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Just got a smoker..need advice


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#41 1970

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 07:18 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?


I've been very fortunate with brisket as everyone I've done has turned out. Find a good rub and try to maintain a steady temp. To me low and slow is the key. I say that because the longer it cooks the more tender it turns out. I also have never wrapped a brisket. I have another great tip. Make some beef au jus and pour it on after you slice it or pull it (the one I made today was so tender my meat slicer wouldn't slice it).
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#42 Ricker Says

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 07:43 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?
I've been very fortunate with brisket as everyone I've done has turned out. Find a good rub and try to maintain a steady temp. To me low and slow is the key. I say that because the longer it cooks the more tender it turns out. I also have never wrapped a brisket. I have another great tip. Make some beef au jus and pour it on after you slice it or pull it (the one I made today was so tender my meat slicer wouldn't slice it).
So what do I have to do to get in the invite list for one of your BBQ's? Damn dude, you're killing me today.
"You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the damn plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all." ~ The Earl of Baltimore

#43 Mackus

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 08:02 PM

Meat slicer, that's awesome. You have a legit commercial one or have you found a cheaper home cook option that actually works?

I make great pit beef, but can't get it sliced very thin even with an electric knife. Would be fantastic with a slicer.

#44 1970

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 09:12 PM

Meat slicer, that's awesome. You have a legit commercial one or have you found a cheaper home cook option that actually works?I make great pit beef, but can't get it sliced very thin even with an electric knife. Would be fantastic with a slicer.


I bought one similar to this one: https://www.amazon.c...ds=Meat slicer. I bought the 8.7" model.

Not perfect, but does what I need. Cuts fairly thin slices.

#45 Mackus

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 09:12 AM

I gave brisket a shot for the first time over the weekend.  I didn't have time to babysit the smoker for 14-16 hours, so I cheated and cooked it most of the way sous vide using an immersion circulator I've recently gotten, a day and a half in the water bath at 147 degrees (a rough time and exact temperature I settled on after some googling).  I had a 6 lb flat from BJ's ($4.59/lb for USDA choice!) that got down to a little over 5 lb after trimming, and I had to cut it in half to fit in the vacuum seal bags, so I had a thicker half and a thinner half.  Then late yesterday morning it went on the smoker (well, Weber kettle that I use for all my smoking) that I kept around 275 degrees, I was anticipating it needing 5-6 hours to get the meat up to the 200 degrees I was aiming for, but there was no stall at all and the skinny half got there in only about 3 hours, and the thicker half about 30 minutes later.  So I pulled them, wrapped in foil and a towel and rested in a beer cooler until it was time to slice and eat.  I was adding about twice as much wood as I usually...would...if I was only smoking, figured since it wouldn't be on as long I'd use a lot more smoke, and I think that helped get plenty of smokiness into the meat despite the shorter smoke time and the higher starting temperature.

 

I think it tasted really great, the smoke flavor definitely came through.  The thicker half was cooked beautifully, it was just north of fall apart tender, had fully rendered fat and was very juicy.  The thinner half didn't get fare as well.  It didn't have as much marbling so I think it got a bit dried out on the smoker, was still tender and tasty, but not juicy.  But it still was ok and I diced up the leftovers afterwards for burnt end sandwiches for lunch today.  The thicker half I would say was better than most brisket around here, it was much better than Mission's and even Dinosaur (which I prefer to Mission for most cuts), but not anywhere near as good as real brisket, like from Franklin's out in Austin (I haven't had the brisket at Andy Nelson's, need to try theirs I bet they do it really well).

 

I need to nut up and do it the right way, the entire time on the smoker.  Ideally I'd like to find a full packer brisket, or at least the point to get that extra marbling fat.  I'd also give a whirl to smoking first for a few hours until it gets to the stall, then finishing for a long time sous vide basically standing in for the "crutch", and then maybe back out over some hot coals just before serving to firm up the bark.  I'm willing to put in the time and hours for great BBQ on occasion, but if I can hack it to greatly reduce active time and still come out with a good result, that's a nice weapon to have available as well.

 

Also made some jalapeno cheddar grits as a side that were great.


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#46 Nigel Tufnel

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 09:20 AM

Here's another way to cook a brisket more quickly - it's called the Travis method, after the guy who posted it on the Big Green Egg forum.  It's written for the Big Green Egg, but you could probably do the same thing on any smoker.

 

First, I buy a 10-13lb packer brisket. I choose the most flexible one available and choice or prime is best. 

 
Trim fat off of meat to an even thickness. About 1/4 inch is fine.
 
Cut up a large onion in chunks. Add onion, One 12oz beer, and one bottle of Hot and Spicy Allegro. Dump all three into a large alum pan. I prefer Shiner Bock and the Allegro can be found at HEB in Texas. I'm not sure about other states. 
 
