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Hey Forum, here is a challenge to you who have been members a while. We have lots of new members joining in.

Tell us, what are your most valuable lessons, to give to the new owners of Cookshacks?

My first thoughts:

1. Read the forum, especially the archives
2. Keep good notes, you're own experiences will help you the most
3. Remember, this isn't a cake recipe...so time and temp are now the only way to judge when it's complete.

And try to appreciate what BBQ is all about and understand what this statement means:

quote:
It's done when it's done


2009 Update.

I know it's not "lessons learned" but in my way it is more "advice" to new users Big Grin

When I'm teaching newbies, or someone who just wants to learn Q or improve their Q, My rules are (not just for CS):

1. Know your temps -- for your smoker Without knowing how your smoker cooks, you'll never been consistent

2. Know you temps -- for food After you've cooked enough, you'll be able to look and know when stuff is done, or by touch, but until then, know the target temp for finishing the various cuts of meat (except ribs, don't do temp)

3. Practice You'll have success quick if you follow the advice of the forum, but like momma always said, Practice makes Perfect

4. Patience In some ways, this is rule 1. You'll get the most out of it by being patient and having more fun. In today's I gotta have it right now world, that and BBQ don't mix. Slow down, you type A's learn to relax and take your time.

5. Learn from the Forum Masters I don't mean me, I mean all the forum. We have only 10,000 posts and 75,000 responses. It's VERY likely you'll never ask a question we haven't heard. And check the main forums (by topic) I've collected it there by reason.

5a. Learn to search I get tons of emails from people who don't want to post and we have lots of lurkers every day and they both have one thing in common, they're embarassed to ask the simple questions. (probably because we'll tell them to search) but if you get familiar with the forum and how to search, you'll be able to get the information without asking.

more to come...
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4. The CS is very efficient, and it is easy to overdue the smoke. When I first used my Smokette, I had several pieces of meat that were bitter. Go easy on the wood until you get a feel for your unit.
5. Periodically folks ask about using their CS in very cold weather. As far as I can tell it doesn't affect cooking times unless you are opening the door all the time. I have smoked meat when the temp. out was well below zero and the time didn't differ from summer time smoking.
For me, two things:

#1 Patience - allow the cookshack to do it's thing, and avoid opening the door, especially in cold climates. "It's done when it's done"

#2 Digital thermometers - probably the most valuable piece of advice I've gotten off this forum. Even before I bought a CS, I used them with my water smoker, and NEVER had a bad piece of smoked meat.

I've even used them on pork ribs with the same success.

I also use one to monitor the temperature inside the smoker.

I did use logs alot with my water smoker, because of variances in weather, wind etc.

But with the Cookshack I've found that it's so consistant due to it's insulation, that I really don't use logs anymore.
The most valuable lessons that I've learned are:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
Yeah! Just what Dave said! Big Grin

Once you get the basics down, don't be afraid to experiment with flavor and spices. There's more out there than your local cuisine!

Be cautious when smoking poultry. It takes on smoke much heavier than beef or pork. Start out light and adjust to your own tastebuds!

Be willing to think outside the box and share your experiences with us.

Enjoy and have fun with your Q.
quote:
Originally posted by SHACKMAN:
[qb] The CS is idiot proof -- read and listen to Smokin and Tom -- you can't go wrong. [/qb]
I don't know about that, Tom can't go wrong, but I have my moments Big Grin

Thanks for the replies, keep them coming.

My intent is to build a thread at the top of the owners forum with this information.

Russ
I think my #1 tip would be to invest in lots of aluminum foil.
Line everything that the fat will be dripping onto and into. Except I don't line the racks themselves. Even us lazy folks don't do that. And don't scrimp on the cleanup. It's lots easier to do if it's done every time you cook.
I agree with mainelydave, let people think what they want to think about the hard work you put into your finished product. You did spend a lot of time in deep thought.
Peggy
quote:
Originally posted by 2greyhounds:
[qb] I think my #1 tip would be to invest in lots of aluminum foil.
Line everything that the fat will be dripping onto and into.



Peggy [/qb]
Out of everything I've picked up from these forums, foiling the bottom and the lid on the firebox is the greatest thing since pulled pork! Cleanup would be an incredible pain without it!

