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Old 07-01-2013, 10:38 AM
lieu lieu is offline
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Do you Bar-B-Que?

Tis the season for 'Que most pleasin'.

Nowadays it's not that difficult to come across shows on TV that deal with BBQ in some form or fashion, legendary establishments, cooking, equipment and competitions to make the best. Apparently a lot of people are watching because as I learned when trying to buy a pit recently, there can be a pretty good waiting list for the better ones. A lot of my neighbors have gotton into it too, whether it be out back on the patio or with mobile rigs that they take to tailgate at games, to recreation properties, deer leases and cook-offs. Such being the case I though there surely would be some good advice here.

Smokers - While I used to use a regular grill, there are a lot of excellent smokers out there now, many by smaller custom shops that make a really quality product, often to your exacting specs. An offset firebox means indirect heat and no flare-ups when you leave the meat unattended for however long. A horizontal section can be of varied length and number of lids. Often there will be a vertical section at the end that runs around 100 degrees cooler for really slow, 'cold' smoking. I bought a 20x36 horizontal w/ 1/4 steel plate to start with the thought if I really get into it I can always enlarge and upgrade later.

Woods - Where to start... a lot will probably depend on availability where you live but here in the south oak, mesquite and hickory are most plentiful, although a number of places will carry specialty woods like pecan, apple, cherry and other fruit woods. I've had great success with the first three, although I do want to find both red oak and post oak as some of the more famous establishments in our state have always used these two. Of mention, I hear northern red oak is not suitable but the southern variety is especially sought after.

Meats - Baby Back ribs have been very easy, forgiving and delicious but this past weekend I did beef short ribs for the first time and holy smokes but they were awesome! I'm going to load up on them again this weekend for friends during the holiday celebration.

Perhaps the best thing we've made yet though was the pork butt, also called a Boston butt. Kosher salt, coarse black pepper, a good rib rub (Fiesta) and tied up with butcher's twine, this absolutely fell apart and in addition to being delicious is kind of hard to screw up. A great choice for beginners.

Chicken has been incredibly easy, usually just leg quarters with nothing added, have just let them absorb the natural smoke from mesquite. We'll need to do some beer can chicken soon, all in good time.

Brisket is one I expect to perfect later but the first efforts were good but not awesome. The flavor was there but the prep and tenderness still needs to be improved upon. I'm moving from a point to a packer this week and will start real early in the day. Chopped brisket sandwiches during the week don't ever get old.

I've not experimented with turkey that much yet but plan to do a whole bird soon. This weekend I just put a pecan rub on a roast, tied it up and let it absorb the mesquite. It ended with quite a smoke ring and was tender and delicious.

Temp & time - Basically everything so far has been cooked between 225 - 250. I don't have tuning plates so what needs to run hotter, like the chicken, has gone nearer the firebox. Briskets stay on the far side. Most of the times I follow are what's suggested by amazingribs.com which I treat as the last word on the subject. A good meat theremometer is key too. I think I paid less than $20 for a Weber instant read probe and it even reads the ambient air temps to the exact degree as my patio mercury thermometer, so lots of accuracy there.

Rubs & Sauces - This has been fun to investigate. Of course we already had our favorites discovered over the years but I do pay more attention to that aisle in specialty groceries now. Some online research has opened us to other regional favorites too that reflect the tastes of Memphis, St. Louis, Carolina, etc. Carolina's mustard based sauces are the biggest surprise yet. Fiesta I like and Bone Suckin' Sauce & rubs have been a good find.

Everything else - I know a lot of folks go with ceramic smokers, some even equipped with a pellet feed system, temperature control, cell phone notification, etc. It would be great to hear more about all this too.

A couple of stores that carry many needed items include Academy and often times even your local Lawn & Turf supply.

So do you have any favorites, suggestions, tips, war stories, whatever to tell? All is welcome.

Last edited by lieu; 07-01-2013 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:32 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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You aren't a pro until you are cooking brisket.

My rig is pretty basic: a 55 gallon malt drum cut in half and mounted on a steel tubing frame. Off-set firebox leads to a smoke diffuser inside and the far end is crowned with a cut-down stack off a big rig. Expanded steel grating on either side as shelves, and a two-piece grill surface of the same inside. It will maintain 225F all day and night and is fairly stingy on fuel. Had the whole thing made up by my school auto shop. Cost me materials ($50) and a six-pack for the shop teacher. Been using it for 17 years now, and it shows little signs of wearing out.

