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Hello agian,
lynnae here, I'm still around You all are great for advice so I thought you could help me with this one. I was just given(meaning: for FREE!!) a slightly used New Brunfels offset smoker grill. The guy who gave it to me had a hard time using it....he had problems with controlling the heat...too hot on one side too cold on the other.....he really just wanted a grill that he could throw some steaks on that he didn't have to pay attention to. I think he got it for a gift and really didn't want to learn how to use it. He's a wimp!!
I, on the other hand, am a HUGE BBQ fan and have been at it for a short while. I got me a Cookshack smokette 2 years ago and it has given me great results with dam near everything. My biggest adjusment was not using too much really doen't take much to create a great flavor. I love that machine!!! I will use it untill there is no more meat left.

Anyway I spent most of the morning cleaning the NB up (scoured the rust off, cleaned the moldy grills, spot painted with some bbq grill enamel, some wd40 for the hinges etc). Now, it's practically brand new again and I need to season it and then it's off to the races.....except I've really no experience with a wood heated smoker. The smokette is awesome and really easy to use but I want to challenge myself to a different smoking method. Before I bought the smokette I used one of those cheapy Brinkman upright cylindrical charcoal fueled water smokers....good results and I had it for some time, but I did remember it a challenge keeping the charcoal going to provide heat and at the same time adding the damp wood chips. It's poor design didn't help it retain the heat so it would get cold quickly. I would love some advice on my new (free!!!) toy. I'm up for smoking all different types of meat and seafood. Sometimes I wish my smokette was just a little bigger...too expensive for me though..I'm just a hobby bbq'r..I live in Portland and we get the best salmon and halibut here and it would be cool to smoke one whole..or maybe not now that I think of it....;-)

Sorry for the blabbing on....

-Any web sites that would help me...? ( the NB site is now Charbroil and it sucks, it has NO info on how to) I know there are about 1000 sites out there but having some knowledge of where to start would be great. I really don't need recipes, I've got lots and so many more on this site, just really need a 'how to' primer.
-How would you suggest I season it properly?
-What are the do's and don'ts?
-How do you keep a fire going? This grill is horizontal with a heavy duty fire box with a ash clean out door thing and air adjustment vent and a barrel cooking area with a small chiminy that has a swivel closure on top.
-Anything else?? I cannot think of anything yet...

thanks for all your help and great reading!! You guys rock!
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Lynnae, I too have a New Braunfels off-set smoker. I also just finished wire-brushing the rust off my off-set firebox and repainting with 1200 degree BBQ black paint. It looks brand new. Be very carefull and DO NOT PAINT THE insides. DO NOT lubricate the hindges with WD40. Once the smoker heats up the oil will begin to burn off and the fumes will get on your food. The inside of my log-burner is a nice thick shiney gloss black from the seasonings and repeated cooks (smoking). That's what yours should look like. If you have any lose debris hanging you could use a scraper and that would be it.

My smoker sets next to my garage door, everytime I go in the garage, I get a wiff of the old iron smoker!!!!! Smells great.

Here's how I start mine. First I use a chimney starter and fill it with LUMP Charcoal, not Kingsford, the stuff that looks like it's already burned up. Crumple up some newspaper and light it. It usually takes me about 45 minutes to get the smoker up to temp. I dump the lit charcoal in the fire bix and let-er rip. I let the smoker box reach a temp of 300+ degrees to sterilize it. I then let the temps fall back down, The best I can do is maintain 250 degrees. I keep lump (lit) charcoal on the side along with my wood. Some I soak, some I don't. Depends on what I'm cooking depends on what type of wood I use. For salmon I use cherry, for my bbq beans I use misquite and hickory and oak.

Never use cedar.....

I have my stack vent open about 1 to 2 inches and my firebox open about the same, maybe a little more. Make a fire and adjust both ends and watch the temperature changes. You do have a quality thermometer in the cover don't you? If not, buy one and drill a hole and install it.

PLay with it, experiment with beans.....they're cheap.

Good luck and post your recipes here for the rest of us.


Thanks Dan,
I only put a(one) drop of wd40 on each the hinges of the fire box door and each hinge on the main barrel. Then I wiped off any that started to drip, there wasn't much anyway. NONE got inside the bbq. OK so I CAN use there any other 'flavor' lump that I can get that isn't mesquite? Say hickory? What about using just wood instead of charcoal? What about wood pallets?? There's alot of them in this city. Just kidding! ;-P I have used cedar planks for salmon, chicken and ribs over my gas grill and it works out great. It's definitely a unique flavor. Alder is also pretty good to use. Where I live there is an abundance of maple, cherry, apple, walnut and oak which is one that I like to blend with some of the others for some depth. Form my experience, the mesquite lump burns hot and fast so I can only guess that I'd need to add it somewhat regularly to maintain a constant temp. Let's use a good all purpose pork butt for example...6 lbs. How would you go about it?
thanks much...let's hope those folks in the Southeast are holdin' on tight!!