While sitting on a cutting board, cover all exposed surface of meat with yellow mustard and then your rub of choice. I normally use a rub made of equal parts garlic powder, sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper. My last brisket, I used a rub called Grand Champion. The Grand Champion was superb and I will use it from now on. Place the seasoned meat in the pan with the stuff listed above. 
 
The meat goes directly into the pan resting in the liquid and onion. Use a platesetter, legs up and the factory grate. Place pan with brisket on top of the grate. 
 
Stabilize egg at 300 dome temp. Add 6-8 fist size chunks of hickory or mesquite or both. Let the egg sit for 20-30 min to burn off any nastys in the wood and lump. 
 
Once the brisket reaches 205, check for tenderness and remove from egg. (I've never had one not be tender at 205 but, I've heard it happens)  Save the liquid in the pan for sauce. 
 

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#47 Mackus

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 09:46 AM

That's basically braising but in the smoker. 



#48 1970

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 07:51 PM

I gave brisket a shot for the first time over the weekend.  I didn't have time to babysit the smoker for 14-16 hours, so I cheated and cooked it most of the way sous vide using an immersion circulator I've recently gotten, a day and a half in the water bath at 147 degrees (a rough time and exact temperature I settled on after some googling).  I had a 6 lb flat from BJ's ($4.59/lb for USDA choice!) that got down to a little over 5 lb after trimming, and I had to cut it in half to fit in the vacuum seal bags, so I had a thicker half and a thinner half.  Then late yesterday morning it went on the smoker (well, Weber kettle that I use for all my smoking) that I kept around 275 degrees, I was anticipating it needing 5-6 hours to get the meat up to the 200 degrees I was aiming for, but there was no stall at all and the skinny half got there in only about 3 hours, and the thicker half about 30 minutes later.  So I pulled them, wrapped in foil and a towel and rested in a beer cooler until it was time to slice and eat.  I was adding about twice as much wood as I usually...would...if I was only smoking, figured since it wouldn't be on as long I'd use a lot more smoke, and I think that helped get plenty of smokiness into the meat despite the shorter smoke time and the higher starting temperature.
 
I think it tasted really great, the smoke flavor definitely came through.  The thicker half was cooked beautifully, it was just north of fall apart tender, had fully rendered fat and was very juicy.  The thinner half didn't get fare as well.  It didn't have as much marbling so I think it got a bit dried out on the smoker, was still tender and tasty, but not juicy.  But it still was ok and I diced up the leftovers afterwards for burnt end sandwiches for lunch today.  The thicker half I would say was better than most brisket around here, it was much better than Mission's and even Dinosaur (which I prefer to Mission for most cuts), but not anywhere near as good as real brisket, like from Franklin's out in Austin (I haven't had the brisket at Andy Nelson's, need to try theirs I bet they do it really well).
 
I need to nut up and do it the right way, the entire time on the smoker.  Ideally I'd like to find a full packer brisket, or at least the point to get that extra marbling fat.  I'd also give a whirl to smoking first for a few hours until it gets to the stall, then finishing for a long time sous vide basically standing in for the "crutch", and then maybe back out over some hot coals just before serving to firm up the bark.  I'm willing to put in the time and hours for great BBQ on occasion, but if I can hack it to greatly reduce active time and still come out with a good result, that's a nice weapon to have available as well.
 
Also made some jalapeno cheddar grits as a side that were great.


That sounds really good.

I just found this: http://www.patiopitm...om/brisket.html

#49 SportsGuy

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 10:32 PM

I tried a pork shoulder for the first time on Saturday.

 

I was holding the temp around 250 for a good 7 hours or so and then it started to go down and I made the mistake of throwing cold coals on it.  I hadn't cooked for this long before, so I thought that would be ok.  Well, the temp kept falling, so I pulled it off.

 

It actually tasted really good but it wasn't falling apart.  It only got up to around 177 degrees and not the 195-200 they say it should be.

 

Next time, I know how to fix the issue though, so that's good.


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#50 Mackus

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 09:49 AM

You should be able to add cold coals to your smoker without the temp going down (though I don't know your exact setup).  Should make the temp go up as they ignite.  Did you add a ton of coals?  I try not to add more than a couple handfuls at a time, maybe you smothered the fire.  I find the easiest way to control temperature, as long as you've got enough coals for fuel, is with the grates below and above to let in air (and specifically the oxygen in that air).  I use a Weber grill with the bottom grate open only a very small fraction and the grate in the lid open about halfway, usually allows me to keep it at the low temp that I'm aiming for.  It's certainly tricky, but with more practice you'll get used to your rig and get real comfortable with it.  And in this case, practice means you get to eat more smoked meat, so win-win!

 

Also, with pork butt, after you've smoked it for 5-6 hours or so when the temperature of the meat stops increasing for a long while (this is called "the stall"), you can pull it off, wrap it tightly in foil with a little bit of warm liquid (apple juice, chicken stock, or even just water), and then put it in the oven at a low temp until it's done.  Most of the smoke flavor gets imparted early on, so you don't really lose any flavor by doing this and you don't have to babysit the oven like you do a smoker.  This will however soften the bark a bit, so when it'd done you can toss it back on a hot grill or under the broiler for a short time to crisp it back up after you remove if from the foil.

