Author Topic: New member and Newbie Issues  (Read 2003 times)

Offline pokerdave

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New member and Newbie Issues
« on: March 06, 2009, 07:50:06 AM »
Nice to find a great resource for my new toy. Seems I will coming here a lot. Gotta love the internet!!!

OK, I have done 3 smokes so far. Did 2 racks of baby backs with the slider all the way over and got temps from 225 - 250. Did them 4 hours and finished on the grill with some sauce and they were excellent. Room for improvement on the tenderness side and I have already read a lot of things to do to improve them.

Did a 9 lb butt for 10 hours ( again with the slider maxed as I didn't want to have to go the full 1.5 hours/lb if I could avoid it ) and again maintained a nice 250 temp which I thought would speed the process up a tad and sure enough I hit 190 IT after 10 hours and the Butt was Awesome!!!

OK, I'm getting a little c0cky now as I've kind of short-cutted the "purist" process twice now with very good results, so I invite the Poker buddies over for Ribs before the game. I put 6 racks in the smoker, which I put warm water in the pan and pre-heated for 45 minutes. Had 5 hours to cook them. My problem was that I stayed at around 150 for a long time and then over an hour and a half CREEPED up to 180 and stalled. Never got hotter than that in 6 hours. Tried reading on here for tips. Tried vent open at different amounts and that didn't seem to drop or raise it much. Did have some condensation which even dripped out the front a tad. Vent was probably 1/3 to 1/2 open most of the time. Never just opened it full and left it for long although I did open it wide a couple times to see if the temp went up or down.

So I think my door seal is good. Didn't have smoke coming out of the gap between the smoker and the smoke generator. Had done 2 previous smokes  ( the butt literally the day before ) and it kept 250 for hours.

Is it just 6 racks take a long time to heat up? At the end of 6 hours of 180 temps ( both said 180 on the front of the box and on my Maverick with a probe in the middle of the box ) the IT temp of the middle rack of ribs was 160. They were done, but didn't really cook the rub ( KC rub with brown sugar ) the same way they had blackened a bit on my first rib attempt. Since I grilled them with sauce ( my plan all along ) to finish they were fine and enjoyed by all, but now I'm concerned about my ability to control the smoker temp.

Obv if you read much on here you understand a PID is highly recommended. My question is will the PID put any more juice through the heating element than the OBS does on it's own? I assume the thing was cranked and trying hard the whole way, but unable to get'er done, if you will.

Thoughts/Suggestions?

Offline canadiansmoker

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Re: New member and Newbie Issues
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2009, 08:19:19 AM »
Welcome aboard Pokerdave!!

Just this last weekend I did 4 racks of baby backs in my 4 rack BDS and I had the same issue. It was a little cold outside, I had the bradley preheated to 250, but once I put the ribs in I had a hard time getting the temperature above 170. Upon further investigation I think it was due to the large amount of condensation that buids up inside the smoker from the large quantity of meat. When I did open the door I noticed a large amount of moisture that was dripping off the door. I had the vent opened fully the whole time. The large amount of moisture will definitely knock the temperature down alot, and I do mean alot. I ended up having to cook them longer. Once the moisture was down then the temps started to climb back up, but it did take quite a while, and I did confirm by visually checking that the heater was on full time (it was glowing that nice range colour the whole time, so I knwo it was working hard).

One thing I might try when I do another large load like that is possibly placing a brick near the bottom of the smoker to act as a heat sink to try and keep the temps up.

I think some of the biggest issues when doing full loads like that is the amount of condensation and the weather conditions outside in general.

As far as I know the PID will not give you more heat, it will just better stabilize the temps once it reaches the preset temperature. Due to the large load your smoker (like mine) just never got back up to temp to begin with.

I'm sure a few of the more experienced smokers around here will have some other ideas/suggestions as well.

Like many of the rest of us, it is just learning through experimentation!

Offline KyNola

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Re: New member and Newbie Issues
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2009, 10:20:38 AM »
Two things come to mind.  The first thing is take your meat out of the frig at least an hour before you intend to smoke it to allow it to warm up some.  When you place a heavy load of very cold meat into the smoker, it has a difficult time recovering.  Putting the bricks in the bottom is a good idea.  Placing VERY hot water in the water pan should also help. The second thing is stop fiddling with the vent.  Open it wide and leave it that way.  The condensation that builds up in the box is a result of inadequate venting.  If the outside air temp is very cold, that will compound the condensation problem.  Condensation trapped in the box will keep your heat from climbing and can also cause smoke to back up into your smoke generator and literally destroy the generator so keep the vent widely open.  Another issue can be wind.  If it very windy, try to block the wind from your smoker as best you can.  Lastly, on the OBS, instead of having the slider all the way to the right, go all the way to the right and then back it off about a half an inch.  Some have reported an issue with the OBS slider having a dead spot if all the way to the right.

