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Vertical Electric Water Smoker

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Post Tue Jul 08, 2003 2:50 pm

Hello All,
I need some tips on using my new vertical electronic water smoker. I am a grill man by nature and have never smoked or been around anyone who smoked anything. Sad, but true.
So I get this new smoker and no where does it say if I add wood chips, lava rocks or anything under the electric element. Just put the water pan on top of the element and cook away. I fould one web page that mentioned you add nothing but that seems like steaming to me, not smoking.
Am I missing something? Should I just fire it up and see what happens?
Any advise would be helpful.
Thanks, Marc

Post Wed Jul 09, 2003 11:31 am
flints rare

Posts: 13
Location: Raleigh, nc
Shaft, there should be a small "pan" that comes with the smoker that you put on top of the element. The one I have that came with my electric element was curiously small, about 5 inches in diameter that sits directly on the middle of the element. There's got to be something in there to hold the chips, if not, no smoke. What kind of smoker is it?

Post Wed Jul 09, 2003 12:25 pm

Thanks Flints:
It is a Char-Broil Electric Water Smoker I picked up at Home Depot.
It came with a 6 qt pan that rests on the element, but from the instructions provided that is where the water goes. I know I can add spices and such to the water, but didn't make sense to put wood chips in there.
The only other place I can concieve of putting wood/coals is underneath the heating element which seems to be a bad idea and not made for that specifically (no place to open up and add to the fire nor adjust any lava rocks etc...).
Let me know what you think, and help is appreciated.
Thanks again, Marc

Post Wed Jul 09, 2003 1:16 pm
flints rare

Posts: 13
Location: Raleigh, nc
Shaft, don't know what to tell you. I've surfed all of the place on the net and couldn't find anything specifically saying where to put the wood. The Brinkmann and the Char Broil seem about the same (with the Char Broil having the edge b/c you can regulate the temp of the heating element). The bodies seem the same, though, so here is how my brinkmann is set up, from top to bottom: bracket for wire rack for meat, another bracket for a second rack or to put the water pan on, heating element. There is space between the bottom of the water rack and the element to put the small pan with some wood chips. My guess is that since the two seem similar in body shape/set up, that yours should go the same way. I'd give charbroil a call, though, just to make sure, b/c there's got to be some way to get the wood in contact with the element to produce enough heat for it to smoke.

Post Wed Jul 09, 2003 5:23 pm

Thanks Flints, appreciate the input!

Post Wed Jul 09, 2003 5:46 pm
flints rare

Posts: 13
Location: Raleigh, nc
No problem. Let me know what you find out and how the meat turns out.

Post Mon Jul 14, 2003 12:31 am

To: Shaft28
Well, did it work or not? I have the same problem.

Post Mon Jul 14, 2003 9:39 am
Luke medium-rare

Posts: 89
Location: Texas

Alton Brown created a flower pot smoker for his BBQ show which is very similar, in principle, to your smoker. You should use a small pan (pie plate) put diredtly on the heating element. Sawdust (non-trated) will work well to create the smoke.

AB is wise.

Post Mon Jul 14, 2003 9:42 am
heliman raw

Posts: 3
Location: Arizona
I called CharBroil's customer service last week and was told to place the chips on the reflector plate. I asked if this was in the instruction manual and was told no. I did as was instructed and some of the wet chips did burn but the remainder didn't. I did get a light smoke though. I decided that my smoker is in need of some modifications. I plan to fabricate some heating element supports and then I will place the chips in a small smoker box directly on the element then give it another try. My pork roast came out with excellent results though. The temp in the roast was 195 when I finished, it was moist and it did pull apart.

Post Tue Jul 15, 2003 6:12 pm

Well I tried it out without wood chips and was disappointed with the results. Baiscally steamed it and that is it. Fortunately I only risked sausage and just for the wife and I - no face lost.
I decided to call Char Broil and they said that I put the wood in the water pan. I was surprised at this and specifically asked - I just toss in wood chips with my water/marinade in the water pan - she said yes.
I am skeptical of this, but will give it a try in the next few weeks. With any luck, odd as this method seems to me, it will work out.

Post Wed Jul 16, 2003 8:33 am
flints rare

Posts: 13
Location: Raleigh, nc
Shaft, sorry to hear about the problem with the sausage. Personally, I think the charbroil rep was smoking something b/c putting the chips in the water doesn't seem like it's going to produce any, but good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Post Mon Jul 21, 2003 9:55 am

Well I did make some supports for the heating element from some metal scraps I found. I placed three of them under the three curves in the element. After that I filled a smoke box with wet pecan chips and set it on the elment. I was set to do some ribs. After the ribs were done, I lifted the drum off and found that all the pecan was burned in the box! A first indeed. The ribs had a nice light smoke flavor also. Looks like this is going to be my main method from now on!



I have one of these CharBroil smokers, too and the instructions are terrible! The only semi-useful part is the chart for cooking times of different foods. I found a few suggestions out on the internet and the way I do it is to put a piece of aluminum foil underneath the element at the bottom. I place the soaked wood chips on top of this foil and arrange them around the path of the element so that they're pretty close to it. This has worked pretty well for me so far and the wood is usually almost entirely consumed. Results have been very good. I've only done poultry so far, though. It's always incredibly tender and juicy. Also, the wood will never smoke if it's placed in the big bowl full of water. This bowl should be resting on the lowest set of brackets screwed to the sides of the smoker and should never be allowed to dry out while cooking. Good luck!


Post Tue Jul 29, 2003 5:14 pm
stripegrill medium

Posts: 104
Location: St. Charles, IL
Hey guys,
I've been following all of your posts on this subject. Due to space limitations I am looking at the Char Broil vertical smoker and the Brinkman. Which one would you all recommend? It sounds like many are having problems with the Char Broil.

Post Fri Aug 01, 2003 8:13 am

I put a pizza pan on the element and put the soaked wood (chips or chunks, depending on how long I was smoking) in the pizza pan.

Wood got consumed, food was smoke flavored


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