Making your own rub is easier and cheaper than buying it. Look up "Magic Dust" for a good starter recipe.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:55 PM
Munch Munch is online now
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I smoked a flat brisket a few weeks ago on my Weber kettle, after some wrangling with baskets and trays and foil to keep the heat as indirect as possible, and had good (but not great) results. I greatly underestimated my cook time (I went 9 hours, but could have gone at least 12). I had zero problem keeping things at a steady 225-240 degrees. I'll probably switch to a point next time, but I'll need to find a butcher that has one (the shop I went to is excellent, but brisket is not their thing - it was either a flat or a whole packer, and there's just not enough room on my grill for a whole packer, or people to eat it!).

Last edited by Munch; 07-01-2013 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:19 PM
bump bump is offline
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I know the theory of smoking using actual wood, but I'm not too interested in babysitting a smoker for 12 hours straight.

So I got myself a Bradley electric moker and rigged up an industrial PID temp controller and a RTD sensor to control a 25 amp solid state relay that controls the power to the Bradley.

I can keep my temps in the Bradley to within 0.2 degrees C with that rig; between that and the magazine of smoking biscuits, I can load it up, and let it rip. I can go to sleep or do whatever I want, and every 3-4 hours check on the internal temp of the meat with the leave-in digital oven thermometer I have, and after roughly 12 hours, I have perfectly smoked brisket.
  #5  
Old 07-01-2013, 01:25 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
I know the theory of smoking using actual wood, but I'm not too interested in babysitting a smoker for 12 hours straight.
You don't actually have to babysit it. Something like a Weber Smokey Mountain you might have to change the coals once on. A Big Green Egg, efficient smoker that it is, you can easily to a 12-hour smoke on one set of coals.

When we got married, I put a brisket on the WSM at round 7:30 a.m. We had a ceremony and afternoon lunch reception with dancing. At around 4:30 or 5:00 p.m., we came back to our place for an after-party. The brisket was done, there were still some burning coals left in the WSM, and I had not done anything but load it up in the morning and come back in the evening 9 hours later.

ETA: It's really not necessarily to be anal about temperature. My best briskets tend to be ones that start a bit high for typical barbecue, around 275F, plus or minus 15 degrees. If I'm around, I only check the temps after about 6 hours to see where the coals are. If it's running under 200, I get another chimney starter of coals ready to go.

Last edited by pulykamell; 07-01-2013 at 01:28 PM.
  #6  
Old 07-01-2013, 01:42 PM
lieu lieu is offline
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silenus, that sounds like a really good set-up in all the ways that count. Reading what I can on maintaining the perfect fire, although at some point I may just get a charcoal box. I've kinda enjoyed buying all the different woods and lump and learning the qualities of each.

Munch, my first flat was really just a test, small and not from the best store. With the point I searched for real quality, kept the temp low and it was much better. With this weekend's packer I hope to achieve perfection. It's a necessary staple and you learn with each one, right?

I'd mentioned difficulty finding a quality pit. LyfeTyme was my initial choice but they were back-ordered 8 - 10 weeks and I wanted it in 2 days for a birthday weekend. Klose was next but sold out and 4 -5 weeks from ready. So I called the guy that built that shuttle pit, Ritchie and he was 20 weeks out but had a brand new Klose a friend gave him to market with. I liked it and it was ready so he parted with it but couldn't deliver immediately so I wrestled that 550 lb pig home myself and have the scrapes the prove it. Thank goodness I'd also decided against a 1/2" steel firebox.

bump, that sounds like a sweet set-up. Y'all post pics if you can, some of these would be great to see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
ETA: It's really not necessarily to be anal about temperature. My best briskets tend to be ones that start a bit high for typical barbecue, around 275F, plus or minus 15 degrees. If I'm around, I only check the temps after about 6 hours to see where the coals are. If it's running under 200, I get another chimney starter of coals ready to go.
Excellent. That's another question, what are the advantages of a chimney starter?

Last edited by lieu; 07-01-2013 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:50 PM
lieu lieu is offline
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Right now I position briquets into an "S" and start adding lump and split wood down the line. I've got non-toxic starter pieces designed for ceramic cookers to get things going, plus some eco-green fluid w/o any petroleum distillates. I'll let that burn with the box open, then close the system after 10 minutes or so.