Where I live there is an abundance of maple, cherry, apple, walnut and oak which is one that I like to blend with some of the others for some depth.
Lynnae, these are all great woods to smoke with. For a Butt, you could use any of these woods for smoking. I usually get a fire going and let it burn to coals, then plce my chunks on for smoking as needed. Sometimes I lose my fire and have to use my chimney starter to make more coals. It's a back and forth process, heat, add soaked wood for smoke and maybe more heat. The wood chunks will burn and also provide heat. It's a hard battle, that's why I only use my log burner for beans and veggies so I really don;t have to control the temp that close. I use my Smokin-Tex for my butts and briskets. I tried my off-set for a brisket once and it started to rain, I was inexperience then and didn't know about the platue(sp?), Ended up taking the brisket off at 140 degrees and sliced it up. Not bad, but not as good as I can make now in my Smokin Tex......besides....I need my sleep!!!

take pictures......I'll be smoking a 12lb brisket this weekend, we can post our pictures for other to see...!!

Google the BBQ FAQ and you'll find some mods to the smoker that make it usable, including lowering the smoke stack to grade level, adding a tuning plate, etc.

Also, don't trust the temp gauge on the thing--measure the temp at grate level next to the food with a probe stuck thru a potato.

Keep the damper wide open and vary your fire size to moderate the temp swings. This will reduce creosote build-up on your food.

You mentioned smoking with all wood. Unless you preburn and shovel the coal in the firebox, you'll wind up oversmoking the meat and it will be bitter. Plus, if you use a charcoal basket you'll be able to extend your cook times and maintain steady heat. You'll want to use more wood than in your CS, but how much depends on you.

Lump vs. Kingsford, your choice. A lot of people use the latter and have fine results.

Read this link, the BBQ FAQ. There are a lot of good tips in there to help.

Number one issue is just what you said, heat control. I wouldn't even worry about meat until you can run it a few hours and have the temp hold a reasonable range. Once you have the temp stable, then I would also map the smoker to find out where the temps are at within the smoke chamber, on the actual grates. A good remote themometer, take it and poke it through a potato (to hold the probe off the grate). Place the probe and multiple locations and see how that temp matches the temp on the smoker. Oh, and don't trust the temp on the smoker without checking it against all these settings. Those smoker thermometers are famous for not being even close.

Here's the link, lots of great info:

Especially chapter 7:

BBQ FAQ Table of Contents

Ah nothin' like standing next to a log burner all day tending your smoke. Trying to keep those babies between 225 and 250 is a full time job. I'm on my second NB, they sure do rust pretty. Four things I have learned using an NB offset:

1. Always leave the smoke stack damper wide open when smoking and fully closed when not in use. That lets the smoke flow freely while cooking and keeps the rain and wasps out when you not cooking.

2.Use the dampers on the firebox to adjust your temperature not the smoke stack damper. Sometimes you may have to prop open the door to the firebox to lower the temperature.

3.In the smoke-cooking chamber install a metal baffle over the opening to the firebox to direct the heat further into the smoke-cooking chamber. This will keep the meat closest to the firebox from cooking faster than the meat further away from the firebox.

4.Get a comfortable chair to sit in while you spend the day tending the fire.
Hey Guys THANKS SOOOO MUCH!! Such great advice!! I'll check out all the links you've provided and let you know of my findings. I thought I'd try the first go round with a smallish's kinda hard to screw those things up OR some rib slabs...although a mess of beans would be cheaper...but then who's gonna eat all those beans...wooooweeee. ;-B I use a 'polder' thermometer in my CS and it's worked out great, especially with it's temp alarm. So I'll mess with the potato idea. It's smart thinkin'. You know the worst case senareo(sp) is that I find the NB too persnikity and just use it as a plain ol' charcoal bbq grill rather than use my gas grill which is great and easy but doesn't get me the heat I need to really sear a steak or fish. I did notice the 'hole' that goes from the fire box to the cooking/smoking area was somewhat large..maybe too large. The fire box seems too much for the small cooking area anyway. Maybe a piece of perforated steel plate to cover some of it up. There's a welding shop near by and the always have scrap pieces around for cheap. I'll consult those web sites and come up with something.
where does the creosote come it naturally occuring in wood? I always think of it comming from telephone poles or railroad ties and I'd never think of using those for a bbq.
Anyway thanks for all the help. I knew I could count on you!!!!!!!!
peace and stuff
Creosote is a mixture of chemicals which combine as a result the combustion of wood (wood creosote) or coal (coal tar creosote.) It's used as a wood preservative and that's why you think of it coming from telephone poles and railroad ties. It's also used in bird repellants, insecticides, and treatment for Psoriasis.

