Several years ago I promised myself that, when I a) graduated from my MA program and b) finally found a full-time teaching position I would buy myself a decent meat smoker. Well, I was hired as a full-time teacher last year and was awarded my MA last week (sneak brag), so on Thursday I hied myself down to Home Depot and picked up the smoker that I’ve been drooling over for ~5 years:
Weber makes a 22”, which would’ve been nice, but I couldn’t really justify the extra cost for extra functionality that I likely wouldn’t benefit from. The 18” model will cook anything up to and including a turkey, and that’s good enough for me.
I considered a propane smoker but I have never liked using propane for grilling; no matter what I do I cannot get the flare-up under control. I’ve only used one propane grill that I’ve ever been happy with (a Weber, incidentally), but I’ve never had a charcoal grill that let me down. I know smokers are different beasts, but I like the learning curve as well as not needing any extra equipment (like a couple of propane tanks). The WSM is simple, bombproof, and from everything I’ve read about it an absolutely marvelous bit of engineering. Some people make mods to it, but I’m going to use it for a season or two before I start tinkering with the stock configuration.
I have a 20lb bag of Kingsford Blue, a bag of apple wood chunks, and a backyard. I might start with some salmon as I haven’t had smoked salmon in many years and I’ve been jonesing something fierce. Alton Brown has, as always, what looks like a good recipe I want to try. I’m also planting a big hot pepper garden this weekend so will have bushels of peppers to smoke. I’ll make some chipotle powder and sauce this fall. If anyone out there wants some, let me know.
So. Tips, tricks, hints, cheats, war stories, and good recipes are welcome. I’ve been waiting for this for 5 years, I can’t wait to get started.