The Smoker

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!


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    From the looks of it, I guess that it is an electric model? Considering how much wood/charcoal would cost if you were using a cheaper smoker but had to keep adding wood for heat, then it is a really good deal.

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    I am one of the people that bought a smoker because of Judy’s recommendations. We bought ours last year and and use it a lot! And cannot thank Judy enough for all of her advice and helpful hints.

    Just yesterday I smoked a fresh caught salmon! 🙂

    I never buy packaged lunch meat, I have good smoked meat in the freezer for sandwiches.

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    Sandra Neel Hutchins says

    Judy, you are the reason that we bought our smoker that is identical to yours. I read about yours on your blog a few years ago. We’ve had ours for about three years and love it. I also order barbeque sauce and seasonings from the Cook Shack company. There is no barbeque sauce in the world that can equal theirs. Thanks so much for sharing your daily life with us. Because of you, I’m sure many have purchased this smoker or one similar. Go Judy!

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    Diana in TX says

    I was wondering if yours was electric. Ours is too. Don’t use it as much as I should, but you are spurring me on! This is our second one-our other one died just as I was getting ready to make venison jerky. We had the venison marinating, went to turn on the smoker-nothing. Quick trip to Cabelas for a new one. Was back to making jerky by lunch time!

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    Judy, my hubby has a cooker that is similar but maybe a little larger. He makes the most delicious brisket and chicken. We’ve had ours for a couple of years and everyone who knows us jumps at the chance for an invitation to eat at our house 😉 Ours is called Ultra Que Ole Hickory wood burning Barbeque pit. It is an amazing cooking machine!

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    Roberta says

    Is yours a propane fired smoke cooker??? We have one like that and love it also. What are you cooking lately in it???