Author Topic: Potentially new user with questions  (Read 1312 times)

HowardP

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Potentially new user with questions
« on: October 07, 2019, 12:23:38 PM »
I have been smoking for about 3 years using an inexpensive electric smoker.  I'm happy with the results. I have a friend who is a BBQ judge and he seems to think I'm doing o.k. too. There are a few puzzling things I've read here in the forums that I would like to clear up before I buy a #2.

Folks talk about temperature swings. +/- 25 degrees seem normal. I only have one reference and that's my cheap smoker. However, once the temperature is at say 225, it stays there unless I open the door. The first thing I did to the smoker is to replace the cheap thermometer with a good one, so I believe it to be fairly accurate. If I do open the door, the internal temp gets back to 225 within minutes. Is this not what I can expect with the #2?

Second misgiving. People on the forum also say, "don't open the door during cooking". What if you need to spray your meat or switch racks around. Assuming the #2 is good at wood use and I don't have to add water to the water pan during cooking (not likely) I still might need to spray or move the rack every hour or so for a few hours. How do folks get around this?

Thanks for your patience and time,

Howard

Lonzinomaker

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Re: Potentially new user with questions
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2019, 02:02:13 PM »
IF you search through the forum, you'll find lots of posts that reflect my opinions below:
I have a #3 and when watching my digital box probe thermometer,  there is about a 20 degree swing in temps.  Your home oven does the same thing. The product that is being cooked doesn't care about the temp change (LOL).  And when I do open door because of insulation and mass the recovery time is within minutes, certainly not enough to matter over the hours long cook time.
The Smokin-It has such low air exchange that you don't loose a lot of moisture unless you open the door a lot. So there is really no need for spritzing to replace moisture.  I don't use a water pan with my pulled pork any more for the same reason.  I never really cooked good baby back ribs until I got my #3, I put them in after seasoning, close the door, set temp to 225 and don't do a thing until 4.5 hours later to check them.  No wrapping, no spritzing, no changing positions, nothing. Some people say you may need to swap racks if splitting a brisket on a #2, can't speak to that as I have a #3.
The low air exchange is another reason you don't need a lot of wood, usually 2-6 oz is enough. 
Dave
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HowardP

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Re: Potentially new user with questions
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2019, 02:17:35 PM »
Thanks. I guess this is one of those things I'll need to see to believe :-)

Other thoughts?

Cheers,

Howard

IF you search through the forum, you'll find lots of posts that reflect my opinions below:
I have a #3 and when watching my digital box probe thermometer,  there is about a 20 degree swing in temps.  Your home oven does the same thing. The product that is being cooked doesn't care about the temp change (LOL).  And when I do open door because of insulation and mass the recovery time is within minutes, certainly not enough to matter over the hours long cook time.
The Smokin-It has such low air exchange that you don't loose a lot of moisture unless you open the door a lot. So there is really no need for spritzing to replace moisture.  I don't use a water pan with my pulled pork any more for the same reason.  I never really cooked good baby back ribs until I got my #3, I put them in after seasoning, close the door, set temp to 225 and don't do a thing until 4.5 hours later to check them.  No wrapping, no spritzing, no changing positions, nothing. Some people say you may need to swap racks if splitting a brisket on a #2, can't speak to that as I have a #3.
The low air exchange is another reason you don't need a lot of wood, usually 2-6 oz is enough.

LarryD

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Re: Potentially new user with questions
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2019, 09:50:03 PM »
There are a few puzzling things I've read here in the forums that I would like to clear up before I buy a #2.

I owned the #2 for a little over two years before upgrading to a 3DW when I got a deal on a (barely) used one that I couldn't refuse.

Quote
Folks talk about temperature swings. +/- 25 degrees seem normal. ...   Is this not what I can expect with the #2?

I'm pretty sure my #2 had swings as high as +/- 40 degrees.  However, I can't be sure as after the first few smokes I totally quit monitoring it ever again.

Quote
People on the forum also say, "don't open the door during cooking". What if you need to spray your meat or switch racks around. Assuming the #2 is good at wood use and I don't have to add water to the water pan during cooking (not likely) I still might need to spray or move the rack every hour or so for a few hours. How do folks get around this?

These smokers retain smoke and moisture exceptionally well.  You only need 6-8 oz of wood for a full smoke of brisket(s) or port butt(s).  You NEVER have to add water, add wood, or spray/mop whatever you're smoking.  I've never needed to reposition anything on the racks during the smoke, either.  I've smoked brisket, butts, ribs, turkey, nuts, salmon, pork loin, and more.  The only time I open the door for a brisket is right at the very end when my thermometer says I've hit my target temperature.  In most cases I open the door and it's done.  In a few cases it needs to go just a bit longer based on the jiggle test.  I'll also open the smoker for ribs so that I can slather BBQ sauce on them towards the very end.  Otherwise, it's truly set it and forget it.