It can accumulate in chimneys when hot gases rise and condense on the walls of the flue. It may build up enough to become flammable. Hence the need to clean your chimney ever so often.
Hey again,
Hook, thanks for the info on creosote.
was an excellent link, as was the others. The baffle idea is great, as is the chiminy extender to create more draft for better temperature controll. I will do my best at the modifications and then I need to reseason the thing and then I can mess around with some ribs. I figured that the ribs are cheap and if I screw em up I can freeze the meat and flavor soups or stews in the fall. I'm really not a fan of using briquettes for fuel unlike the author of that article, he seemed to swear by briquettes. I'd rather use the lump's cleaner and doesn't have added chemicals that might get on the food; and I NEVER use lighter fluid!! Having used lump before I know that it's hotter and goes out faster so I'll just experiment and write down my findings.
I bought a New Braunfels last year and a 009 this year. I like the New Braunfels (best pork butt I ever cooked and even better tasting than on my Cookshack), but it is very labor intensive. I plan on using the same marinade and rub on my boston butt this Saturday and see what smoker makes the perfect butt. The good news is I only smoke my pork butt about 6-hours. I modified the smoker and I'll send you some pictures by private e-mail. I think the small modifications will make a big difference. Here is how I cook on it.

1) I start with a chimney of charcoal. Do not use lighter fluid or a brand that has lighter fluid imbedded in it.

2) When the coals are ready, spread them out right in front of the offset box door. This keeps the heat by the door. Make sure you have a grate and foil the fire box for easy clean-up. The grate will allow the ashes to fall through and get air under the fuel. The door will be hot so use gloves or modify the unit with a wooden door knob or you will burn yourself.

3) When the unit is hot, I switch to apple and hickory. Hickory is very intense, so I soak one small piece that I plan on using every 1/2 hour. A 6-hour smoke will use about 12 pieces of hickory. I start soaking the hickory the night prior.

4) I place a disposable aluminum pan over the fire and fill it with apple juice. This way the apple juice will add steam to keep the meat moist. I use about 1 1/2 gallons of juice for a good 6-hour smoke. Make sure the pan remains full. If not, the apple juice will foam and you will have a black lava looking mess.

5) I place my pork butt closest to the fire box opening in the meat chamber. Watch out as the hot air will be the hottest when it goes from the smoke chamber to the cooking chamber. I also do two beer can chickens at the same time. I use a beer can chicken stand, but no can. The apple juice will provide enough moisture, but I add some extra later. Wal-Mart sells beer can chicken stands for about $3.50.

6) Every 30 minutes I rotate and flip the pork butt. I also rotate the chickens. I take the chicken closest to the fire and turn it 180 degrees. I do the same thing with the second chicken. After 1 hour, I will put the first chicken (originally closest to the fire) away from the fire. The second chicken now becomes closest to the fire.

7) When I move the food every 30 minutes, I have a spray bottle filled with apple juice that I apply to all meat. This insures moist meat.

8) I have not made a pork butt with a remote temp gage, but the temp gage on the unit should read about 220 degrees. Go low and slow.

9) I take great pride in preparing the meat. I make a marinade and cook it for about 2 1/2 hours. This way the water is burned off. I marinade the meat the night prior. I use the same marinade for the pork that I use for the chicken.

10) Purchase Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue Sauces: 175 Make-Your-Own Sauces, Marinades, Dry Rubs, Wet Rubs, Mops, and Salsas. Find a good marinade and rub you feel comfortable with. My only advice when you make the marinade is when the marinade boils, lower the temperature to low and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. make sure you stir often. You need to get rid of some of the water from the ingredients.

11) Keep an eye on the fire. A remote temp gage is a must. I purchased mine when I bought my 009. Plan on adjusting the fire every 20 minutes. That is why I went to a Cookshack. If the fire gets to hot, close the fire box door. It takes experience to keep a good fire at a steady temperature. You do not want to be always chasing the fire (to hot or to cold).

Good luck and I'll send you some pictures.

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