Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Take Me Back now!
BBQ Brethren
The Q Joint
The Smoke Ring

I just received my Big Block 3605BGD last week and wanted to post some notes and some comparisons to my 3405GW.

My 3405GW is a great smoker and it has been very faithful, temps remain constant and had never had a problem and has put out some superb food! So there will be no 3405GW bashing.
I am a little sad to see the 3405GW go, especially after it took 3 years of awesome smokes to get it seasoned just to where I wanted it, however I am pleased to find a new home for it, directly across the street at my Neighbor Bruce's house.

I will be referring to the 3605BGD as the BB from here on out.

I ordered the Smoker from Bass Pro.
If you go to their website Click Here for Brass Pro you will notice that the pictures on their website are of 2 different models, the model with the door open is the incorrect model.

The model on the left (door open pic) shows a rotary igniter, the one on the right with (door partially closed pic) is the 3605BGD (Big Block).

The differences in the 2 models are pretty significant. I am pretty sure the model with the rotary igniter (door open pic) is the 3405BGW

Do not confuse the 3405BGW below with MY 3405GW. I only posted the 3405BGW (Wide Body) info on this blog because I have noticed many people confusing these 2 smokers, and as far as I know you can not get the 3605BGW (Big Block) at Wal mart, only the 3405 BGW (Wide Body), as far as the wider smokers are concerned.

The information below is for comparison of the 3405BGW (Wide Body) and the 3605BGD (Big Block)

Just a side note, the GOSM's sold at Wal-mart are different in quite a few ways, so be careful when making a decision to purchase one from Wal-Mart as opposed to Bass pro, There is a reason for the price difference.

Premium features include: 3405BGW (Wide Body)

  • Easy Access Door
  • Cool grip wire handles
  • 3 cooking grates
  • Rotary Knob ignition
  • Porcelain coated steel water pan
  • Cast Iron Chip box
  • Dimensions: 18" x 25" x 43.2"
  • No drip pan or grease deflectors
  • No slide out smoker Box Tray
  • 1 adjustable vent

Premium features include: 3605BGD (Big Block)

  • Easy Access Door
  • Cool grip wire handles
  • 4 cooking grates
  • Push Button ignition
  • Porcelain coated steel water pan
  • Cast Iron Chip box
  • Dimension: 21" x 29" x 45.2"
  • Weight: 91.3 lbs.
  • Cooking Area: 1257 sq. inches
  • Removable drip pan
  • grease deflectors, note the one on the door
  • 3 vents
  • slide out smoker box tray

Ok, hopefuly the confusion between the 3405BGW (Wide Body) and the 3605BGD (Big Block) is resolved and we can continue with some BB notes and some comparisons to my 3405GW.

The box arrived in pretty good shape, a few dings that I banged out no problem.
It was pretty heavy, 91 lbs. The website said 63lbs
Update: I called Landman USA when I originally ordered this item and told customer service the weight was incorrect on the website, she replied thank you I will notify the web designer, anyhow I checked today 6/16/2010 and it was corrected.

After I opened the box I realized why it was so heavy, the new chip pan is huge and as soon as I picked up the chip pan I knew that mods were not going to be needed.

As big as the BB looks, the footprint is still relatively small, below are 3 comparison photos.

45.2'' H x 29'' W x 21'' D

Landman USA Info:

Call us at 1-877-3GRILLS

Address: 101 Old Mill Rd.- Building 300
Cartersville, GA 30120
Local Phone: (770) 606-8903
Fax: (770) 606-8112

Email: CustomerService@landmann-usa.com

3405GW and 3605BGD, side by side comparison.

The first thing I noticed when assembling is that the hardware itself is a bit heavier duty and the hinges are barrel hinges that are welded in place as opposed to the 3405's bolted in hinges.
The steel seems to be of the same gauge and they both have a decent paint job. Assembly was very straightforward and after it was all together I was slightly disappointed because I was enjoying putting the BB together.

The thermometer sucks ass and the thermometer on the new BB was damaged and I refuse to put that piece of shit on, I will order a large 3 or 4" tru temp but for now I have a 2" one on now.

Maybe I will make a night light out of the thermometer.

Update.., I called Landmann USA for a replacement thermometer, great customer service.
Although I will not rely on the thermometer, I felt I should put it on for aesthetic purposes only.
Maybe I can use it as a bottle opener.

Another thing I noticed is how the bottom is affixed to the smoker.
On the 3405GW its pieced together and on the BB its welded, I always had grease seep out at the bottom joints on the 3405GW.
Grease can seep out of the front gap on the BB but can be filled with some high temp sealant.

The BB also has a removable drip pan and deflectors to deflect the falling grease from the sides into the drip pan...way to go Landman.

