Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Techniques: How To Use a Smoker


These tips are for Weston Gas Smokers.

Before each use, clean and inspect the hose and the connection to the LP cylinder. If there is evidence of abrasion, wear, cuts or leaks, the hose must be replaced before the Smoker is used.

How to Check for Leaks:
  • After all connections are completed, check all connections and fittings for leaks with a soap solution.
  • Open tank valve. The gas hose/regulator assembly should be totally extended to the maximum distance so that the hose is straight and the tank is as far from the smoker as it can be.
  • With all valves closed, apply the leak check solution (50/50 mix of dish washing detergent and water) to all gas carrying connections and fittings.
  • Presence of bubbles at areas of wet solution indicates a gas leak.
  • If leaks are detected or you smell or hear gas, IMMEDIATELY shut off the valve and repair the leak or replace the defective part. Do not use the smoker until all leaks are corrected!
Using the Smoker 

1. Fill the wood chip box with flavored wood chips and place the wood chip box back inside the smoker (in the bottom).

2. Slide the water bowl into the lowest rack position and fill the bowl with water or marinade up to 1 inch below the rim. A full bowl will last for approximately 2-3 hours. Do not overfill or allow water to overflow from the water bowl.

3. Insert or adjust the cooking grids (racks) into the desired rack positions. For better access to the food with tongs or spatulas, make sure the grids run from front to back.

4. Position the smoker so that the back or front of it is against the direction of the wind. If the wind blows toward either of the sides where the dampers are, it will blow the smoke right back out of the smoker.

5. You are now ready to light the burner. There are directions located on the front of the smoker. To light the burner, turn on the propane tank, turn the burner to 'High,' and turn the ignitor, clicking it several times until the burner turns on. Once it's lit, turn the burner to your desired level. The heat from the burner will allow the wood chips to burn, causing the flavoring smoke to accumulate. You do not need matches or a lighter for this step - the smoker has its own ignitor.

6. Adjust the dampers to control the heat. You will want to keep the dampers only slightly open when you are preheating the smoker. This will keep the heat in and allow the smoker to heat up more quickly. Once you put in the food, open the top more to let some of the smoke out. The top damper controls how smoky your food becomes. The side dampers control the heat.

7. Place the food on the cooking grids in a single layer with space between each piece. This will allow smoke and hot moisture to circulate evenly around all the food pieces.

8. Smoking for 2 to 3 hours at the ideal constant cooking temperature of 225°F to 250°F will get the best results. This temperature can be viewed on the heat indicator mounted on the front of the smoker. For more tender and heavily smoked meat, a lower temperature may be preferred. If time is critical, a higher temperature range is recommended.

9. Check water level periodically and add water if low. Never allow the water to completely evaporate. Check the water level at least every 2 hours or as necessary. For best results and to retain heat, avoid opening the door of the smoker while in use. When the door must be opened, only open it briefly. The smoker will quickly resume cooking temperature after the door is closed.

8. Always use a meat probe thermometer (not included) to ensure food is fully cooked before removing it from the smoker.

Additional Tips

  • When setting up the smoker and tank, it is recommended to have the tank and smoker on a line perpendicular to the wind direction.
  • LP tanks are intended for operation in the upright position only.
  • Care should be taken to protect the fuel supply hose from damage from either foot or vehicle traffic.
  • If the appliance is not in use, the gas must be turned off at the supply cylinder and the cylinder should be disconnected from the appliance.
  • Storage of the smoker indoors is only permissible if the cylinder is disconnected and removed from the smoker.

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