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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 05-28-2013, 10:54 AM   #1
Lockon
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Default New here and needing some advice

Hello all. I just join and wanting to expand my very limited knowledge of smoking meat I have been dabbling in the BBQ Smoking arena for a couple of years, and would like to get better. I currently smoke mostly brisket, but did a pork butt this past weekend and my family and friends loved it. I would like to venture in to chicken and eventually a whole pig.

So, my first question or opinion I would like to get is what would be a good mid-level smoker I can BBQ for the family and every once in a while for a group of friends? I currently have a Char-Griller w/ fire box (Lowes special), but it is a bear to try and keep the heat regulated.

Second, what do you guys use for fuel (wood logs or charcoal)? I currently use the lump coal charcoal and wood chunks (the bagged stuff from Lowes) for the smoke. I only use the smoking wood for about the first hour of cooking. I have done some research, but can not determine if people use split logs for the whole cooking process or just to get the smoke ring?

Anyhow, thanks in advance for any help you can provide a noobie
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Unread 05-28-2013, 11:07 AM   #2
SmokinJohn
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Welcome!

IMHO, you need a UDS. Check out the thread. Yes, you should read all of the posts there because nuggets of wisdom lie within. You will find, after some dial-in time, that you can keep your temps fairly steady.

I use charcoal in my UDS, with whatever wood happens to be at hand, unless I'm trying out a wood.
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Unread 05-28-2013, 11:16 AM   #3
ButtBurner
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If you want to do a whole hog, I dont know how you are going to do that on a UDS, but I am not that familiar with them so maybe you can.

What is your budget?

I use sticks in my offset, I have a base of coals made from charcoal and use sticks after that for the whole cook.
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Unread 05-28-2013, 11:26 AM   #4
SmokeDiddy
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I have a BSKD vertical offset and it is also considered cheap, but after a few mods, I really cannot complain. Yes, I spend much time "tinkering", but I don't mind doing that. For a typical cook, I start a full Weber chimney of Kingsford Blue, once I have white ash formed, I dump the entire chimney in my firebox and add a couple of fist sized wood chunks. I then lay several splits and chunks on top of the fire box to preheat them (being careful that they don't catch fire) What happens then is the temp will spike close to 400 degrees F and I wait until the temp becomes steady between 250-275 degrees and I have TBS. I then add the meat. Then I adjust vents as needed and add 1 split or 1 chunk approx every 45 mins to maintain a small, but HOT fire. Preheating the splits and chunks will allow them to instantly ignite when I add them to the coals which will keep TBS throughout the cook. But with the cheap cookers, you always have to be ready for temp spikes and hot and cold areas inside the smoke chamber. I have cooked on my BSKD long enough to know where these areas are and how to minimize spikes. When I add splits and chunks, I add them via the fire door and not the lid.

Anyway, whenever I can scrounge up enough pig dollars, I plan to purchase a Lang 36" reverse flow offset patio. Here is a link to their web site http://langbbqsmokers.com/lang36/lang36_original.html I don't believe this model is big enough for a whole hog (maybe a very small one), but they have several models that are.

Hope this helps and Welcome Aboard!!!
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Unread 05-28-2013, 11:28 AM   #5
Lake Dogs
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Just about the same size as a UDS would be a WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain). They're super smokers, good enough in fact that some use them in competitions. BUT, neither the UDS nor the WSM are large enough for a whole hog.

For a small to medium pig, you'll want to look at something like a Lang 60, or perhaps larger depending on the size of the pig & party you're doing. I have a larger model and in a few weeks will be doing 2 25# fresh hams, 2 20# whole shoulders, 2 more 9# butts, and about 14 racks of baby backs, all at the same time...
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Unread 05-28-2013, 11:47 AM   #6
Lockon
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I have been looking at a Lang 48 or 60 and also a Jimbo Pit. I was just wondering if there are others out there and any less expensive. I know you get what you pay for....

Also, when you guys refer to "sticks" or "splits" is that just split cord wood? If so, do you use the same wood for fuel as you do for smoke? Meaning could you use oak for the fuel and add hickory chunks to it for the smoke flavor, or would that taste bad?


Thanks again!!
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Unread 05-28-2013, 12:00 PM   #7
SmokeDiddy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lockon View Post
I have been looking at a Lang 48 or 60 and also a Jimbo Pit. I was just wondering if there are others out there and any less expensive. I know you get what you pay for....

Also, when you guys refer to "sticks" or "splits" is that just split cord wood? If so, do you use the same wood for fuel as you do for smoke? Meaning could you use oak for the fuel and add hickory chunks to it for the smoke flavor, or would that taste bad?
I have really only looked seriously at the Lang pits. They seem to have a price point I can stand.