I did learn one important thing, however... If you're cooking in cold weather, don't leave the CS door open while you take the food inside to FTC... When you get back, any grease that may have sneaked under the foil will have hardened and will have glued the foil very effectively to the firebox lid and the smoker floor! I only did this once! After that, I've remembered to close the smoker door to keep the inside warm...
I would add:

1. Don't peek too often. It can increase the cooking time a bunch.
2. Be prepared for the "plateau" when the internal temp on butts and briskets hits about 170F and sits there for an hour or more. Be patient, it will go higher.
3. Spraying the racks with a bit of cooking spray will help in clean up.
4. And ditto what GeiyserQ said about the drip pan. Forgetting it is not fun and is really embarrassing (especially the second time.)
When I first got my Smokette,I set it up with foil, plugged it into the wall outlet, put some ribs in it , set the temp and went upstairs to watch TV, and surf a little. I was waiting for the wonderful aroma of hickory smoke, ribs and a good rub to start perking up my appetite.

About an hour later, I went down to check out the cooking. No smoke coming out, no heat to touch on the CS' walls. No wonderful aroma. The unit was plugged in to it's usual outlet. What the h*** was going on.

And, here is the lesson. My outdoor outlets at home are all on a ground-breaker circuit. The ground-breaker had tripped (My better half sometimes waters them!). Resetting it did the trick. I did not even know where the reset button was until this happened.

Now, I always listen and feel for the click when I turn the temp control on my unit ( I unplug it and turn the switch off after each use), and go around to my back door and check the reset button on the outlet there that has the circuit breaker to see if it needs to be reset.
My most valuable lesson was don't forget to punch a hole in the aluminum foil.

1. Full Packer Brisket in about 9:30 PM
2. Temp @ 225
3. Watch News and go to bed, thinking I have done brisket no need to go check on the smoker.
4. Wake up with the wife screaming "What the *&^( did you do to my patio."

This was not priceless! I am sure if the product was not so darn good both of us would have been gone. Bob
I'm a new owner who has used my CS-008 about 6 times now. I have probably spent more time reading the forums than actually smoking.

There seem to be 2 types of smokers (people not appliances):

Type A Smokers:
concerned with every single detail. Must try to control all variables such as exact oven temp (even at each rack level) which is graphed out on paper. They calculate effects on cooking times based on voltage drops across extension cords of varying gauges. They measure external temp, wind speed, barometric pressure and moon phase and how they affect the viscosity of the marinade. They calculate the density of different hardwoods and mix them in exact proportions to achieve smoke rings of specific thicknesses. They debate endlessly about the virtues of different brands of aluminum foil. They go to ranches and examine the pedigrees of cattle and hogs to choose meat that will taste the best. Cooking times are exact and to the second. Their motto "it's done when I predict it's done"

Type B smokers:
Buy what they can find, rub with what they have, smoke long and slow while drinking a cold beer. Even if it takes twice as long, they fully and unconditionally accept that "It's done when it's done!"

Best advice - Relax, the CS will do all the work and your results will be fantastic! Wink

Jon E.
Jon.. that's great.. I started out as a Type A.. but as time goes on.. I'm moving rapidly toward Type B.

BUT, I know I'll keep asking questions.. Difficult to totally eliminate the Type A tendency.. maybe there is a group I can join to help me out here.. some sort of 10 step program. I know our church has outreaches for other issues.. I never considered this in that light tho.. Thanks.......
When I first received my Cookshack, and as a newbie, I spent a majority of my first smoke fooling with the thermostat. My thermometer would rise, drop and rise again. So I would raise and lower the thermostat accordingly.

Called CS. They were concerned and very helpful. After a brief discussion, they determined that everything was normal but not to hesitate to call back if i was not happy with the end result.

I left the thing alone for the remainder of the smoke. Meanwhile, I entered the forum to kill some time while the smoker was puffin away. There it was...all the talk about temperature swings. Conclusion...forget about it. Relax and enjoy the smoker.

I have learned over the past year that the temp swings are nothing to worry about. It will do it's thing just fine. In fact, unless you need to monitor the temp of the meat, don't even use a thermometer for the smoker temp.
1. Being able to read others real world experiences and learn from their encouters.
2. Buy and use a thermometer, I have had so many folks tell me that they cant get the meat to come out consistent, and my first question is: Do you use a thermomter? I almost think it would behoove CS to supply one with all cookers.
3. To know that what ever the "certain" few who are, (and I would not metion names Smokin, Tom, and about a dozen others,) well seasoned and the information they put fourth is as reliable as the sun shining daily.
4. Customer support, there are numerous feed back posts that are useful from which users have contacted CS and posted their results.
5. Meat cuts, prices, and trim styles there are some excellent archives on how to trim, what the various part names are and how to season.
6. The fact that this is a friendly run forum which welcomes all types of cookers from the backyard beginner to the competition cooker, the ability to tap a knowledge base such as this is a valuable tool to one who desires to learn.
Here's a post I found while doing my Administrator duties todaym from Halter:

quote:
I began smoking about two years ago using a Brinkman water smoker. Within six months I realized this was for me and upgraded to a Cookshack. Since then I have used this site extensively and have never had an unsuccessful experience. I read posts to this site occasionally of new smokers who are having bad experiences and feel guilty that by taking the advice on this site I have found smoking great food to be pretty easy.

