PMRacing UltraDork
5/13/21 10:57 a.m.

I got an early birthday gift from my dad.  

It's a Weber Smokey Mountain. So my question isn't about smoking, itself. I want to know what to put under the smoker to protect the Trex decking. Concrete pavers on top of a mat?  Do I need to worry about the heat?  I'm going to clamp the legs down to whatever it is sitting on to prevent any kind of tipping. 


John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/13/21 11:21 a.m.

My first thought was to look up a fireproof Hearth Rug which lead me to fire pit mat.  There must be many choices of both.  

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/13/21 11:38 a.m.

I do a slab of plywood under mine.  Not very pretty but it works.

If you're looking to a rug, go for a natural fiber as it will be IFR (inherently fire retardant).  They might char, or discolor, but they won't burn.  Look for fibers like wool, coconut, or cotton.

I would hit up Amazon and find one of those coconut fiber welcome mats.  They are designed to last a while outside and should do well.

I might get one that fits inside the feet.  I'm afraid that it would make the smoker wobbly if it sits on top, and the feet don't get very hot.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/13/21 11:45 a.m.

and (for what it's worth) that is a kick-ass smoker.  Very highly rated, and even many pros use them at home when they're not roasting 20 pigs in the trailer smoker.

I was actually looking for a Weber Smoky Mountain to replace my Brinkman, but I cheaped out and got a smaller off-brand for now.

Hoping to build one soon.  I have an old, heavy commercial water surge tank that I picked up for free.  I pulled the bladder out and hope to make it into a massive bullet smoker.  It's about 3' diameter and about 6' tall.

jfryjfry (FS)
jfryjfry (FS) Dork
5/14/21 1:58 a.m.

I have the exact same trex deck with a smoker directly on it with no issues.  Our smoker is a pit boss and I haven't felt the legs when running it but I'm sure they're not hot. 

11GTCS HalfDork
5/14/21 6:13 a.m.

Not sure about the diameter on the smoker but it looks like a secondary drain pan for a water heater (they’re either aluminum or sheet metal) would be great for keeping any hot charcoal bits or grease off that nice deck.    My smoker is electric so I use an oversized door mat for any drips. 

PMRacing UltraDork
5/16/21 4:15 p.m.

So I got a mat similar to what John Welsh (thanks for the tip!) Recommended. It didn't show up in time to use it. But I wanted to smoke for the first time off the deck anyway to avoid any inadvertant fires. I'm a gas griller. Not used to charcoal. But today is the first test. Should have started an hour earlier I think but we'll see. 

Mr. Peabody
Mr. Peabody UltimaDork
5/16/21 4:58 p.m.

Those are excellent smokers.

My eldest son is an experienced smoker with a fair bit of equipment and the Weber we gave him a few years ago is his favourite.

PMRacing UltraDork
5/16/21 6:43 p.m.

8.5 hrs of smoked pork shoulder. Flavor was excellent. Texture says it could have used another hour or more; it only got up to 185 internal before we were out of time and had to let it rest, should have been 205. Wrapped it in foil and put it in a cooler to rest. Now, what to smoke next?

Mr. Peabody
Mr. Peabody UltimaDork
5/16/21 7:41 p.m.

Do some ribs or a Bacon explosion they don't take as long

JThw8 UltimaDork
5/16/21 7:53 p.m.
 Now, what to smoke next?

I had great plans for all the things to smoke but 90% of my smoker time is now consumed by making bacon.   Once you've made your own bacon you will never buy from a store again.   When my Bradley keeled over this year after long service and hundreds of lbs of bacon we replaced it with a semi commercial grade Smokin-It electric and its been a great unit so far.  I'll still throw a pork butt, ribs and brisket in there, but most of the time its running its making bacon.

johndej Dork
5/16/21 8:19 p.m.

Awesome stuff, hope it tastes as good as it looks! I think most folks have covered the basics but I'll add fish and (once it gets way way colder) cheese.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
5/16/21 8:51 p.m.

I have a Pit Boss pellet smoker sitting on a Trex deck. It's on a mat designed specifically for smokers to sit on. Can't find the receipt, but there you go.

I've done bacon, it's awesome. Not from scratch, but taking sliced bacon and cooking it on the smoker. No mess and if you put maple syrup and brown sugar on it...mmmmmmm. Also bagels. And brisket and ribs and more ribs and I just took three racks of ribs off it about 20 minutes ago. Excuse me, I have to go eat ribs.

CAinCA Reader
5/16/21 9:01 p.m.

My wife bought a Traeger for me last Father's Day.  We use it as a pellet grill 3/4 of the time. We smoke a lot of Tri-tips. Occasionally we'll smoke ribs. I smoked a whole Prime Rib for Christmas. I like smoking thick cut bacon too. 

According to their app we use it 16 days a month. 

You should try these:

noddaz UberDork
5/17/21 7:39 a.m.

I can't believe this went this far without this.


914Driver MegaDork
5/17/21 8:10 a.m.

Don't use charcoal starter fluid as the smell gets into the meat.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/17/21 9:51 a.m.

Random and totally unsolicited tips from an amateur smoker who's been doing it for 10 years or so.

Definitely get a coal-starter chimney.  Not only does it prevent the starting fluid flavor, it's faster.  Depending on the charcoal you get, you can also just pour some vegetable oil on some newspaper under your briquettes and light it that way.

