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View Full Version : First time smoker, had some issues. Thoughts? Advice?



ngt
11-19-2012, 08:06 PM
Smoked some striped bass and largemouth. Yeah, I'm sure you can say, smoking largemouth was my issue, lol, but that's what was in the freezer so in it went. Put the charcoal in and had my water soaked hickory wood chips. Lit it up, let the charcoal burn down, then tossed in the wood chips and set on the fish.

About 30 minutes later, no real smoke and the temp hit 200+. I open the door and the wood was on fire.

A: not keeping a close enough eye on it? Water sprayer ready.
B: not soaking the wood chips long enough?
C: both or something else?

put some more soaked chips in and the fire goes out. Smoke keeps going. Couldn't get it below 150 degrees.

A: too much charcoal?
B: not enough water in the pan?
C: both or something else?

had it in there for about 2 hours, fighting the fire every 20 minutes or so.

Looked to come out nice. The bottom tray with the thicker striped bass and tasted great. The large mouth on the top still had a bit of transparent look to it, so maybe I blew it, but I stuck it in the oven for 30 minutes on 150 and it's better looking.

I've never done this before and have never done it with anyone else, so I don't even know if this looks right. Is it supposed to be this moist, or tough/firmer?


Outcome:


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0903/cossackred/2012-11-19_18-23-10_443.jpg


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0903/cossackred/2012-11-19_19-30-02_885.jpg

It tastes good. But I don't know if it's what it's supposed to be.


Any advice would be appreciated!

dabalone
11-19-2012, 08:44 PM
What did you use to smoke it in? Sounds like you basically baked it, striper and bass are delicate with little oil and easy to dry out. With those fish I would use one good pan of chips at start, easy to overpower with smoke, then you need a controlled temp of 150 to 160. Time depends on thickness of your fillets, but probably around three to four hrs at 150, again depends on how thick your cuts are, then check and if they need to be finished off bump it to 200 and keep a close watch. Fish should be flaky but not too dried out when done. Nothing wrong with finishing in the oven after the smoking process is done.

ngt
11-19-2012, 09:46 PM
Ok, so I didn't smoke them nearly long enough. Read 1 1/2 -3 hours somewhere. 4 hours would have doubled my time and most likely gotten the results I expected. Thanks for advice. Next time

Jetspray
11-22-2012, 05:24 AM
A hand sprayer is a must, also you might want to invest in a smoker thermometer setup with a remote reader. The one I have I got from Cabela's and it has two probes one for the meat and one for the smoker. You can walk away and see the temps of both that way you can stop the flair ups. Contol of the temps by increasing and decreasing the inlet/outlet of the air/smoke mixture is better with it too.......Jetspray

buckman78
01-25-2013, 10:52 PM
i was just doing so reading on smoking bacon, and the article i read said to do so around 150-175. he said its really hard to do it in a charcoal smoker, but the guy using a green egg type smoker and kept the charcoal in the charcoal starting chimney. also, dont know if you used one or not, but a defuser like a pizza stone or something helps deflect the direct heat if you dont have a smoker with a smoker box.

CATKILLER
01-26-2013, 03:59 AM
i was just doing so reading on smoking bacon, and the article i read said to do so around 150-175. he said its really hard to do it in a charcoal smoker, but the guy using a green egg type smoker and kept the charcoal in the charcoal starting chimney. also, dont know if you used one or not, but a defuser like a pizza stone or something helps deflect the direct heat if you dont have a smoker with a smoker box.

You mite try looking on youtube they have alot of video clips on makeing bacon also
there is a very good book called, Great Sausage recipes and meat curing and it has
everything you need to know about smokeing. If you are looking for good price's on
spice's check out WWW.PSSEASONING.COM (http://www.PSSEASONING.COM) They have all the supplys you need for smokeing.

Catkiller :snail:

Steve079
01-26-2013, 07:03 AM
OK, here's a response to the original post, since we seem to be veering off topic.

Couple different problems here, I'll try to help you sort through them.

Time of year. it's COLD outside. it makes it tough to get even heat inside your smoker. Like Jetspray suggested, you really need a thermometer so you can know the temp inside the unit.
Next, once you have that, get your load of briquets going, and let it get up to temp. You may need to adjust your "fuel" load to get it close. You may want to consider insulating the smoker to help it hold heat.
I use the biggest size chunks of smokewood I can get commercially. (wally world, Bass Pro) I don't soak the wood. If you can cut your own, fist sized is what I shoot for. Keeping the wood from bursting into flame is about air control. You need to choke down the air intake to (cooler fire) to slow the combustion of your smoke wood. Are you putting the smoke wood right on the coals? If you use the smaller bitty chunks, wrap them in some foil, and make a quarter size hole in the top.
You'll have to fool with that a bit, but depending on the size of the smoke wood, and the type of unit you have, you will want to use a couple loads to get your meat to where you want it. Start with maybe 2, and work up or down from there.

The fish you had on top was not cooked, so the temp at the top of the smoker was too cold. So, if you can insulate the smoker, that will help. if not, you will need to rotate your racks to keep the smoking/cooking even. But everytime you peek inside, you loose heat. So keep that to a minimum.

Use Apple, Cherry or Alder. Apple is the easiest one of the 3 to get, it will work great with anything you choose to smoke.

I run my smoker a little hotter, but it's about timing as much as temp. You may want to run on rack, in the middle or top of your unit, until you get the hang of it.
Smoke one type of meat, trout, boneless chicken breast, etc. something easy to obtain so you can it dialed in. If you bounce around until you arrive at solving all your variables, you'll probably get frustrated and give up.
Also, let your meat come up to room temp before you smoke it, that will help even out your cooking. When its done is kind of a personal thing. when I do fish, trout for example, when it looks dry around by the tail, its ready. If it forks apart easy, its done. If you want a jerky like product, go longer. With larger pieces of meat, use a meat thermometer.

Last, a picture of your smoker would help.

WOW. JUST NOTICED THIS POST WAS OVER 2 MONTHS OLD.....I NEED TO PAY MORE ATTENTION

iggybabble
02-26-2013, 11:31 AM
Lots of good detail Steve! I'd have to agree on the Apple wood as being best all around. I'd say learn on whatever you can catch easiest, or buy at the market cheapest.......leaner, less oily fish are easy to dry out, Salmon has enough oil to smoke great. Albacore and mackerel smoke real well too...