As a way of saying Thank You to all of you who have been such help and maybe to give a little something back, I have put together "my" Ten Commandments to help those who are still starting out. I'm not near as qualified as so many of the experts on this site to be giving advice, but I hope these basics are of help to someone.

Good luck and good smoking!

TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR NEW SMOKERS

1. Buy the Model 55 and a Food Saver. - It's just as easy to make more and the Food Saver allows you to keep it without any loss of taste. This type of food is so economical you will pay for the extra capacity within a year.

2. Never make anything unless you have plenty of time this sport is not for spur of the moment urges or last minute meals

3. Never make anything the first time for guests refer to rule commandment #2

4. Understand and purchase the right cut of meat study info and pictures on this site and talk to your butcher

5. Don't worry too much about perfect recipes it's the smoke and the slow cook that brings the flavor (but do learn how to brine poultry and fish)

6. Really! You don�t need that much wood you just have to take a leap of faith on this one

7. Always trust your thermometer (Polder type) � I like the ones with remote readouts (to set by my recliner) so I feel like I am doing something while the Cookshack works.

8. If you do not trust your thermometer use a secondary insta-thermometer and this does not give you the OK to open the door every 10 min and stab the meat

9. Leave the door closed there is nothing to see but a piece of meat getting darker. You couldn't tell if something was done by looking at it anyway.

10. If in your research you come across two different opinions take the one offered by Smokin' Okie - he is never wrong! He could have led Dante through hell.
Last edited by Former Member
I started out by using used chicken pot pie tins (drip pan) with a rock in it to help it not move. It worked, but was to small to hold the greese. I then purchased a couple of baking alluminum pans, and they too were a pain. I was recently in one of those dollar stores, and found a metal bread pan that measures 1 1/2H x 7 1/2W x 12 1/2 W for $2.00. It's a perfect fit under my 008, and is large enough to accomodiate any amount of greese in the drip pan. Best part, no spilling & no mess.
Thanks for all the good insights.

One thing I brought to CS was the use of steam table pans for a lot of stuff. Half size fit nicely in the Consumer models. Holds ice for cold smoking, beans for smoking etc. I also now use plastic ones for all my curing brining etc. You can get inserts to keep the meat out of the grease, sop, or whatever, lids too. Sure they cost a little more that disposables and Wally World stuff, but the way I look at it, if you are going to shell out almost half a grand for a CS, a few bucks in good prep gear will pay for itself many times over.

Jerry
My 008 resides on a deck just off of the kitchen. The location is perfect except that there is no overhead covering. It seems like the first 5 or 6 smokes that I did were during heavy snow or rain storms. Needless to say, everything was coming through the top vent hole and onto the item I was smoking.

I tried all sorts of makeshift covers for the vent but nothing seemed to work well. One day, when walking through the plumbing section of my local hardware store I spotted my solution - A heavy galvanized 90 degree street elbow such as the one here. As I recall, 1 1/4 inch is the perfect size to fit over the vent and its fitting. I think I paid about $3. Keeps the elements out without blocking the vent, heavy enough that it's not blown away by high winds and, if you don't look to close, it looks like it's a part of the unit.
dls,

Unfortunately if I understand what you're recommending, modifying the vent hole with an addition of an elbow, I can't recommend your solution, as it makes a modification to the smoker and making modifications to the smoker would violate the Warranty. Sounds like a good idea, just not something that anyone with a warranty can do.

You might contact CS with your idea and see what they think and they'll let you know if it's okay or has any adverse impact. Then we can go with it.
quote:
Originally posted by arkansasQer:
[qb] dls...

I see where you're heading with this...it's just a weather 'cap' of sorts that sits over the vent. Not a bad idea. It should be heavy enough not to blow over too. It won't restrict the air flow out of the cooker, but does keep the rain out. Good idea... [/qb]
arkansasQer - You've got it
Stupid questions from a newbie..so I take it I should not use a mop on brisket with my Smokette since I'd be opening the door every so often, right? Also, when people talk abouit using a thermometer to monitor progress, are you talking about using a remote thermometer and running the thin cord through the smoke hole on top? thanks to all!
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.
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
Last edited by Former Member
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 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.
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!
Last edited by bon
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.
A lesson for me is go easy on the cayenne pepper if the people you are feeding are new to BBQ. Most of these recipes come from southern boys who like it hot. It can overpower someone who new. I came from Georgia and like it hot myself, but alot of the yankies I feed like it sweet. Also a rub that might work good on a butt, can be to hot on ribs. Just to much rub for a little bit of meat.
Last edited by bigal 2
Tip 1:

For CS55, place wood as close to the front (side toward door) of the wood box as possible and make sure it stays there when loaded.

