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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 06-22-2009, 11:52 AM   #1
darylrue
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Default Need a great smoker (Pellet Smoker Doesn't Smoke, Cooks too hot)

I have a country smoker 420 (comparable in size to traeger lil tex), just got it last week. Trying to get something to have smoke flavor / smoke ring / smoke / cook less than 220 degrees. I tried different kinds of wood, etc... It is a minimum 220 and spikes every few minutes to 250.

My goal is to have smoke flavored tender meats. That is it.

I researched and thought I was on to the cookshack that takes wood chunks until I read a message from a guy on this forum who said he had the cookshack in his restaurant for 6 months until he gave up said he could not get it to have great output. So that is when I decided to go with the pellet smoker. I just did not want to cut any corners and wanted to get the best possible smoked meat. Maybe I just need to get a regular wood smoker. I eliminated the big green egg because I read that it did not have intense smoke flavored meet, etc...

I called lousiana grills and they were not much help. I did prop the lid and got it to stay at 190-210 and it smoked once and a while but after I put a brisket on it for at least 5 hours I still did not taste any smoke. Will the electronic control add on help or solve this issue or just continue my frustrations? I was hoping I could set it lower so the pellets do not feed every 35 seconds.

Or, Do I need to buy something different all together? Why would I not just get the cookshack? All the reviews rated as great smoke flavor, one person said it was easy to get too much smoke flavor. At this point that is music to my ears.

Any help is appreciated. I have been at this since last July, this is my 3rd setup, was hoping for it to be my last.

Daryl in Omaha Ne.
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Unread 06-22-2009, 12:06 PM   #2
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Daryl,

I don't know anything about your smoker, but I am going to guess you need to bring your temps up to 225-250 so the cooker will feed more pellets. More pellets = more smoke. Fire control on any cooker is the key to a successful cook. Don't give up on it so soon. Learn to master it.
Also a brisket should take around an hout to an hour and a half per pound. Depending on if you wnat it sliced or shredded.
Good luck and have fun with it.
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Unread 06-22-2009, 12:20 PM   #3
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Hi Daryl,
I have a Traeger and wanted more control with the temps than the smoke, medium and high control that came with the unit. I bought an after market digital control that goes from 180 to 475 and I am very happy with it. Like Roo-B-Q'n says it still took a while to get it dialed in and I am still learning after a little over a year.
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Unread 06-22-2009, 12:25 PM   #4
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Get a stick burner for that deep BBQ mahogney color and flavor! YMMV
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Unread 06-22-2009, 12:26 PM   #5
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I wouldn't give up yet on the pellet smoker. Every smoker has a few learning points and curves. That is half the fun, learning how to work your smoker.
I would give it another try at 250.
Use a cold pork butt, throw on a mustard slather, use a salty bbq rub and smoke it for 1 1/2 hrs per pound.
some prefer different brands and flavors of pellets. I cant give any recommendations.
I think most pellet grills use about a pound an hour. You may be limiting the smoke from the lower temps. Crank it up.
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Unread 06-22-2009, 01:34 PM   #6
darylrue
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I tried cooking salmon on the smoke setting in which the temperature fluxes from 220 to 250 and not a drop of smoke flavor.

I was thinking to about a traditional smoker but was hoping to get one with lower maintenance as I seem to try to smoke crap about 5 days a week. I also had my wife throw on a pork loin while I was at work last week, that was a nice option. Also liked the smaller size.

I was thinking it would smoke better at lower temps. I turn it of and on playing with it and around 170 it seemed to smoke really good. I also wonder about the baffle over the smoke and the fact that all the exhaust holes come out the back. Seems to me that the smoke pretty easily routs away from the meat. I think I will try to find that guy who had the cookshack and then bought a langel (?) and try to find out more about why he did not like the cookshack.
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Unread 06-22-2009, 01:50 PM   #7
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Get the adjustable thermostat....I held 210 for 12 hours on my country smoker 680
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Unread 06-22-2009, 01:53 PM   #8
darylrue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biffalo View Post
Get the adjustable thermostat....I held 210 for 12 hours on my country smoker 680
Did your food have smoke flavor? Did / does it matter what chips you used?
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Unread 06-22-2009, 01:53 PM   #9
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Like some of the others, i don't know the specifics of your cooker, but I get a nice smoke flavor and smoke ring out of my FEC. Yeah, the flavor isn't as strong as a stick burner, but no one has complained about the flavor (except the judges at Moweaqua, IL two weeks ago when they tried my chicken entry ).

I'm not trying to seel you on an FEC or even keeping your Country Smoker. maybe it isn't for you. One note, however... Are you looking for thick white smoke? You don't need to see smoke to get smoke flavor.
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Unread 06-22-2009, 01:55 PM   #10
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Yeap, give that Country Smoker a few more tries. This came out of a CS Whole Hog 4th of 47 teams earlier this year.

What brand of pellets are you using?
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Unread 06-22-2009, 02:14 PM   #11
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I used both mesquite from traeger and also 100% hardwood from oscheln farms.

Looks good. What temp did you cook at?

The FEC is out of my budget at least right now. I could probably go $1000

I ordered the electric controller supposed to be here today. Right now the unit feeds every 35 seconds. The guy at Lousiana-grills said the electric thermostat unit drops it down to every 45 seconds so maybe that will help too.
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Unread 06-22-2009, 04:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darylrue View Post
after I put a brisket on it for at least 5 hours I still did not taste any smoke.
How long, overall, did you cook your brisket? I ask because when I do brisket, it usually takes at least 12 hours at 250º to get it to 195º internal, and I can't imagine brisket being even close to edible after only 5 hours at 210º.

I would suggest running it longer...take that brisket all the way up to where it is 195º internally and see how it tastes then.

It certainly won't be quite the same as a stick burner, but you should still be able to notice the smoke flavor.
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Unread 06-22-2009, 04:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darylrue View Post
The FEC is out of my budget at least right now. I could probably go $1000
I understand and I wasn't suggesting that you neede to spend that much. I think you should be able to get the flavor that you want out of the Country Smoker.

BTW, I have a Cookshack Smokette (their small, electric smoker) and it is very easy to over smoke in the Cookshack. It is hard to get a smoke ring, however, since the wood is smoldering, not really burning. It can be done, but it takes some trickery like adding a piece of charcoal to the wood box. The Cookshack does a nice job, and is great in cold weather.

Quote:
Originally Posted by embo500 View Post
How long, overall, did you cook your brisket? I ask because when I do brisket, it usually takes at least 12 hours at 250º to get it to 195º internal, and I can't imagine brisket being even close to edible after only 5 hours at 210º.
Good catch. That slipped right by me. Don't go by time or temp alone with any meat. For brisket I use 1 hour per pound as a guideline but watch the internal temp and the feel of the probe as it slides into the meat. Each brisket is different. When it is done the probe will slide in like it is going into butter.
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Unread 06-22-2009, 06:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darylrue View Post
Any help is appreciated. I have been at this since last July, this is my 3rd setup, was hoping for it to be my last.

Daryl in Omaha Ne.
What were the other two setups? What are you comparing it against?

It seems like you've got it in your head that the magic temp for smoking is 200ºF or below. Let is go up to 225º-250º and try that. I think a lot of people are cooking in this range.
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Unread 06-22-2009, 08:06 PM   #15
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Take a look at Ole Hickory Ultra Que or Legend. Propane Smokers that use wood. Expensive, but very high quality.

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