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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 01-10-2014, 08:19 PM   #1
tonywa1
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Hello, I'm new to the website and new to smoking. I got a master forge vertical smoker as a christmas gift and ready to start smoking. I talked to someone about a mod that I should make, elevating the coal about 1-2" off the bottom of the pan using a charcoal grate. I just had a couple of questions before I start.

1. Should I put water in the water pan or is it not really needed?

2. What would be the best starting meat to try to get used to smoking and were is the best place to place the meat in the smoker middle or top rack?

3. Is lump coal the best to use on a smoker like this?

and Finally
4. I'm looking to get a maverick T-73 thermometer, where is the best place to insert the probe cables, through the door or should i drill a hole and insert a gasket to insert the probes through?

Thanks for the help and information.
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Unread 01-10-2014, 08:44 PM   #2
EverettBBQ
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Get a pork butt to start out with!
Very forgiving.
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Unread 01-10-2014, 08:57 PM   #3
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Or you could do a naked fatty. But in reality pork btt is the way to go
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Unread 01-10-2014, 09:15 PM   #4
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First practice with your temps...cook small things.

Start with plain jane briquettes and see how they do, lump is great but you'll get higher temps. Maybe start with the middle rack and measure temps at the grate level.
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Unread 01-10-2014, 09:49 PM   #5
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I started out with the very same cooker, (still have it by the way), and you do need to use water, it will moderate your temps a bit. I would use briquettes, as lump will burn hotter and the cooker is fairly small inside and doesn't need alot of heat. Either rack will work, just depends on the size of meat your putting in there! Measure your pit temp at grate level where your cooking and don't use the thermo in the lid! If you cook any longer than a couple hours, you will need to add charcoal.
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Unread 01-10-2014, 11:06 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum and to smoking. I started with the same smoker and made some great stuff. I would consider starting with a whole chicken because it cooks pretty fast, or a pork butt because it is hard to wreck it.

Definitely use water, it helps regulate the temp. Since that smoker doesn't have adjustable vents you can only regulate heat with the water pan and the fire itself. Mine always ran at a good temp but if the water pan dried up the temp would spike. Not good!

I prefer hardwood charcoal but either is fine.

For the thermometer I just ran the cables through the side door. It isn't a perfect fit anyway. Works fine.

Have fun with it.
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Unread 01-10-2014, 11:24 PM   #7
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Start out with toast so you can find the hot spots then chicken or sausage then butts then ribs then brisket.

Use water but line your pan with tinfoil. no mess.

Mix lump and charcoal or try both see what burns well for your setup, look up the "minion method"

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If it sucks make chili with it and try again , its a hobby you can eat
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Unread 01-10-2014, 11:29 PM   #8
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Don't start with anything too challenging. Start with a Jimmy Dean sausage roll (Fatty) to season your cooker. It will impart a nice greasy glow to the inside of your smoker. Run the temp 220-275 until that bad boy is about 175 Internal Temperature.
I would use water and I would put a chunk of hickory about the size of a large golf ball right in the middle of your briquettes. I am assuming you are putting charcoal in the fire basket with a hole in the middle and then dropping in some lit ones in the middle, i.e. Minion method. Have fun!!
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Unread 01-11-2014, 09:52 AM   #9
tonywa1
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Thanks for the advise.
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