Much better burn with majority, if not all, wood reduced to white ash.

Credit to Floridave for this tip.


Tip 2:

If you have an extra rack, cover the bottom (grates on top) with foil and place on bottom of cooker then poke hole for drip drain. Much easier to get foil in just right. Just throw the rack in the dishwasher with your others.
Last edited by detroitq
I didn't read every post on this thread, so my apologies if this has been touched on already.

Several long-time users/posters on this forum regularly close the doors of their smokers on the temp prob leads with no ill effects.

I can't say that. I've come close to ruining smokes because a 'pinched' prob line gave me a false temp reading.

Down through the vent hole is the only way for me.
I just started yesterday, but already have two lessons learned.

First, don't get so excited about doing your first pork butt that you forget to put in your meat probe - now I gotta figure out the best time to open the door and put it in. I think I'll wait a couple hours for the smoke to clear, but any suggestions would be appreciated.

Second, besides training me on the cookshack, I have to train my dog Samson. I need to teach him not to steal the great smelling pan under the cookshack! I'll let you know how that goes. Guess it didn't help that I used a leftover pumpking pie pan from thanksgiving!
I'm not new to smoking or the CS SMO55, bought mine in 98 or 99 but I learn things all the time in this forum. One thing I would tell new smokers is go easy on the wood and buy cheese cloth. Smoking poultry especially can leave a bitter tasting skin, a cheese cloth soaked in oil or butter will stop this problem and meat will still have that great smoke flavor, 30 minutes in the oven after smoking gives a great color and crisp skin. On briskets I just roll them up tie them with cotton string and stick them in the smoker for 12 hours, After maybe 100 briskets using Pecan, Hickory, Mesquite and others I'v never had a bad bite of meat, people rave on it, It's so easy I feel guilty for taking the praise. We had a new home built in 2003 and I actually had an area in the garage built for my smoker with a 30" by 30" wash basin beside my 55. I buy a product called PBW (Pro Brewers Wash) that is harmless to Stainless. Everything that can come out of smoker goes in it for the night after the smoke even the pipe,jam nuts, and washers on the smoke hole, I learned this when foul drippings ruined part of a rack of ribs. The book that came with my smoker is my smoking bible and there are maybe 20 added pages of stuff I'v learned. Advice is just a phone call or key stroke away-long live SmokinOkie.
Just a couple of tips from a newbie who just finished setting up a SM008 and a stand.

1. They have changed the design on the base of the stand so it does not match the included instructions. the casters bolt into the bottom rail of the stand and the casters with the lock/unlock lever go in the front two holes.

2. Bolting the stand to the unit is difficult because there are no instructions or markers on the top of the stand. (Oh for an alignment mark on the top of the stand.) For the forward 2 bolts that go through the roof of the stand use the elliptical holes not the round holes. It is MUCH easier if you flatten the shipping boxes and use them as a workspace. If you put both the unit and the stand on their backs you can see the holes in the bottom of the Smokette and get the bolts in where they belong.

3. There will be parts left over. Customer Service says there are numerous extra parts sent just in case (I have an extra pair of casters and several tiny nuts and washers.)

I hope this saves someone some frustration and saves calls to the friendly folks at Customer Service
Last edited by bobfoster
All the tips so far are great and I've used many of them.

My favorite tip is to buy a set of yellow gloves from the cleaning aisle at the grocery store. I love these gloves. I use them to take meat out of the smoker and to hold the meat while slicing. The gloves have just enough insulation to protect from the meat but still leave you enough dexterity to use your fingers.
If you are going to cook poultry with any other meat, the poultry must be below the other meats in the smoker. This is to keep the poultry juices from dripping on other meats.

That being said, I frown on cooking poultry with other meats in the smoker. Just a cautious approach. Plus I tend to cook poultry at a higher temp than I would other meats. That's just me though.
These are some of the things I learned/noticed while doing a combination seasoning/first pork shoulder in my new Smokette 009.

