I have a new toy – a smoker/grill

I got a new garden toy. I got a smoker/grill, and yes my husband put it together. I had to help as it really is a two person job. Here’s what I got:

I picked it up at Home Depot. Its small, since I don’t cook for large crowds, and it was inexpensive, since its for me to learn. I’m glad I went this way.

Things I’ve learned so far:

  • You will go thru more charcoal briquets than you think. I lot more! I did chicken thighs last night and it took me quick a while (over 2 hours) since I didn’t use enough briquets. I added more briquets every 30 minutes, so I went thru a lot of them. Also, its helpful to figure out an easier way to add briquets. I found a small pail that I used to scoop the briquets from the bag into the side box. But it took so long I actually had to finish the thighs inside on the stove. But they still came out well.
  • If you get an inexpensive grill/smoker, don’t use wood – use briquets. I put soaked wood chips and that was fine. But I put in some dry wood chips and it wasn’t a good idea. I now have blisters on the paint. My own fault.
  • You need to get it hot to begin with. Don’t put briquets in and the meat at the same time. I actually used a chimney started to get the briquets started, put them in the side box, then just added more briquets. I’ve had trouble getting the temperature up to 200. Most of the time I’m cooking at just under that. Which means my food takes that much longer. But the chicken last night was tasty, so I’ll have to learn how to get the smoker hotter.
  • The colder it is outside, the cooler the grill seems to be. Maybe I didn’t have enough briquets in the side box, but we had a sudden cold front yesterday, it dropped 20 degrees, and I found as it cooled down outside, so did the smoker. At one point I had the smoker at just barely below 200, but then it dropped down to about 150 degrees. Like I said, I finished the chicken inside. 
  • Its helpful to figure out how you’re going to clean it out afterwards. One – with constant briquets it may take a while for it to cool down. Two, you don’t want ash in there if its a windy day. You’ll just end up with ash on your food. Since where I live I get wind, that is something to figure out.

All in all I’m glad I got it. But it will definitely be a learning process. And I’m going to get more briquets next time.