I bought an upright charcoal grill/smoker years ago because it was cheap and I was interested in doing both grilling and smoking. However, I didn't find it to be a great grill (too small, and the airflow to the charcoal pan was lousy) and my one attempt to use it as a smoker didn't end well, either (keeping a constant, low temperature with the charcoal + wood was really tough). I've since bought a larger kettle grill and love it, but I would love to try to smoke again with the old upright...but this time, using an electric hot plate instead of charcoal (Alton Brown-style).
My plan is this:
1- The meat drying out is a very real problem when cooking for so long. When I have smoked with water it has seemed to be less of a problem. I'm sure it also gives a nice thermal buffer but I haven't conducted experiments on this.
2 and 3-
When I built the AB style smoker mine was smaller and earthenware so it would retain heat better. My cheap little hot plate was not able to get the temperature up to even 200F.
With a bigger smoker and one made out of metal I don't think a normal little hot plate will be able to get hot enough. You can experiment of course. It may be that my cheap hot plate was just under powered. In my smoker I adjusted the hot plate temp knob as necessary. Eventually of course it stayed at full on.
If you are interested in more of a project- there are many hobbyist projects for making temperature controlled smokers. They would be more work but for an excellent reward. I was just looking at this one today that uses a wireless router for a web interface and an Arduino for control. Kind of like a homemade sous vide setup but for a smoker:
(or ashes) out. Wait till the temperature drops down to the dish's required one, and put the food in. As for fuel, I use wood from pallets or wood logs from prunings (which gardeners are willing to give...I have recently made a brick wood fired oven. It's a black / dirt / Roman / traditional type of oven: where you burn the fuel (typically wood) in the same chamber where you put the food to be cooked... treatment I should ask the gardeners? Could the treatment be flushed away with just water? If I bought firewood logs, can I have guarantees that they are safer / healthier / don't have treatments
to prevent it? EDIT: I don't believe the explanations I have heard till now. "Poor sandwiched construction" is out of question, as it happens with a pan cast as a single piece. "Bottom vibrates against...I was fed up with the low quality electric hobs which are installed in my 1 meter wide "kitchen" (I forgot a crepe on the smaller one on the highest setting, and 25 min later it wasn't even browned... tactile one is missing. But my accidental activation rate is still well above acceptable on all devices using it. [/rant]) and also to catch my attention if needed, such as when the overheating
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trying to improve my BBQ game. So, I tried using fewer coals, preheating them a bit less, and reducing the air flow. Even still, low and behold, I got a fairly hot fire going that I really didn't want this time. So, how do I cool it down? I'm trying to get from over 300 down to under 200. I think water will do the trick, but I worry it will put out the fire. I already have the airflow restricted...I'm trying to slow-cook using indirect heat on my kettle-style grill, and having some temperature issues. Most of my experience with my grill follows one of two patterns: First cook the food item
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