Last edited by lieu; 07-01-2013 at 01:51 PM.
  #8  
Old 07-01-2013, 01:57 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by lieu View Post
Excellent. That's another question, what are the advantages of a chimney starter?
They're easy to use and don't require any type of accelerants to get the fire going. Just wad up about three sheets of newspaper into a loose ring (you don't want to wad it too tight) and you can get any charcoal fire going easily without having to use lighter fluid.

Now, there really isn't really a problem with lighter fluid unless you don't let it burn off completely before starting your smoke. But I see no need for it when there's such an easy way to start a lump of coals on fire.
  #9  
Old 07-01-2013, 02:22 PM
Munch Munch is online now
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re: chimney starter

It should also be pointed out that they're used primarily for grilling or the initial bed of coals for smoking (since people tend to just add a few lumps to keep the fire going when smoking). Not only is it much easier and faster to get the coals to temperature, but they're also in one easily distributable canister when it comes time to spreading them, which is especially helpful when you're setting up a 2- or 3-zone fire.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:40 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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^ Very good points made. When I build a fire for smoking, I tend to use the "Minion method." Basically, you set up a pile of unlit coals, then maybe some wood chunks within them, and then lay a pile of lit coals on top, with some more wood chunks on top of that. The lit coals burn down and light the unlit coals and you can get a steady fire going for hours before having to refill.
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Old 07-01-2013, 03:26 PM
Spud Spud is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munch View Post
I'll probably switch to a point next time, but I'll need to find a butcher that has one (the shop I went to is excellent, but brisket is not their thing - it was either a flat or a whole packer, and there's just not enough room on my grill for a whole packer, or people to eat it!).
I think I remember you are in Indy... Kincaid's should be able to take care of you. If not, drive a little north to my neighborhood (Carmel) and I know Joe's will have it (maybe call a bit in advance just to make sure). Joe is a great guy and will order pretty much anything you need.
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Old 07-01-2013, 03:32 PM
Munch Munch is online now
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I think I remember you are in Indy... Kincaid's should be able to take care of you.
I'll give them a try. I went to Claus' in Fountain Square - I'll be going back for all of my sausage needs, but BBQ meat probably isn't their strength.

Quote:
If not, drive a little north to my neighborhood (Carmel)
Gah! Actually, the wife and I were just up there to check out the Upland Tasting Room. Decent, but I've got one in Broad Ripple, just without the food (which looked really good).
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Old 07-01-2013, 03:48 PM
Spud Spud is offline
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I've got a friend who brings me sausage from Claus's... good stuff!

I just went to Upland about a week ago (I've been to the one in Bloomington a couple of times) and the food was good... but the beer is even better. I'm in my 50's now so they don't allow me in Broad Ripple anymore.
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Old 07-01-2013, 03:49 PM
D_Odds D_Odds is offline
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First, let me second (or third or whatever) the Amazing Ribs recommendation. First, they taught me don't be ashamed to admit that I had been smoking food on a propane grill. But just this Father's Day, I graduated to the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). I'm still learning how to regulate the temperature, and have progressively been getting better. Once I really get the hang of maintaining 225-235 for 6 hours or so, I'll attempt a brisket again (which up here in Queens can be hard to find, even at a butcher).

I put together my own rubs, which are usually just slight variations of ones published by Alton Brown, Cook's Illustrated, and other sources. As an example, I like both mustard powder and allspice in my pork rub...AB's rub has allspice but not mustard, CI has mustard but not allspice. I still measure, as I want to get the proper ratios when putting my rubs together.

9 times out of 10 I'll make my own sauce. Sometimes, I go a little too hot (usually accidentally) for anyone in my family who's not me. When they complain, I just offer to let them cook. No more complaining.
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Old 07-01-2013, 03:57 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Odds View Post
First, let me second (or third or whatever) the Amazing Ribs recommendation. First, they taught me don't be ashamed to admit that I had been smoking food on a propane grill. But just this Father's Day, I graduated to the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). I'm still learning how to regulate the temperature, and have progressively been getting better. Once I really get the hang of maintaining 225-235 for 6 hours or so, I'll attempt a brisket again (which up here in Queens can be hard to find, even at a butcher).

