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Old 07-20-2013, 12:51 PM   #41
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I think it took about half an hour to get the smoker set and up to temperature with the wood chips. The big pain in the a** comes after every thing is smoked and it's time for cleanup. You've got the drippings in the water pan, racks from the smokier to clean, pans from the prep of the meat, clean up the smoker itself and get it put back in the garage.
My wife, who loves to use the smoker, would laugh at your post, and then be a little angry. 'See what women have to do to cook everyday" she would say, right before the litany of everything else she does that is hard work to achieve a desirable result for us.

What's that saying: if you can't stand the cleanup, don't cook anything'? oh wait, that's not it
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:19 PM   #42
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At the risk of repeating myself, I'll reiterate my Big Green Egg recommendation.

For the past couple of years, I have regularly done 3 or 4 racks of ribs (occasionally 5 or even 6) in my large BGE. Generally about six weeks is as long as I can go before needing another fix.

They are absolutely the best ribs I have ever had in my life, and that has been the (unprompted) reaction from everyone who has ever been my guest at one of these exercises.

Cleanup takes approximately two minutes (removing and discarding the aluminum foil I use to line the drip pan).

The smoking/cooking process takes about five hours (including prep time), but is super easy and almost entirely hands off.

If you've never seriously looked into the Big Green Egg, I encourage you to do so. The best way is to attend an EggFest where you can not only see them in operation but also sample a wide variety of foods cooked on them.

There are EggFests all over the country every year. You can probably find one in your area here:
EGGfests | Big Green Egg - The Ultimate Cooking Experience

If you don't see one nearby, that may mean the closest one has already been held and you'll have to wait for next year.

EggFests are also a great opportunity to buy a BGE at a substantial discount from retail.
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:35 PM   #43
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Gosh, it never dawned on me to clean the thing. I have an electric Masterbuilt which I use every weekend and often through the week as well. All I ever do is throw the water pot in the dish washer, otherwise, other than dumping the grease pan contents in the trash can, that is that. I must say that ribs get from six to eight hours at 215, pork shoulder is at least 12 hours. The usual is a brisket lower in the smoker and two whole chickens nearer the top, the chickens come at at 5 hours, the brisket stays for the rest of the day. Smoked chicken for salads and so forth, brisket for dinner. Turkey breast is great and faster than the whole turkey, also a whole big economy packet of chicken thighs go every well. Doing a whole big turkey is a bit of a time problem, but given that it is more or less done with no supervision whatsoever, and tastes wonderful it is well worth it.

I leveled mine up and the grease goes in either the water bucket or ends up in the grease tray to be dumped. And a hearty plus one on the "Smoke and Spice" cook book.

Sorry it did not work out for you.
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Old 07-20-2013, 03:22 PM   #44
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+1 on Big Green Egg. The blacker it gets on the inside the better. Only thing I've cleaned in the years I've had it is the cooking rack that the meat sits on.
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Old 07-20-2013, 05:48 PM   #45
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+2 on the BGE. I love it, it doesn't rust, there isn't any clean up that I have done to be honest. I clean out the lower part when the burnt/used lump charcoal falls down there. Maybe once or twice a year (if I am doing a big smoke like a bunch of pulled pork) then I take it apart and vacuum inside getting all of that.

But basically just clean the grid off and put lump charcoal in there and go to town. I have to say I am very satisfied with my BGE. Doubt I would use anything else.
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:38 PM   #46
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I use a Bubba Keg which is the poor mans version of the BGE. I agree with the BGE owners that cleaning is not an issue and I love grilling and smoking everything on my keg. Also.... beer is a key ingredient whenever smoking anything. It solves the issue of it taking so long.
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:56 PM   #47
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Make no mistake, it takes time to do it right. I use a Weber Smoky Mountain smoker and mine is the biggest one they make. I expect to blow a significant amount of lump charcoal every time I fire it up and that I will need to be around for the day when it is running. As a result, I run it every 6 weeks or so (more when I am brewing and out there all day anyway) and I try to load it up good to maximize my yield from the time and charcoal. Most recently, I smoked 2 turkeys, both about 14 pounds. Other times it has been 5 or 6 chickens, a turkey with a bunch of odds and ends (random sausage lurking in the freezer, salmon fillets, bison ribs, what have you), and so on. The only time I have gone small was Father's day this year when Dad and I limited out on rainbow trout in the morning and I wanted to smoke them up for dinner (they were fabulous).

As for cleaning, I clean the water pan when I am ready to smoke the next batch and the grates get dropped over the fire as the coals are burning down and then scrubbed with a BBQ brush. Can't imagine trying to clean the whole thing, as I no longer own a power washer. Keeping the hounds away from the bag of charcoal (they try to eat it; as Dave Barry said, "I am not making this up") and the meat is way more work than the cleaning.
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:07 PM   #48
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Just to be clear, I don't clean the smoker itself, just the racks, the water tray and the drip pan. These all go in the dishwasher. It's just the entire mess and when I'm finished cleaning, my butt is kicked and I need a shower 'cause I smell like burned hickory chips. My wife got a kick out of all my bitching today but told me I smelled pretty good smoked. We did have a couple country ribs for dinner and they were good. Still not worth all the effort.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:42 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by JOHNNIE36 View Post
Just to be clear, I don't clean the smoker itself, just the racks, the water tray and the drip pan. These all go in the dishwasher. It's just the entire mess and when I'm finished cleaning, my butt is kicked and I need a shower 'cause I smell like burned hickory chips. My wife got a kick out of all my bitching today but told me I smelled pretty good smoked. We did have a couple country ribs for dinner and they were good. Still not worth all the effort.
Then get rid of the smoker and send out for delivery.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:46 PM   #50
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The smoker is going to our daughters house tomorrow and from now on we will go Sonny's for our ribs.
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Old 07-20-2013, 09:12 PM   #51
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Each to his own. I've yet to find ribs in any restaurant better than I can make in my egg.
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:22 AM   #52
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Each to his own. I've yet to find ribs in any restaurant better than I can make in my egg.
+1 except for mine are in the New Braunfels. My DW loves ribs. She orders ribs almost every time we go out...and she always says to me afterwards, "yours are better".

