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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, 08:46 PM   #16
Barbarian
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Just build a UDS or a Mega UDS.
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Unread 06-22-2009, 11:03 PM   #17
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Ok. Your right. My head is in cooking low and slow. Only because I think that is how these pellet smokers generate the most smoke. I cooked for 5 hours and then cranked it up because I wanted it done in another 3. Should have started it earlier. It was very tender.

I installed the digital controller today. I have halibut on it right now, but the good news is that it stayed below 200 on the smoke setting and dropped pellets every 10 seconds but the cycle was shorter. Smoke was bellowing out of it most of the time. I tried setting it to 180 to see what would happen and it spiked to 300, 400, 575, etc...

I set it to 275 and then 300 just now so I can try it before I went to bed. Halibut is at 139 now, 113 when I checked it about 10pm. Been on since 6ish after I got the new controller installed. I am hopeful and will report back. I guess I might have to try 225 or 250 and walk away for some hours. Is there a book on this?

My two setups were 1. gas grill with woodbox and tin foil. Results moderate. 2. Kenmore smoker modified to take pellets down a shoot to a tin wood box. Good smoke most of the time but could not keep temperatures low enough to cook a long time. To big of an element.

Thanks for all the replies. Next smoke set at 225 or 235 or what? I have a couple chickens and some leg quarters I can try after they thaw in a couple days. Although I have a ton of leftovers I have to eat some time. :)

I will post later. Hopefully I have some smoke flavor finally. My only fear is that smoke flavor may set in after 113 not necessarily during the first couple hours. Turning it up to far to late maybe is the issue. With the brisket it was 147 I think when I cranked it up to get it done.

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Unread 06-23-2009, 01:04 AM   #18
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Don't use Traeger pellets!
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Unread 06-23-2009, 07:07 AM   #19
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Ok, here are some tidbits from a comment that shy'd me away from the cookshack... I thought the pellet smokers would be the closest thing to an offset without all the maintenance..

"Cookshack 055 model... For the first 6 months I used the Cookshack everyday. I used it with the wood tray,hickory most of the time. Stopped using it because the texture of the ribs was much like steamed meat. The ribs did not have the smokey flavor I was used to with my offset. I used different amounts of wood many times trying to get it right. It never worked,the ribs were bellow standard. The chicken was just ok, on its best day. Pork butts are hard to mess up so they were good and I still use the Cookshack for butts. The brisket that came out was very close to pot roast. The texture was ok but the flavor of a Electric cooked brisket versus a wood smoked brisket is not even close.
Electric Cookshack versus an offset. Offset EVERY time. No comparison!!"
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Unread 06-23-2009, 07:13 AM   #20
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Now for the results of my halibut. It did have some smoke flavor finally. I would have been really surprised if it didn't with all the smoke coming out. I can easily get my money back out of this if I wanted to try something different. I only have $738 into it including the cover, extended box and digital controller. I am going to have to keep playing with it through the summer to see how I can get consistent smoke flavor, best pellets to use / etc... Certainly is easy to use (with the new controller) if I can figure it out.

Heck I might pickup an old offset on craiglist or something to play with on those weekend days that I can hang out with it.
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Unread 06-23-2009, 07:24 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darylrue View Post
I eliminated the big green egg because I read that it did not have intense smoke flavored meet, etc...
if you can still get your money back if you arent happy, a UDS is probably to way to go for price/performance. The CGs produce good Q but i think they require too many mods / jury rigging to be efficient. Even a WSM or a ProQ excel can and will produce top quality Q with a low investment and even less babysitting.

Regarding your earlier comment about not having big smoke flavoring on the eggs, I beg to differ. So far my low and slows on the egg have produced nothing but top quality que. It is NOT a stick burner of course, but i'm getting nice bark (my favorite), beautiful smoke rings, and great smoke without being overpowering.

My Great Outdoors Smokey Mountain gas smoker did pretty decent Q with fairly little babysitting - the food lacks the charcoal bark though, and it was pretty easy to overpower food by doing an extra smoke box of chips.
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Unread 06-23-2009, 08:05 AM   #22
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Your erratic temperatures could be a function of the size of the pellets you're using. How long are they? The longer they are, the less consistent the feed is to the burn pot. Causes wide swings, especially in this hot weather.

The CS pellet engine on the lowest (manual) setting, on that small size 420 grill, will produce a cooking temperature about 110 to 120 degrees above the ambient temperature. So when the weather is 90 outside, your minimum temp is 200 to 210. The digital MAY be able to control a little lower than that but you need a certain amount of pellets in order to prevent a flameout.

Now for your smoke flavor, pellet grills just have a "different" type of smoke flavor than a stick and/or charcoal burner. I've had my CS570 for a year now and have tried extra smoke boxes, add on smoke generators, changed the air outlets, etc. There's just no way the two cookers will ever taste the same. Now that's not to say the pellet grill flavor is bad, quite the contrary as they win lots of contests. But it is certainly different. There are other threads covering this topic on this site as well as on Pelletheads.com. Good luck!!
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Unread 06-23-2009, 08:30 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big brother smoke View Post
Get a stick burner for that deep BBQ mahogney color and flavor! YMMV
I am so glad you said that and not me... LOL...