I put together my own rubs, which are usually just slight variations of ones published by Alton Brown, Cook's Illustrated, and other sources. As an example, I like both mustard powder and allspice in my pork rub...AB's rub has allspice but not mustard, CI has mustard but not allspice. I still measure, as I want to get the proper ratios when putting my rubs together.

9 times out of 10 I'll make my own sauce. Sometimes, I go a little too hot (usually accidentally) for anyone in my family who's not me. When they complain, I just offer to let them cook. No more complaining.
I'm surprised it's hard to find brisket in NY. Isn't that a staple up there?
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:59 PM
D_Odds D_Odds is offline
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Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
I'm surprised it's hard to find brisket in NY. Isn't that a staple up there?
I can find small flat cuts suitable for braising, but too small for BBQ, and often too trimmed. I'd like to get the cryovac pack of the whole brisket, flat and point. At least my old butcher, before he closed down, would have a complete flat for me.

What is the consensus opinion on full spare ribs versus St. Louis cut? Full are the cheapest and have the most meat, and I'm not making competition boxes (and don't get me started on grading those styrofoam boxes on appearance). If one makes St. Louis cuts from full, what would one do with the leftover meat?
  #17  
Old 07-01-2013, 07:13 PM
jnglmassiv jnglmassiv is offline
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I BBQ and/or grill quite often.
I strongly, strongly recommend the Weber Smokey Mountain cooker. Capacity, adjustability and temp stability over time are all exceptional.

I'm a one person household so if I'm just making some wings or a batch of ATB's (Something like this), I just use my Weber Smokey Joe Platinum offset. Tonight, I'm making a boneless, skinless turkey breast roast on the SJP, easy as can be: 2 hrs at 300. One awesome aspect is that this SJP is the same diameter as my 18.5" Smokey Mtn so I can mix & match grates and lids and whatnot.

I've settled on pecan as my overall favorite smoking wood. It is like a mild hickory but more present than fruit woods I've tried. I still use apple, cherry and hickory in regular rotation.

I can also happily endorse the Magic Dust rec from Silenus. I make a few changes, though. I grind the salt, sugar, chile powder and black pepper in a blender and mayo jar. The other ingredients are already powdery but further grinding the more grainy stuff helps the rub stick evenly. I cut the salt in half. I use a blend of Mexican dried chiles for the chile powder component. These are toasted in a skillet (OUTSIDE!) and ground into flecks ahead of time. Chiles include guajillo, ancho, pasilla, morita & arbol/pequin.

I'm not big into sauces. If I do want to glaze some wings or something, I just mix Original Open Pit with pomegranate juice, equal parts.

One variable not mentioned in the OP is fuel type. I'm pretty strict on lump charcoal. It looks and smells like wood. My nearest liquor store actually carries a reasonable selection of charcoals and the 20 pound Cowboy blue bags are $13-15.

For spares, I've been buying 'medium cut' or 'center cut'. I'm not a butchering scholar but these are perhaps 6 inches wide but still long and I think the tips have been removed. I had some in my hands yesterday but put them back due to scheduling. There's only so many meals in a week and I was all booked up. Sure sounds good, though. Maybe next week.
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:08 PM
jnglmassiv jnglmassiv is offline
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Originally Posted by jnglmassiv View Post
My nearest liquor store actually carries a reasonable selection of charcoals and the 20 pound Cowboy blue bags are $13-15.
I'm outside getting the grill ready for the aforementioned tx breast and wondering WTF Cowboy came from. I use Royal Oak, not Cowboy. Not sure how I got them mixed up. Seems minor but this type of thing is important, dang it!
  #19  
Old 07-01-2013, 08:12 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnglmassiv View Post
I'm outside getting the grill ready for the aforementioned tx breast and wondering WTF Cowboy came from. I use Royal Oak, not Cowboy. Not sure how I got them mixed up. Seems minor but this type of thing is important, dang it!
Royal Oak, IME, is much better than Cowboy, as long as we are talking lump charcoal.

ETA: Oh, I see you are correcting your own post. I was a bit confused. At any rate, if there is a choice, go for Royal Oak, dear readers.