But, to each his own.

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Old 07-21-2013, 10:37 AM   #53
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I have an electric Masterbuilt which I use every weekend and often through the week as well.
+1 on the electric Masterbuilt. Much less prep and clean up. I feel your pain on the kitchen clean up. When the meat is done, I line the kitchen counters with newspaper, and then put the cutting boards on top of that, then throw away the papers when done. That speeds things up too. Tearing up the pork butt with the bear claws is VERY messy, but after I bite into that first sandwich, I'm pretty much over it.

This is our third smoker. We also got rid of the first two and quit in frustration. After a while we came back - the electric one is far less work.

But hey, if we could get someone else to do it for us, that's a whole lot less work!

Good luck.
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:57 PM   #54
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I found someone else to do it for us. Just came home from a visit to Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q. I had the all you can eat smoked chicken. The only clean-up I had was washing my hands.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:46 PM   #55
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I found some prime tri tip at Costco a few days ago for a party we had at our home today. Tossed it on the smoker today around noon at around 200F. Brought the internal temp to about 125F. Then tossed it on the grill at high heat to get that nice crisp outer crust. Then wrapped in foil and put it in the ice chest for about 2.5 hrs to tenderize. Sliced it at 5:30 and kept it warm in the oven. Guests began arriving at 5:35, dinner started at 7 out by the pool. I made a BBQ sauce to go with it, but didn't really need it since it was melt-in-your-mouth tender. 25 of us devoured 12+ pounds of tri tip and about 8 pounds of chicken donated by one of the guests, plus all the fixins.

Yum-yum. Love that smoker!

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Old 07-26-2013, 10:53 AM   #56
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I started this thread in April I believe and went back today to review all the posts and to see if there were any late comers. Not much activity lately so I'll add one more to see if anyone feels like I do about the smoker. I QUIT!! Did up a batch today and I'm sick of all the work involved so we are giving it to our daughter and hubby. I started with it this morning at 8:30 and just finished with up with all the crap going into the dishwasher.

I think it took about half an hour to get the smoker set and up to temperature with the wood chips. The big pain in the a** comes after every thing is smoked and it's time for cleanup. You've got the drippings in the water pan, racks from the smokier to clean, pans from the prep of the meat, clean up the smoker itself and get it put back in the garage.

Forgot to mention that I always do this under a big umbrella so everything stays nice and dry in case it rains. That can happen because the whole process takes about three hours from start to finish, not including clean up. It's just too much so I'm done with it.

I'd like to hear from all you "smokers" out there as to where I can save some time. Even If I do this at my daughters house, I can't leave her with the mess. No wonder ribs aren't cheap!

Smoking takes effort. There are small tricks that can make some things easier but nothing that will overall reduce the effort you're describing. You need to enjoy it. If you don't then it's not a hobby for you. Drinking lots of beer while smoking can make the time seem to go faster. But that's not the same thing as it actually going faster.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:42 PM   #57
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Smoking does take some effort and if you don't enjoy the "event" you definitely shouldn't do it - even at your daughters house.

A few things to consider - albeit after the fact - so maybe your daughter can decide if this works for her... can you use a disposable pan rather than having to wash the dang thing, do you have to use a rack - I just put my ribs on the grill grate (but your grill may be too small for this), could you fashion a disposable rack out of an aluminum pan or maybe use heavy duty aluminum foil to make an "arm" that will hold the ribs in the correct position, why do you have to put the smoker back in the garage - can you find a place outside and just put a cover over it?

Now that I'm adding $.02 - I use a two-burner gas grill for smoking. I only use one burner when I'm smoking. I put a stainless steel hopper over the burner and use my wood of choice. I put the meat on the other side of the grill for indirect heat. I use a disposable aluminum pan to catch the mess. When I'm finished smoking I remove the chip hopper and the disposable pan and put both burners on high for about 10 minutes to burn off the fat deposits and drippings. Let the grill cool and put the cover back on until the next time.

I can certainly understand those who want to use BGE and Weber Smokey but I'm able to obtain reasonable results with the gas grill so I'm sticking with it for now.
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:19 PM   #58
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Thanks for all the replies and the help, but I'm sticking to my guns and giving it to our daughter. Maybe I'm just too old for this stuff. Right now, everything I do has to be fun or I won't do it.
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:29 PM   #59
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Hmmm - the only thing I really need to clean up after smoking are the racks, and that's not too bad if I have sprayed them properly. The brining pan goes in the dishwasher. The inside of the smoker remains "seasoned".

I can't buy hot smoked salmon the way I like it in the Valley, so it's worth it to me.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:22 PM   #60
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I bought a smoker (Weber Smokey Mountain) last year, and it was the best culinary decision of my life.

We made 2 huge pork butts about 2 months ago, for no reason but leftovers, and I haven't used it since. I really want to do a brisket again... the fat is like butter. I recently found out that I accidentally left the fat drippings in the smoker after the last cook... and theres mold all in there.

But, I hear that a good fire is a perfect solution to that problem. Time for brisket!
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