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PorkSword
02-16-2004, 10:20 AM
Hi all. Great site! This site helped seal the deal for which smoker to buy. And thanks to Slat for the welcome note.
I seasoned the new Dera yesterday as per the instructions in Bandera 101 after spending a couple of days making the firegrate, baffle, and gasket mods.
I suppose you already know from all of the noobs how sweet it is to have a doc like Bandera 101 to get you started. Thank you very much for that.
I'm new to smoking, but all of the info from the posts and the files made the plunge easy enough.

The seasoning went fairly well. After a major heat spike near the beginning :? and a couple of smaller temp dips and bumps, I managed to keep the heat around 300 or so according to the digital therm. The door therm was about 50 degrees off, just like you guys warned.
I had lots of Sweet Blue pouring from the stack, but depsite the silicone gasket, I still had a little smoke leaking from the door (I'll need to touch up the gasket). I also had a lot of smoke (and heat) pouring out of the top of the firebox side door. When I close it, it warps slightly creating a gap at the top. :?: Should I seal that door, too?

Also, :?: Do you guys find it easier to use wood chunks instead of logs to maintain the temp? I bought my wood from Academy. It came in 12 inch split logs. After getting a good bed of coals in the fire box, I found that one log was enough to heat the smoke chamber to 300 degrees, but the problem was that the log heated the dera quickly at the beginning when it first caught then slowly drop to about 250 degrees as it burned down, and I'd put a new log in. So... :?: should I use logs for hotter cookings and chunks to maintain the lower temps? Or is there something I may be doing wrong?

Anyway, thanks for the great info and for the place of refuge. I look forward to learning a great deal from this site.

P.S. I'm going to try beer can chicken tonight. Wish me luck! :)

colt45
02-16-2004, 10:53 AM
great username and avatar btw.... porksword... outstanding... you are going to fit in well here...

beer can chicken is meant to be cooked at temps of 300+ I also do not use the water pan when I do them or I just put in the waterpan empty so the skin gets crispy... get your hands on a copy of "Beer Can Chicken" great book... also "Smoke and Spice" another great book with recipies for rubs and sides and such...

enjoy your new smoker!!!

colt

david
02-16-2004, 11:05 AM
It came in 12 inch split logs. After getting a good bed of coals in the fire box, I found that one log was enough to heat the smoke chamber to 300 degrees, but the problem was that the log heated the dera quickly at the beginning when it first caught then slowly drop to about 250 degrees as it burned down, and I'd put a new log in. So... should I use logs for hotter cookings and chunks to maintain the lower temps? Or is there something I may be doing wrong?

That sounds about right. I use 16" splits, anywhere from 2 -6 inches thick. It seems that the thinner the splits the less the temp spikes. with 2" thick splits I can add more than one piece at a time and maintain a good temp, but I have to watch the fire more closely. With the thicker splits, I get higher temps, but it burns longer without adding more wood.

tommykendall
02-16-2004, 11:37 AM
Welcome aboard. I'm not real particular about sealing off every known leak. I don't think it's necessary. As far as mods go - you might want to try a couple a ChiBill's favorites - drain mod and the new "biddle mod".

racer_81
02-16-2004, 12:02 PM
bill - please publish the details and pics of the biddle mod.

i'm sure you will have that done in just a biddle lit.

PorkSword
02-16-2004, 04:14 PM
Cool. Thanks for the tips.

Yeah, what is the Biddle mod?

Solidkick
02-16-2004, 04:37 PM
And thanks to Slat for the welcome note.


good to see someone took over the welcoming committee role.

thanks slat

BBQchef33
02-16-2004, 05:07 PM
Welcome porky!!

Glad you like the Dera 101 document. Thats about a years worth of compiliations from our site. good to hear some feedback on the work.

As far as wood goes, and this is just my .02, i know some of us dont like this approach, but i think its good for beginners to get the hang of stuff slowly....