Last edited by pulykamell; 07-01-2013 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:15 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by D_Odds View Post
What is the consensus opinion on full spare ribs versus St. Louis cut? Full are the cheapest and have the most meat, and I'm not making competition boxes (and don't get me started on grading those styrofoam boxes on appearance). If one makes St. Louis cuts from full, what would one do with the leftover meat?
I do full spares, usually, but if you trim them St. Louis style, you can use the leftovers to make rib tips. Just smoke them alongside the ribs. My favorite Chicago barbecue, in fact, is rib tips and hot links. I will sometimes buy just the tips to smoke.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:28 PM
Glazer Glazer is offline
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You aren't a pro until you are cooking...
Whole Hog in the ground.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:31 PM
lieu lieu is offline
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A different pit altogether. Got a receipe to share, Glazer? That's a skill worth knowing.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:48 PM
the_diego the_diego is offline
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Some people criticize this site saying it's more of food pornography, rather than practical cooking. In any case it's my favorite. If I somehow get to live in the US, I'd like to hang out with these guys.

bbqpitboys.com
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:09 PM
Glazer Glazer is offline
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Dig a pit 3' by 6' by 5'. Fill the bottom foot with 5" to 6" large gravel.Lay on a piece of steel screen or mesh then top with a couple of inches of 1" gravel or dry sand. Build your fire and fill the hole with good sized logs 4" to 6" diameter and 24" long. Keep adding wood until you have a bed of coals 6" to 8" deep. Lay on another layer of logs as evenly as possible and cover with another piece of screen. Then one final inch of sand. Lay on the pig and cover with the overfill. Pour a quart of water over the top of the mound every half hour or so for the first few hours then only every hour or so. Dig up the pig after 12 hours. Soak the pit.


Meanwhile acquire a gutted and dressed pig, head optional. Soak pig in a tub full of ice brine overnight. Dry pig inside and out. Apply favorite BBQ rub inside of carcass. Inject shoulders and hams. Fill cavity with onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Tie feet and close cavity with twine. Wrap whole hog in banana leaves and a cotton canvas. Tie with twine and a natural fiber rope to lower and raise from the pit. Soak canvas with water before lowering into the pit.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:54 AM
Munch Munch is online now
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Spud, have you seen anything other than Cowboy lump charcoal around here?
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:33 AM
lieu lieu is offline
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I've got to share that with a friend, Glazer. We brand cattle Memorial Day weekends and bring in a dozen area wranglers to help gather and cut, plus usually another 30 to 50 friends come out to watch and share in a big feast. It's all cooked by one guy with a trailer rig but it would be of great interest I think to do a pig like this too. I'd assume a calf or side of beef could be substituted.

Last edited by lieu; 07-02-2013 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:39 AM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is offline
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Originally Posted by D_Odds View Post

What is the consensus opinion on full spare ribs versus St. Louis cut? Full are the cheapest and have the most meat, and I'm not making competition boxes (and don't get me started on grading those styrofoam boxes on appearance). If one makes St. Louis cuts from full, what would one do with the leftover meat?
I only do St. Louis (or KC) spares. They just turn out much better, in my experience.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:48 AM
dnooman dnooman is offline
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I'm just glad to hear the term Barbecue used correctly.

Burgers and hot dogs on a grill is not a "Barbecue" in any sense of the word. That's "grilling".

Call me pedantic, but also call me correct in terminology.

I understand the reason that Texans prefer beef ribs, but I can't say I've ever had a beef rib that I prefer to a pork rib.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:02 PM
lieu lieu is offline
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On one of the online sites they'd described beef short ribs as being more flavorful so I went real easy on the rub, using mainy kosher salt and black pepper with just a little Bone Suckin' sprinkled on it and hoped to let the natural flavor come through. I had no idea how it would compare so when I took that first bite I just started laughing, turned to the wife and said my gosh, this is the best rib I've ever had! Now I'd agree that a perfectly done pork rib is a thing to behold, but the reason beef ribs aren't as popular can't be because of taste. They may be less meaty and certainly have an amount of fat that's will probably necessitate removal before most folks will want to fill their mouth but done right I do think they can be every bit as good as pork.

I'm going to stock up at my favorite store on the way home and will get plenty of both. Clearly more testing is in order.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:25 PM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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I bought a Smokenator for my Weber grill based on comments people made on the SDMB and I've been dialing it in all summer. First I made pulled pork that came out a little dry, but lately I've had a lot of success with country shoulder ribs. This weekend I think I'm going to try ribs. Unfortunately, my wife is out of town so it's just me and the dog. I enjoy cooking most when I can share it.
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Old 07-03-2013, 04:54 PM
DonLogan DonLogan is offline
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I use a old Brinkmann Cookin' Cajun smoker, mostly do ribs with a simple rub, use Kingsford charcoal and Gulf lighter fluid and hickory chunks from the hardware store and the smell of those ribs makes grown men cry and makes grown women come.

