quote:
Originally posted by Ray M:
I purchased the still smoking book and it recommends preheating before you put the food in. Is this a good idea ? I would think you will lose all the heat when you put the food in.


Do NOT go with the times from the book. It's fairly old and a few things have changed. The recipes are good, but the times are off.

Pre-heating isn't mandatory. It heats up quick enough, that unless it calls it for a specific recipe I wouldn't mess with it.
T tag onto Smokin's good advice,there are a couple times I might preheat.

If I am wanting to smoke someting,a little,and not do a lot of cooking.I may turn it on down around 180º,just until the smoke starts and turns kinda clear.

I'll then add product like small fish,or chicken breast fillet,peeled-hardboiled eggs,etc.

The cooker is usually not much warmer than the Fl sun would make it. Wink
If you preheat won't you actually get less smoke? If the oven is preheated it will reach temp pretty quickly after you put the food in, and then the element will cycle on and off to keep the temp. I have found that I get much more smoke when the element is on...so if you start cold the element is on for a while till it reaches temp and I find I get a lot of smoke very quickly. I am a newbie here, so perhaps I am incorrect in my observation..but that is what I have noticed.
The traditional CS tends to start wood smoking around 140º,I believe.

There can also be a difference between,heating the cooker,and starting the smoke.

You can even leave the door cracked open.

High temps,they tend to burn pretty efficiently,and really don't give much smoke.

Hopefully, at lower temps we are getting enough air feed to burn clean and not have much visible smoke.

The example could also be,you have to pass your hand over the exhaust,to feel/smell smoke that you can't see.

The first smoke off wood,can be pretty colorful,and may not be the flavor we are seeking.

An example,could be the yellow smoke ,off mesquite,can be pretty bitter,but when it burns clear,it will be more mild and burn hotter.

Most of us,cooking on FEC s,preheat,and then may run the cooker for several hrs,down around 160º to smoke,before we kick it up to cook.

Just a couple of thoughts,but I'm certainly no expert.
As Tom says, keep in mind that the perfect smoke is the clear stuff, that white/gray smoke at the beginning is just burning off the impurities of the smoke. If you haven't cooked on a stick burner, you might not have heard this.

That's why you don't want to get your wood wet, it smolders, and doesn't smoke clear

Lite/blue smoke is the best
As a guy working nights being able to load the meat and wood, set the temp, and go to bed, really appeals. They could steal a phrase from RonCo, set it and forget it.

PS, before anyone sneers at Ron Popeil the Showtime rotisserie produces amazing food. I made the mistake of getting the Foreman knockoff. One of these days I'll get a Showtime.
quote:
Originally posted by florida texan:
If you preheat won't you actually get less smoke? If the oven is preheated it will reach temp pretty quickly after you put the food in, and then the element will cycle on and off to keep the temp. I have found that I get much more smoke when the element is on...

I have found this to be the case also. With the digital controller - it starts short cycling somewhere around 40 -50 degrees from setpoint. I get more initial smoke on start up when the controller is on constant. This may not apply to the older models w/o digital controllers.

That said - I haven't found much need for preheating. I usually ignore "preheat instructions" in recipes I find.

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