You'll often find with most bullet smokers that the amount of charcoal (unlike in a grill) determines the time, not the heat.  My old Brinkman had no air control.  It was designed to burn at one basic temp using a fixed airflow.  I could throw in 5 lbs and it would be 225 degrees for 3 hours, or I could throw in 20 lbs and it would be 225 degrees for 10 hours.  Start thinking about your amount of coals as time instead of temperature.

You'll find that different charcoals have different properties.  Cheap stuff will burn cooler and not as long.  They don't have the amount of stored heat compared to hardwood lump charcoal.  I suggest finding a type/brand that you like and get used to it.  I have embarrassed myself before when smoking for friends by using a different brand/type because I couldn't find my favorite.  It kinda throws things off.  For instance, I use Royal Oak hardwood lump.  In a pinch I tried Kingsford hardwood briquettes for a party.  I loaded it with about 15 lbs hoping for 7-8 hours and I got 5.  I had to light and throw in the last 5 lbs and fortunately it barely carried through.  The brisket wasn't as tender as hoped, but we made it.

Get on the youtubes and look up some charcoal techniques.  I'm just starting to learn these.  I always loaded it up and lit it and walked away.  There are benefits to that but also drawbacks.  Less maintenance is one benefit, but air management and getting 20 lbs of coals to burn slowly isn't easy.  You're always dancing the line between keeping it low and putting it out.  Other (smarter people) smokers have come up with some techniques like "snaking"  that make it easier to control heat.  For instance, if you put your charcoal in a C-shaped ring around the firebox, then light a chimney and dump the hot coals at one end of the C, it slowly burns in a circle rather than all at once.  Another technique is to load the box full, but use a propane torch to light just one section about the size of your fist.   I'm just really discovering those techniques.

Also.... get yourself a TipTopTemp.  Recommended to me by a guy who consistently wins big BBQ championships in the northeast.  It is a simple thermostatic flap that controls air/temp for you so you're not constantly chasing vent adjustments for temperatures.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/17/21 10:13 a.m.

Cap and seed some Jalapenos, Pasillas, or other pepper depending on your heat tolerance.  Stuff with equal parts cream cheese, sharp cheddar, and cooked bacon.  Find some way of standing them up right (I used a steamer insert from a stock pot) and smoke those puppies for a few hours.

Marinate a salmon filet (with skin) overnight in equal parts soy sauce and honey.  Feel free to add lemon, ginger, garlic, scallions, mustard, pepper flakes, black pepper, ramps, whatever.  Throw it on for the last bit while your brisket finishes.

But I think your next one should be a brisket.   Here is my super-secret, published on the internet, don't tell anyone but anyone can see, brisket rub recipe.  Rub the night before, fridge (uncovered) overnight, then smoke the next day.  I don't trim any fat, and I don't separate the flat from the cap.  I take it out of the bag, pat it dry, rub it, cook it.  Shoot for minimum 10 hours to a target of your choice.  (I go 185).  It will still be wonderful after 7-8 hours, just not as tender.

Here is the top secret brisket rub recipe.  If you've ever eaten Rudy's BBQ in Austin, it is similar.  I befriended one of the pitmasters there (got him drunk at my bar) and he shared the recipe with a couple tweaks so he didn't feel quite as guilty.  I sometimes use this rub and double the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne to give it a tiny zing and then make tacos with it.  Also works great on poultry and (lightly) on red fishes.  I have smoked cauliflower before with some of this on it and it was good, but overpowers it easily.  I suggest maybe using it as a seasoning on the finished veggies.


Another thing you can do is take a full head of cauliflower.  Cover it with a mixture of equal parts grated parm and mayonnaise.  Smoke it for a few hours.  I would put it on a pan as it does make a bit of a mess.

Wings are amazing smoked.

Another fun thing to do for a nice flair is to make a charred salad.  After you pull the meat off to rest, set a grate right over the coals.  Cut a head of lettuce or cabbage into 1/4 wedges.  Coat the flat sides with oil.  At the last minute, throw a handful of chips on the hot coals and sear the two flat sides of the wedges for a few minutes until they get about half black.  Make a bleu cheese dressing with dried cranberries and walnuts and maybe sweet corn kernels.  Add a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar.  Best salad ever and it pairs so well with the meat.

I have also been roasting my own coffee for the last several months.  I'm tempted to try smoking the beans as well.  It might be terrible or it might be epic.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/17/21 10:53 a.m.

Hey, a smoking thread!

During the pandemic, I've revisited smoking after trying it years ago and royally botching the attempt. Last winter, my cousin called me and asked me if I wanted a smoker he won at a bar in a raffle. He never used it, and it was taking up space, so I grabbed it.

It's your typical bullet-style Smokey Mountain clone charcoal smoker. I modded it with some door gasket, some hinges for the door, and a better thermometer. It cooks great, but since the steel is so thin, I only use it in the summer. It takes forever to cook even simple stuff when it's cold and windy.

I also picked up this guy on the cheap a few months ago:

It's a Masterbuilt MES130 electric smoker. I've wanted to try one of these for those times when I don't have all day to babysit the coals. So far, it works great. I like the taste of charcoal better, but this does a consistent job every time and still produces damn tasty stuff.

914Driver MegaDork
5/17/21 2:01 p.m.

I'm no Curtis when it comes to smoking, but in the fall when it's chilly, breezy etc., I slip a cardboard box (open at each end) over the thing to maintain even heat.

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