylor remotes and a big old noteboke going back for years which gets me right in the ballpark. last 30 mins or so i know when to look at the smokers. in a commercial setting it just makes more sense since it frees me up to do other tasks. base average time is programmed into my watch so the alarm goes off then.
try a taylor only 18 bucks
almost forgot the most important part. get a one dollar notebook and a 25 cent pen. everytime you cook write down your load (type of meat and weight), your wood (type and weight) your cooking temperature, your ambient air temp and weather conditions and your eatimated cook time and the results thereof (means was it done at that time or not). do this everytime you cook. in about 3 months if you do this you can tell within a 30 min window where you are without radio thermos or even the cheap taylors. sounds like a pain but i did this very thing anytime a new oven or piece of equipment was placed in the kitchens where i was either exec chef at or where i taught culinary arts at. while it ain't the cooker it's the cook it is for sure a poor cook who doesn't truly understand what his or her equipment is doing. while the cookshack is about as close to set it and forget it as anything if you want to shine take and keep and review your cooking notes.
hope it helps
jack
As a newbie to oven smokers, I would have to say to other beginners ... don't make the same mistake I did! I bought my CS model 50 in 2001. Yes, 01! Allow me to explain. After trying to cook in it about four times, I freaked out on the temperature fluctuations (I used a long drop-light extention cord), lack of a smoke ring (I was used to smoking with charcoal) and the uncertain times it took to cook (it was an entirely new method to me). Even after I called the helpful folks at CS, I ended up putting my oven in the garage to collect dust for five years. I just pulled it back out a week ago to BBQ some beef back ribs and I'll tell you what ... it isn't going back into the garage anytime soon! So, stick with it, don't get discouraged and read the forums. The CS folks are all right ... it truly is done when it's done!
For me, my lesson is this:
Don't judge yourself too harshly. You will always be your own worst critic.

Seems like every single cook, I'm kicking myself for something else I could have or should have done differently.
Meanwhile my guests are greedily licking their fingers and fighting over brisket scraps!
Welcome to the Forum Hillbilly! Don't kick yourself too hard, ya might bruise. One thing we've all learned (or are supposed to be learning) is to take good notes so we don't repeat our mistakes and imporve on our nearly-good ideas! Big Grin

Good luck!
For the 008/009, find a glass 'pan' to use as a drip pan. Should make things easier to clean. Avoid a cheapie metal pan as the salts, etc in the drippings will eventually cause it to corrode and rust. Get a good aluminum pan if you want to go with metal. I always line the drip pan with aluminum foil for easier cleanup.
If I want to smoke on a rainy or snowy day, I put a plastic "milk" style crate bottom up on the top of my CS055 and then put a 3 foot x 3 foot piece of plywood on top of this with a cement block on top to hold it down. This does not impede the vent and at the same time shelters the thermostat, remote thermometers and vent hole. Wink
I've only done about 5 smokes in my CS55, somewhere on one of these forums I read believe your thermometer. That's very sound advice. A few times I have seen the temperature stall for hours like sitting at 164~167 degress. I have put my hand over the vent hole to make sure it was still working.
Be prepared for when your CS smoker arrives! I ordered my Smokette II and asked for the least expensive shipping available. Was told that it would take 2-3 weeks... It arrived 5 days after placing the order! If known this I would have bought some meat and looked for recipes in these forums... Big Grin
There have been several newbies concerned with " smoke coming seeping thru the edges of the door." Don't sweat it. This is normal and will eventually seal itself off - maybe not completely but it's really nothing to worry about. Your not loosing any heat and the CS is such an efficient smoker what little smoke you loose is no big deal!

Relax and enjoy your new toy! Big Grin
Two lessons learned about my AmeriQue model 066 smoker:

1) Be careful when loading meat. Don't let it touch or skewer the ovens temperature probe in the middle-back of the oven. This will cause the oven to consistently read a lower temperature than it really is and go into overdrive! I don't know what the ultimate temperature of the oven will be but it sure will cook fast! If you are not using the meat probe you likely will fry your entire load. An indication that you have made a mistake is when your oven temperature does not reach the desired set temperature within a reasonable time of an hour or so.

2) Be aware that your electronic control on the AQ will TURN OFF if your power blinks during a smoking session. You must again press the on/off control button to resume cooking. We AQ owners like to think we can go to sleep or otherwise ignore our smoker for hours at a time and mostly that's true - mostly - so just be aware and check your AQ periodically.

I must say that CS likely can remedy the above issues by relocating the oven temperature probe closer to the bottom of the rack just above it and by defaulting the oven operation to be "ON" on power-up as long as the main power switch is set to ON.

I love my AQ!
Keep an eye on the drip pan level. I'm in the process of doing 3 new things in my CS55. 1: Small briskets 8.5~10.5 lbs each 2: Didn't trim because they are so small. 3: Smoking 4 of them. I'm glad I just checked the drip pan as it was almost overflowing.
Okay, I'll fess up. (1) DON'T GET IN A HURRY, you are more app to forget something or make a mistake
(2) MAKE SURE CS IS LEVEL OR THE FAT WILL RUN OUT THE DOOR AND DOWN THE FRONT OF CABINET(3)Masterpiece is still my favorite B B Q sauce and is easy to find in big bottles at Sam's Club.The smokette 009 is a wonderful addition to my life.....Pork really isn't good for you.Chicken still isn't a tasty food to me, even barbequed, ate to much of it growing up in OKLAHOMA!!!!!!!!!!(4)I love this forum.
More Later, Jimmy
Lately, several have come to the forum with issues with their smokers. If it has to do with technique then this is your "go to" place.

If you are having issues with your smoker I suggest going straight to Customer Service (1-800-423-0698) and let them straighten it out and make it right. Email may be ok for some problems but talking to someone there in Ponca City, OK is the better way to go!

Believe it or not, people on/in the forum can't fix everything! Big Grin

Peace...
I cant remember if this was ever mentioned on here and i'm too lazy to read back thru the whole thread so........

Here is something I do just as often as forget to put the drain pan under the smoker.

Its only a mere 20- 30 degrees outside. The smoker only goes upto 250 right? So why not, when I go to pull the meat from the smoker, just reach in with my bare hand and pull the probe out of the meat?

Geez sometimes I feel like a jackass. I'm gonna change my name from GeiyserQ to MentallyChallengedQ
If you live in a part of the country where wasps and hornets are trying to take over the planet, here is a tip:

Go to you local hardware store and find a rubber plug for the vent and drain hole. When you aren't running the smoker, plug the holes. These pesky critters love to find a hole, and the ones in my area don't mind the smoke smell at all. It is amazing how quickly they can get a nest started. If you don't clean up really well, it even attracts them!

Just remember to pull the plugs before you start, or really bad things will happen!
File this under "I really did know better" But, I was getting some dried chili's opened up to scrape the seeds, pitch the stems, and cut them up to grind into some homemade chili powder and afterwards realized that I hadn't first taken my contact lenses out.

They are the soft kind that you have to actually stick your fingers in your eyes and pull them off. Really painful experience after messing with chilis!

And my wife of 34 years says taking my contacts out for me is STILL not in her wife's handbook of things she has to do for her husband!

I scrubbed my fingers as best I could, wet my eyeballs with a bunch of solution, and went in for the contacts as fast as I could get them out...still cried a lot! Hope there aren't any opthalmologists on this forum!

Interestingly, there wasn't any problem putting them back in the next morning...no sting at all.

So, even dried chilis can still cause you problems.

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