I need help using my electric smoker....

BigDanSBigDanS Senior MemberPosts: 6,803 Senior Member
I attended a charity dinner and casino night last Saturday and won big at both blackjack and poker. I was able to buy a bunch of chances at items that were up for raffles and I won this....

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I have always wanted a smoker, and I came home with a 40 inch Masterbuilt digital electronic model. I assembled it and seasoned it yesterday. Today I want to try cooking some chicken and smoking some salmon.

How?

I get the low and slow cooking temp, but about 1/2 a cup of hickory chips fill the smoker / hopper. How much do you use, and when? Do you smoke it the whole time at the beginning or end? I can't imagine the chips lasting more than 1 hour or so.

I have to assume fish and chicken have different cooking times. I have chicken pieces to try not a whole chicken.

Any advice is appreciated!

D
"A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:

Replies

  • MississippiBoyMississippiBoy Senior Member Posts: 819 Senior Member
    You'll want to smoke the whole time, most importantly in the beginning, which is when the food takes on most of the smoke flavor. If you're only smoking chicken pieces, you won't need to smoke them for very long, or they'll overcook and become dry. Consequently, you may not get very much smoke in them at all. Chicken is typically smoked at 250-275 degrees F. You'll need to add more wood chips as they're burned up, but not too many. You don't want white smoke, it makes the meat taste bitter. You want pretty thin blue-ish smoke.
    I've never smoked salmon, so I'm no help there. I think you'll need to smoke them at a fairly low temp, 175-200 maybe. Just guessing on that one, though.
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 9,731 Senior Member
    Nice score! Most meats can't take more than 3 hours of smoke, so if you are going for something like brisket, pork butt, etc... Then don't worry about smoke past 3 hours.

    Chicken is REALLY good when smoked well. Try it on a vertical "beer can" style rack. When I get home. I'll get the times and temps for doing a whole bird. For pieces- not sure. Use the remote temp probe and smoke till done. Again, only give it an hour of smoke or so, then just run heat.

    Make sure to smoke some veggies as well. Smoked tomato soup is awesome, and smoke cooked garlic is outstanding as well
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • PFDPFD Senior Member Posts: 1,202 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    A pork butt should just about start to fall off the bone too.

    Some friends showed us a different take on the pork butt. They cut it into strips about 2"x2" and hang it on hooks.

    It only takes about 45 minutes per batch and you can do several batches if you make a day of it. I think they did 150 lbs this day. Those strips go great in scrambled eggs or as an entree with rice and kimchi! :drool:

    2014-01-25151114_zps969f01ea.jpg

    2014-01-25151922_zps22771381.jpg

    The ram skull adds a "special" flavor. :tooth:
    That's all I got.

    Paul
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 4,737 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    And get a remote digital thermometer. Chicken AINT good when cooked to medium rare.

    This. I have the type with the sharpened probe to monitor internal temps on poultry and pork. No guess work.
    The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

    Ayn Rand
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,803 Senior Member
    This cooker has a built in meat thermometer and a remote.. talk about lazy!

    I am brining my chicken pieces in salt, soy and some watered down BBQ sauce.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    I do whole pork butt roast or shoulders in a wood-fired offset smoker. Charcoal fuel with waterlogged hickory chips for the smoke flavor- - - - -10-12 hours at 250-275 degrees is average for a good-sized shoulder. I use my daughter Debby's "Dangerous Rub" after injecting the meat with a salt/vinegar/garlic/cayenne pepper marinade and letting it sit overnight. I go for an internal temperature of 200 degrees at the thickest part of the meat away from any bones.

    Electric smokers- - - -I have zero experience with that type of cooking!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,657 Senior Member
    I soak the chips, mesquite, hickory, oak, whatever. Fill up the chip box and forget it. Use a meat thermometer for poultry and pork and don't overcook. Use double layers of aluminum foil and low heat (250 or so) on pork roasts, ribs, poultry, after smoking it for 1 to 2 hours. When the chicken meat starts to draw away from the bone, it's perfect. That steams it and tenderizes it, and kind of forces the smoke deeper.

    For briskets, forget the thermometer - if you take it off when it hits 160-180, it will still be tough. Double-wrap it in foil and bake it on low heat till it's tender, say 2-5 hours, testing it for tenderness occasionally, and then slice it across the grain, else it will still be tough.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 18,865 Senior Member
    BigDanS wrote: »
    This cooker has a built in meat thermometer and a remote.. talk about lazy!

    I am brining my chicken pieces in salt, soy and some watered down BBQ sauce.

    D
    I have my second of that EXACT smoker. I don't trust the built in thermometer any further than I can spit.

    For chicken, I set it @ 220 degrees, I use pellets instead of chips, seem to work better for me. I use BBQer's Delight pellets

    I also run the probe for my remote thermometer through the vent on the to left.

    Put the chicken on a rack in the second slot from the top. Insert the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the breast. I use white wine and apple juice (50-50) instead of water.
    Fill the smoke pan full of pellets.

