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Char Broil Electric Water Smoker - First Time Advice

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repoman rare
rare

Posts: 15
I have searched through this board and have found various suggestions but no overall consensus on where to put the chips on my electric water smoker. It is one of those Char Broil ones with no directions or place to put chips. The most logical suggestion I have heard is to put a pie tin directly on the heating element or somehow use some type of a support to get it right above the element. Is this the best option? I hhave also read that people put lava rocks on the bottom of the smoker and put the chips in foil packets on them.

I am looking for an input or suggestions. This is my first use of the smoker. I got it for Christmas and never got around to using it because I never had a day to dedicate to smoking.

I am probably making ribs and possibly a brisket, depending on what I can fit in there.

Post Fri May 27, 2005 9:53 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
I haven't used an electric smoker before but from what I understand you either need to place the chip's container in direct contact with the element or very close. Or you can add 2 or 3 lit charcoal briquettes to the chips and then placement of the container is not a problem.
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Post Fri May 27, 2005 10:39 am
crazyhorse medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 259
Location: SC
i have one of those i use from time to time, i put the chips in a pie tin directly on the element

i tried some ceramic briquettes in the bottom of it but didnt see much difference

i mainly just use mine for small stuff such as ABTs or a couple sausages

also get a digital thermometer as that thing in the lid isnt very accurate at all

Post Fri May 27, 2005 11:07 am
repoman rare
rare

Posts: 15
I will try placing the pie tin directly on the element and see what happens. After reading this I feel that I should have asked for a Char Griller or some other type of smoker for Christmas instead of the Electric Water Smoker.

Post Fri May 27, 2005 11:17 am
crazyhorse medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 259
Location: SC
it will get the job done,
when you put your water in the pan make sure its hot so the element isnt spending all its energy heating the water
you can also use the pan with no water in it just cover the top with foil

i have used the pans both ways in my gosm and i really cant tell any difference

Post Fri May 27, 2005 11:57 am
Biscuit rare
rare

Posts: 33
Location: Texas
I have a Brinkmann electric smoker. It has lava rocks in the bottom with the heating element on top. I place my wood chunks directly around the heating element and have not had any problems. I try to keep the wood out of contact with the element but it's not always possible. But it has never posed a problem. I have had my unit for about four years and had to replace the heating element about a year ago.

Adding wood poses a little bit of a problem. I just use tongs to carefully add wood. Note: If you're using metal tongs, make sure they're not wet and keep them out of contact with the element. Best to use tongs with wooden handles so as not to get shocked. I learned this the hard way. :oops:

Post Fri May 27, 2005 2:00 pm
sacmer well done
well done

Posts: 561
Location: Sacramento, CA
I had a Charbroil electric water smoker for about 2 years, gave it away since it was too hard to use. I too had trouble getting good smoke and there was no owners manual. I even called charbroil customer assistance....no help.

This is what I did. I placed unsoaked small chunks of wood directly under the electric element along it's course. They can even touch the element to begin with, thats ok. As above, push them in there with wooden tongs or something non-metal so you don't electrocute yourself. Usually this would be good for about 1 hour of smoke then I would reload once. I mainly did butts in it. Never got around to a brisket. I never tried chips in a pan. Also I stopped using water in the pan as it would evaporate and require refilling which was difficult without taking all the shelves out and loosing lots of heat/time. I filled the water bowl with steralized playground sand (no dust or chemicals) about 3/4 full and then line it with foil to catch the drips. Works great as a heat sink and clean up is easy.

I was successful at turning out some good Que but even for an electric the Charbroil was hard to use. It is not well insulated and won't hold temps well in cold weather. I upgraded to a Cookshack electric. More expensive but totally "set it and forget it".

Post Fri May 27, 2005 5:26 pm
jm42fan well done
well done

Posts: 421
Location: OKlahoma, Yukon

I have one of those, although it doesn't see much use since the CG arrived. I did like sacmer. I placed soaked chips on the metal tray that is just below the element. I just outline the element with em. I've done butts & brisket. It does a pretty good job.
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CGwSFB
Coleman 3300 gasser

Post Tue May 31, 2005 2:48 pm
MReynolds well done
well done

Posts: 394
Location: Missouri, St. Peters
I have a Brinkmann electric and just put the chunks directly on the lava rock in the base. Touching the element or not is fine. If I use chips, I soak them and then make a foil pouch for those. Then just lay them in so they aren't touching the heating element. I'm crazy in that I'll actually wash the lava rock every so often, so ash buildup is not a big concern for me. Be careful with those throw-away pie tins. I burn through them when laying it directly on the element. I prefer using an old cake pan as it's thicker and can withstand the direct heat.
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Post Mon Aug 01, 2005 12:10 pm
repoman rare
rare

Posts: 15
Well I never got around to doing the ribs the weekend that I originally posted this, but I did get around to finally using my electric water smoker. The results were pretty good, but they could have been better. My fiancée said they were great…but I am far more picky.

I played it somewhat safe with the rub and sauce. I used Steven’s basic rub from How To Grill and added a bit of chili powder. I also used the basic sauce recipe from HTG and added a bit more brown sugar and some honey to sweeten the sauce a bit. I used my own homemade jalapeno hot sauce in place of the Tabasco.

I also marinated them in apple juice and lemon per Steven’s recipe.

For wood I used a mix of cherry and hickory ( I wanted to use apple, but the stores I went to didn’t have any and I didn’t want to drive around anymore). First I placed the soaked chips near the element. I didn’t get a lot of smoke so I pushed them so they were touching the element, which produced a nice amount of smoke, but not for an extended period of time. Then I decided to put the chips in an aluminum foil pouch with some holes. I placed that on the element and it worked great. I think I will do the pie tin on or above the element next time as the foil left some residue on the element.

I filled the water pan with apple juice and also sprayed the ribs with the juice a few times during smoking.

I used the 2-1-1 method for the baby backs and the texture was perfect, not fall off the bone, but not tough either. They were moist and full of flavor. The only thing that I noticed was that the smoky flavor had a bit of a “bite,” which I think was the result of the initial chips just burning instead of smoldering as they touched the element. It wasn’t a bad taste, but I think I could round out the flavor with a different mixture of wood and using the foil pouch or pie tin for the entire smoking process.

Not wanting to try and baste ribs in the rack, I removed them from the smoker, cut into 2 rib portions and basted them with the sauce and set them on the gas grill for a couple of minutes, just to get the sauce to start to caramelize.

Now I am hooked. I want to fire that thing up and try again next weekend.

Post Mon Aug 01, 2005 12:35 pm
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Yup, you're hooked. Welcome to the insanity.
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Post Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:42 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
Sounds like you had some good flavors going on those ribs. My guess on the "bite" in the taste of your ribs was the hickory. It can be a little strong (to me). The last time I cooked ribs I used cherry wood and pineapple rinds. You also might try pecan in place of hickory.
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Post Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:59 am
repoman rare
rare

Posts: 15
I went out and bought some applewood chips. I think next time I will primarily use those and cherry with maybe a hint of hickory if any at all. I smoked a few pieces of salmon alongside the ribs and it turned out great. One was a cajun seasoned with honey and the other was Steven's basic fish cure.

Post Tue Aug 09, 2005 1:51 pm
MReynolds well done
well done

Posts: 394
Location: Missouri, St. Peters
If using a pie pan, use a heavy metal one like you would for the oven. The electric element in the smoker will burn through a tin pie pan. (disposable type) Ask me how I know. :oops: I've been thinking about just using a cast iron smoker box directly on the element. Only problem is that headroom between the heating element and bottom of the water pan is scarce. I've sometimes had to smash my smoke pouches down to fit.
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PETA - People Eat Tasty Animals


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