First smoke - pretty successful but I have some questions

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First smoke - pretty successful but I have some questions

Post  steveheyes on Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:32 pm

Quite a long post.

I finally got chance to cook on my E20 yesterday for the first time. I had a number of people round to celebrate my 30th and I spent the day cooking for them (and drinking copious amounts of beer while keeping an eye on the smoker).

I cooked the following:

1 Mexican seasoned chicken, skin stuffed with roasted garlic and fajita seasoning butter. Rubbed with a fajita style seasoning rub on the outside. Done beer butt style with Corona.

1 Pesto chicken, skin stuffed with pesto and rubbed with pesto on the outside too.

1 chicken stuffed with roasted garlic butter and rubbed with a basic bbq rub I got from a Steve Raichlen book, cooked on a can of red stripe I had lying around in the beer fridge.

1 Fatty stuffed with cheese

A load of moink balls.

This was quite a lot to attempt for my first run but I never do things the easy way.

Started off at lunch time with the intention of giving the E20 a 3 hour burn to season it then cook the meat after that. I started with the water pan in for seasoning as I wanted to learn about temperature control with the water pan in, then I removed it for cooking to get the chicken skin crispy.

So I got the chimney starter going about half full with Big K briquettes, arranged the rest of the charcoal in the basket, going for minion style, then added the hot briquettes from the chimney. I added the stackers and water pan (filled 2/3 with a mix of water from the kettle and cold tap water so it was warm overall). Plugged in my two ET-73's for monitoring.

First issue was here really, the temp climbed quickly to 170F but then struggled to rise further. It was rising but only very slowly. After an hour I decided to have a look at the fire. I think my mistake was probably not reaching critical mass on the burning charcoal as the fire hadn't spread as much as I'd of liked. The water might not have been hot enough either too. I added another 10 or so briquettes of burning charcoal, reassembled and let it rip with vents fully open. Within 20 minutes it had passed 240F and I throttled back the vents, closing one completely. Managed to hold 230F ish for some time so I decided it was time to cook.

I removed the water pan and set up the three chickens on the first level and the fatty on the second. Temp came up to about 340F quickly, with a bit of vent adjustment I was holding it at 310 nice and steady on the bottom level, 260F on the top rising to 280F during the cook. This part all worked well for me, once everything was cooked, I FTC'd it and left it waiting for my guests to arrive.

At this point I put the stackers back on and put the moink balls on the top level. I thought I'd leave it all in place to season some more while cooking the balls. I had a problem here with the cooker temp running away from me a bit 430F! I opened the lower door to bring it down but as soon as I shut it gain it rocketed up. After about 20 mins I took it apart and put the water pan in dry. This took the temp down to 265F ish and it held solid as a rock. The only reason I can think of for the runaway was the fact that the smoker had very little meat in it to absorb the heat energy from the charcoal, I had the vents throttled back and was really shocked by the heat I got. Any ideas I'd be pleased to hear them.

At the end of the day, the food was all fantastic, so I can't complain. I'm well chuffed with my first run. Any comments or questions please drop me a reply.

So now to the important bit, here's some pics for you including some amateur food porn at the end. I would have taken some more food shots but I'd had a lot of beer by the time it was all cooked and we were all starving so it didn't last long.









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Re: First smoke - pretty successful but I have some questions

Post  All Weather Griller on Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:20 pm

Hey Steve,

That looks a feast and half. The food looks great, Happy Birthday Mate.

Adie
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Re: First smoke - pretty successful but I have some questions

Post  steveheyes on Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:13 pm

Thanks Adie,

The food was good, I'm well happy given it was my first run. I can see how you can get really into cooking this way, I was already planning the next cook after the first bite of chicken. Laughing
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Re: First smoke - pretty successful but I have some questions

Post  Dr_KY on Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:59 pm

It all looks awesome man!!!


Dam I wanna go cook something now.
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Re: First smoke - pretty successful but I have some questions

Post  ILBBQS.com on Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:11 pm

Okay, okay, I know I've said it before, but NOW I mean it...I MUST stop reading this forum in the morning after getting to work...it makes me hungry TOO early in the day! Smile

It all looks great! Keep it up!!
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