Building on my previous smoking experience I decided my next step would be a little chicken. Eventually I'll move on to ribs, boston butt, etc., but I figured chicken would be pretty simple and I know how chicken should taste.

First I brined the chicken with some salt (duh!), sugar and cayenne pepper for an hour. I dried the chicken with a paper towel and sprinkled liberally with my favorite rub. I didn't have a lot of time since I started late, so I only let it sit for an hour. Boy did it smell good when I pulled it out.

And that's pretty much where that story ends and the depressing one starts. The smoker caught on fire. Luckily I had my fire extinguisher on hand so it didn't turn into anything. Here's what I've learned.

  • Wood chips should be soaked. I've heard of that, and in fact it's what I did for the salmon, but I didn't see anywhere that it was required or even strongly encouraged so I figured I'd experiment a bit. Lesson learned, it doesn't work.
  • Fire extinguisher good, cardy-board bad. I'm going to be on the watch for something non-flammable to put my next smoker in. I still want to do the terra cotta, but I've more or less given up hope of finding a lid.
  • Don't leave it unattended. I actually had stepped into the kitched to grab the fire extinguisher when the fire started. I wasn't gone long which was good, but I should have been all ready before I started.
  • No smokers on the table. It left a funky film, which was easily cleaned up, but I think my wife would have killed me if I had ruined the table.




Well, as you now know, soaking the wood chips is important. As for other things:

For a terra cotta lid, look at planters that have bases. A lot do to hold excess water, and they are usually the size of the top. Otherwise, old industrial metal might do some good. Up where you are there might be a lot available from old grain/potato silos in your area. Find a welder and you could get one out of scraps pretty easy. My Uncle just happens to be one of the owners of A&R Welding there in Idaho Falls, might know how to get some and put it together, if nothing else could give you some hints.

Safety First

Having been fascinated with fire since you were a small boy, I'm glad you've finally learned the use of a fire extinguisher!

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