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Switching from Vertical to Horizontal smoker

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Posts: 1
Location: Hudson, WI
I have been using a vertical smoker for years and had my rib's down! I recently purchased a Brinkmann Cimmeron smoker (horizontal). I seem to be doing everything the same, but my ribs are very dry. I have the following thoughs as to why. The Brinkmann is more efficent and thus the ribs are over cooked. There is more air flow with the horizontal. The water in the vertical was directly under the heat source, in the horizontal, it is not. Or, I am so excited with the Brinkmann that I am drinking to much as I smoke and loose track of the time.
Anyone have any thoughts or opinions?
Thanks - JOHN

Post Tue Aug 19, 2003 5:47 pm
egkor rare

Posts: 39
Location: Tx

This is the fun part of smoke cooking ... Trial and error, learning your smoker. The Cimarron looks to be a really nice smoker. I use a New Braunfels Black Diamond, kind of like a cost-reduced version of your smoker.

If you are placing the water pan under the cooking grate in the cooking chamber, closest to the firebox, then I would try 2 things.

1) Place the water pan up on the cooking grate, in the cooking chamber, right at the firebox opening. In other words, the water pan would move straight "up". The pan itself should block some of the radiant heat from the firebox. You will lose some cooking surface, but you could always use rib racks.

2) I like to pre-boil the water to get it steaming, then add it to the water pan. That way, right from the start the food is cooking in humid air. Just be really careful doing this.

Additionally, food that tends to dry out easily benefits from a occasional wet mop of your choice (apple juice, beer, marinade, oil, etc.).

Hope this helps!


Post Tue Aug 19, 2003 11:04 pm
dkirn well done
well done

Posts: 388
Location: St. Louis, MO
The best suggestion is to use a mop sauce. With your old smoker you used a water pan to keep any meat moist and since it was directly over the heat source you were cooking with alot of steam from the water pan as well as the heat. With your new smoker you will be cooking with mostly heat (I personally have never seen a big difference using a water pan with a horizontal smoker, other than the pain of getting rid of it later). When I am smoking any type of meat (I use a horizontal smoker) I ckeck the temp every hour and also apply a mop sauce or spray. Make sure that you do not apply the mop sauce until the dry rub has had time to get a little crust, otherwise you will wash off the rub with the mop sauce.

Good Luck

Post Wed Aug 20, 2003 4:52 am

If you haven't already done so, check your thermometer for accuracy. (Check it with boiling water. Should read 212 degrees or thereabouts, depending on your altitude.) Calibrate or replace, as applicable to your situation. If yours is inaccurate you may be cooking at a much higher temp than what's indicated.

If you don't already have one, a polder type thermometer will be an asset. Stick the probe through a potato or a wad of aluminum foil and place on the grate. That'll give you the actual cooking temperature at grate level.

Another, if you don't have one.... consider using a spray bottle filled with your choice of basting liquid. Apple juice, for example. Then, lightly spray to add moisture without washing away your other seasonings. At a buck a piece from Wal-Mart doesn't cost much to have several on hand.

Just some thoughts that may be useful.


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