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Aug 1, 2012 12:44 PM

We finally bought a smoker!!

pretty stoked on our new Trager wood pellet smoker. Have used a smoking box on our gas bbq with limited success in the past. Otherwise pretty darn new at this. I have a small tester brisket sitting in our fridge that I will try, but interested in other experiences, foods. Especially unique/unusual items you have smoked. Also any tips/tricks you have learned over the years.

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  1. Congrats on the new smoker. We love ours! We've done pork shoulder, ribs, turkey breast, whole chicken, and chicken wings with excellent results. On the more unusual side, we've also smoked meatloaf, meatballs wrapped in bacon, stuffed peppers, potato chunks for potato salad, shrimp for shrimp cocktail, sweet peppers for homemade salsa, and bluefish fillets.

    The one thing we haven't been able to successfully smoke is brisket. It was like jerky every time we tried it. Same thing happened the one time we tried smoking a chuck roast. Others can do it but we haven't had much luck with smoking hunks of beef.

    1. Next-door neighbor is in the process of BUILDING a HUGE smoker!?! Was working on container of wood a few weekends ago... probably 2/3 the size of a 55 gallon drum!?! The part that will hold the meat is a BIG oxygen tank he somehow got off the set of a MOVIE filmed in the Philly area. Guessing O was used for some kinda special effects on "Last Air Fighter". Only reason I even know name of movie is that a former ESL student was an extra during filming. She's Chinese... and that's what was needed. Said she had a great time and was fed VERY well over the 3-4 days she had to show up.

      1. Pastrami! Start your rye starter the same day you start curing the meat and you can make pastrami on rye bread.

        Turkey. We loved smoked turkey made with cherry wood, but I bet any fruit wood would work.

        Fish. I love smoked fish dearly.

        1. I have a Brinkmann elec smoker (called R2D2-LOL) and a charcoal Traeger pellet pooper.
          And a kettle webber..

          All different tools that are the same process with a few "isms" for each. Sometimes BIG "isms". :)

          While I brine my ribs, I did end up moving over to the Willams Sonoma injector for butts, briskets, chickens, turkeys and the like.

          For pork bbq I usually do a mix of apple juice , worstechestshire sauce, vinegar , sugar, dry mustard, garlic and a few other tings in a saucepan and heat on teh stove for an hour, then cool. It's a very wet sauce. I use it in the injector and also put on the cooked pulled meat to add moisture (a'la carolina BBQ) instead of using teh fat runoff.

          I'm always expereimenting with rubs, sauces, glazes and injection flavors.

          I wanna do salmon in teh upcoming weeks as well.

          Patience and technique is what it's about as well as bold flavors most of the time.

          If I want easy and quick I do a t-bone or rib-eye on the gril...LOLOLOLOL.

          1. We've had a smoker for several years now and fortunately, have had more hits than misses. Brisket is actually my husband's specialty. He smokes it for 12-14 hours, depending on size, at temps between 200 & 225 F. During that time, it sits in a foil pan and is mopped every hour or so.

            I've found that I don't like things overly smoked. We've had a lot of trial and error with the rubs and the amount of time that the food is actually exposed to the smoke. With ribs, for instance, we've found that we only like 2-3 hours of direct smoke, with the remaining time wrapped in foil and spritzed with apple juice.

            For the longest time, we found that everything that came out of the smoker tasted the same. That was when we realized that we needed to vary the smoke exposure, the type of wood, and not rub everything is a mix of paprika, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder (among other rub standards).

            One more tip...the first few times you smoke, have a Plan B. ;o)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Christina D

              You may want to give the high heat method a shot when smoking your brisket: You can smoke a 15-pound brisket in just 5 hours.

              Concerning too much smoke, simply cut back on the amount of smoking wood you use instead of wrapping with foil to protect the food from the smoke. Unnecessarily wrapping with foil unnecessarily ruins the great bark that could have been.

              Also, consider 86ing paprika from most or all of your dry rubs. Even fresher, higher quality paprikas are very volatile in flavor and will not only become flavorless over the course of a typical multi-hour smoking session, but will become bitter.