6 de 6 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
- Publicado en Amazon.com
If you have never used an offset smoker, here are some product tips. This item is $75.00 and is not a BBQ or Grill, it is a slow smoker. You put a small amount of fuel in the firebox and meat on grilling area. There are larger pricier models for larger smokes. This unit is only 4ft wide and very light. With the handle and wheels, you can move it easily with 1 hand. It is designed for lower heat long smoking sessions. For example, with the right temp, cooking smoking chicken could take 2 hours but flavor is marvelous. This item is not for BBQ the quick meal. Assembly: go nice and slow, easy on tightening screws bolts, etc. The photo on box and front of manual helped with the cross bars on legs as they have a lip. Instructions do not show! Photo did. When you attach main hood brackets, manual does not show extra lip on hinge! Install brackets onto drum first with "lip" pointed towards rear and upward. This is not in manual. Only finger tighten parts as you go along, allow for small movement. Especially when attaching drum to base, firebox and main hood. This will allow for all holes to line up as you move thru each step. After you have attached firebox, and lower drum to frame, then tighten all nut and bolts. This will put everything in square. Finally, when you attach top hood to lower drum brackets, this is the tricky part. Manual says install hinges, CLOSE HOOD AND TIGHTEN BOLTS FROM INSIDE! Lame lame lame! You cannot get to the inside when the hood is closed. Better to have 2 people if you can for assembly. Doing it alone was only troublesome when attaching top hood to brackets on drum. Had to hold hood and place one nut bolt into hood thru hinge, finger tight, while keeping other end of hood from drooping! Then without letting go, slid hand under hood to attach bolt on other side. Success! Forget instructions "close lid tighten bolts from inside" You will need wrench on inside and outside of hood to tighten nuts bolts. No lock washers! Balancing act again to keep hood square with top of drum. I finger tightened bolts, closed lid and allowed it to budge a little. Then lightly twisted front left right corners to make front edge and sides straight line. The slowly and lightly opened hood not to move out of position and tightened bolts little more. Closed and rechecked alignment, was still straight Hooray! Opened 3rd time for final tightening. Remember all parts are very inexpensive so snug but not overtight will keep from snaps. Recommend checking all parts are there and not damaged before assembly. Only item of warning, as with many side box smokers, look at the air vent on the firebox. It is low rather than high. Needs to be that way to properly control heat. After assembly, go to Home Depot or other hardware store and purchase a $3.00 3ft piece of Aluminum Gutter Guard. They are 3ft long and approx. 6" high, very flexible and easy to cut with tin snips. As with any BBQ, smoker, etc with side air vent, I always install a piece of gutter guard on inside of air vent. On this model, you do not want to use a chimney starter and dump coals in when hot. First, this is a slow smoker. To light, place 1 layer of coals inside firebox (not lump charcoal or wood)! Then add a 2nd layer on top of first layer. Do not pyramid stack coals as you want a nice slow burn and no coals in contact with sides of firebox. As first layer burns, ash will fall downwards. 2nd level will light. Pyramid style always has runaway lit coals as pile burns. Not good for unit and with open air vent on firebox, a lit coal or coals could fall out onto ground (deck). Did someone yell Fire?? This is where the Alumi Gutter Guard comes in. Cut a piece 11" wide. Then mark center of width with marker. Now measure 3" on left and right from center mark. Mark line from those points to top corners on each side. Now you have 11" across top edge and 6" centered at bottom. Use tin snips to cut along lines. Place inside firebox, against air vent. Might need to trim little angles on bottom edges to get piece all way to bottom of box. Once that is done comes important part SEASONING. As with any coal cooker, this will burn off mfg debris and coat metal. Pick non windy day to season, only done once. With paintbrush, lightly coat entire inside of firebox and cooking drum (thin layer). Be sure to get every part, bolts, and underside of joints, inside of smoke stack, etc. After all inside parts are covered, rub oil into metal with paper towel, do this lightly so you leave a layer. This will remove any excess oil. Now take paper towels and rub light coat of Canola Oil onto outside of firebox, and cooking drum. Make sure to cover all areas of both + outside of smoke stack. I place a small amount on the legs as well and especially on the underside of firebox and drum. Insert your screen over air flow vent and open vent all the way, same with smoke stack, full open. I recommend you install a $10 BBQ temp gauge on far right side of main hood, just above Char Broil logo. This will give accurate temp at furthest point from heat source. Do not rely on useless top "ideal" gauge, useless as heat rises. This is a small lightweight smoker so you want low heat. For example, when the far right gauge (installed) says 300 degrees, the actual temp at the firebox is 400 degrees on the metal! Anymore than that leads to paint bubbling or peeling off. These are designed for cooking temps about 250-300 degrees so an actual gauge at the cooking grid level is best. You can use it without but never let the temp rise higher than middle position of "ideal" on top