    Turn on, smoke/cook until temp reaches 165* , remove and enjoy.

    I've also been known to inject apple juice into the breasts and use apple wood for smoking.

    The also make "Savory Herb" pellets which are Oak plus Rosemary and other herbs. Adds a FABULOUS flavor to chicken


    Edited to add: I don't brine anything :nono:

    I WILL put my rub on ribs/butts/briskets (plus mustard) and refrigerate 12-24 hours before I cook them.
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • rberglofrberglof Senior Member Posts: 2,386 Senior Member
    We went to a dinner and silent auction Saturday and I bid on an electric smoker and won.

    5030combosml_zpsbc3d3c66.jpg
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 1,814 Senior Member
    Here's a link to a thread I started last May about my electric smoker. I got some good advice/recipes/information from it.

    http://forums.gunsandammo.com/showthread.php?14068-Electric-Smoker
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,227 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    I go for an internal temperature of 200 degrees at the thickest part of the meat away from any bones.
    :that:
    I do the same thing with any meat with lots of connective tissue such as beef brisket, short ribs, chuck roast, pork butt, dark meat poultry (white meat will just get dry a that temp-- only cook white meat until it is JUST done), lamb, etc... You can be assured that the collagen has broken down into that luscious gelatin at that temperature-- I actually shoot for 204 degrees, but 200 has worked fine.

    Anymore, I cheat and put it on a covered grill for an hour or so to smoke over hardwood coals, then transfer it to the oven at 225 degrees wrapped with foil for the rest of the time. It tastes just as good or better.

    Salmon-- I brine it the night before, take it out of the brine and let it dry to form a dull sheen on the meat. After that, smoke it until it was cooked through. Mine turned out awesome! I did about 15 pounds up, vacuum sealed and froze most of it. It was still good a year later.

    Two things that are awesome in a smoker-- Baked beans (stir them every 30 minutes or so, so that they will absorb more smoke) and meatloaf.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,227 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    Smoked cheese, if the temp will go low enough.
    Freeze the cheese first. Then smoke. It gives you a bit more time before it gets too hot.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,070 Senior Member
    I've smoked a lot of fish....I normally brine it overnight with curing salt and brown sugar, as Jerm said, let it dry until it forms a pellicle the pop them in the smoker. I've used alder, cherry, apple and hickory all with acceptable results....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,227 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    I plan on cutting the cheese first.
    Always!
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,227 Senior Member
    All this talk about cheese... I need to try to smoke some mac and cheese some time to see how it turns out. I like smoked cheese and I like baked macaroni and cheese... It should work!
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,227 Senior Member
    Possibly. I think a smoked mango salsa would be rocking. Smoke the mangoes, add some diced onion, hot peppers, a bit of salt and a touch of cilantro...
  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Senior Member Posts: 3,375 Senior Member
    BigDan

    I learned more watching this guy's videos than I ever did reading the books. This guy can cook.
    He covers everything.

    Like Enzo stated first: It's the prep, whether it be a rub or marinade.

    As for how long to smoke, "lightly smoked" will always taste better than "over smoked". I made the mistake of over smoking ribs once. The meat was fine, but you had to cut the crust off to eat it!

    https://www.youtube.com/user/BBQwithFrankli
    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,803 Senior Member
    I learned long ago with tough meat it is best to cook it at 200 F, and keep it below boiling point to make it fall apart.

    We will see how the chicken does today.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,508 Senior Member
    Dan, if your buying salmon, I prefer the farm raised stuff. It's fattier than wild caught. Atlantic, and steelhead are our favorite on the smoker. I smoke it at 200, until it flakes with a fork. Usually a couple hours. I always do twice as much as we need for a meal, and make Steve's smoked fish dip, too. I like a mix of hickory and mesquite chips, or oak, for fish, beef. I like fruit wood for pork, Apple or cherry. Lately, I've been making my own chips, from firewood, or dead branches out back. I bet mangoe wood would work very well. A couple minutes with a hatchet makes a pile of chips.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,227 Senior Member
    I got a huge apple tree out back that is capable of supplying all the smoking wood I will ever need. That thing poops out excess branches and is overdue for a trimming now. I am going to wait until the blooms come and go first though. Salmon? Wild Alaskan all the way baby!
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,106 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    How'd the chicken taste?

    I'm guessing it tasted like........................................
















    chicken! :tooth:
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,803 Senior Member
    Smoker worked great.

    I smoked four legs and two breasts after brining them and I think I was a little heavy on the hickory and I might try less.

    The remote control is awesome. I hit a button for the meat thermometer and I could see the temp rising without having to open the door or even go outside. It works up to 100 feet from the smoker.. I baked it at 200 F, and it took about 2:40 minutes for the larges piece to hit 170F. Not too dry and tasty! I added some tangy BBQ sauce and it was delicious.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
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