 

I find it takes me a good 12-14 hours on my smoker at as close to 225 as I can keep it to get a thick ~8 lb pork butt up to 200-205 degrees that I aim for.  I've pulled it off earlier out of necessity at like 180-190, and it's still really amazing, just doesn't have quite the same feel as if it can get all the way up over 200.  That extra time really lets the fat just melt out.



#51 SportsGuy

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 11:11 AM

I did wrap it in foil.

I actually didn't throw in many coals. Maybe a handful. Maybe I didn't add enough?

#52 Mackus

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 11:42 AM

Maybe added them too late and the temp dropped before the new ones could light?  I don't know, it's hard to say, these things are finicky.  Just keep at it.



#53 SportsGuy

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 07:18 PM

Maybe added them too late and the temp dropped before the new ones could light? I don't know, it's hard to say, these things are finicky. Just keep at it.


I haven't smoked much..I think it's 5 times and the 2 times it didn't come out the way I wanted, I know what I did wrong. That's the good news.

Just gotta learn from the mistakes.

#54 DJ MC

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 07:51 AM

The Food Lab: Meet Barbecue Beef Chuck, Brisket's Cheaper, Easier Cousin

 

I try my best to hide it. I never do it in the house, and I make sure all the windows and doors are closed and she's out of the house before I light up. Yet somehow she knows. Maybe she smells it on my breath or in my hair or my clothes. I've promised her I'll stop, but old habits die hard, and addiction is a cruel master.

 
"You've been smoking again, haven't you?" Adri asked me as she walked in the door.
 
It was true. The whole house smelled of it. It seeped in through cracks, leaving its lingering aroma on the curtains. It was only after the pillows, sheets, and dogs started smelling that my wife firmly put her foot down and made me flush my half-empty pack of hickory chunks down the metaphorical toilet.
 

It was okay. My research was complete. I'd gotten what I'd come for: sublimely tender, juicy, and smoky barbecue beef chuck.


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#55 SportsGuy

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 09:43 PM

I smoked ribs today for the first time. They turned out pretty good. Was definitely happy with them.

Needed to put more rub on them but still, good flavor and pretty damn tender.

#56 Mackus

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 08:56 AM

Congrats, dude.  I've done ribs a few times and still haven't been entirely pleased with the end result.  Just not getting as tender as I want them.  I've let them smoke for longer than my expected cook time, they seem done to me by the flex test, geting a lot of bend and the skin starts to break, but they just haven't tasted as tender as I want them to.  Haven't tried them in a while, need to give 'em another go sometime soon and make a strong effort to really let them go longer than what feels right.

 

Why did you think you needed more rub?  Not as much flavor as you wanted or didn't get much of a crust?  Did you finish them with sauce or only a dry rub Memphis style?



#57 McNulty

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 09:28 AM

The Food Lab: Meet Barbecue Beef Chuck, Brisket's Cheaper, Easier Cousin

 

I've done this twice now, its excellent.  And essential with meat prices here.


@fuzydunlop


#58 SportsGuy

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 01:01 PM

Congrats, dude. I've done ribs a few times and still haven't been entirely pleased with the end result. Just not getting as tender as I want them. I've let them smoke for longer than my expected cook time, they seem done to me by the flex test, geting a lot of bend and the skin starts to break, but they just haven't tasted as tender as I want them to. Haven't tried them in a while, need to give 'em another go sometime soon and make a strong effort to really let them go longer than what feels right.

Why did you think you needed more rub? Not as much flavor as you wanted or didn't get much of a crust? Did you finish them with sauce or only a dry rub Memphis style?


I just think they could have had a little more flavor.

I smoked 2 St Louis racks and cut them up into 3 small racks...2 of them I put sauce on and let that cook for like 10 min..another rack I left sauceless.

Temp stayed right the whole time...cooked them in foil the last 30ish min.

For the most part, these weren't fall of the bone but ribs are actually not supposed to, so I didn't try to do that.

They were very tender though.
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#59 1970

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 05:40 PM

Anyone tried making Bacon Candy? http://www.chowhound...con-candy-30665

If not, you need to try it. My wife and I teamed up to make it on my grill today. Maybe the best thing I've ever eaten. My brother-in-law made homemade ice cream this afternoon. Bacon Candy and homemade vanilla ice cream is quite the combination.

#60 SportsGuy

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 07:30 PM

Anyone tried making Bacon Candy? http://www.chowhound...con-candy-30665

If not, you need to try it. My wife and I teamed up to make it on my grill today. Maybe the best thing I've ever eaten. My brother-in-law made homemade ice cream this afternoon. Bacon Candy and homemade vanilla ice cream is quite the combination.

That sounds amazing!






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