1. Get a good dual thermometer which measures meat temp and inside smoker temp. I did that.
2. Get a scale. I didn't, and was essentially smoking in the blind
3. Get plenty of aluminum foil and paper towels.
4. Read these forums. When people say it is hard to screw up the meat - BELIEVE THEM.
5. No matter how burnt out you think the wood chunks are, don't put them into anything FLAMMABLE. I put them into a used plastic deli container to carry them to my burn can, and they immediately burnt a hole through the plastic.
6. It IS easy, and the results are well worth it.
7. A 3.35lb pork shoulder doesn't produce a lot of meat. Make it worth your while and put at least two butts in there. Then freeze like many others have stated.
8. Use one wide piece of aluminum foil on the bottom of the smoker. I used two narrower pieces, and a fair amount of grease leaked through to the bottom. Almost none at all went through the drain hole. I did poke a hole through the foil.
Last edited by captq
Tip for Assembly of the Smokette and the Smokette Cart.

The instructions say that you should get help when assembling these items, but help wasn't available so I had to make do.

I noticed that the boxes for the smokette and the cart were both the same height, so I removed the smokette and the carts from their boxes, closed the boxes back up and turned them upside down. Then I put the smokette on top of one box, lying on it's back. Did the same with the Cart. Then I just pushed the two together and the holes all aligned perfectly.

After I bolted them together, I removed the box from under the cart (the smokette is heavy enough to support this without falling over), then gently tipped the unit upright. Voila!

By the way, much happier with the new replacement unit than I was with the first. It's out on my back porch seasoning right now.
Last edited by arisar
Hi All,
I am new to this board, I have enjoyed reading all of the post so far. I am expecting my new smoker to arrive this Friday, sorry it is not a CookShack, and of course I am like a kid on Christmas and want to smoke something right away. I am thinking a brisquet(sp). Could someone please give me details on how to prepare the meat? What would be the best for the a 1st timer?
Thanks
Here's a question for ya....Will the outside air temp affect the smoking of a butt? I am smoking my first butt tonight and the temp is suppose to be around 30 degrees. I am thinking of starting it around 8pm and I am hoping it is done tomorrow morning. After which I am planning on doing some venison summer sausage. Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated.
This is my first day on the forum, and I love it already. Me mam (rest her soul) always said cook it until it's done, I wuz raised that way. Unfortunately like most women from the north of England she never wrote any recipes down. Not smoking stuff, but some great ones that all died with her.

And the idea of sitting back, relax, have a beer? Sequestered in Utah for 4 years. Hell yah I'll drink to that!
What I learned:
1. Start with a cold smoker and cold meat.
2. Do not get all fancy with marinades, rubs and finishing sauces. It disguises the good taste of BBQ and won't help bad BBQ anyway.
3. Keep wood down to 4 oz or less if you are cooking under 20lbs of meat.
4. Don't open the door. If you want to monitor meat temperature, stick a couple remote thermometers in there.
5. Rest the meat in foil, towels and ice chest to finish it off and for the juices to reabsorb.
6. 40 to 50% of the meat, by weight, will be reduced during the cooking process. Plan accordingly with portion size to the # of guests you will be serving.
7. Vacuum seal meal portions for future use and reheat in boiling water to retain the fresh flavor and not get it dried out by recooking it in a pan or giving it that awful microwave flavor by reheating in a MW oven.
8. Cook fat side up.
9. For God's sakes eat something before removing the finished meat or else it won't make it to the table.
10. It's done when it's done. Never go by time, one brisket may take 20 hours and another 12 hours. Keep an eye on internal temperature and test the meat at 195+* for that hot-knife-through-butter feel with the temperature probe. Probe from the top down, not through the side.
Ha!!
Yes Wheelz, it is VERY debatable.
Here's my thinking on #8
As the smoker comes up in temperature and the wood starts to smoke, I want the meat, not fat, to get the brunt of the smoke. Once the smoker is up to temperature, the heating element cycling on and off, I don't think there's a difference between the top and bottom of the meat in regards to the air's temperature. The heat source isn't on long enough and there is no draw of heat up and over at that time.

To check this theory, I placed a large pan of water in the smoker, put a temperature probe under and another over the water. Once the smoker was up to temperature, 20-40 minutes, the difference between the probes was less than 5 degrees and didn't change as the heating element cycled on and off.

So, why have the fat side up? So gravity will baste my brisket. Why have the fat side down? To protect the meat from the harsh heat source. But since I've now been able to convince myself the meat isn't being blasted by heat other than the start of the smoke, and that the muscle is able to soak up the direct smoke at the start of the cook, I'll endorse the fat up theory. All my opinion and we know what it's worth when weighed against the experience of others on here; about nada! Ha!
Keep in mind, HOW much the temp rises actually has to do with 1) the mass of the meat and 2) the temp inside the smoker.

