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Just got a smoker..need advice


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#21 Mackus

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 01:49 PM

Smoked 4 pork shoulders and the equivalent of 6 chickens (tons of bone-in breasts and thighs) on my 22" Weber grill as well as made a ton of sweet & sour meatballs over the weekend in preparation for the big party my wife and I throw every year (which happens to be my first anniversary) on the eve of the 4th.  I recently got a vacuum sealer, so everything is sealed up and frozen now, my plan is to defrost them and then heat them up by dropping the bags into boiling water rather than my previous method of putting everything into a sheet pan and heating in the oven.  We'll see how that works out.

 

All the sides (mac salad, potato salad, corn pudding, BBQ baked beans) I'll make a day or two before the party, but the meat takes too long to have it all done fresh.  I've found that freezing it and then reheating doesn't degrade the quality too much.  Someday I'll have a huge smoker that's big enough where I can do everything the day of, but for now I gotta do it all in batches well ahead of time.



#22 Russ

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 03:00 PM

I cooked some soft crabs on the grill Saturday.  They were awesome and the best I've ever had.



#23 Mackus

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 03:05 PM

Never heard of grilling them, that's very intriguing.  I love soft shell crabs.



#24 Russ

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 03:45 PM

Never heard of grilling them, that's very intriguing.  I love soft shell crabs.

My friend cooks them on a salt block.  I don't have one so I just threw them on the grill with some butter and salt and pepper.  Turned a nice pink/red and they were delicious.



#25 SportsGuy

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 09:16 PM

I just did a chicken again the other day. It was so good. Cooked a whole chicken in less than 2 hours. I will probably cook it a little longer next time to get the skin crispier.

When I did it for 3 hours before, the skin was crispier but the chicken was a little drier.

#26 SportsGuy

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 09:16 PM

Mackus...do you find it tough to keep the temp regulated when you cook different kinds of meat at the same time?

#27 Mackus

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 08:58 AM

Mackus...do you find it tough to keep the temp regulated when you cook different kinds of meat at the same time?

 

I didn't have different kinds on at the same time, did it in batches.  One batch of chicken thighs which filled every inch of grill space I had, then again for the breasts, then two pork shoulders at a time.  I started Friday night and finished Sunday, it was a lot of cooking!

 

I don't find that the type of meat impacts how I regulate temperature, but the quantity definitely does.  If the grillspace is fuller, there is less room for air circulation so the temperature can seemingly be wildly different from one side of the cooking surface to the other.



#28 Mackus

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 09:01 AM

I just did a chicken again the other day. It was so good. Cooked a whole chicken in less than 2 hours. I will probably cook it a little longer next time to get the skin crispier.

When I did it for 3 hours before, the skin was crispier but the chicken was a little drier.

 

A good trick here is to cook the whole chicken on a nice low temp until it's about 10 degrees away from being done, then crank up the temp or even move it to a hot grill or oven broiler to get the skin nice and crispy right at the end while the last little bit of cooking gets done.  Similar to a reverse sear method for steaks.  It doesn't take long to crisp the skin once the bulk of cooking is done and a lot of the fat underneath the skin has already rendered out.

 

If you butterfly the chicken, it can be a lot easier to accomplish this as well, since it's a flatter surface with more direct surface area of the skin to grill.  Skin side up for the low-and-slow part, then skin side down for the final crisp part.



#29 Mackus

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 09:31 AM

You don't have to do chicken at particularly low heat.  The only real rule of thumb is that you don't want the skin to burn, so you can go as hot as you want as long as when the chicken's done the skin isn't burnt.  The real tricky part is trying to get both the white and dark meat cooked properly, since they need to be done to different temps.  Easiest way around that is to cut them apart before you even start, then pull the breasts/wings a bit earlier than the thighs/legs, but if you wanna do the thing whole then the easiest trick is to put the legs towards the heat and the breasts away, but that only helps a little.

 

Also, chicken doesn't require much smoke at all and turkey only a little bit more, it's really easy to get it tasting oversmoked.  I only add about a handful or so of wood chunks on top of the charcoal at the beginning when doing chicken.


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#30 Pedro Cerrano

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 03:45 PM

Not for nothing, but when I bake a turkey, I wrap it in foil with just a little opening at the top to prevent the skin from being burnt.

 

Then, the half four or so, I take the foil off and turn the temp up.  This makes the skin nice and crispy and keeps the meat moist.

 

Has worked very well for several years.

 

This whole area isn't my bag, but figured I'd toss that in there.


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#31 SportsGuy

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 12:08 PM

Yea, I did butterfly the chicken.

I realized what I did to not get the skin as crispy as I did before...I just didn't let it get to a hot enough temp. I had it at a steady 310-320...needed to be 350 or more. No biggie there.

#32 SportsGuy

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 12:08 PM

Not for nothing, but when I bake a turkey, I wrap it in foil with just a little opening at the top to prevent the skin from being burnt.

Then, the half four or so, I take the foil off and turn the temp up. This makes the skin nice and crispy and keeps the meat moist.

Has worked very well for several years.

This whole area isn't my bag, but figured I'd toss that in there.


People still bake turkeys? :)

#33 1970

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 07:51 AM

I've had a brisket on my pellet stove for the last 14 hours (it is coming up on 9 AM). I've had two racks of St Louis style ribs on the same grill since 4:30 this morning. There's nothing better than a pellet grill. Leaves incredible smoke rings. Will also stay within a 10-degree range during the whole cooking process. You can also use different wood types for pellets.
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#34 Mackus

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 11:04 AM

That's awesome. Will have to wait until I've got more space before I get an offset smoker, but the controllability of the pellet smokers sounds amazing. Do you find that you get enough smoke flavor? I've read that they don't get as much smokiness as using logs or chunks, which seems like the only potential negative about them.

#35 1970

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 11:48 AM

That's awesome. Will have to wait until I've got more space before I get an offset smoker, but the controllability of the pellet smokers sounds amazing. Do you find that you get enough smoke flavor? I've read that they don't get as much smokiness as using logs or chunks, which seems like the only potential negative about them.


We just finished the brisket and ribs. Each had a competition quality smoke ring and each had a nice smokey flavor. If you're worried about that get a smoke tube: https://www.amazon.c...2/dp/B00CS6YFIC

I have one but rarely use it.
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#36 1970

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 11:58 AM

I use a gourmet Greek rub on my briskets - it is unbelievably good.

I used a rib rub on the ribs this morning. When I wrapped the ribs I covered one of them with brown sugar, honey, and butter. Delightful.

I never put sauce on anything I grill.

#37 Mackus

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 12:05 PM

Just the flat or the whole brisket? I can never seem to find a whole packer one anywhere. I still haven't smoked a brisket, I'm working on my rib method (haven't gotten them as tender and pulling off the bone as I'd like) and have chicken and pork butt down pretty pat. Brisket is the next thing I'd like to try, but wanna find a place to get whole ones.

#38 1970

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 12:20 PM

Just the flat or the whole brisket? I can never seem to find a whole packer one anywhere. I still haven't smoked a brisket, I'm working on my rib method (haven't gotten them as tender and pulling off the bone as I'd like) and have chicken and pork butt down pretty pat. Brisket is the next thing I'd like to try, but wanna find a place to get whole ones.


I typically do flats. I've only done a few whole briskets.

#39 McNulty

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 01:08 PM

Anyone ever used an electronic smoker?  Seems easier for someone like me who has little skills in this arena.


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#40 SportsGuy

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 05:32 PM

I'm smoking some chicken right now.

I have heard brisket is tough to get right. Do you find that to be an issue for you Ted?




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