PROPANE-FIRED WATER SMOKER

My dad had an old Brinkman charcoal fired water smoker breeding spiders in his garage so I "borrowed" it. I tried it in it's charcoal fired state but didn't have much luck; you had to start with 14 1/2 briquettes and then add 7.38 briquettes every 32 minutes and 18 seconds (or something like that). I got plenty of smoke flavor but couldn't get the meat to cook, I ended up smoking it in the smoker for flavor then putting it in the oven to finish cooking.

I know that BBQ purist shudder at the mention of propane, but I figured there must be a good way to convert my charcoal fired smoker to propane. I already had a propane burner from a turkey frier that was just smaller in diameter that the smoker. I removed the charcoal pan and placed the smoker over the propane burner. But the legs on the burner were too long so the burner sat up too high in the smoker. I temporarily fixed the problem by setting the smoker up on three bricks. It worked great so I replaced the three legs on smoker with three longer ones made of angle iron.

The propane fired "bullet" smoker or water smoker works great, the propane burner allow perfect control over the temperature. The water pan keeps the meat moist, I cut the handle off an old cast iron frying pan and placed it on the burner, it holds the wet wood chips for the smoke and helps evenly distribute the heat. Smoked ribs turn out so good and tender, I put a dry rub on them and smoke them for about 3 1/2 hours then mop them good with BBQ sauce and cook another 30 minutes. We also like to smoke marinated Tri-Tip or marinated pork loin. People unaccustomed to eating smoked meats sometime balk at the pink color, especially on pork, you have to explain to them that the "smoke ring" on the outside of the meat isn't raw meat - it's concentrated flavor.

Posted 12/31/06

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