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Hi,

I saw this forum and thought it best to start a topic here. I'm a first-timer so please be gentle.

I'm Steff and have been smoking meat for a few years now. I started on a Weber Kettle and had pretty good results. I then decided to upgrade to a bullet smoker recently and purchased a second hand ProQ Amigo.

Smoking on the Amigo has taken me back to the beginning of my smoking journey. Having been able to sustain good temperature control on the Weber, I find the Amigo harder to do this with. I followed the same procedure as smoking on a Kettle: Chimney Starter, onto a some fresh charcoal, heat to temp and then add the water pan then of course the meat.

However, I've noticed the temp drop quickly even with boiling water in the pan. Is this supposed to happen?

I'm also concerned that the double grill racks place the water pan directly above the coal, which in my mind doesn't leave a lot of space for the fire to burn. It almost seems too close.

If I'm missing something blindingly obvious please share, I'd really like to get to the stage where I can smoke on the Amigo and grill on the Weber at the same time.

Any help gratefully received,

Faithfully,

Steffan

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Steffan hi & welcome,  first off I don't have an Amigo,  but I do run a bullet type smoker (Brinkman). I must admit running my Weber one touch in comparison against/alongside the Brinkman I've found them to be two different beasts. 

I've had times with the Weber were keeping a steady temp a PITA....whereas the Brinkman is a lot easier to control,  in fact, I would like to find a  s/h Pro-Q to trade up to.

When it comes to the Q's Sotv is the man to help with this.

 

Ice.

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Hi Steffan and welcome to the forum

Your journey into smoking could not have got off to a better start than with the Weber Kettle. It is a great all-rounder and as you found out is good for temperature control.

The move to the ProQ Amigo may not have been the best introduction to bullet smokers as it is/was a very basic model that was similar to the Brinkmann Smoke n Grill. This was notoriously difficult to control and required several mods in order to get it function properly. The top looks like a standard bullet smoker however the bottom offers little or no control over air flow - and therefore temperature. The design of the fire basket also does not allow sufficient air to get to the burning coals so that they can reach the higher temperatures. I am pretty sure that ProQ no longer sell this model.

A couple of things to try to help reach the higher temperatures.
Place a wire rack in the bottom of the fire bowl and place the coals on top of this. That will allow more air to get underneath the coals and so burn hotter.
If this does not raise it sufficiently then you can also drill some small holes around the sides of the fire bowl (close to the bottom) to allow air in. If you do this then do not make them too large or you will end up with the smoker temperature rising too high. You can also block the air space around the outside of the bowl with tinfoil to help force the air in through the bottom holes.
If you make the holes too large then you will need to control the temperature using the top vent - which is not ideal.

Some people also add an air vent damper into the bottom of the fire bowl to help control the air flow

Image result for bbq air vent damper

I am not sure what you paid for the Amigo but you may find that the mods are quite a bit of trouble and you want to stick to using the Weber - or if you want to start into bullet smokers then consider buying either a Callow or look around for a second hand ProQ Frontier or Weber Smoky Mountain.

Looking forward to seeing photos :thumb1:

Wade

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Welcome aboard and great advice from Wade.  Looking forward to your mods to personalise the amigo, it is possible and not too challenging I think, following Wades points bit of drilling and you are there

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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for getting back to me so quickly, it's greatly appreciated.

Icefever, appreciate the guidance. On my first two outings, I wouldn't recommend the Amigo. Temperature control is non existent. Coming from a Weber with both lower and higher vents I found it much easier to stabilise the temp on that than the Amigo.

Wade: Phenomenal advice; thank you. I'm happy to make some mods. I paid £60 for it and according to the seller has only been used once. She threw in three bags of chips too. I'd like to make it work, and know that modifications are the only way to go in order to do that. I was wondering if there was an oversized fire bowl I could buy to plug the air-gap on the sides below? I've already added the wire rack because I couldn't see how the air would get to the coals properly. I also noticed that if I removed the first tier grill rack and moved the water pan to the second tier so to speak, the smoker would run hotter because I could use more coal. I could still add coal during the cooking through the lower door too which made things easier. However, I still couldn't get it above 250F. On the subject of the suggested damper, do you mean fixing the suggested damper to the bottom of the fire bowl? And then drilling 2 or 3 say 12-14mm holes similar to a top vent on a weber? Happy to do that if it helps control the heat.