All yer fancy equipment and techniques and apple juice spray ain't gonna beat that.
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:48 PM
araminty araminty is offline
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Originally Posted by dnooman View Post
I'm just glad to hear the term Barbecue used correctly.

Burgers and hot dogs on a grill is not a "Barbecue" in any sense of the word. That's "grilling".
How about the Australian sense of the word? Where I grew up, all apparatus for outdoor cooking is called a barbeque, as is the party/event you go to to consume said tasty food. Except if it's a sausage sizzle.

So don't be hating. You don't own English.
  #33  
Old 07-03-2013, 06:00 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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A "sausage sizzle"? That's so cute!
  #34  
Old 07-03-2013, 06:16 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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I would if I could; sadly I live in a second floor apartment in a wood framed building. I don't think my neighbors or the landlord would appreciate me burning the frickin' building down.

spoilsports. I'd love to have a charcoal grill and a smoker.

Last edited by jz78817; 07-03-2013 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 07-03-2013, 06:27 PM
Spud Spud is offline
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Originally Posted by Munch View Post
Spud, have you seen anything other than Cowboy lump charcoal around here?
Sorry, just noticed this... and no, Cowboy is all I've seen, but I'll be doing something over flames in the next few days so I'll keep my eyes open.
  #36  
Old 07-03-2013, 06:37 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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I've got a Cabela's electric smoker I've done many pork buits in, as well as brisket, and made my own linguica once. Smoked a turkey with apple and cherry chips, and the dark meat came out tasting like roast pork. I'm now on a rotisserie kick right now, indirect roasting on my gas grill, with a smoker box. I've got a small pork butt to do tomorrow, I slather it with cheap mustard, cover it with my own dry rub blend, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it soak over night. The nice thing about a rotisserie is it is self basting and takes less attention; pretty much set the temp low, and forget it for a couple hours. Not as pull apart done as a 14 hour smoker, but still moist and tender.
  #37  
Old 07-03-2013, 06:41 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
I've got a Cabela's electric smoker I've done many pork buits in, as well as brisket, and made my own linguica once. Smoked a turkey with apple and cherry chips, and the dark meat came out tasting like roast pork. I'm now on a rotisserie kick right now, indirect roasting on my gas grill, with a smoker box. I've got a small pork butt to do tomorrow, I slather it with cheap mustard, cover it with my own dry rub blend, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it soak over night. The nice thing about a rotisserie is it is self basting and takes less attention; pretty much set the temp low, and forget it for a couple hours. Not as pull apart done as a 14 hour smoker, but still moist and tender.
an electric smoker... you happy with the Cabela's one? part of me wanted to go all elitist snob and get a WSM (keeping it at someone else's house) but all I've read says a novice will screw up a few times until he/she gets the hang of temperature management. Plus, the fact that the thing basically consumes an entire bag of charcoal for a session is a bit of a buzzkill.
  #38  
Old 07-03-2013, 07:00 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
an electric smoker... you happy with the Cabela's one? part of me wanted to go all elitist snob and get a WSM (keeping it at someone else's house) but all I've read says a novice will screw up a few times until he/she gets the hang of temperature management. Plus, the fact that the thing basically consumes an entire bag of charcoal for a session is a bit of a buzzkill.
It's strange for me to hear the WSM being referred to as "elitist" gear. It's pretty basic stuff, works well, and is fairly efficient for what it is. You want really efficient use of coals and get to "elitist" territory, you can talk about those kamodo-type smokers. (Which I think are awesome, but make more sense to characterize as "elitist," even though I think that characterization is misplaced.)

I've never gone through a whole bag of charcoal on a single smoke on my WSM. If we're talking a 20 pound bag of briquettes, maybe a half bag for something like pork shoulder or brisket.

And, yes, you might screw up a few times when it comes to temp management. It's a great lesson to learn, because then you can jerry rig smokers of all kinds when you know the theory, and that exact temperature management is not that important. You want this book. When you know how all the parts of barbecuing fit together, you can do something like this.

