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Woodwind arrives today. What to cook first and learning to cook with a pellet grill

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  • BarryT
    Club Member
    • Jul 2019
    • 19

    Woodwind arrives today. What to cook first and learning to cook with a pellet grill

    A 36" Woodwind w/ Sidekick and Grill Box arrives later today. I've been trying to read/watch videos on setup and cooking. I want to get off to a good start so thinking of roasting a chicken instead of smoking anything. My wife isn't a big smoke fan, so want to go easy on the smoke at first. This is a method I've used on my Weber kettle for years with indirect cooking. But I'm open to suggestions for an alternative first cook that will help me understand cooking on a pellet grill,

    I've not found much online info and would appreciate any suggestions for articles or books on techniques.
    Thanks,
    Barry
  • HawkerXP
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 5666
    • Virginia
    • 2 Weber Performers, 1 kettle, 1 Smoky Joe and a PBC
      Thermopops
      Dot and Chef Alarm with probes
      Slo n Sear
      Cold beer

    #2
    Agree with chicken. Enjoy!

    Comment

    • Donw
      Club Member
      • Jul 2017
      • 3134

      #3
      I always suggest a pork butt for a first cook on a pellet. Easy to do yet it will put your new smoker through its paces so you get a real feel for it.

      Comment


      • fracmeister
        fracmeister commented
        Editing a comment
        +1 on the pork butt.
    • BarryT
      Club Member
      • Jul 2019
      • 19

      #4
      Originally posted by Donw View Post
      I always suggest a pork butt for a first cook on a pellet. Easy to do yet it will put your new smoker through its paces so you get a real feel for it.
      I've gotten good at pork butt using my Weber with a Smokenator insert. I've not been happy with ribs or especially brisket on the Weber. That was one reason for getting the pellet grill. Doing a butt would be a logical (and always tasty) step since I know what I'm aiming for in terms of smoke,

      Can you share how you cook your pork (temps and time)?

      Thanks
      Barry

      Comment


      • Donw
        Donw commented
        Editing a comment
        I cook on a Yoder YS-640 pellet. My personal method is dry brine then apply whatever rub I feels right for the day over a coating of yellow mustard. I cook at 275 until I like the bark and then pan it uncovered until done. Many don’t care for the panning method but I like to add the collected juices back into the pork while pulling for the added moisture. When I want a little something different I use Harry Soo’s Kalua pork recipe which is always a winner even with my Hawaiian relatives.
    • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
      Club Member
      • Jun 2018
      • 601
      • Eastern NC
      • 2018 MAK 2 Star
        Charbroil Big Easy SRG

      #5
      Make sure you do the reccomended burn off first. After that, I'd smoke some bacon slices or a pork but to gets some smoky grease in the pit and learn your smoker.

      Comment

      • glitchy
        Club Member
        • Jul 2019
        • 677
        • Central IA
        • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
          w/ Big Joetisserie, SnS LP, and Vortex
          Weber SmokeFire EX4
          Weber Q1000
          Fireboard 2 Drive
          Anova Precision Sous Vide

        #6
        Hope you enjoy that new pit. I'm loving my Woodwind. Like others have mentioned, burn off and get some grease in there.

        Comment

        • Henrik
          Founding Member - Moderator Emeritus
          • Jul 2014
          • 4339
          • Stockholm, Sweden

          #7
          Cool! Make sure you take some photos! I haven't seen too many Woodwinds, but they seem to be well built. Really looking forward to your review and great cooks on it!

          Comment

          • KarchyBBQ
            Club Member
            • Nov 2017
            • 73
            • Wheaton, MD
            • ——
              Weber Kettle 26”
              SnS standard
              Thermoworks Smoke, Theromoworks Dot, ThermoPop

            #8
            I’m eyeing a Woodwind myself, and look forward to seeing what you can do with it!

            in terms of tips and recipes, Heygrillhey is a woodwind user and I really like some of her recipes - https://heygrillhey.com/

            Comment


            • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
              ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
              Editing a comment
              I use a lot of her stuff for my non-CC pellet grill too! She's got some great recipes

            • KarchyBBQ
              KarchyBBQ commented
              Editing a comment
              She was also on BBQ Brawl on Food Network(??), which was an entertaining watch.
          • Huskee
            Administrator
            • May 2014
            • 15141
            • central MI, USA
            • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

              Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

              Smokers / Grills
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              • Most favorite beer: The one in your fridge
              • Wine: Red- big, bold, tannic & peppery- Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauv, Sangiovese, Syrah, etc
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              About me
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              Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

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            #9
            My personal favorite pellet cooker items are wings, lasagna, nachos, steaks, burgers, and chicken/turkey. I like brisket/ribs/butts/chucks on it as well, but to me those are best with some stronger smoke of charcoal+wood.

            Comment

            • randy56
              Club Member
              • Aug 2017
              • 476
              • Newburgh In

              #10
              And your next cook will be? And congratulations, that a nice unit. you will have many years enjoyment with it.

              Comment

              • BarryT
                Club Member
                • Jul 2019
                • 19

                #11
                The boxes arrived at 6PM so I'll tackle the assembly today. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try and take pictures of the assemble and first cook.
                Barry

                Comment

                • BarryT
                  Club Member
                  • Jul 2019
                  • 19

                  #12
                  Today was a big disappointment. I wasn't able to assemble the grill and thus not able to do a burn-in or cook for the first time. I've been taking pictures, but for now will just do a quick summary.

                  First, I spent 15-30 minutes looking for the assembly instructions. They were in "Box 2" toward the bottom. I've been assembling (and disassembling) things from plastic car models to antique Jeeps (my other hobby) for over 60 years. Why not put them inside or or on top of the main grill body?

                  Second, I'm looking to see if I received everything. Nothing resembling a packing list and nothing like a parts list with illustrations of what a M8 x 20 bolt looks like.

                  Third, the left side rear leg won't go into the body. The receiver tube is bent. I called the 800 number, It was answered promptly and I was asked to send a photo to the warranty address. I did so and within 30 minutes received a return call asking if I would be willing to try and correct the problem with a pair of Vicegrips. I was told that I would be compensated for my efforts. I did not discuss any details and simply said I'd give it try and report back. I was also assured that the repair would not affect the functioning of the grill.

                  I had run an errand when the call came in and upon returning home, found I was able to use the Vicegrips wrapped in a cloth to bend the tube enough to insert the leg. I admit to being surprised at how easily it bent. I moved on to installing the bottom shelf. The first thing I noticed was the chipped paint. Again, not a major issue, but at this point I'm wondering about QC.

                  I sent a response to the warranty address saying I had been successful at installing the leg. I also said that in the interest of full disclosure that I was writing a review here. As of this evening, I've not had a response.

                  I'm going to continue with the assembly tomorrow. Weather is going to play a factor as to the burn-in and cooking. This isn't the most money I've spent on a grill, but it is at number two and I expected a much better experience.

                  I'll report back tomorrow.

                  Barry

                  Comment


                  • Ricardo
                    Ricardo commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Sorry to hear about that. Agreed on the QC comment. I had the unit not even start the first time I plugged it in. After calling 800No. They suggested unscrewing front plate and taking a look. Sure enough, a cable came loose and after putting it in place, it started. Also had main grate chipped, which they addressed by sending a new one, plus 10 bags of pellets for the troubles. They took care of things relatively fast.
                • randy56
                  Club Member
                  • Aug 2017
                  • 476
                  • Newburgh In

                  #13
                  I hope your day goes better.

                  Comment

                  • Ricardo
                    Club Member
                    • Jan 2017
                    • 184
                    • Palm City, FL

                    #14
                    From a post here or perhaps from a YouTube video, I seem to recall that CampChef recently changed their drip tray design, for one with vented dimples. In any case, I would suggest wrapping the drip tray with tinfoil. It will help with cleanups. It’s actually best to change the tinfoil after every cook. Keeps your unit cleaner.

                    On other suggestion, perhaps more critical, is to keep your food clear from the gaps along the front and back of the drip tray and the main grate. Fat can, and will if inadvertently allowed, drip and pool near the fire pot. As the cook progresses, you may have an unwelcome grease fire. If you stay clear of the gaps, it should work like a champ. I had grease fires happen more than once, so it’s not second hand intel, but empirical observations and experience.

                    The woodwind is a pretty decent smoker. In my opinion, It’s not super duper fancy, but it does a really good job. In fact, some really good eats can be had from this cooker. It’s convenient and simple, plus easy to clean and to get going.

                    Last but not least, keep your pellets dry. Once you have finished a cook, purge remaining pellets out of the hopper and keep them in a dry container. Leaving just those pellets that can’t be purged is fine. Once you fire it up the unit for your next cook, the auger will clear the ones that could have absorbed ambient humidity.

                    As far as what to cook the first time, I agree with
                    Donw suggestion. Pork butts turn out great. I cook them on high smoke setting, which is about 225F, or just set it to 250F. It takes a while, so a way to get it going a bit faster is to wrap it when it stalls. Once wrapped, place it in the center and crank the temperature up to 275F. Monitor internal temperature and pull it off when the butt reaches 198F internal. Keep it wrapped, set aside in a cooler and let it be. Wait a couple of hours if possible, more like 3 or even 4. I’m assuming you would be cooking something like a Boston butt, bone in. I’ve wrapped with foil, it works good through the stall; however, I’ve found that wrapping in butcher paper, is even better. It preserves more of the bark.

                    Enjoy your new cooker, have fun and let us know how it goes.

                    Cheers,
                    Ricardo

                    Comment


                    • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
                      ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Not a CC but after emptying the hopper I will set temp to max and let it climb as high as it can before pellets fully empty from the auger. Sometimes it hits max temp, sometimes not but then there's no worry about soggy pellets or jams and maybe you burned off some gunk in the process. It does slow down startup for the next cook obviously so I only do this if I'm not gonna use my cooker the next day or two.
                  • glitchy
                    Club Member
                    • Jul 2019
                    • 677
                    • Central IA
                    • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
                      w/ Big Joetisserie, SnS LP, and Vortex
                      Weber SmokeFire EX4
                      Weber Q1000
                      Fireboard 2 Drive
                      Anova Precision Sous Vide

                    #15
                    I ordered the old drip tray and cut it to fit the slide and grill so grease would drain better. I’ll try the vented one a few times with burgers and chicken breasts though. Sorry to hear about your damage. Mine made it to me in flawless condition and I usually have horrible luck. The stock tray will probably be fine with foil, I had already ordered the old before the grill even arrived.

                    Comment

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