I recently bought the Masterbuild Smoker and the Dadgum Good Cookbook. I am totally new to this cooking method and have some basic questions which don't seem to be answered in the instruction manual or the cookbook. I also watched several YouTube videos and looked at some smoking sites which were no help. Maybe they assume that everyone already knows these things. How should I adjust the vent on top? No one mentions this. Also, should the water pan be in the smoker even though I'm not adding liquid? How do I know whether or not I should be adding liquid? Is it okay to soak the wood chips if I'm not getting much smoke? Can I put the meat in a pan to avoid the dripping mess? Some of the recipes said to smoke until meat reaches a certain temperature, without telling me minutes per pound. That' fine if you don't care what time dinner will be ready, but I want to know. I made ribs and 2 half chickens yesterday as my test run. They were delicious and moist but did not have a lot of smoke flavor. I read to avoid adding too much wood as the food will end up tasting like tree bark. I only put a handful of chips in at the beginning as recommended by the recipe and really did not see a lot of smoke. I guess there is a learning curve, but meat is expensive and a don't want to ruin big hunks of meat. Some beginner guidelines would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to smoke a prime rib next, but I'm a little nervous about ruining such an expensive cut. Thanks in advance for any help.
My Husband has one and loves it. He has the 4 rack one, we bought it locally a few years ago, they are offering that model on Q now. He said that is one thing he'd replace if it ever failed. I'll ask him to read this tonight and respond. I do know you don't soak the wood chips and you add chips every hour or hour and a half.
Yes you can put what you are cooking in the tin-foil pans in the smoker if you want to so you won't have quite as much to clean up. He put the ham on the top rack which will create lots of juices dripping. He had the turkey below it so it will get the juices from the Turkey while smoking. Just depends on what you are cooking & if you want the juices to get on what you have on the racks below. If you are just smoking one thing it won't matter & you can put it in one of the tin-foil pans. As far as smoking your prime rib it will depend on how much it weighs & how you want it cooked like medium rare, well etc. You can always buy a digital thermometer where you can insert the probe so you can see the internal temperature.
You can watch the little video they have on their site. He put a ham & a turkey in it & did add water. http://masterbuilt.com/prod-smokers-analogue.html If you add water it will create steam which will help keep the meats moist. The manual says to pre-soak the chips. I thought he said you did not have to soak them when he was on air showing it. We always soak or wood chunks & chips.
TIPS FOR USING WOOD CHIPS
• Pre-soak wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes.
• Before starting unit, place 1 cup of wood chips in chip loader.
• Never use more than 1 cup of wood chips at a time. Never use wood chunks.
• Wood chips should be level with top rim of wood chip bowl.
• Check wood chip bowl periodically to see if wood has burned down. Add more chips as needed
Last edited on 3/28/2012
Last edited on 3/28/2012
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Will Rogers
I always pre soak my chips, as when you rotate the wood chips chamber, it will create more smoke, and I always use some type of liquid in the pan, such as juice, broth, wine, or just water.........Just do not fill it very full, as the juice from the meats will add to it, and it does create a steamy/smoky environment.......I like to mix different chips, according to what I am cooking.........As for the vent, leave it open just a bit, but it you are not getting a lot of smoke, then close it for a few, and then reopen it just a bit......Resist opening the door often to check items, as you lose the correct temp, and precious smoke............I highly suggest the Smokin cookbook by Myron Mixon, as he is the most winning smoker ever...........He was a judge on Pit Masters on I believe, TLC....He lives just up the way from me, and teaches a school on how to smoke.......He really has some great ideas in this book, and is better at giving times for foods....I hope this has helped some................
"For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack"
1895 Rudyard Kipling
In the Dadgum book it will have explantions in there on what to do and why you do it. It gives cooking temps and rough time on when stuff will be done, why you add water/fluid and about when to add wood chips etc.
Like someone else said, the main thing is not to open the door to let the smoke out. Also, follow the temp setting in the cookbook. My husband tried to adjust the temps down to cook slower and the food didn't turn out good at all. He went back to follwoing the recommended settings and it was back to great food.
John does say to use dry chips, we had been soaking ours before that and we've had better luck with using the chips dry.
On their site it has a killer rub for prime rib, it's not in the cookbook. Here is the link for the rub, http://dadgumthatsgood.com/2011/06/
Good luck with the prime rib. He makes a 12#-14# prime rib at least once a month and they are the best when smoked.
We always use water, or some liquid, and never soak the wood chips. We keep the vent almost completeley closed.
I keep the shelves clean with hot soapy water- they clean up surprisingly well, The inside of the smoker itself we do not touch. The bottom can be carefully scraped out with a spatula.
NEVER use soap on the inside of the smoker. The soap will effect the taste of what you smoke.
Follow the cookbook directions to the letter until you get the hang of it.
This smoker is one of the best and most used products we have ever purchased from QVC in 25 years. It is fabulous!
Thank you all for your replies. I guess I am so used to cooking with Cooks Illustrated recipes where every aspect is explicit that I feel like I'm cookin' by the seat of my pants with the smoker. As with your answers, the web sites that I read all had somewhat different opinions. Some used soaked chips, others half dry, half wet, others completely dry. I did hear the man in the presentation say to use dry chips. The chicken and ribs turned out fine but I was left feeling as though it could be better if I knew more. I will brave a prime rib next, but I won't be definite about what time dinner will be served. We all like it quite rare here so it should be sooner than later. Thanks again.