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Discussion Starter #1
Now that I have your attention...

I'm interesting in making some ribs, roasts and more importantly smoked pork. I'm sure there's a few of you out there that have some tips on how to get started. A friend just picked up this:

http://bbq.lwiapps081212.com/show_item_detail.php?i=31&category=Charcoal&currentPage=1

H
is only complaint is that it has no vents on top to help regulate heat. Looks like it holds quite a bit and doesn't cost a fortune. I don't need anything huge but would like to able to do 8-10lb shoulders/butts'.
 

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My neighbor is from Florida. That guy is out smoking meat all summer long. Smells fantastic.
 

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Check youtube, I went there recently looking for bbq info and there were tons of videos. You might even get lost for days in youtube land.
 

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Wanderer of the Wastes
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I always knew you guys were a bunch of meat smokers! hah!
 

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You will net get anything better than this, unless you really want to smoke your neighbors at the time as well. Fully programmable, just load, set and go, uh and forget about it. Check it out, you will not be disappointed:

http://www.bradleysmoker.com/product/6-rack-digital-smoker/

You can buy this baby at CanTire and most outdoor stores. They also have their own store on River Rd. in Delta (Tilbury).
 

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agreed. The Bradley is such an excellent smoker. Locally made too, as they are based out of Annacis. I've had one for nearly 10 years now. Heat regulation is near perfect, and you can cold smoke too, which is nice for cheese and salmon sometimes. This makes killer bacon too!
 

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agreed. The Bradley is such an excellent smoker. Locally made too, as they are based out of Annacis. I've had one for nearly 10 years now. Heat regulation is near perfect, and you can cold smoke too, which is nice for cheese and salmon sometimes. This makes killer bacon too!
I made that stupid mistake last summer of looking for them on Annacis Is. My search didn't go well from what I remember. And then, just by accident I drove by their brand new location in Delta. River Rd. and if I am not mistaken Alexander Rd.( south-east corner).
 

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Last summer my cousin and I made some nice brisket on my $50 smoker my wife bought at MTF for me at xmas. If you dont mind puting in the time the cheap ones work just as well.
 

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Ok Adam, if you don't want to outlay the cash for a Bradley, I can understand that. Baby steps first ;)

The key to smoking anything, regardless of smoker are three things:

ingredients
smoke
temperature

Ingredients is easy. Get the best that you can afford, and usually you'll have good results. That pretty much goes without saying. Get nice pork. Trim away some fat if there is too much. Only use fresh spices in your cures/rubs. Watch how long you need to cure things as well. I find that smoking whole chickens requires the chicken to be cured for about 3 days in a brine. Same with pork chops.

Smoke. This is where things get interesting. This is where the art comes in as well. There are Sooooooooooooo many different hard woods and flavours the smoke will provide. Hickory is the most common wood. This is a great pork wood. Mesquite is VERY strong smoke. It's best with beef and game. Alder is a nice mild smoke and is best with fish. The rest of the other woods all come down to preference.

For pork I like: Apple, Pecan, Peach, Hickory, and Cherry
For Chicken I like: Alder, Apple, Cherry
For fish I like: Alder, Birch
For beef/venison I like: Hickory, Mesquite, and Oak

The trick with all smoke is to not let the wood go to white ash. That's what the bradley excels in. As soon as smoke goes to white ash, you get the bitter components of it, especially in a hot smoke. The smoker you showed is not bad at all. I'd smoke for no more than 3 to 4 hours in there and then the rest is temperature control to make sure the meat is cooked through and falling apart for pork shoulders (aka butt). Again, change wood often to prevent that bitter smoke.

Finally the last thing is temperature control. In the Bradley, it's easy. You regulate temp with a switch and the opening up top. I go one step further and have an Auber dual PID temperature controller that I can program to turn off, on, increase and decrease temps based on probes in the unit. Now regulating heat in your unit is going to be based on how much charcoal you use. That can be very tough in a smaller smoker like that. You'll probably have to rig something up to keep the door opened a tad to ensure proper temps. You'll also lose a lot of heat as you have to stoke the unit with more charcoal. You'll also want to use natural charcoal and maybe skip the briquettes, which will raise the expense a bit.

If you can, look for electric units instead, which are easier to regulate heat. You also only need to change pans of wood on those ones. Look for the little chief or big chief. Those are decent entry level smokers, which don't cost a lot either. There are some entry level gas based smokers that are great as well.

Once you decide, start with a pork butt (shoulder roast), bone in. Choose a rub, or find a recipe you think you'd like. Generously coat the roast all over with the rub. Once that is done, let the roast sit with the rub on it, on a rack over the sink. Let it sit for about 1 hour. You want to the roast to be dry and sort of tacky to the touch. Never wet or dripping. Once done, it's ready for the smoker. a 5lb shoulder should take about 6 hours between 225 and 250F. Smoke it for 4 hours continuous smoke and then continue to cook at 250F for 2 more hours or more. Sometimes after it's done smoking, I'll wrap it up in foil, and then place it in the oven at 275F for the rest of the time. If you seal it nicely, all the juices continue to baste the meat. Once done, carefully unwrap it, remove the skin if the roast still had it on, and prepare to pull it. I have a set of dishwashing gloves that I use just for this. It allows my hands to not get burned, yet allows me to pull the meat off the bones. The meat should just fall apart as you grab it. There is no need for forks, bear claws, etc, if you cooked it properly. Once done, make sure you pour all those juices back in over top of it that the foil collected.

Hungry yet?
 

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I grew up around huge smoke houses, and find that smoked foods are in my blood. My smoker is going at least once every 2 weeks. Smoked red onion is amazing on burgers!
 
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