So, I'm the new kid on the block.
My name is Bill & I love BBQ. My Q'n has been limited to a Weber grill/indirect heat set up that I'm sure everyone is familiar with. For example, I would take a Boston Butt & smoke it quite hard for about 3 hours with wet chips and then finish it off in a roaster oven for another 8 hours or so. I have had both success & setbacks.
I began shopping for a home smoker and had examined the Masterchef, Bradley, Smokin'Tex and Cookshack units using their on-line sites. It soon became apparent that a Cookshack was the one that I needed to have. And while I'm there, the group that contribute to this forum is certainly a tribute to their cookers.
In mid July I purchased a 008 Smokette off the floor from Cabela's. They had a promotion going on at the time & I got out of there for just under $400, including MI taxes. When I got home I seasoned my unit for 5 hours @ 200f with some hickory and threw in some Italian sausage & other fatty meat. Looked good/smelled great!
My first project was a Boston Butt. I put in a 7 1/2 pounder from Sam's Club and did that bad boy overnight. 12 hours later I was stuck on a internal temperature of 178f. I cranked the thermostat up to 250f and put my Taylor diigital down the top vent of that pup to see what was up. I watched the temperature swings for about a hour & a half. I could only hit 251.5 - wide open! I was able to finish the butt off (190f internal)in another two hours or so, but I think the total time for the single butt was over 14 hours of cookin.
I call CS Customer Service and they (I think it was ED) felt that due to the fact that I could only get 251 at the 250 setting meant that I had a thermostat that was not properly calibrated. They sent me out a new thermostat and I installed it myself. I'm not real handy, but the hardest part was removing the silver foil on the dashboard. There are two screws holding the thermostat inside the unit that are hidden under the foil. After replacing the thermostat I tested the temperature at the 225 setting and was hitting around 270 or so at the top of the swing with a empty cooker. Much better.
I have never done a brisket before and that was my next victim. Dropped a small 2 1/2 pound flat cut in the smoker and smoked it at 225 for about 6 hours. I'm pretty satisfied with the results, but actually I haven't had other brisket to compare with. It did seem a little on the firm or "gummy" side of things. I'll get more brisket help down the road. I'll not be bashful about asking for help or giving my opinions. Especially on this great forum. Also I like to get out of my box and try new things & experiment.
Next project is ribs. And then a two butt project in September. So, before I sign off, does anybody do both beef & pork together? Like, could I put a butt lower left, a butt center right, & a beef brisket on the top shelf? I can't see where seasoned beef drippings is gonna hurt those bad boys down below at all! And what about the drippings? Does you use some of the drippings back in the meat for addl moisture & flavor? Or just dump it? LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK