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Any ideas for some first time smoking?

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    Any ideas for some first time smoking?

    So my Smokenator will be arriving tomorrow, and I need to do some test runs. What is the best/cheapest cut to accomplish this? I was thinking whole chicken. Thanks for the advise.

    Chicken is good and cooks quick, pork shoulder is cheap and hard to mess up. I like doing rolls of sausage and then cutting them up for breakfast.


      Pork shoulder - follow the guidance here and it's pretty much bullet-proof and oh so tasty.


        I got a Smokenator last year and have done more than 10 cooks on it. Understand that it does require a bit of baby-sitting. For that reason I would steer you away from pork shoulder only due to the duration of the cook - that's a lot of baby-sitting. A whole chicken was suggested above and it's a good suggestion. The thing about chicken is you want it to be higher heat (320-335 range) and in order to achieve that temp I would remove the water pan (it's the technique I used for Thanksgiving turkey). The only downside to that is most low-slow is done in the 220-250 range and if you are looking to practice your technique mastering that range is a good place to start. For that perhaps a slab of baby back might be a nice choice.

        Here are a few things I've observed regarding the Smokenator. I found that 225-250 is pretty easy to maintain if the bottom vents are 1/4 open and the top vent is about 1/2 open, obviously weather conditions can impact things a bit. With that range you can probably control the temperature with the top vent. When I've used the Smokenator I've always used the provided water pan (the 1 turkey cook notwithstanding) and always filled it with water. I recommend using Kingsford blue as your fuel. As Meathead emphasizes you don't need a lot of wood and it's better to under-smoke than over-smoke (I can vouch for this from firsthand experience). I have found that once per hour the water bowl needs to be re-filled. Every other hour the ash will need to be knocked off the coals. At the 4 hour mark you'll want to add coals if you are looking to extend your cook beyond that range. The amount of coals added will depend on how long you want to continue the cook. The nice thing is at the 4 hour mark the coals that are in the Smokenator are hot enough that they will light unlit coals - a continuation of the Minion Method - so you can add unlit coals. Fortunately, with the hinged grate all of these steps are quick and easy. This site offers its own suggestions regarding using this device and while I have no doubt that it's good advice, the techniques I just shared I know work from firsthand experience.

        Welcome to the world of smoking!


          Thanks guys for your advise so far, and special thanks to JeffJ for a first hand account. :-)


            I think pork butt is the ideal first smoke, however, it can take all day (12 hours or more). If you want a shorter cook last meal ribs are the way to go!




                whatever you decide to cook mark your vent opening and indicate temp.


                  Keep a Cooking Log for all of your calibrations and cooks!




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