Last edited by pulykamell; 07-03-2013 at 07:00 PM.
  #39  
Old 07-03-2013, 07:00 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
an electric smoker... you happy with the Cabela's one? part of me wanted to go all elitist snob and get a WSM (keeping it at someone else's house) but all I've read says a novice will screw up a few times until he/she gets the hang of temperature management. Plus, the fact that the thing basically consumes an entire bag of charcoal for a session is a bit of a buzzkill.
I like it a lot. I have had it for 5 years, store it outside in the weather, and it works fine every year. I just unplug the thermostat control and bring that in, the rest stays outside. It has a tray in the bottom for chips, a drip tray to catch fat, and three racks for a large quantity of meat, though the lower racks are going to be hotter than the upper one, so you need to rotate your meat if you fill all the racks. I usually don't. I think it is a lot less trouble than charcoal or wood chunks. Tastes the same.

Last edited by Fear Itself; 07-03-2013 at 07:01 PM.
  #40  
Old 07-03-2013, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by araminty View Post
How about the Australian sense of the word? Where I grew up, all apparatus for outdoor cooking is called a barbeque, as is the party/event you go to to consume said tasty food. Except if it's a sausage sizzle.

So don't be hating. You don't own English.
In the Petrified Forest, Leslye Howard asks the waitress, "What exactly is a bar be que?" and she responds, "Well, today, it's meatloaf."

Of course, the film was probably made by Yankees, and, indeed, the English invented a language they cannot speak.
  #41  
Old 07-03-2013, 07:10 PM
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My kids got me an electric smoker from Lowe's for Father's day... very similar to the ones at Cabella's. This is now the second smoker I have and the 5th "grill" overall. I haven't had it for long, but I love it so far. My first try was way over cooked, but the ribs (and baked beans) I made next and then the Jerky were wonderful. You can't beat it for ease. It has a digital temperature gauge and a meat probe so you can be very accurate. The addition of wood is simple without opening the door and letting the smoke out.

The other smoker is propane, upright cylinder with a dome lid. It works great, but I didn't use it much because it was harder to add more wood and harder to clean up. Electric may not be for purists, but it works great for someone who has other things to tend to during the hours of smoking.
  #42  
Old 07-03-2013, 07:17 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
It's strange for me to hear the WSM being referred to as "elitist" gear. It's pretty basic stuff, works well, and is fairly efficient for what it is. You want really efficient use of coals and get to "elitist" territory, you can talk about those kamodo-type smokers. (Which I think are awesome, but make more sense to characterize as "elitist," even though I think that characterization is misplaced.)
it was, how you say, ze tongue in ze cheek. as in charcoal vs. electric.
  #43  
Old 07-03-2013, 07:18 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
it was, how you say, ze tongue in ze cheek. as in charcoal vs. electric.
(But I did want to address the issue that it takes a whole bag of charcoal to barbecue something on the WSM.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 07-03-2013 at 07:19 PM.
  #44  
Old 07-03-2013, 08:52 PM
Glazer Glazer is offline
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I've got to share that with a friend, Glazer. We brand cattle Memorial Day weekends and bring in a dozen area wranglers to help gather and cut, plus usually another 30 to 50 friends come out to watch and share in a big feast. It's all cooked by one guy with a trailer rig but it would be of great interest I think to do a pig like this too. I'd assume a calf or side of beef could be substituted.
For a side of beef I'd dig the pit deeper. And build my coal bed deeper as well as lay on more wood before covering. That way you can get a longer cook for those massive muscles like a steamship round. You wouldn't want to cook the beef in its own skin either. So rub the whole thing. And pack some fresh herbs in the wrap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by araminty View Post
How about the Australian sense of the word? Where I grew up, all apparatus for outdoor cooking is called a barbeque, as is the party/event you go to to consume said tasty food. Except if it's a sausage sizzle.

So don't be hating. You don't own English.
Barbecue is a Carib Indian word. Pirates brought this form of cooking to the Southern Colonies.
  #45  
Old 07-03-2013, 09:59 PM
the_diego the_diego is offline
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Nothing beats making your own charcoal using hardwood flitches or branches using either a steel drum or a pit dug in the ground.
  #46  
Old 07-19-2013, 02:27 PM
lieu lieu is offline
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You aren't a pro until you are cooking brisket.
Finally, perfection. It took a couple of tries but with a quality 8 1/2 lb packer the final product was every bit as good as what I've found at Lockhart, Giddings, etc.

