Our smoker has been mentioned numerous times on the blog but I can’t find some of the most informative posts so I’ll just do a quick post about the smoker since so many have asked about it.
I think it was Christmas, 2005 when I got it for Vince. We moved Christmas, 2006 so I know it wasn’t that year. I guess it could have been 2004 but it was either then or 2005 so we’ve used it a lot! A whole lot! And, it is so easy and so fantastic. There area few items I would hate to live without and the smoker is one of them. Most weeks, I use it at least once a week. We smoke a lot of chickens because in the fall and winter . . well, in MO in the fall and winter, when it was cold and we ate lots of gumbo, the smoked chicken makes such good gumbo. It also makes great chicken salad. We do a lot of baby back ribs, brisket and pork butt. When Chad was catching lots of trout . . he probably still is but we don’t benefit from them (or from his company!), Vince smoked the trout. He also does a great job with salmon. In the photo above, it’s loaded with a ham.
This is the smoker we have. Everyone we know who has bought one loves it. Yes, they’re a bit expensive but with as much as we’ve used ours in the past 6 years, we’ve used it so much, we’ve moved it from KY to MO to TX and it still works perfectly.
In the photo, you will see there’s foil lining the bottom. That’s simply for ease of cleaning. Then the little smokehouse thing is covered with foil, also for each of cleaning. I think 2 oz. of wood is recommended but I usually use less — especially if it’s mesquite and then I go with less than 1 oz. My favorite woods are fruit woods — apple and cherry are the ones we use the most.
We put the meat in the smoker, put the wood in, close the door and set it at the desired temp. For brisket or butt, I season it the night efore and then cook it at about 225º for 8 – 10 or even 12 hours, depending on the size. For chickens, I rub the skin down with mayonnaise to keep it from cracking (plain oil would probably work too), season it (also the night before) and smoke it for a couple of hours, then put it in the convection oven for a little while to crisp up the skin and finish cooking it. Baby back ribs take about 3 or 4 hours to cook.
Once the meat is in there, I never mess with the smoker . . don’t open it, just check the meat thermometer every now and then. The new models have a built in meat thermometer. We use a remote thermometer similar to this one that we put in the meat and then keep the readout section in the kitchen so we’ll know when the meat has reached the desired temp.
We do love our smoker!