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BeachBoy
07-08-2013, 07:05 PM
Hey everyone,

Just received my first Smokin' Tex 1400 in the mail today and Just had a couple questions about the breakin. So I obviously took out all of the packing materials and the grates and rail system per the directions. I loaded as much of the break in wood as I could into the smoke box with the lid being fully closed. Basically 4 of the 6 pieces fit into the smoke box. I set the thermostat to 215 and let her go for about 4 hours. After the 4 hours, I opened her up and noticed the inside of the smoker has some seasoning to it now but the 4 wood blocks were not even close to being completely burned. They are all dark in color(not black though) and have minor burns to the bottoms but in no way crumble or fall apart or anything which I would expect from wood that has been sitting in a smoker for 4 hours.

My questions are these.

1. Does it matter that I wasn't able to fit all of the wood into the smoker for the break-in?
2. Are the leftover mesquite blocks ok to use for smoking food or should I throw them out? For that matter are the only partially burnt blocks of wood that were in the smoker ok to use?
3. Do you think the smoker is acceptably broken in despite the wood situation noted above?
4. Do you think that the smoker just wasn't getting up to temp considering that the wood did not burn much? I ordered a Maverick Thermometer that should be arriving tomorrow but I am planning on giving some ribs a go this evening/night.

Any response would be greatly appreciated. I assume that even if the smoker isn't fully seasoned, that it won't matter too much as after a couple of cooking cycles that will happen either way, but I am just concerned that the smoker isn't hitting temp like it should. Please let me know if this is normal or should I investigate further?

Thanks in advance guys,

-Max

BillyBob
07-08-2013, 09:34 PM
BeachBoy...I may get myself in trouble by saying this, but, the wood they send you should be thrown away!!!!! However, it will season the smoker. Go get some wood chunks of your choice and smoke on. Don't worry this is a great smoker and it will just take time for you to get used to it. Add a couple of charcoal briquettes to the wood to get the best flavor and smoke ring!!!

BillyBob

BeachBoy
07-08-2013, 10:24 PM
Thanks for the response BillyBob! I have a couple racks of ribs smoking as we speak with some mesquite wood chunks I picked up locally. I meant to add a couple charcoal brisquettes but forgot... next time. I also made some of the smokin tex pork and rib rub for them and I even cut back on the cayenne the recipe called for and it seems to be very spicy. If you let your ribs sit in the rub overnight, should you kinda wipe or scrape some of it off before smoking? Im just hoping these don't end up being unbearably spicy. I like spicy but they seem extremely spicy!

bigwalleye
07-09-2013, 06:59 AM
If you're getting a Maverick anyway, I'd recommend further investigation, just to be sure. I'd still cook with it, but be aware that if it is low on temp, cooking time adjustments may be needed. One should always have some idea what the internal cabinet temp is doing.

DReeves
07-09-2013, 07:34 AM
Beachboy,

Welcome to the family!!! We may be a bit biased, but I feel I can confidently speak for others when I say how much we love our SmokinTex smokers :D

You should be fine. Most of us line the bottom and the smoke box with foil, changing it out periodically. The stainless steel racks fit nicely in the dishwasher - don't let the MRS see you doing this ;) (TRUST ME on this one)

You are on the right path. Use your Maverick, and always cook to internal temp.

Pork Shoulder's are pretty easy to smoke and yield great results. Look around the forum, you will find some great advice and killer recipes and techniques.

And always remember..... ask if you have a question. We are all here, having fun. No judgements, just great BBQ.

Enjoy!

BeachBoy
07-09-2013, 12:12 PM
Thanks guys! I smoked a couple racks of ribs yesterday and they turned out more tender than any Ive cooked before. That's a great first attepmt. I still want to play with the rub a little to perfect that to my palate but it was a good start. I used Scott's method for cooking fall off the bone ribs where you cook them for about 2.5 hours on the racks then pull them, slather with bbq sauce, wrap them in tin foil and cook them for another 3-4 hours all @ 225 degrees. My question is this, how do you get them to have some bark and or crispiness? Should I just pull them and throw them onto a hot grill for a few mins on each side? Also, as BillyBob mentioned I meant to throw in some charcoal with the wood but forgot on this attempt. Would that give them a little bark or just a smoke ring, especially in thicker cuts?

bigwalleye
07-10-2013, 08:20 AM
Beachboy,
Glad you had success on the first cook! It only gets better from here!

Tin foil, aka "The Texas Crutch", can help, but's in my opinion, it's also a "bark destroyer". While it raises the temp and aids in cooking, it also traps moisture and softens the bark. It'll take some experimentation, but I have in the past cooked for about 3.5 hours, foiled for an hour and gone out of the foil for another 1.5 hours. You get the benefit of foil to aid in cooking, but you give them a chance to let the bark stiffen again. On the down side, the time in the foil really knocks the flavor of the rub down, so it's something of a tradeoff.
For a whole different taste and texture, try skipping the foil and going for a straight 225 cook for 5.5-6 hours. Takes a little nerve, but I personally like the flavor better. Literally "fall off the bone" tender almost requires some foil, but I've come to appreciate a tender rib that will come off, but not in one large piece, and I get that without foil.
The best thing is, it's all good, and you get to try different rubs, techniques, and flavor combinations to find what YOU like.

The charcoal kind of broadens the flavor of the smoke and gives it a little more depth, but I don't know necessarily that you get more bark if you use charcoal, just better bark IMHO. A little goes a long way, since these smokers are a sealed unit. I do think it aids in the smoke ring penetration, though.

Best of luck in the ongoing analysis. Tell yourself this is actually research.....

Seriously, though, treat it that way, keep a journal of cook times, temps, ingredients, techniques, methods, and you'll soon learn what you like and don't like. Never had a "bad" meal out of my smoker. It's all been good, and some have been spectacular.

DFW
07-13-2013, 05:41 PM
BeachBoy...I may get myself in trouble by saying this, but, the wood they send you should be thrown away!!!!! However, it will season the smoker.

That's all I used it for. If you follow the directions that come with the smoker, they give you just enough to season the box so I assume that was the intent.

DFW
07-13-2013, 05:50 PM
Thanks guys! I smoked a couple racks of ribs yesterday and they turned out more tender than any Ive cooked before. That's a great first attepmt. I still want to play with the rub a little to perfect that to my palate but it was a good start. I used Scott's method for cooking fall off the bone ribs where you cook them for about 2.5 hours on the racks then pull them, slather with bbq sauce, wrap them in tin foil and cook them for another 3-4 hours all @ 225 degrees. My question is this, how do you get them to have some bark and or crispiness? Should I just pull them and throw them onto a hot grill for a few mins on each side? Also, as BillyBob mentioned I meant to throw in some charcoal with the wood but forgot on this attempt. Would that give them a little bark or just a smoke ring, especially in thicker cuts?

If you cook the ribs to the 'fall off the bone' point, you won't be able to easily grill them without them falling apart completely. For St Louis ribs, I've found about 5.5 hours at 225F gets them to the 'gnaw off the bone' point which is what I prefer. They still hold together pretty well, so grilling is a good option. If you want fall off the bone ribs, and a good bark, just don't foil them. I've tried it both ways (foiling and not foiling) and they turn out fine either way.

Each smoker is going to cook a little differently, so I suggest you keep a journal and update it with each cook. That way you'll know what works for you and what to adjust for the next cook.