The BEST to do is go with your experience, for your food from your smoker.

You tend to get more "overrun" when cooking larger cuts and in a hotter smoker. Example. PR done at 350 vs 225, the 350 will tend to rise hotter.

Since this is a thread for new users, I need to add some information from my perspective, so we can understand what might be happening:

Item #8:

quote:
Originally posted by skipro3:
So, why have the fat side up? So gravity will baste my brisket. Why have the fat side down? To protect the meat from the harsh heat source. But since I've now been able to convince myself the meat isn't being blasted by heat other than the start of the smoke,


Hey whatever works for you, stick with it.


Both theories work, fat up or fat down and there is no wrong answer. I've just been cooking them since the 60's so I'm going on a little more experience, but they're just my theories/experience.

1) fat bastes the meat Well, this is a popular theory, actually I'd call it an old pit masters tale (not an old wives tale) similiar to you have to have a SR to have good BBQ. I've never found one food science article that can explain/prove/validate it. It's not the fat on top basting the meat, it's the intramuscular fat that is. At some point during the process, the meat seizes up and it won't let ANY liquid from the outside, top, bastes, mops, etc get into to. I'm still trying to figure out the specifics of that, when during the process.

quote:
Originally posted by skipro3:
The heat source isn't on long enough and there is no draw of heat up and over at that time.

To check this theory, I placed a large pan of water in the smoker, put a temperature probe under and another over the water. Once the smoker was up to temperature, 20-40 minutes, the difference between the probes was less than 5 degrees and didn't change as the heating element cycled on and off.


2) blast of heat I'm not sure a pan of water will react quick enough and doesn't similar a piece of meat at all. the issue of the "blast" is the effect of drying out the exterior, too much. Not the variations of temp you tested. The CS is a great unit and the variance isn't the issue, it's the direct temp at issue. Actually there is a blast of heat every time it cycles. And I don't put my brisket in a cold smoker anyway, I want the initial smoke to clear up a bit. Elements come on and the heat rises. It's not an absolute, in the Electric CS's it's not a big variation as it is in the FE or stick burners, but it does cycle quite a bit.

No worries, go with what works for you. Oh and if you start fat side down, don't forget to add time when you open the door.
quote:
Originally posted by Basscat:
1. Believe it when you read in this forum to LEAVE THE DOOR CLOSED.

2.Buy all the HD Foil you can get your hands on, cause you will use a LOT.

3.Buy a vacuum sealer/food saver device.

4.LEAVE THE DOOR CLOSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5.Don't be afraid to experiment.


So, what are you saying, leave the door closed? Big Grin
I've been reading these forums while I wait for my 009 to get delivered. Hopefully next week. The folks at Cookshack have been great to talk with. I guess I'm 30th in line for the new smokette and they'll get through 24 orders this week.

I need some honest advice - My son is having a graduation party in 3 weeks and everyone wants me to do some smoking for the party. If I get my smoker next week that will give me two weeks prior to the party to practice and prepare. The guest list is at 175 so I'm guessing 65% showup, 4.5 oz per serving (mostly adults and high school grads) and a 50% cook down on the meat. That means with a little rounding I'm looking at 50-60 lbs of brisket or three to four smokes? I'd have to cook and refrigerate (something I haven't done before) but I will have access to ovens and hot plates to heat the food prior to feeding time. I'm not looking to feed folks just give them a nice little sandwich - actually I want to give folks the best darn bbq they have ever had!

Is this just a bad idea to try and pull this off? I've read several places in the forums to never try something new for guests but I also read that smokettes are almost fool proof.

Always love a good challenge and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

My wife keeps wanting to buy me a smoking book while I wait for my smoker but I tell her why? I got more than I can read just in these forums.

Sorry for the long post - Thanks for any advice.
1. If you an opportunity to take the two day (backyard?) class by Cookshack, DO IT! This class will improve your ability, increase your confidence, provide a baseline for your future BBQ experiences.

2. If you have a small electric model, find a stand on which to place the CS cooker. This greatly improve your comfort and willingness use the CS frequently. Cookshack sells them and the archives show how people have made their own or adapted others.

3. Frequently refer to the CS forums for information and answers to your questions.
quote:
Originally posted by redoakNC:
hmm. Me thinks this is why FAQ's are so prevelant in forums.

Jjliver: The smoker is fine - it takes a little time to learn to use it.

1)The full sized chunks (like supplied in CS sample box) take a higher heat and a load of meat to ash up nice. For temps below 225* try splitting down the chunks a little until you find the right size. Cal is right - they may or may not fully ash - doesn't mean things aren't working.

