First Cook on the Assassin
My wife and I bought a new home recently. The previous owners were the original owners from when they bought the home in 1967.
Although they took good care of the home, it needed updating. Part of our renovation budget was carved out for a new smoker to augment our WSM.
Enter the Assassin. I was originally going to go with a Stumps but farker mep convinced me otherwise and I'm sure glad I listened to him. Nothing against Stumps, I just happened to agree with his assessment that I got more for my money by going with an Assasin.
The Assassin actually arrived 3 weeks ago but due to renovations and other home related issues it sat in the garage taunting me until this week. Last week I uncrated it and yesterday I seasoned it.
Below are some photos from the cook. Since the instructions cautioned me against wasting heat, I decided to put some MOINK balls and birds on it.
I had never made MOINK balls before so I just wrapped the meatballs in uncured bacon and topped them with some Pineapple Head rub (from Dizzy Pig) that I had laying around.
The birds I butterflied, rubbed with olive oil and then rubbed them with a mystery rub (its unlabeled, i don't remember what it was :)) under and on top of the skin.
Since I don't have a weedburner or a plumber's torch, I put one chimney full of lit coals in the firebox followed by one unlit.
Then I began hooking up the guru. I had never used it before so I plugged the fan in and set the pit temp to 300 and let it go. I checked on it every 5 minutes or so over the course of 30 minutes to see how it was going and the temperature never moved up. I removed the guru fan and realized that I didn't open up the fan damper. *Dope slap!*
I had to check the temp quickly because my dog had eyes on those birds on the counter
Once that was gone, the guru got the smoker up to temp pretty quickly. I cooked the MOINK balls for about an hour and the birds for a 90 minutes at 325.
The MOINK balls were good but a little underseasoned. Since we haven't finished setting up the kitchen yet, I didn't have any sauce on hand. I'll use more rub next time and a glaze at the end. They were still pretty good though
The meat on the birds were cooked perfectly. On my WSM, I always had rubbery skin and while this skin was not rubbery and certainly edible, it wasn't the oven crisp skin that I like nor was the color where I wanted it.
Here are some pics of the smoker coming up to temp (with my prep beer, a delicious marzen from our local brewery Port City)
and the proud owner after he switched to wine
One thing that bugged me was the temperature difference between the thermometer on the door and the digiq pit temp sensor. Since I was going ot be using the top 2 racks, I clipped the sensor to the underside of the second rack, towards the middle figuring that this would be an accurate reading.
However, the door thermometer read 30-50F off for the duration of the cook. Any thoughts there?
Two other questions:
I am glad that you are happy with your purchase since I got the "blame." I think that you will grow to like it more and more.
I have a similar problem with the door thermometer and I want to calibrate it to find out if it is reading correctly. I am more trusting of the Guru to be accurate.
To clean up the firebox, I just take the ashes out and dump them. Make sure that there aren't any live embers.
I like using the weed burner best to light my Assassin. I usually open up the cooking chamber and burn off the crud on the grates to help sterilize them and them I also run the burner on the walls to preheat the chamber. This causes the smoker to not take quite so long to get up to temp. Then I start my fire with the burner pointed up into the fire box. It only takes 4-5 minutes to get the charcoal going well. After the smoker gets up to temp, I throw in my smoking wood.
I think that the weed burner is worth it. You can get them at Harbor Freight for $20 or a self igniting one for $30. They are always running coupons in the paper to help you save a few bucks. I have also used a handheld propane torch and it does a good job, but I like the weed burner best.
Enjoy your smoker!
I have a Rebel which is somewhat like the Assassin and my temps vary like yours but I think it is caused by running the blower. When mine gets up to temp and is there for a while and doesn't have cold meat nearby the temps on the Guru and door are the same. I put the Guru probe on the Door thermometer and they read the same all the way. You will love your cooker. We now have one year cooking on ours in comps and are satisfied with the results. My control probe is just beneath the second shelf about a half inch. I put six sensors in mine, three on each side equally spaced and they vary a lot. Hot on that bottom shelf for sure. You just have to learn where to place the meat you are cooking. I usually run at 265 F.
Where do you guys clip the pit temp sensor? Does it depend on where in the unit you're placing the meat?
I did the first cook on my Assassin yesterday too. I loved how easy it was to use. Congrats!
I am soooo close to ordering an Assassin, I think I am going for the 28 model. I love seeing all these happy owners, it keeps reinforcing my choice.
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