gauge". All has to do with the fuel amount and type. First seasoning, you want to start from 0 heat and progressively go up. 50 coals in firebox, in 2 levels. Take a propane torch and light a couple coals thru the firebox air flow door. Then 2 places inside firebox. Close lid and after a few minutes, the coals will slowly light one another. You will start to see smoke out the pores of firebox, under hood and out stack. Remember, this is a $75 cool compact smoker! Monitor the temp as you season. You want 200 for 1 hour, then 250 for 2 hours, finally maintain 275 for a few, then 300 for final hour. After an hour, check on your coals, you will see 2nd layer burning. You adjust temp by moving firebox slider from full open (initially) to almost closed when temp reaches 250. You also will need to close smokestack vent 1/2 way as well. This is how you babysit and regulate temp. Having a degree gauge is a must or remember keep the top gauge no more than middle of "ideal". After 2nd set of coals are almost ash, you will see temp starting to drop. Option 1 is place another layer of coals on top, they will slowly light and temp will come back up relatively quick. Just do not leave firebox door open to long and remember your air flow vents go back to full open until temp rises back to 250. Good way to learn how to control temp is the seasoning process. These are not load it with coals, light and walk away. Unless you want to end up with warped metal and paint peeling. After your heat reaches approx. 250-275, you will slighty smell the canola oil (that is good!. Now maintain that heat so the oil is absorbed into the metal. After an hour of 250-275, raise it to 300 for awhile, then back down to the 250-275. After your 2nd set of coals start to deplete and temp gets closer to 200-225, now is the time to put that layer of coals on top. Or what I did was put 3 CHUNKS of Mesquite on top of the coals. Not enough to create a lot of heat, but they did bring temp up within 5min. And the Mesquite smoke will be added to the oil seasoning. Then kick back, leave doors closed until temp starts to drop again. At that time, fully open vent and smoke stack. Let smoker sit overnight and remove ashes next day. I use a typical fireplace brush, shovel and tin pail which makes cleanup easy. Ashes on this model can only be removed easily from inside firebox. Once removed, wipe ash residue from inside firebox. Also wipe all areas of smoker inside and out with dry paper towels. This will remove any excess oil left over. Remember not to overdue it when applying first coat. Do not use the spray can of canola oil. Use paint brush and oil in bowl, then lightly rub in with paper towels. Initial coat will be perfect that way. You do not want oil seeping out while seasoning so this tip will put right amount to penetrate and do a good seal of metal. Do not try to wipe top inside of main cooking area hood though, leave that one as is. Now that you have cleaned ashes and wiped clean, place a piece of aluminum foil on inside bottom of firebox and inside bottom of cooking drum. This will make cleanup much easier. Did not mean to write a book here but for any first timers with Offset Smokers, these tips are what will make your little cooker last as long as possible for $75. I also use mine for "cold smoking" meat and cheese. There are devices on Amazon that you place flavored wood pellets like hickory, mesquite, etc into the device. Light one end of the unit and the pellets will smolder pure smoke with no other source of heat. Then place your meat, cheese, veggies, etc on the cooking rack and let 'em smoke. One I use all the time is on Amazon, called Amazen. Get the square version and a bag of "cooking pellets" not the heating kind. The square Amazen takes 1 cup of pellets to fill one of the 3 rows. Once the smoke starts, one row (1cup) will smoke for 4 hours. This WILL NOT cook only smoke the food. You place the Amazen in the firebox by itself. I smoke meat, cheese and sweet onions at the same time. All the food items absorb pure smoke. Then you refrigerate the meat until you are ready to cook it. It is pre-smoked at this point. You can also smoke meat and freeze. Months later, when you thaw the meat, all the smoke smell and flavor will still be there. So you can use this little Smoker as a slow smoker cooker AND a cold smoker. It is a great compact version of the larger offset smokers. It is limited to heat tolerance, all in the price. However, even with my high heat large expensive smoker, you still want to smoke cook low and slow. Around the 250 degree range over several hours. After writing all of this, I am not hungry! Hope this helps you decide if this product is right for you. If you are a family of four or have limited space, this is a great buy. But you do have to remember its limitations and especially proper seasoning. Like I said, the seasoning process is an excellent way to learn how to control temp with fuel source and the two air control vents. Here are photos of the screen to keep coals from escaping. What I call a good $3.00 insurance policy. But as with any cooker, never leave it out of site! I knew a Fire Dept Captain who had his gas grill on front porch, cooking away. Went inside for a few, big mistake! Cooking anything with fat or grease on a grill, with meat directly over flame or heat source increases chances of flare-ups. With this style Offset Smoker, since the heat is totally separate, flare-ups never happen. In the case of Mr Fire Captain, he left his grill unattended for just a few minutes. Apparently the meat flared, which leads to flames! Since it was unattended, the flames got out of control