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View Full Version : My Issue w/ Drum Smokers


Wesman61
12-11-2017, 07:32 PM
I have a Gateway drum smoker and have a love/hate relationship with it. For chicken, ribs and tri tip it is great but I figured out early that I don't like smoking butts or briskets in it without a water pan. If I use it like everyone else it's gives the meat a burnt grease taste. Not sure why it bothers me but so few others. If I use a water pan it does a pretty good job over all but it seems impossible to get that dark color on a butt or brisket that is effortless with a stick burner. Is this normal? I'm guessing the humidity with a water pan is the culprit.
I love the set-it and forget-it convenience it offers but I really want better color.

SmittyJonz
12-11-2017, 07:45 PM
I ran water pan in my UDS(s) - I just tired of lifting charcoal basket in/ out and lifting a grate full of hot meat out to get to the 2nd Grate. I prefer cabinet style - which I run water pans in - don’t like drippings burning on charcoal or hot difusser plate.

Wesman61
12-11-2017, 08:07 PM
Yeah, the limited grate space without using the second level is also a gripe of mine. I love the OC Smokehouse but I'm committed for 10 to 14 hours. I have a friend who wants a smoked brisket on Christmas eve but I have things going on at the house and don't have the time to babysit a stick burner. If I returned all the smokers I've ever bought for a full refund I'd barely have enough for a decent sized cabinet smoker like a LSG IVC mini. They aren't cheap but I can see why people spring for them.

el luchador
12-11-2017, 08:33 PM
Simple, put a diffuser it it. Put some bricks on the diffuser and then put a dry pan on the bricks. No more burner grease flavor

Wesman61
12-11-2017, 08:48 PM
Just pulled a butt off the drum and although it's as tasty as a butt cooked on my smokehouse, it's not quite done but as is always the case it burnt through the fuel before the butt was done. Lasted about 11 hours @ 250.

el luchador
12-11-2017, 08:59 PM
You may need a bigger charcoal basket

Wesman61
12-11-2017, 09:00 PM
You may need a bigger charcoal basket

It's a 55 gallon drum.

Cook'n with Wood
12-11-2017, 09:01 PM
Ever Try hot and fast method? Cooked for years on a Lang 84 deluxe...as I got older the more I needed my sleep. Found the Hunzanker Vortex drum...never looked back. Sold the Lang a year ago. But with that said I debone and trim all visible fat.

Wesman61
12-11-2017, 09:31 PM
Ever Try hot and fast method? Cooked for years on a Lang 84 deluxe...as I got older the more I needed my sleep. Found the Hunzanker Vortex drum...never looked back. Sold the Lang a year ago. But with that said I debone and trim all visible fat.

Yes, I normally run it at 300 This was an experiment to see if lower temps with allow it more time to darken. There's no noticeable difference in the color compared to hot and fast.

el luchador
12-11-2017, 09:44 PM
With a water pan you won't get the color. Use a diffuser with no water so you get color but no grease flavor. Simone

Wesman61
12-11-2017, 10:04 PM
With a water pan you won't get the color. Use a diffuser with no water so you get color but no grease flavor. Simone

I have the Gateway diffuser plate. The grease drips on it and burns but I haven't tried the brick idea. I really should just not try to make it do what it wasn't designed to do.

el luchador
12-11-2017, 10:06 PM
I have the Gateway diffuser plate. The grease drips on it and burns but I haven't tried the brick idea. I really should just not try to make it do what it wasn't designed to do.

yes, you should use two diffusers with an airgap.

if it wasnt designed to do that, make it better. If you dont want to do that you should probably sell it.

JS-TX
12-11-2017, 10:12 PM
UDS/WSM cookers are very versatile, there's nothing wrong with using a diffuser/drip pan in your cooker. As far as color, are you wrapping at any point? Are you using enough wood chunks?

Czarbecue
12-11-2017, 10:54 PM
It's a 55 gallon drum.


You can still do a larger charcoal basket.

Wesman61
12-11-2017, 11:40 PM
You can still do a larger charcoal basket.

Sorry, thought you meant a bigger drum.

Wesman61
12-11-2017, 11:41 PM
UDS/WSM cookers are very versatile, there's nothing wrong with using a diffuser/drip pan in your cooker. As far as color, are you wrapping at any point? Are you using enough wood chunks?

I usually use 3 wood chunks.

Wesman61
12-11-2017, 11:46 PM
yes, you should use two diffusers with an airgap.

if it wasnt designed to do that, make it better. If you dont want to do that you should probably sell it.

I think I'll try the brick idea next time. I still like it for ribs, chicken and anything that cooks under in 4 hours or has less fat to drip and burn. It's great for that. I have about a cord of various wood for my Smokehouse and it does great with briskets and butts.

SmokerKing
12-12-2017, 03:26 AM
I use a steel diffuser and then place a clay saucer with play sand in it. Fat drips into the sand. Problem solved.

MeatyOakerSmoker
12-16-2017, 05:22 PM
I liked my WSM much better than my UDS for pulled pork. I too think it was the moisture and lack of drippings burning up (which as research has it causes cancer).