How I Got Started with Smoking
When the weather is warm and clear I have always enjoyed cooking outdoors on a grill. Over the past 30 years or so I
have used several propane powered grills to make grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, flank steak, chicken, baked potatoes, corn on the cob,
onion recipes, and probably a bunch of stuff I've forgotten about. Occasionally I would try smoking on the grill using wood chips in a foil pouch.
The results tasted good, but weren't real barbecue.
I had been eyeing different smokers in the stores for several years, but never wanted to spend the money. Eventually I found a very inexpensive
bullet smoker at the local Walmart. My oldest son, who has a number of health related issues, had developed a taste for BBQ. The smoker was only
about $35 so I decided to treat my son (and myself) and try it out as an experiment. I brought the smoker home for my son, assembled it, and did a
burn off. That went well, so I purchased a small pork butt to cook with the next day.
The next day I prepared the pork butt, lit the fire on the smoker and started the cook. I knew there would be a stall period, but underestimated
how long it would take. By now it was getting later in the evening and the pork was still in the stall. My kids were getting hungry but were still
looking forward to the pulled pork. I had been tending the fire and tracking the temperatures closely. At one point I added a fresh batch of
charcoal and hickory wood and went inside for about 15 minutes. When I came back outside the thermometer had been removed from the pork and the
entire smoker was gone. Somebody had grabbed the smoker with the fire still burning and the meat still cooking. My son was so upset he tried to
track the smoke trail that had been left behind. That shows how much he wanted that pulled pork, as he was very weak at that point in time and not
able to stay on his feet for more than a few minutes. We never did recover the smoker or the pork shoulder. We ordered pizza delivery for dinner that night.
Several months later I was in a local grocery store and saw a Range Master vertical electric smoker on sale. I purchased it as a replacement for the stolen
smoker. Over the next three years I was able to smoke ribs, chicken, pulled pork, brats, and brisket. I was having a lot of fun and my family
really liked the BBQ. I continued to use my 20 year old grill for grilling, but it was getting a bit long in the tooth. I also was hoping
to consolidate so that I had one device for both smoking and grilling.
Finally in the summer of 2021 I decided it was time to go big or go home. I purchased a Pit Boss Laredo 1000, which is a pellet grill. It uses
a computer to control an auger, igniter, and fan. The auger feeds wood pellets into a fire pot. The ignitor lights the wood pellets and the fan
blows air through the fire pot to help the pellets burn. The computer has a temperature probe so that it can regulate the auger and fan to
maintain a set temperature. This leads to a grill that can hold a consistent temperature with very little effort. I have both grilled and smoked
a number of meats and vegetables and so far overall I'm pleased with the results. My family, and especially my son the BBQ fan, approves as