As for splits and sticks, yes, they are seasoned split wood. (seasoned = completely dry prob >= 12 months out of the elements stored in dry location) I typically use hickory as my wood of choice but I have used pecan and cherry. I use these mostly for flavoring. Once the meat has been subjected to smoke for at least three hours, the meat will not accept much more smoke. I typically pan and foil the meat after three hours. I continue to use whatever "cooking" wood I have available but I do also use lump charcoal as fuel, but only if I have large chunks. It is a pain if trying to use small pieces of lump. I have found that pre-heating the wood will keep it from smoldering too much which can be an issue if you do not foil. Once I am foiled I really don't care but again, I keep my fire as small and hot as practical. My 2 cents.
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*Weber Smokey Joe (RIP)
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*Weber tongs and such, hd alum foil, chimneys, matches, wood and other misc doo-dads and thing-a-majigs
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Unread 05-28-2013, 12:17 PM   #8
DavidJ
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Lockon,

Welcome!

I started on a UDS but always had my eye on an Open Range from Good one. It's a patio smoker with a front to rear offset that I couldn't afford ($1,300+ pre tax) so I kept my eyes on CL and finally found one for < $600.

As far as fuel, it's a combination of KB and RO, and a flame-thrower. I use enough KB to get the smoker good and hot, as well as to pre-heat the lump, but for cooking I generally just use lump charcoal. However, when KB is on sale I don't mind saving a few $$ and will use it for a entire smoke.

Smoking wood depends on the meat. For Brisket I use Hickory, for Pork and Chicken it's Cherry, Apple or Maple, depending on my mood and the type of meat. Butt usually gets Cherry and Ribs usually get Maple.

David
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Unread 05-28-2013, 01:07 PM   #9
dwfisk
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Welcome aboard!
When I refer to a split I like folks to imagine a 6"-8" diameter chunk of tree, 16"-18" long, quartered. To start a fire, I'll take a split and break it into 2-3 smaller pieces, but once the coal bed is set, I cook with full splits, 1-2 per hour. I pretty much used kiln dried hickory, just like the flavor for anything I'll cook in the big RF offset (I prefer citrus or fruit woods for seafood, but do that on the 26.75 Weber or SJ/mini WSM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lockon View Post
I have been looking at a Lang 48 or 60 and also a Jimbo Pit. I was just wondering if there are others out there and any less expensive. I know you get what you pay for....

Also, when you guys refer to "sticks" or "splits" is that just split cord wood? If so, do you use the same wood for fuel as you do for smoke? Meaning could you use oak for the fuel and add hickory chunks to it for the smoke flavor, or would that taste bad?


Thanks again!!
Lang makes a great pit, but like I tell everybody that asks, drop fellow bretheren TuscaloosaQ a PM and see what he can do for you. He has a current build thread on the forum-you won't find better quality.

Best of luck whatever you decide & don't be a stranger!
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Unread 05-28-2013, 01:14 PM   #10
kolky
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Agree with many of the above. The WSM is a great smoker and reasonably priced. Depending on your definition of mid-range you may want to look into an Egg or Primo as well. Both function very well as a smoker and are absolutely phenomenal grills. A Primo could probably fit a suckling pig on it but none of the above will fit a hole hog.
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Unread 05-28-2013, 02:24 PM   #11
Lake Dogs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwfisk View Post
Welcome aboard!
When I refer to a split I like folks to imagine a 6"-8" diameter chunk of tree, 16"-18" long, quartered. To start a fire, I'll take a split and break it into 2-3 smaller pieces, but once the coal bed is set, I cook with full splits, 1-2 per hour. I pretty much used kiln dried hickory, just like the flavor for anything I'll cook in the big RF offset (I prefer citrus or fruit woods for seafood, but do that on the 26.75 Weber or SJ/mini WSM.


Lang makes a great pit, but like I tell everybody that asks, drop fellow bretheren TuscaloosaQ a PM and see what he can do for you. He has a current build thread on the forum-you won't find better quality.

Best of luck whatever you decide & don't be a stranger!

If it's getting close to the/a Lang, yes, drop TuscaloosaQ a message. Also check online bubbagrills.net, another very nicely made reverse-flow offset... I was looking for a used Bubba Grills model when I ran across my Lang. Both cook VERY well.

The Lang 48 can do small pigs, but on something over 80# would probably be tough if not impossible to cram it in there. I think you'll be much happier with something the size of the 60.
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Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
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Unread 05-28-2013, 02:26 PM   #12
thaifighter06
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I'd say WSM or BGE!
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