Rubbed it down the night before with a good domino rub, not too heavy. I woke around 5 am thinking about all the BBQ tips I'd read recently and went ahead and started the fire, so I was cooking right at sun-up.

I used lump oak charcoal for most of the way but with some hickory logs early and some pecan thrown in from time to time. At 225 it took about 13 hours for it to reach an internal of 203F but when it did the fork in the side turned like buttah.

I wrapped it in grill foil and then a towel and put it in a pre-Yeti for two hours. When it came out I used the Sorkin method of slicing detailed halfway down the page. It really pays to set the right parts aside for chopped, cut the best w/o too much fat and realign the two halves for final across the grain cuts. In the end everything came out perfectly flavored and incredibly tender. I t was a joy to feast on through a good part of the week.

Tomorrow it's back to what looked best at the good grocery yesterday, chicken quarters, baby back ribs and a pork butt. I'm still looking for that perfect meat market that'll always have exactly what I want each time, but until then we're good with grabbin' the best they carry each week.

Bone appetite.
  #47  
Old 07-19-2013, 11:21 PM
dnooman dnooman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by araminty View Post
How about the Australian sense of the word? Where I grew up, all apparatus for outdoor cooking is called a barbeque, as is the party/event you go to to consume said tasty food. Except if it's a sausage sizzle.

So don't be hating. You don't own English.
I don't? Damnit.

My old roomie used the word in the same sense. Do you eat barbecued burgers or grilled burgers? Barbecued ribs or grilled ribs? Seems like there is no pork butt or brisket smoking going on there. Are your steaks barbecued?

Calling a get-together a Barbecue is common enough, but is still a misnomer. If BBQ sauce is being used, fine, call it that if you must. If it is nothing more than grilling meat, you are grilling meat. You are not barbecuing a hot dog, you are grilling it. On the same token, you are not grilling a brisket, you are smoking it, and may make it barbecue flavored.

Toss another shrimp on the grill, because direct heat and actual barbecuing have nothing to do with each other.
  #48  
Old 07-20-2013, 06:40 PM
Hakuna Matata Hakuna Matata is offline
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This thread is making me hungry! I have a Big Green Egg and I do both grilling and BBQ on it. Love to grill burgers on it as it gets a nice smokey flavor to them. I just did (4) 7 1/2 pound pork butts on it for a party we had on the solstice. Personally I like the range I get with the BGE (and I find out it is elitist too! all right!)

Brisket--that is one tough piece of meat. I have done two, one was okay the other was better but still not where I want it to be. Need to work on that a bit more I think.

Ribs and pork butt are easy to bbq on the BGE. I smoked our turkey last year on it, haven't tried smoking cheese or fish on it but I am sure it would come out fine.
Chicken, burgers and fish are good for grilling. It is awesome for searing a good steak.

What I like about the BGE is the versatility of it, the range of temperature, the efficient use of lump charcoal AND not much clean up.

I always wanted a true smoker but to be honest I don't see the need for it since I have the BGE. My brother in law is coming to visit tomorrow for a week and he is a big bbq guy, will be interesting to see what he thinks of the BGE compared to his setup.
  #49  
Old 07-20-2013, 11:15 PM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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Any advice for a low and slow bar b que in an electric oven? I've got a really nice Miele electric oven with a rotisserie. Haven't really done much except rotisserie chicken and some spare ribs. What should I bar b que in the oven?
  #50  
Old 07-20-2013, 11:50 PM
araminty araminty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dnooman View Post
Calling a get-together a Barbecue is common enough, but is still a misnomer. If BBQ sauce is being used, fine, call it that if you must. If it is nothing more than grilling meat, you are grilling meat. You are not barbecuing a hot dog, you are grilling it. On the same token, you are not grilling a brisket, you are smoking it, and may make it barbecue flavored.
You know, you seem awfully defensive about this. I understand that, in your cultural milieu, the word "barbeque" has a specific meaning. In my original post, I pointed out that, in other cultures, the word has a different meaning. It's not a "misnomer" for Aussies to call an outdoor cooking event a barbeque. And it's insulting that you suggest that it is.

Australian English is not American English. Not better or worse, either, just different.
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