Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Post Reply
EdithKeeler
Posts: 713
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:55 pm

Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by EdithKeeler » Fri May 11, 2018 7:39 am

Having lived in Tennessee and Texas now for over 20 years, I decided its time to try to earn my barbecue badge. Recently bought a smoker, and my mother has decided she wants me to do its inaugural launch for mother’s day (let’s just say I’m wary and nervous and keeping Dominoes’ number handy in case).

So hoping for some tips. Recommendations on wood chips? Water or apple juice? Meat cuts? I figure there’s gotta be a couple people around here who’ve smoked before.

Jason
Posts: 1413
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by Jason » Fri May 11, 2018 7:56 am

We recently watched this episode of Ugly Delicious.

https://www.eater.com/2018/2/23/1703174 ... -episode-5

It's probably too much to learn by Sunday, but on an on-going basis its interesting to see how localized BBQ is. Every region has a different definition/culture/style.

EdithKeeler
Posts: 713
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:55 pm

Re: Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by EdithKeeler » Fri May 11, 2018 9:27 am

its interesting to see how localized BBQ is. Every region has a different definition.
I’ve always thought Barbecue is the ultimate American food. It evokes intrepid Pilgrims, native Americans, Civil War (both sides) and Revolutionary War soldiers huddled over fires and hardy pioneers pushing westward, all cooking meat over an open fire of one sort or another. Cowboys. It also conjures the idea of community to me—few people fire up the grill or smoker to do a single burger or three bones of ribs! And each region, of course, has its own spin based on taste, regional availability of meat and spices, etc.

ffj
Posts: 1836
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by ffj » Fri May 11, 2018 9:36 am

@Jason

I stopped watching the series after that one. They started the series by criticizing cajun cooking and their resistance to change and their over-zealousnes in protecting tradition but when it comes to bbq I guess only blacks descended from slaves are allowed to make it. :? I think we give way too much importance to these food critics. Sorry but stuff like that drives me crazy because I was really interested up until that point.

@Edith

Good luck. The only advice I can give is to take your time. Are you making your own sauce?

EdithKeeler
Posts: 713
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:55 pm

Re: Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by EdithKeeler » Fri May 11, 2018 9:39 am

Good luck. The only advice I can give is to take your time. Are you making your own sauce?
Thanks. No.... not this time. I am experimenting with my own dry rub, though.

Jason
Posts: 1413
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by Jason » Fri May 11, 2018 10:24 am

(@) FFJ - We have turned it off due to the annoying commentators throughout the series. But we always find there's a lot to learn so we go back.

Peanut
Posts: 322
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:18 pm

Re: Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by Peanut » Fri May 11, 2018 12:26 pm

All I know is I think you want to use pork shoulder for your cut of meat. I slow cooked pork loin for the first time just a couple weeks ago. Turned out well but I hear shoulder becomes even more tender. Also I used and liked Annie's BBQ sauce and I generally dislike bbq.

DSKla
Posts: 251
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 11:07 am

Re: Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by DSKla » Fri May 11, 2018 12:56 pm

@ffj My wife was watching the show and as a native Louisianian who loves traditional cajun cooking, I got miffed at the show as well. Not everyone appreciates turning traditional food into an expensive gourmet fusion. I happen to appreciate the very simple, well-executed prairie cajun food that poor people have made for a few centuries over the New Orleanized dress-up stuff (that admittedly tastes good but is far removed from its source). Always served in a portion size that could only fill the stomach of a sedentary rich person.

Back on topic, what kind of smoker are you using? My favorite ERE-compatible smoker I've seen is Alton Brown taking two huge terra cotta plant pots, putting a grate inside the bottom one, and setting the other upside down on top. Maybe not ideal if you like indirect smoke and the ability to work on the fire without removing the lid, but can't beat it for cost and simplicity.

George the original one
Posts: 4582
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by George the original one » Fri May 11, 2018 2:31 pm

And here I thought you were on the road to food preservation rather than consumption ;-)

ffj
Posts: 1836
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by ffj » Fri May 11, 2018 5:06 pm

@DSKla

I spent two weeks down near the coast and I now understand why everybody is fat in Louisiana. ( I fit right in btw, ha)

Thats some good food.

DSKla
Posts: 251
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 11:07 am

Re: Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by DSKla » Fri May 11, 2018 8:54 pm

ffj, the south tends to feed you like a mama who thinks you're lookin' a little skinny. It ruins you, if not physically, then in your expectations. Now thatI'm in CA, I've been deeply offended by some of the portions that have been plopped in front me. Authentic Mexican restaurants in the bad neighborhoods are the only place I can expect a real plate of food.

EdithKeeler
Posts: 713
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:55 pm

Re: Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by EdithKeeler » Mon May 14, 2018 7:13 am

Thought I’d report back on the Great Smoker Experiment. I declare it a success!

At first I thought we’d be ordering pizza because I couldn’t get the fire going. You’re not supposed to use lighter fluid or self-starting charcoal because you don’t want your smoke to taste of chemicals, but turns out bacon grease got the fire going quite nicely.

Smoked 2 pork tenderloins wrapped in bacon. Used a store rub and sauce, but the meat was perfect—just done, moist and delish. Took about 3 hours, and I used pecan wood chips.

Probably won’t repeat the veggies. I love grilled veggies, but these absorbed too much smoke in the smoker for my taste.

But all in all—success.

SavingWithBabies
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:50 pm
Location: Midwest, USA

Re: Smokers here? (Barbecue, not tobacco)

Post by SavingWithBabies » Mon May 14, 2018 3:58 pm

Yay! I didn't see your thread until today. I've been using the Weber Smokey Mountain smokers. I started with a 14.5" in California, sold that with the relocation and bought a 18.5" in Michigan (found a used one). I love making ribs. Spatchcocked chickens can be quite nice too (makes awesome soup too). Now I'll have to try pork tenderloins. I also have brisket on my list but that is a big commitment time/money-wise. I did try a mustard-rubbed piece of beef and that was pretty good but not awesome.

If you don't have one yet, the charcoal chimneys are really nice for starting coal. Although the Weber one or a similarly made quality one is worth it. I couldn't find one locally and bought a not as nice one for a couple dollars less and it's fallen apart after a year. The Weber one is much more solid (thicker metal, better designed handle, etc). I've been using the Weber little lumps of paraffin or whatever it is they have that you can use to get the charcoal going. I was using newspaper and oil but it got really really smokey. Now I'm saving up dryer lint and I'll use some old tea candle wax. That should be about the same but nearly free.

But if you get a chance, ribs are really nice. I do take the time to pull off the muscle sheath and have found I like them better when I trim them too. I started with this guide:

http://virtualweberbullet.com/best-ribs ... field.html

Coming up with your own rubs is really fun but if I can suggest one thing, it might seem annoying but I really wish I'd kept notes of accurate recipes as I kept tweaking it. I made one rub that was awesome and I've been trying to replicate it ever since.

Post Reply