2) Learn the hot spots in your wood box. Most are over the element loops in the front and center. After you use it a while these spots will darken first.

3)Examine the clearance between the element and the woodbox. You can use care to bend it slightly if needed to create a slight even contact (no problem - think of a fry pan on your oven element. A little contact works better there huh? lol)

4) The wood must be dry. If all fails try a different batch

5) After you use a CS a while it gets easier to make smoke. I made no visible smoke at 200* for a while. Now I make plenty at 180* or so.

6) Once you reach setpoint the white visible smoke will soon diminish - but a nice clean clear fragrant wisp should continue for quite sometime. The sooner you reach setpoint, the sooner the element stops working hard and wood ash results will diminish. Adapt to this by including thinner pieces for lo set-point cooks.

7)To really season the smoker don't be afaid to exceed the 200* recommendation. Split 2 or 3 pieces of the wood(1/3 to 1/4" thick), place them up front over the elements, set to 250* or so and let it rip. It that doesn't make smoke..




To This day I think this is the BEST post I've read about making a CS smoke properly...THANKS redoak!
Last edited by cal 2
Yea. It is a very good post redoakNC.

I took a look into my smoke box the other day while it sat in its smoker position and noticed two things. First, the heating element loops around and back exactly under the center of the first 2 holes in the wood box floor (don't believe that's a design accident but well planned by Cookshack). Second, both of the element loops are touching the bottom of the wood box floor and can be seen touching the front 2 holes (just look into the wood box while it rests in its smoker position). If element doesn't touch both holes, gently lift the element loop till you see that both holes are in contact with the heating element.

I'll place up to 3 chunks of wood weighing a total of 3-6 oz depending what I'm smoking. All 3 are positioned right at the back edge of the first 3 holes in the wood box. When the wood is in place, 75% of the 3 holes still show.
Just wanted to give some lessons learned from my first seven or so smokes. I had never really smoked any meat before purchasing my Cookshack AmeriQue. Maybe others can learn from my mistakes.

Use the forums. Read them once, read them twice. I found a wealth of information here even before I actually purchased my AmeriQue. Once you have the 1000 foot view use the search tool to research more specifics. Do not be concerned (like I first was) that one post says to cook ribs at 225 degrees for 4 hours and another says 250 for 3 hours. Foil, spray with juice, go left, go right. I found out that smoking is more of an art and not like baking a cake where times and measurements are meant to be exact. This might have been the hardest concept to overcome.

Practice before having guests over. I am now eight smokes in and now think I am ready to have a few close friends over who will tell me their honest opinions. The first 4 or 5 smokes were not very good. They weren't uneatable but I was not happy with the product. I am surprised however how much one can improve in just a few additional smokes. When a smoke did not work as well as it could I went directly to the forums to do research so that I could course correct the next try.

Take notes. When I started I really wasn't going to keep a log of my smokes but it turned out to be a huge help. I am a tech guy and used the Evernote tool. Evernote lets me sync notes and photos on my home computer, iPhone and iPad. Pretty handy.

Watch your wood. Start with less and work your way to more. I started using one 2 ounce piece and graduated to two.

It's done when it's done. Before my first smoke I really didn't understand what everyone one was talking about. After just one smoke I got it. Do not try and rush the smoke. Every meat is different. Weight, fat content, etc. I learned that by practicing (I have been smoking baby back ribs and full pork butts) you quickly get an education on when the meat feels done. I am by no means an expert (or even a journeyman) but I am a bit more comfortable experimenting with different temps and times. I even sprayed apple juice concentrate on my last pork butt... fancy Don't be afraid to experiment. Just another good reason to practice before having guests for dinner. Be patient.

FTC. Foil-Towel-Cooler. I do still struggle with having the food come out in time for dinner. Don't think I have this one quite down. I have been starting the pork butts way before I need them and then double foil, terry cloth towel and cooler them. I would like to become better at this.

Remote thermometer. I had a Maverick that I used on my grill. I also got an iGrill for a birthday gift. Both worked really well. While not a necessity it really made things easier.

Clean-up. Thank the good Lord for aluminum foil and beer. Use them both


Again just my first 3 weeks of being a Cookshack owner. Thanks to all the forum posters who take the time to answer questions. It made such a better journey for me.

-Kof
2 smokes now in my new SMO45. I can attest to what Smokin , Pags, and others are saying about keeping it simple. I have smoked baby backs and also a couple Boston butts. Pretty basic recipe's. Put them in, cooked them low and slow, checked them for doneness tword the end of cook time. Cross checked the Cookshack meat probe with an instant read thermometer (boston Butt). The result was some great food.Didn't need to foil anything, as the CS keeps a lot of the moisture in the meat. Smoke flavor was great. As for the SMO45, the size is perfect for me. Plenty of space for what I plan to smoke. But room to cook more if I need it. I do agree that I might have to look at the optional stand though, or some sort of table to get it up higher off the ground. Bottom line: cant believe how easy this is to use, and the great food it produces. KISS!