Justin: Thanks for the warm welcome :)

I had a 1KG Briskett which ordinarily takes about 6 hours to cook on the Weber. On the Amigo I did ten hours, then the final part wrapped in foil in the oven on account of it being too dark and late. The food tasted great, but amazingly not as smokey as it did on the Webber. I used 4 x Maple chunks and 2 x Oak chunks. On the Weber I used 2 or each (four in total) and it was far smokier in flavour than on the Amigo which I was surprised by.

Thank you for your warm welcomes and great advice so far :)

Steff

 

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Remember no question is to stupid on this website ! Unless it’s asking if the earth is flat ! 

We are all learning and enjoy sharing good or bad experiences. You won’t find ridicule or condescending attitudes 

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I think the earlier Pro Qs also used thinner metal which affected temp stability. (The Elite versions were thicker, they now don't sell the older standard versions. They are all Elite spec.)

I also think they changed the design of the fire basket to improve airflow. As per Wades advice, this is worth a look.

When i first cooked with my newer Frontier and the water bowl emptied, the temp shot up significantly. If you use sand in the bowl instead and cover with foil, you might find it helps you stabilise temps. 

I am sure you will soon get familiar with your new smoker. I am sure they are all different and need to be treated slightly differently. What an excuse for extra cooks! :)

Phil.

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1 hour ago, Justin said:

looking out my window it looks flat!

 

Take the tinfoil hat of your head you might notice the curvature 😂

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42 minutes ago, Raptor72 said:

Take the tinfoil hat of your head you might notice the curvature 😂

So that's where my water pan has gone??? 🤣

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@Tarmac.

Looking forward to your adventures, show us your cooks and as you can see you will find  lots of helpful people and resources. I have been on the forum since last March 2018 and I have found and continue to find many friends and much help.  The tailgates are great fun. I have organised the inaugural spring Anglia and Southeast one for next weekend, and I am going to the Midlands, Northern and National ones through the year. Hope to see you at one of those certainly at least the national one.

I learnt lots by going to those including cold smoking and charcuterie. Now I am getting into all grain brewing too, all through the inspiration derived from this forum

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4 hours ago, Raptor72 said:

Remember no question is to stupid on this website ! Unless it’s asking if the earth is flat ! 

What are you trying to tell us Raptor???  do you know something we lot don't???   t2629.gif

 

Ice...t2017.gif

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8 minutes ago, Icefever said:

What are you trying to tell us Raptor???  do you know something we lot don't???   t2629.gif

 

Ice...t2017.gif

Savages the lot of you !! 

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Okay, I've finally got around to adding the mods suggested (Thank you Wade). 

I added a new air damper to the bottom of the Ash bowl which I hoped along with a wire rack would help with achieving a higher temp. 

The temp certainly does get higher now which is the good news, I'm able to smoke at 250F which I couldn't do last week at all, the smoker wouldn't burn hot enough. 

However, maintaining a steady temp is still a work in progress. I've managed to maintain it for around 70 mins with minimal variation, but after that it'll drop like a stone by 20-30F unless I move all the coals around and rebuild the fire. 

And on a side note the gap between the fuel bowl and water pan is tiny, around 2cm. If I choc the coal bowl I can't get the water pan in 😕. At the moment I'm having to use only one level of cooking as the second tier holds the water pan. 

I can't help but feel this is far more work than should be necessary with a smoker, given I'm trying not to take the lid off. As I've said before, I had much less of a problem with my Weber Kettle. 

I'm genuinely wondering whether this 2nd hand ProQ Amigo smoker was too hasty a purchase. I certainly wouldn't recommend it, even with the mods. 

It might be time for ebay... 🤔

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IMG_20190517_104755.jpg

Edited by Tarmac

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1382423754_ScreenShot2019-05-17at15_42_03.thumb.png.c8acc4bf3a345a14c87ff70c9dc0832c.pngHi Phil,

Thanks for your response.

You are right. I think that's why they discontinued this product in 2014.

I've scanned the original instructions which came with it, you'll see the second water pan is for coal :(.

Steffan

 

 

Edited by Tarmac

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