Others more experienced than I will come along to provide you with additional hints.

KyNola

Offline pokerdave

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Re: New member and Newbie Issues
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2009, 10:32:16 AM »
Two things come to mind.  The first thing is take your meat out of the frig at least an hour before you intend to smoke it to allow it to warm up some.  When you place a heavy load of very cold meat into the smoker, it has a difficult time recovering.  Putting the bricks in the bottom is a good idea.  Placing VERY hot water in the water pan should also help. The second thing is stop fiddling with the vent.  Open it wide and leave it that way.  The condensation that builds up in the box is a result of inadequate venting.  If the outside air temp is very cold, that will compound the condensation problem.  Condensation trapped in the box will keep your heat from climbing and can also cause smoke to back up into your smoke generator and literally destroy the generator so keep the vent widely open.  Another issue can be wind.  If it very windy, try to block the wind from your smoker as best you can.  Lastly, on the OBS, instead of having the slider all the way to the right, go all the way to the right and then back it off about a half an inch.  Some have reported an issue with the OBS slider having a dead spot if all the way to the right.

Others more experienced than I will come along to provide you with additional hints.

KyNola

Thanks, Ky. The ribs came frozen from the store, and had been in the fridge overnight. But they were still a tad fozen in parts when I took them out. Did have them out on the counter an hour, and even on those metal thaw plates ( not sure what else to call them, but they are very heat conductive and made for thawing ). They were flexible, but not room temp when I put them in. I do think this is why it took a couple hours to get to 180. The thing is though that even when the ribs were done after 6 hours in there ( IT 160 ) the smoker barely snuck up to 185.

I definitely had condensation so I will leave the vent wide open next time. I guess I was just assuming wide open vent = more heat escaping. BTW it was windy when I started, but 65 degrees out. And by the end there wasn't any wind.


Offline Mr Walleye

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Re: New member and Newbie Issues
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2009, 10:34:08 AM »
Hi PokerDave and welcome to the forum.

There is a learning curve for sure, especially when doing large loads. CanadianSmoker is right in the fact the moisture can work against you. Here are some of the things you can do to help this problem....

The wind is your enemy... Wind will both cool the outside of the smoker and it will have a tendency to "suck" the heat out the vent. They to setup the smoker in an area away from the wind.

Preheat the smoker as high as possible such as 280 degrees, During the preheat have the water bowl full of hot water and the smoker generator on but with no pucks in it. To help with heat recovery a number of people will put a brick or two in around the water bowl. They act as a heat sink and will help recover temps when opening the door.

While the smoker is pre-heating, bring your items (in this case ribs) up to room temp. This will help temps recover quicker because the temp of the meat will be starting at a higher temp.

If you are using an extention cord, make sure it is heavy enough and as short as possible. Using a long, light cord can limit the power available to the heating element.

I'm sure others will chime in on other ideas as well.

Mike

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Offline FLBentRider

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Re: New member and Newbie Issues
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2009, 03:48:17 PM »
W E L C O M E  to the Forum pokerdave!

KyNola and Mr Walleye have you set in the right direction.

The more mass you put in the smoker, the longer it will take to recover.

Always give yourself a few extra hours when doing a large load.

Keep the vent open.
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Offline West Coast Kansan

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Re: New member and Newbie Issues
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2009, 10:57:18 PM »
For my best ribs ,,, it seems the starting temp is key.  The indicator for the right starting temp is that I can easily remove the membrane from the rib. 

The membrane is very hard to remove until the ribs have warmed to about room temp.  Room temp also seems to be the point where the rub and smoke combine real well and the whole smoke goes smoother.

If I leave them out very long beyond just reaching room temp it seems I loose some of the smoke flavor. 

I have become very comfortable with my ribs having convinced myself this is the true key to success.  ;) Who knows... Ribs are the most personal and difficult to get just the way you like them. 

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Offline FLBentRider

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Re: New member and Newbie Issues
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2009, 03:37:09 AM »
Ribs are the most personal and difficult to get just the way you like them. 

I have found this to be true as well.
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