The 3405GW has a rotary igniter whereas the BB has a push button igniter. I am not sure at this point if one is better than the other

Same cheesy handle but it works
I get a little less smoke seeping from around the door on the BB but this may be due to the fact that the 3405GW was damaged a bit in transit, as you can see by the above side by side photo.

Welds seem to be a bit cleaner and sturdier on the BB.
Installing the burner is about the same on both, from what I remember anyway.

The racks are Nice and fairly heavy duty.

The chip pan is huge and weighs approximately 10 lbs or so.
I replaced the chip pan on the 3405GW with a small cast iron dutch oven and had to do various tweaks

For the BB with the lid on the chip box, acquiring TBS, (Thin Blue Smoke) is fairly easy,
I don't use chips as the manufacturer suggests, I use chunks, as you will see later in this post. With the larger chip pan you can get 2-3 hours of smoke, just make sure to choke off the air by using the lid.

Incredible difference.

The water pan is much larger also, as you can see in the next 2 photos. The water pan is porcelain coated for easy cleanup just as the 3405GW, but you may want to cover it in foil, just make sure to get the wide foil.
I put about a gallon of water into the water pan, the manufacturer suggests about an inch from the top.
I am not sure how much water went int the 3405GW's water pan but I would guess about half of a gallon. I stopped using foil on the 3405GW but will be using foil again, just make sure to press it in tightly around the sides so you don't loose any volume, and don't puncture the foil.

One Major improvement, upgrade or whatever you want to cal it is the drip pan in the bottom, you can line this with foil, but I chose not to, next time I will spray it with pam. If you look closely on the first picture below, you will see the dripping deflector in the upper left hand corner...way to go Landman.

Time to fire up the smoker.
I opened the propane valve 1-1/2 turns, turned burner control knob to high per manufacturers instructions... counted to 3, pressed the igniter once, and the burner fired up no problem. Repeated this to make sure it wasn't a fluke.

The rotary igniter on the 3405 has been pretty good as well over the last 3 years.

Below are Low, Medium and High on the 3405GW. The burner control is less accurate in correlation to the control knob as there is not much difference between medium and high compared to the Big Block.

Below are Low, Medium and High on the Big Block. The burner on the BB is more responsive than my 3405GW and the control of the flame is more manageable than the 3405GW as well.
Also note that the Burn is cleaner, (less yellow flame).

I haven't really tested heat recovery but from frequent use of the 3405GW and one test smoke of the BB, I would say they both fare well when temps are running at medium and with a full water pan, however the 3405GW does recover a little bit quicker.

The BB took a bit more time recovering from High Heat around 300 degrees, but this was with no food.

They both heat up initially pretty well, but the BB has better control of the burner. I ran the smoker with a full water pan and chunks in the chip pan to season.

I messed around with the vents on the side a bit and there was only a few degree change after 20 minutes. I would suggest to leave them closed to the stop tabs and leave the top vent full open to the tab stops.

Out of the box the BB smoker is good to go, no mods needed, however I may install a needle valve mod if the temps do not go to 150 degrees, this mod worked out well on the 3405GW.

The 3405GW needed some tweaks, but I must wonder how much of those tweaks were done because of my lack of experience with Vertical Water Smokers?

Temperature Variances.

I initially started out with 5 thermos but one probe was shot, so 4 it was.

Weather conditions 70 degrees low humidity no wind.

This test was done during seasoning but with no food, it really is hard to gauge variations in temp because their are too many factors. For instance if I put a large 1 gallon pan on the 2nd rack, there may be a 50 degree variation in temps as the pan impedes airflow and has much greater mass. My only suggestion is find the rack that runs the hottest and max out on that rack, so if the top rack runs 30 degrees hotter than the bottom rack, set your max temp for the top rack and adjust the food accordingly such s placing the chili or beans on the top rack and the ribs below it... Yeah I know, you want those juicy ribs dripping in the beans and who wouldn't.

Seasoning time

Although all the above was done during the seasoning process, I separated it in the blog to make it easier to follow, I hope this wasn't in vain.

First I foiled the pan and added water, then for good smells I added some leftover spices and about a 1/2 cup of oil.
I did not spray the sides with oil as some suggest but rather went with the manufacturers suggestion but did sneak a little oil into the water pan.

This was another attempt at the much sought after TBS. But I really wanted to achieve this for the seasoning of the BB.
This time I tried big chunks and stacking. I started with few logs of cherry and ran them through my band saw.

Stacked them like so,

Placed them in the pan and added a few smaller chunks for insurance.

I absolutely never soak the wood, I feel that the water only delays the inevitable and doesn't keep the wood from igniting, only limiting the amount of oxygen will do this, others may disagree but that is what I do.