Measure the smoker temperature if you must, but I personally never found any value in it.  I actually miss my #2 and would rather have the #3 than the 3DW and it's precision temperatures.
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old sarge

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Re: Potentially new user with questions
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2019, 12:16:24 AM »
Howard - I can understand your being curious but the above replies are solid!  My brother has the analog 3 and the swings worried him till he learned to relax and just let the smoker smoke. He only uses a meat thermometer if he does a large piece of meat like a butt. Ribs?  He just sets the temp and checks progress after 4, 4 1/2 hours depending upon the ribs. He has never had a bad meal and has owned the smoker since 2012.  Still going strong.

Opening the smoker to baste/spritz is a user preference. I don't.  But there are some folks who do.

The warranty on the analog smoker is 3 years, including controller.  On a digital, the smoker is 3 years but the controller is 1 year.

Hope this helps.
David from Arizona
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HowardP

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Re: Potentially new user with questions
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2019, 09:34:36 AM »
Thanks guys for all the info. I'm a bit anal about measurements. A 40 degree swing translates to 20% to me and that freaks me out. My stove doesn't do that and in most cases that would only be about a 20 degree swing.

My hobby is mixing drinks and I follow the recipe to the letter, including brands of liquor. After a bit I will experiment with the liquors and amounts, but I still pour accurately. Everyone loves my drinks and I can only attribute it to adhering to measurements. Repeatable results.

Again, I appreciate the input and I realize it's from experience. I just have to get over 66 years of programming :-)

Bests,

Howard


chrisjadams

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Re: Potentially new user with questions
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2019, 10:02:08 PM »
If you're looking to hold tight temps... got for a digital!  After many years of smoking with charcoal and electrics, I went to a #2D.  Game changer.  The digital versions (at least in my experience) hold the box temp extremely tight (+/- a few degrees)

Those that have posted above are right on.  Close the door and leave it alone.  My go-to's are brisket and pork butt.  I do use the little water box that they make, but even on long smokes, still has a bit left at the end.  Something about putting a brisket in before turning in for the night, sleeping without worrying about it, and pulling it the next afternoon.   Freaking easy!
Chris
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Grady

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Re: Potentially new user with questions
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2019, 05:19:39 PM »
Howard, I have the #2 analog. I used it for around 6 months and finally bought the Auber for it. I couldn't stand the temp swings. With the Auber I cooked a 8.5 lb butt a few days ago at 28 balmy degrees and the most swing I had was 6 degrees. To me, the Auber w/wi-fi is priceless! I checked the progress on my phone throughout the day at work.

There really is NO reason to open the doors on one of these smokers. IF you must, pull the entire rack out and immediately shut the doors, you will lose 4-5 degrees, do whatever it is you feel that you need to do to the meat and place back into smoker, quickly! I have a friend that cooks with an offset and he just can't wrap his head around the fact that I do NOTHING once the doors are shut.
Tim from Pa

LarryD

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Re: Potentially new user with questions
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2019, 11:13:40 PM »
Howard, I have the #2 analog. I used it for around 6 months and finally bought the Auber for it. I couldn't stand the temp swings. With the Auber I cooked a 8.5 lb butt a few days ago at 28 balmy degrees and the most swing I had was 6 degrees. To me, the Auber w/wi-fi is priceless! I checked the progress on my phone throughout the day at work.

Howard...  I hear you and totally respect that the temperature swing annoys you.  If the Auber provides you the value you express, I am no one to argue with you on that point.  I will argue that the Auber isn't even remotely necessary for cooking an 8.5 butt in any weather conditions.  I would put the #2 up against the 2D any day of the week or year to say that the product coming out of the #2 is as good as, if not better, than the 2D.  With my #2 I always did a set and forget without ever opening the door and never once ruined a product because of it.  (I did ruin a product once because I ignored that I had hit my IT and when I got to it the temp was a good solid 6-10 degrees higher than target.)

I contend (but admittedly have not tested) that the temperature swings can actually be beneficial in the long run.  I'd love to find the time to test that at some point to make it more than conjecture.
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Glock_21

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Re: Potentially new user with questions
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2019, 01:34:56 PM »
I've been using an analog #3 for years.  Temp swing or no temp swing makes no difference in a smoke.  In a blind taste test I don't believe anyone here could tell the difference between an analog smoked pork butt and a digitally controlled smoked pork butt.
It's awesome that there are analog, digital, and WiFi models available.  Me, I prefer to keep it simple.

Like everyone else has already said, no need to spritz or do anything else to retain moisture.  These smokers truly are "set it and forget it" if you allow them to be.
Travis from North Central Oklahoma
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lgboro

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Re: Potentially new user with questions
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2019, 02:14:46 PM »
I just got my #1 within a couple of weeks and have use it 3 times so far.  The best whole chicken I've ever eaten, some thick pork chops cut from a cheap pork loin and bacon wrapped chicken tenderloins all of which would be easy to overcook and be dry.  All three were excellent and moist with as much smoke flavor as I would want.  Mine had some minor swings but I have cooked by internal temps for years so as above it didn't matter and this is the easiest process for really good meat I have ever used.  Would never go back to my cheap gas smoker.
Larry from Eastern NC
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