that fast! By the time Mr Fire Captain smelled smoke from INSIDE his house, it was already to late. Flames reached wood eaves on front porch, caught roof on fire. Fire Dept 4 miles away but house fully engulfed by the time they arrived. And that was a Fire Captain's house, totaled over chicken wings. So, this is a safer cooker in regards to indirect fuel source. And if you are concerned about drying out meat, etc. you can always stick a water pan on the cooking rack where the firebox heat comes out. But that is usually if you cook high heat and fast. Low and slow makes meat tasty, tended (fall off the bone). Remember this is a charcoal cooker, so use pure charcoal as primary fuel source to keep heat down. You can certainly top the coals with wood chips (soaked in water first) or inside the aluminum pouch with air holes or a couple smaller pieces of "chunk" cooking wood. This will give you the smoked flavor as well as charcoal flavor. I do the pre-smoke with the Amazen first for 2 hours. Then I start the charcoal cooking project after that, with the meat already infused with pecan, cherry, hickory, oak, etc. Sorry about writing a novel here, but I have read good and bad reviews as with many products. It is important to know what you are purchasing, why and how it will be used. This item is ideal on a nice day, where you want to take 1/2 a day to cook your meat for dinner. Eventually, it becomes a hobby. Hope my tips help and don't forget with any cooker with side vents that run on anything other than propane, install the aluminum shields. Trust me on that one! When we purchased our home, people marveled at out beautiful deck. It is the material which looks like wood but last years. Well, I was using my BBQ and 1 coal somehow slipped outside its area and onto the deck. I scrambled to pick it up barehanded, ouch! Then it burned thru our expensive deck in 2 places. So I sanded and filled with stainable wood putty. Unfortunately after it dried, would not take stain! Two large tan circles on dark brown deck. Right where you come out dining room door! And no way to hide what I had done from my wife! You can fill in blanks on what she thought! All that over 1 runaway coal. So, that is my only negative on all smoker with air vents! Have not seen one with a screen so the aluminum shields work perfect. They are wider hole screens and do not restrict air flow and are only $3.00
2 de 2 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
- Publicado en Amazon.com
Alright. I've had a very reliable, very solid New Braunfels smoker for over a decade. Great classic, off-set smoker. Sadly though, I live in the rainy, wet Pacific Northwest, and it finally succumbed to the elements. Metal, heat, and wet weather don't mix apparently. Who would've thunk.
Off-set smokers being what they are - i.e. simple technology - I decided to give this basic, inexpensive version a try. I had some trepidation after reading some troubling reviews, mainly regarding the quality of the metal, and the overall seal of the smoker. Still, I took the plunge anyways; if it turned out to be awful, I wasn't out that much money.
First things first - assembly. It arrived in a giant box with lots of screws and parts. Assembly took about an hour, and was pretty easy. The whole process, however, did not increase my confidence in the product, and more than once I found myself regretting my purchase. The material is not the highest quality. Mind you, I was used to my old, reliable, solid steel NB smoker. Pretty sure I could crawl into that thing, rust and all, and survive a nuclear attack. Plus that have metal of the NB had a nice, satisfying 'slamming' sound whenever I closed the lid or fire box door. Made me feel like I was working in a foundry or on a steam engine. This smoker is made of much flimsier stuff, but once assembled seemed pretty solid.
Onto the actual smoking. I decided to start small and smoke a salmon. Lower heat than some other meats, shorter cooking time, overall good for a test run. As soon as I lit my fire, the seal issue became readily apparent. This thing leaks a lot of smoke, however, it should be mentioned that it primarily leaks from the smoke chamber, not the fire box. This is a good thing. Whenever I checked the meat, the smoke chamber was full of smoke, and most of it was billowing out of the chimney (which coincidentally was screwed on, not welded on so a little more smoke loss there).
The next day, I decided to try out a smoked pork shoulder and ribs. Higher temperature, and longer cooking times. Some reviews mentioned the finish peeling away after the first use, but I didn't have a problem with that. Made me wonder if people are using this at much higher temperatures perhaps? Either way, had the same smoke seal issues, but otherwise turned out flavorful, smokey meat. No real difference than my old NB smoker.
I've only used it twice thus far, and am curious to see how it stands up to a summer of regular bbq, but so far so good. There are only two real cons that I would give it: one, the door in the smoke box is kind of small, making it harder to feed wood or clear out ash. And two: the smoke chamber lead is just that - one giant lid. Unlike higher quality smokers with a single smoke chamber, this has the lower chamber, to which the upper part of the chamber( aka the lid), is attached, so when you open the lid to spritz or check your meat, the whole top pivots open. Still, nice big chamber, and came with nice, porcelain coated grill racks.
All in all, you get what you pay for. Not the highest quality, but for the price, it does exactly what you need it to - fire + smoke + meat = delicious.