Ok everything is looking good, getting just a wee bit of smoke and here is what I got.

Notice the Reddish brown, this still has some life in it.

The piece on the right is completely used up and the piece on the left has a wee bit of smoke left in it. Below is a close up shot of the used up chunk.

This is perfect no white ash and TBS all the way.
The chip box ROCKS, looks like Chunks stacked is the way to go from here on out.
Update: I was able to duplicate the TBS on my second smoke without stacking, no ashes, just coals.
Conclusion, Stack wood chunks for longer smoke or side by side for more smoke, I have been using the side by side method, this has worked well my last few smokes.

Before I go into the next part, I wanted to point out what the differences between Grilling, Smoking and Barbecuing mean to me.

This is my OPINION only, not FACT!

  • Grilling - Cooking at higher temps over direct heat.
  • Smoking - Cooking at lower temps and infusing smoke flavor by the use of a hardwood into the food
  • Barbecuing - Cooking by indirect heat at Lower temps by a hardwood fire source, wood or hardwood coals "Low and Slow"
Everyone has their own opinion and mine is just that an opinion, hope I didn't ruffle any feathers.

Ok, its time to cook

This is assuming all your meat is prepped and ready to go.

Like I said earlier Although all the above was done during the seasoning process, I separated it in the blog to make it easier to follow, I hope this wasn't in vain.

  • Check propane, better yet have a backup tank

  • Open all Vents to full open (tab stop)

  • Remove any Racks you will not be using.

  • Spray the racks with pam

  • Foil the water pan

  • Fill the water pan

I strictly use water in the water pan unless making jerky. I am a firm believer of water in the water smoker, others will argue and say its only for thermal mass and you can use sand, I disagree.
In addition to acting as a thermal mass, I believe that the water helps minimize temp spikes and helps maintain temps closer to my preferred Smoking temps 220 - 240 degrees.

Also I BELEIVE it aids in the penetration of the smoke.
I will not go into scientific BS, and remember the key word here is I BELIEVE.
TIP, add boiled or hot tap water to the water pan if there is food in the smoker to reduce heat recovery time.

Some add "flavors" to the water in the water pan, such as onion scraps, apples, spices, I do on occasion but only with scraps, I have not confirmed it flavors the meat, but it sure smells good when smoking.

  • Foil the bottom of drip pan or spray with PAM, I spray, foiling the drip pan is a pain in the arse!

  • Add chips or chunks to the pan.
Make sure to place the lid on and I would suggest pliers to pull out the chip box grate and to remove the lid, also a pair of tongs to remove and add new chunks. If you must use chips, I would make foiled packets and poke the foil several times with a fork.
Also have a metal pan or something handy to put the spent wood chunks in and make sure to keep it off any surface that may get damaged from the heat.

  • Add Thermometers.
I will usually put a thermometer on each rack, pushing the probes through a potato or drilled out piece of wood, but will only use them in the meat on butts.
Do not rely on the Thermometer that came with the smoker plus I would test any thermometer before use in boiling water for accuracy, remember, water boils at 212 degrees.

  • Preheat smoker on high for about half an hour.
You can wait for the smoke to start but I don't sweat it.

  • Place the meat in smoker and leave on high about half an hour.
This will help keep the smoker up to temp and you can turn the flame down slightly every 15 minutes or so thereafter and dial it in to the temp you desire. I feel its better to work down from a higher heat than the other way around. It helps to have a tight target temp in mind such as 225- 235 degrees.

I have noticed when smoking things like Chili or Beans in a large pan, it will knock the snot out of the temps and give you crazy readings, I believe this is due to the mass and the hindrance of air flow because of the pan.

  • Monitor the temps, wood and water.
I have gotten into the habit of removing the wood and adding fresh chunks when the wood is spent, just before it ashes up . The wood will smoke a lot more towards the end, right before it is used up. If you must open the door often, make sure to add water, check the chips and sprits or mop in one shot, also eyeball the meat.

And remember the corny but true saying "If you're looking you aint cooking"

TBS pic below

The pic below is a chunk and some smaller pieces, the smaller pieces were just starting to ash up and when I took them out of the smoker and they were exposed to more oxygen they ashed over rapidly.

Dressed up Hormel Chili

Ribs halfway through the 3-2-1 method

Chicken and Jalapenos wrapped in bacon and glazed with "Sweet Baby Rays"

Ribs being devoured.

"Sweet Baby Rays"
The Wifey found these on sale at Acme $1.00 a piece, she knew it would make me happy when she popped these out of the grocery bag.

Making some rub,

OOPS! too much... oh well.

Some notes on cleaning your BB.