I won't pretend to know the Pellet Pooppers, I don't have one, never have in the past and to be honest, I don't see one in the future... I love my stick burner and 'The Mistress' isn't going anywhere...

As for your comments on the BGE not giving enough smoke flavor, I've actually over smoked meat on it when it first arrived.

If I may be so bold, I would like to make a few recommendations...

As mentioned earlier, what kind of smoke are you looking for out of the exhaust ports? (Again, I don't know your experience level so please don't hold it against me.) If you think that you have to have a thick, white, dense smoke coming out, your going to be in for a surprise. That is the smoke of incomplete combustion and creosote. A thin, transparent, blue smoke should be your goal. This smoke shows that the combustion is more complete and the heavy oils found in the wood (pellets) is being burned so that only the flavor is passing on to the food.

Try cooking at a higher temp. It's going to be real tough to get a pork but up to 205-210* when the cooker is staying at 200*... The 225-250 range is fine and is still considered 'Low and Slow' and should produce a good smoke flavor.

Remember that while the smoke ring stops forming when the meat gets to roughly 142*, the flavor is still being absorbed by the meat beyond that point, so keep it on there...

It sounds like you are doing a fair amount of fish. The species you are talking about can handle the higher temps that other fish cannot. Again, give the 225* area a chance.

I hope this helps, and remember "Stick Burners Rule!!!!" LOL
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Unread 06-25-2009, 10:42 PM   #24
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Pellets are not long.

I have no experience really. So that smoke comment was good advice. No worry's about offending me at all.

I was able to maintain 210 and 225 pretty well yesterday. It was late but I think the thin blue smoke was more prevelant at 225.

I have two 3.5 chickens ready to roll for the morning. I am putting on at 7:40 and will be home around 5 to check on them. Can I cook those for that long on 225?

How do you get these pellet smokers to not jump to 600 degrees for about an hour after you start them? I do not want to have to get up too early to get the grill to running temp. Maybe I have to take the grates off and steel some pellets out before it gets going too hot?

Thanks for all the advice. I am leaning towards a big green egg but I really wish I could test one or talk to someone who primarily smokes for long hours with theirs.

Daryl
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Unread 06-26-2009, 10:00 AM   #25
h20pups
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I just got a cookshack essential am very pleased with the results. Still there is a learning curve and I am still learning.
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Unread 06-26-2009, 10:09 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darylrue View Post
Pellets are not long.

I have no experience really. So that smoke comment was good advice. No worry's about offending me at all.

I was able to maintain 210 and 225 pretty well yesterday. It was late but I think the thin blue smoke was more prevelant at 225.
I think you are getting a better burn at the 225* mark than lower... I seem to recall Billy (Fatboyz) talking about how the 'Smoke' setting on his was around 180* and it pumped out tons of white smoke... I could be wrong, but you could always touch base with him...

Quote:
Originally Posted by darylrue View Post
I have two 3.5 chickens ready to roll for the morning. I am putting on at 7:40 and will be home around 5 to check on them. Can I cook those for that long on 225?
That's like a nine hour cook, and for me, unless they are the size of a 25 pound turkey, is a bit long... I would go for, depending on the size, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours max....

Quote:
Originally Posted by darylrue View Post
How do you get these pellet smokers to not jump to 600 degrees for about an hour after you start them? I do not want to have to get up too early to get the grill to running temp. Maybe I have to take the grates off and steel some pellets out before it gets going too hot?
Again I have no direct experience, but I do recall some thing about having to cleaning the fire chamber prior to use... This may be your problem...

Quote:
Originally Posted by darylrue View Post
Thanks for all the advice. I am leaning towards a big green egg but I really wish I could test one or talk to someone who primarily smokes for long hours with theirs.
Check in your area for a store that sells BGE's... The one near me almost every weekend have something cooking on one...
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Unread 06-26-2009, 10:13 AM   #27
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If you want to try a different pellet, I'd suggest these....

http://www.bbqrsdelight.com/
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Unread 06-26-2009, 01:21 PM   #28
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I suggest you check out the food handling and safety section. Not all foods like 225*.
I'd also try a secondary thermometer to make sure your inside temps are really what you think they are.
Spend more time reading threads in Qtalk, a great source of knowledge shared by all.
You'll soon see it's how the cook uses the cooker to turn out good product.
Best of luck!
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Unread 06-26-2009, 02:04 PM   #29
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http://www.instrumart.com/Product.aspx?ProductID=20808

Tojo TTM-J4

Have a Treager Lil-Tex - I bought this controller and wired it in to control the auger motor. Used a type K thermocouple and ran it to a location just under the grill.

Works Great - can set the temp where I want it.

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Unread 06-26-2009, 04:17 PM   #30
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Keep it simple! Stick with the 225 - 250 degree range and you'll be fine. Also, forget about the thick white smoke because that's the last thing you want! Like the others have said, thin blue smoke is ideal. Smoke flavor will be attained by having the right pellets, not the amount of white smoke billowing out of the stack.

Good luck.
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