If your a newbie to smoking and the bandera, i would recommend starting with kingsford and chunks of wood for flavor. The kingsford will help you keept the temps steady till you get the hang of the dampers and there effects on temps and learn some fire managment. After 3-4 cooks, start using more wood less kingsford. You can also go to Lump charcoal for a while with wood chunks if ya want... Lump burns hotter than kingsford, but not as long. After that, you'll have a good idea aof how you want to work, all wood, little charcoal and mostly wood, etc...Personally, I use a chimney of kingsford for the first blast of teat and to get the beast up to temp, addind some chunks for flavor. Once i establish a good coalbed with the chunks and kingsford, I switch to all wood, prefering to used split wheels, or large chunks or thin splits no more than 4 inchs wide. They burn cleaner and ignite faster reducing the chance of nasty smoke. If I start to loose the coal bed that ignites the logs quickly, i will add half a chimney of lump to maintain that bed.

RE: that warped door, most of us have it. I keep a section of fiberglass rope(stove gasket) tied to the handle on the side of the firebox. I just hold that on top of the side door and closwe the door on the gasket. Its a quick fix for that leak. If you cant find the gasket in a fireplace store, let me know and I will send you some.

Chuckens and pork butts are good for first rounds.. very forgiving.

hope this helps get ya started.. Welcome to the group!!!

brdbbq
02-16-2004, 05:10 PM
Fat Finger Modarator

Bill-Chicago
02-16-2004, 06:46 PM
Welcome Mr P.

And I am still trying to get the biddle specs from Phil.

parrothead
02-16-2004, 06:58 PM
first blast of teat

I geuss we know what's on your mind.

Heath
02-16-2004, 07:23 PM
first blast of teat

Breast man myself Phil, although sometimes I like wing too.

Welcome PS. I myself tried the gasket trick. They fell off after a while. If your good at metal massaging (ie. bending) you can get the doors to shut with almost no gaps. It took me a while but it's feasable. After you get them close the smoke/dirt/oil/other stuff will help seal them. The fire box top can be massaged by bending the hinges and it will actually sit flat on the firebox. Also try to bend the inner lip in and out to fine tune it.

One question on the smoke coming out everywhere. Did you have the top damper all the way open? I notice when I first start the fire I will have some smoke from cracks and gaps but once the updraft gets going then no smoke anywhere unless I clamp down on the damper.

You like us now, just wait till everyone starts Q'n full time again this summer and describe in minute detail how the Q looks and tastes while your at work. We'll have you droolin on the keyboard in no time.

cabo
02-16-2004, 08:22 PM
Welcome,
If you don't have one or access to one, get a digital camera. These guys, myself included like pictures.
I'm hoping to have one in the near future, been using the one from work, and getting pretty tired of lugging it back & forth.

slat
02-16-2004, 09:59 PM
Welcome once again PorkSword. Glad you are enjoying the site. If you don't see something just ask and you will get all kinds of help or ideas.

Slat

racer_81
02-16-2004, 11:23 PM
Personally, I use a chimney of kingsford for the first blast of teat and to get the beast up to temp

Wow. That's all it takes? And all these years I've been buying drinks for the ladies.....

Dangit!

PorkSword
02-17-2004, 10:47 AM
Two smoked chickens and a smoked cabbage last night! My first smoke, a success!!!
I wish I had a digital camera, I would have snapped a good pic for you guys. I'm sure you've seen a million smoked chickens, but I tell you, these birds were gorgeous!

Thanks for all the welcomes and tips.
I'll try the fiberglass rope on the fire door, but I did realize that once the fire got hot enough, I didn't notice as much smoke coming out of the top of the fire door (I did have both dampers fully open). Perhaps the heat made for a better updraft, but it could've been harder-to-see Sweet Blue coming out, too..

As for the fire starter, I used a chimney of briquettes and added logs from there. Maybe I'm a natural pro? :wink:

I used pecan, but unfortunately, the bag of logs I picked up was full of 3" round, unsplit logs. This made it difficult to maintain a hot temp without a lot of smoldering and white smoke at first, but I finally gave in, and threw a warmed split hickory log on the fire to give it a heat boost.

anyway, it turned out great. Thanks again!

Bigdog
02-17-2004, 11:25 AM
Personally, I use a chimney of kingsford for the first blast of teat and to get the beast up to temp

Wow. That's all it takes? And all these years I've been buying drinks for the ladies.....

Dangit!

I've spent 1/2 of my money on booze and ladies...the rest I've just wasted! :twisted: