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Pitmaker Vault (Vertical Insulated Smoker) Question

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    Pitmaker Vault (Vertical Insulated Smoker) Question

    So I've done a few cooks on my new Pitmaker Vault. It is a reverse flow insulated cooker for those who do not know similar to Backwoods and other cabinet style insulated smokers. One of my big questions is should I put anything under the meat when cooking (aluminum pan, foil, butcher paper, etc.)?

    The meat drippings create a lot more cleanup afterwards on the grates and down below at the bottom of the cooking chamber. I have put foil and foil wrapped pans at the bottom for water and to catch drippings so that cleanup isn't bad. However, the cleanup of the 5 cooking grates is pretty extensive and time consuming.

    I am worried by filling it with aluminum pans and foil on the grates though that I might restrict airflow too much and decrease the effectiveness of the smoke passing through the cooking chamber. (I learned about the importance of not restricting this flow in Franklin's new book).

    What do y'all think? Anybody with experience using this type of smoker with any thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    #2
    I always put an aluminum pan directly beneath the meat (in your case on the grate directly below the one the meat is on) to catch drippings/help with cleanup. That works just fine, and won't restrict airflow that much. There is a slow draft going through the cooking chamber, but having an aluminum pan or two won't stop that. Air will just flow around it (as long as you have at least 2 inches of clearance around the pans). If you put an aluminum pan at the very bottom then you will still have drippings on all four shelves below the top one, making cleanup a mess still, as you have already discovered :-)

    Comment


      #3
      FreckledandBlueCatering that is a great question. I'm curious about bark formation in insulated vertical cookers, and airflow seems like a big issue that makes bark better. I'm guessing that you will answer your own question after a cook or so of testing. Show us the pictures!!!!

      I want to see a pretty bark and smoke ring from an insulated, charcoal burning vertical smoker!

      Comment


        #4
        Can you take out the racks you are not using?

        Comment


          #5
          Get one of those plastic bins they sell at wally world for storage. It needs to be big enough to lay your grates flat in the bottom. Put the grates in, drizzle some liquid dish soap, pour in HOT water an swish.

          Go drink a beer.

          A garden hose and a light hit with a grill brush will finish things up.

          I always take out the grills I'm not using and put foil on the rip pan. Makes cleanup a snap.

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks for the responses y'all.

            Henrik I just don't think I'll have room to put aluminum pans on the grate underneath every single time. And this also doesn't help with the grate cleanup as the meat is still sitting on the grate. I guess it does get ride of grate cleanup on the rack underneath so it halfway helps I guess. I'll try it out and see how that works.
            ​
            bslogsdon Yes the racks not being used can be taken out.

            PaulstheRibList The bark we have been getting on cooks is incredible. We focus mainly on pork but our spareribs, pork butts and pork belly have been coming out amazing with a great smoke ring. I'll add some pics later when I can. The thing that wows me the most is the moisture level inside the cooking chamber. I have been using an XL Big Green Egg for a while and the moisture level is 100 times better. Every piece of meat is juicer and more tender than before. It is incredible.

            Usernamevalid That sounds like a good plan with letting them sit. The racks are very large in this unit so even our commercial 3 compartment struggles with their size. And it makes a mess that has to be cleaned up afterwards. I'm thinking cleaning them outdoors will be the best option. Now to find a bin or something large enough to soak all five of them at once.

            Thanks everyone and I'll keep you updated on my progress. Any further thoughts or responses will be greatly appreciated.



            ​

            Comment


            • Usernamevalid
              Usernamevalid commented
              Editing a comment
              One word of caution: When I was shopping for my cleaning bin I learned that measurements on labels are not always the bottom of the bin. Some were the overall length/width including the handles and rim. Make sure you take a tape measure and measure the inside bottom to ensure your racks will lay flat. Depth shouldn't be an issue, my 5 racks don't amount to 2" when stacked.

            • FreckledandBlueCatering
              FreckledandBlueCatering commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for the heads up. What type of smoker do you have?

            • Usernamevalid
              Usernamevalid commented
              Editing a comment
              Frigidaire.


            #7
            i saw in a show where a guy who runs a bbq place takes a pressure washer to his stuff at the end of the day of smoking to clean things up. seemed like it did a good job.

            Comment


            • FreckledandBlueCatering
              FreckledandBlueCatering commented
              Editing a comment
              Only issue there is this is on my line inside of my commercial kitchen. I can't have that much water splashing around or it would create a bigger mess than it's worth. I have considered just pressure washing the grates though and taking them outdoors after a cook is complete.

            • DeusDingo
              DeusDingo commented
              Editing a comment
              oh this guy took everything outside to do it too. sorry i left that out.

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