As a matter of form, rather than resurrect 7 or 8 year old threads, it is always better to start a new post. Some of the contributors you are replying to are probably dead by now. Cookshack has left a lot of old stuff in place when they started the "new" Forum. Some of it was meant as legacy, but this particular thread is really moribund and should be archived.

Last edited by jay1924
jay1924 posted:

As a matter of form, rather than resurrect 7 or 8 year old threads, it is always better to start a new post. Some of the contributors you are replying to are probably dead by now. Cookshack has left a lot of old stuff in place when they started the "new" Forum. Some of it was meant as legacy, but this particular thread is really moribund and should be archived.

How about "Hi, how are you, welcome back!" 

"Some of the contributors you are replying to are probably dead by now."

What a pleasant thought.

"...but this particular thread is really moribund and should be archived."

More death references.  
If you're a forum moderator, go ahead and archive it.  You're not encouraging use of this forum with this approach.
 
mor·i·bund
/ˈmôrəˌbənd/
 
 adjective
 
  1. (of a person) at the point of death.
     
    Similar:
    dying  expiring  on one's deathbed  near death  near the end  at death's door
     breathing one's last  fading/sinking fast  not long for this world
     failing rapidly  on one's last legs
     in extremis
     
    with one foot in the grave
     
    Opposite:
    thriving
    recovering
     
     
    • (of a thing) in terminal decline; lacking vitality or vigor.
      "the moribund commercial property market"
       

     

Wow, sorry if I offended. I am certainly not the forum moderator. One of the major problems with this forum is that there isn't one. In any case, I still maintain that a thread that is more than 7 years old is past the end of its useful life. If you've been reading here over the past year or so, you know the forum itself is struggling to stay alive since the platform change CS chose. Yeah, more death references, I guess. At least that's one certain thing in life

New to the forum, Was mildy concerned as when I joined my chrome stated there was a hack on the forum that compromised 303 of my passwords....strange. I love smoking meats,.I just recently purchased a SM066, I was previously, and still am a stick smoker. I have several from 500 gallon converted from a water tank, to several from old propane tanks.

I am a believer,  my wife and I created "Wholly BBQ", tag line is "We'll make a believer out of you. We partner with churches that want BBQ meat for some type of event.  We do the cookin and just ask for a donation. We usually do pretty fine, our proceeds goes to our church and other missions we supports.

Wanted to have less work, so I purchased the SM066. Please tell me one thing, so far I have definitely used to much wood in the chip box. It is getting better but wow, that thing smokes.  Below is a sample ad we did for a re-union.

WhollyBBQCafe_c_G

Attachments

Images (1)
  • WhollyBBQCafe_c_G

Hope you enjoy your SM066. I've had mine for about 7.5 years and I love it. Not sure if you were asking a question about wood, but I never use more than 4 oz., even for long cooks like brisket or pork butt. For things like ribs, chuckies, or pastrami, more like 2.5 - 3 oz., and fish maybe 1.5 oz. I have some almonds in right now, with 1 oz. of hickory.  And of course you should use chunks, not chips, and not soak them. Enjoy!

@Skybizzer posted:

New to the forum, Was mildy concerned as when I joined my chrome stated there was a hack on the forum that compromised 303 of my passwords....strange. I love smoking meats,.I just recently purchased a SM066, I was previously, and still am a stick smoker. I have several from 500 gallon converted from a water tank, to several from old propane tanks.

I am a believer,  my wife and I created "Wholly BBQ", tag line is "We'll make a believer out of you. We partner with churches that want BBQ meat for some type of event.  We do the cookin and just ask for a donation. We usually do pretty fine, our proceeds goes to our church and other missions we supports.

Wanted to have less work, so I purchased the SM066. Please tell me one thing, so far I have definitely used to much wood in the chip box. It is getting better but wow, that thing smokes.  Below is a sample ad we did for a re-union.

WhollyBBQCafe_c_G

My first electric was the Amerique 066.  And my first butt was a creosote coated disaster. Each time the smoke ran out, I added more wood.  I used 12 ounces total in spite of the most excellent instructions that cautioned against it. That is what I deserved following peoples recommendations on another forum where Master Built reigns king. I learned my lesson.  Nothing but perfection from that point forward.  Enjoy and blessings to you and yours.

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