Let your smoker cool a bit, I usually do this when its still warm, just watch the Smoker Box, it stays hot for quite a bit of time.

  • Wipe the outside down with a degreaser such as 409, rarely needed
  • Remove any food particles and wipe out any visible grease.
  • If you seasoned with "wood only", the sides should stay fairly clean.
  • Spray the racks with Pam before each use and after cleaning them.
  • Wipe out the excess grease from the sides and under the drip tray
  • Remove the drip pan and clean with soapy water, spray lightly with Pam.
  • Brush out all debris in the Smoker box, you can spray the Smoker box with Pam to keep from rusting, this will cook off next time you fire up the smoker
  • Take out the water pan, drain liquid, remove foil and wash with soapy water, make sure to wash the bottom real good, it may get some soot on it. TIP: Wipe the bottom with paper towels while still warm before using soapy water.

Some Tips.


I figured I would start throwing some recipes in here.

Dutch's Wicked Bake Beans

Ready to be mixed and placed in the smoker.

Ingredients Breakdown

This recipe is from a gentleman over at the SMF and these things are incredible, the only tweak I have made to this recipe, is I reduced the brown sugar by a 1/4 cup and used Chipotles in Adobo sauce in place of the jalapeno.

Click on the recipe name for the recipe and make sure to thank Dutch for sharing such a wonderful recipe.

This is something I have been working on lately, I have searched high and low for a good Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, after much research and a bit of tweaks this is what I have come up with.

SQWIB'S Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.

  • 2 Cup ketchup
  • 1 Cup Apricot Preserves
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 4 - 6 Chipotles in Adobo Sauce, Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 3 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper (medium grind)

Heat Oil in sauce pan, add onions and garlic, Sauté until soft
Stir in Apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, celery salt and black pepper.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer until sauce is desired consistency.
Tips, use a food processor to mince the garlic and onions for a smoother consistency.
make sure to stir the entire time.
A variation of this is to replace the Apple Cider Vinegar with Red Wine Vinegar.

Food from the 3605BGD

And a cold Killian's to go with it!

Smoked Bacon Dogs with "SQWIBS Chipotle Barbecue Sauce" and a side of "Dutch's Wicked Baked Beans"

Ribs and '80s Videos

Ribs smoked 3 - 2 - 1 with cherry and glazed with "Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue Sauce"

Ribs at - 3 -
Ribs at - 2 -
Ribs at - 1 -

Bacon Wrapped dogs.
Chicken, Pork and Beef wrapped in bacon.
Pork was served with a Hoisin, Ginger Glaze.
Beef was served with a Horseradish Dipping Sauce
Chicken was served with SQWIB'S Chipotle Barbecue Sauce or Sweet Baby Rays

Ribs ready for slicing

Ribs are prepped by trimming up St. Louis style, removing membrane then coated heavily with rub the night before, no mustard, I have cut back on the black pepper in my Rib Rub because of how much rub I use on the ribs, it was a bit spicy for some of the family.

So far the best luck with the ribs have been a modified 3 - 2 - 1
  • -3- Smoking at 225 degrees for a maximum of 3 hours uncovered in a rib rack.
  • -2- Place in a steamer pan, bone side down and foil for 1 hour 40 minutes.
  • -1- Then remove foil and smoke another 40-45 minutes.
I was getting a bit annoyed at how much juice was lost after removing the foil, so I decided to leave the ribs in the pan for the final part of the cook and as you can see from the above photo, there's no loss of juices.
I just mix the juices and barbecue sauce as its brushed on the ribs.
Next Rib cook I will try glazing after step 2

This gives me ribs that are easy to slice clean without tearing the meat and mangling the rib.
The result is pull of the bone clean just where you bite into it without the whole piece of meat coming off in 1 shot and slapping you upside your chin.
My previous Rib cooks, the ribs were good but slightly dry on the outside, resulting in hard to slice clean and the meat all coming off in one shot.

The ribs are cut down, brushed thoroughly with BBQ Sauce and served in a steamer pan.
The ribs will go a good part of the day without drying out.

Another shot at some ribs...

.... just off the smoker

.... glazed with "Sweet Baby Rays"

... sliced

... sliced
...nice smoke penetration

Food from the 3405
(The early Days)

Venison Jerky

ABT's aka (Atomic Buffalo Turds)
Pulled Pork

Ribs, I don't have to half the ribs anymore. I prefer the Rib Rack over laying flat, a bonus to the rib rack putting aside the obvious of saving space is that if you are a spritzer, it's much easier to spritz on the rib rack than if they are lying flat on the grates.

Note the awesome smoke penetration.

Dutch's Wicked Bake Beans, these things are awesome, best beans I ever had.

Ribs and "Dutch's Wicked Baked Beans"

The whole Shebang