First Official Smoke Of 2015

Sunday was the first official smoke of the 2015 season and I have to say, I am more than a little disappointed in the overall results.

20150413_175926For the first smoke of the year I cooked a 4-lb pork loin and did it in my electric smoker. I set up my little home-made chimney hoping it would give the pork more of the smoke flavor that my wife and I are looking for.

What a let down!

I got the smoker going at an average temperature of around 225° and got 5 briquettes going in my little chimney. Once all five of the briquettes were hot, I added a few small chunks of oak for the smoke.

Initially, the oak started producing what looked like a pretty fair amount of smoke, but it didn’t last long. Seems that maybe the dog food can I used for the chimney might be way to small to give me the amount of smoke I am looking for. Plus, this little can required a lot more attention than I expected. Because I had no clue what to expect with this experiment, I didn’t really pay as close attention to the smoke as I should have. I did learn the hard way that I probably needed to be adding wood more often than I was.

So in hind sight, aside from the chimney being too small, I think the problem was mostly my fault for not paying closer attention. I am thinking that I will try this one more time and use a larger diameter can so I can get a couple of more briquettes and much more wood. If that doesn’t work for me, then I guess I will be looking at either buying an offset smoker or building a vertical smoker from scratch.

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The Up-Coming Cooking Season

smoked chicken
Man! This past winter has been brutal. We have had to endure way to much snow and sub-zero temperatures, but now it’s getting to be barbecue time again and I am really looking forward to it this season. For some reason or another I have a hankering for smoked chicken and barbecue ribs so for this up-coming barbeque season I will be smoking chickens, pork and beef ribs, pork tenderloins and brisket.

barbecue brisket
Because I haven’t had much luck with getting brisket smoked the way I want it, that is going to be my challenge for this season. My wife loves great brisket so this is one task that I have to perfect. My daughter and grand daughter love my ribs and a friend and her children love the way I smoke salmon so I got to get brisket perfected. That will be on the “To-Do” list this season and I will post here on how things go.

I also plan to build a new smoker from some plywood and a few 2×4’s. I need to get the details worked out as far as size and dimensions go and I will post up how I go about putting this together. I am just waiting for the temperatures to warm up a bit more before I tackle this project. I am hoping that my plans will make things interesting along with some great barbecue.

Spring About To Sprung



If finally looks that the frigid winter many of us have experienced is about over. I am looking forward to today’s forecast high of 60+°. A welcomed relief from the sub-zero temps we have been suffering through. With the warmer weather and the snow and ice is disappearing, my dogs are actually able to go outside to do their business without having to settle on running out, taking a quick squat and shooting back into the house.


So this means that it is getting to be barbecue time again and I am excited. Believe it or not, I have never been this excited about Spring as I am this year. I have many plans regarding my own backyard barbeque this Spring. Because the winter was so cold and we had so much snow, I was not able to get out and smoke anything. Instead, I have been thinking about building a new smoker. I want to try my hand at building my new smoker out of wood – plywood in particular – and keep it as far under $100 as I can.

Now that I think I have fixed my “more smoke” problem with our electric smoker, I am anxious to smoke something other than salmon so I can determine if this “fix” actually is a fix that works for me or if it just works with smoking salmon. I am ready for chicken and ribs and brisket and pulled pork.

And I haven’t forgotten that I promised an article about the “more smoke fix”. It has just been too cold with sooo much snow that I can’t get out to my barbecue tools. The last of the snow should be gone in another couple of days so I will plan on getting this done by the end of the week (I hope . . . lol)

Be sure to check back to see if I did in fact fix my “more smoke” problem or not, read my article on how I made the nifty little tool to generate more smoke and if I make any progress on building a plywood smoker to suit my barbecue needs.

Keep on smokin’ ya’ll . . .

Electric Smoke Problem Solved

This is how I think I might have solved the smoke problem with my electric smoker I was having.

I started off with an empty and clean 22 oz can. I soaked it in warm water for a bit to remove the label. Once the label was off, I took my cordless drill and drilled a bunch of pretty-good sized holes in the bottom of the can. The purpose of the holes in the bottom of the can is to allow for flames to reach the briquettes and for some of the ash to fall through as the briquettes burn.

Once I was pretty satisfied with the holes in the bottom of the can, I used an electric can opener to cut the bottom lose from the rest of the can. With the bottom removed, I used a hammer to flatten out the bottom of the can and the jagged edges caused from drilling the holes.

Once I had that all done, I drilled 3 small holes about 2-inches up from the end of the can and screwed in 3 small screws. The purpose for this was to raise the bottom of the mini-chimney up enough to get a small amount of paper in the bottom just like with my full-sized starter chimney. The screws support the bottom of the can that has all the holes drilled in it and when the paper is lit, the flames will be able to reach the briquettes and get them lit.

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