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Smoke Your Meat

Discussion in 'Permanent Threads' started by Revengeofthenerds, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. Revengeofthenerds

    Revengeofthenerds
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    Any good smoking recipes?

    I just purchased a small, cheap charcoal grill with offset firebox off amazon. The thinking is it should last a season, and if I get good enough at it I'll then spend the real money for a nice one.


    Nettdata EDIT:

    This is the BBQ/smoker thread.

    Go nuts.

    Better yet, send samples.
     
  2. Revengeofthenerds

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    Re: The Cooking Thread

    Anything.

    I have a propane grill and a charcoal grill, and more often than not during the week I'm on one of them cooking ribs, steaks, pork loin or chops, sausage, chicken breasts, shrimp, fish, veggies, whatever. I imagine the rubs, marinades, and bastes I have developed carry over.

    Just wanna try something new.
     
  3. ghettoastronaut

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    Re: The Cooking Thread

    I know it isn't a smoking recipe per se, but making a paella on a charcoal grill is something else. A 30 cm paella pan costs like 20 bucks. My typical recipe goes like this:

    Add a good slug of olive oil to a paella pan over heat; after the oil has heated up, add 4 chicken thighs; preferably bone-in, skin-on. Develop a good crust on the skin side only, and remove the chicken to a plate.

    Take 2-3 ripe roma tomatoes, cut in half, and shred the flesh through the largest holes on a box grater (out of season, canned tomatoes or passata can be used as a replacement).

    Take half a spanish onion (or cooking onion or sweet onion) and shred through the largest hole on a box grater.

    Finely mince 2-3 cloves of garlic (depending how much garlic you like).

    Add the garlic, tomatoes and onion to the hot paella pan, sprinkle with smoked paprika (like, a tablespoon's worth) and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook down until the mix is thick and dark red. You can add a bit of water if it starts to burn before it cooks down. For bonus points, add some white wine. This forms the flavour base of the paella, and is known as "sofrito". The important part here is that at the end of the process, you should have a thick product with a thick, stew-like consistency, that should not be burned at all.

    While the sofrito is cooking, prepare the stock. Take 15-ish strands of saffron in a mortar and pestle. Add a teensy bit of warm water/stock, and grind until the water is dark yellow and there are no solid strands of saffron left. Pour the liquid out into 3 cups of warm chicken stock. It may take a bit of rinsing to get all the yellow colour out of the mortar.

    When the sofrito has cooked down, add 1 cup of rice straight into the pan. Ideally you would use "bomba" rice, which is meant for paella, but in a pinch risotto rice (i.e. arborio) is easier to find and works pretty well. Stir to mix the rice up with the sofrito. Pour in your three cups of stock; you can stir a tiny bit to make sure the rice is evenly coated across the pan, but once that's done, don't stir the rice, or you risk ruining the texture. Add the chicken thighs back on top of the rice, with the cooked side facing up. Layer on some roasted red peppers in between the chicken thighs (if desired). At this point, the heat needs to be high enough to let the liquid simmer. It should take 30-40 minutes for the rice to cook. To test if it's cooked, dig down a bit into the rice (the top layer will always be a bit under-cooked) and sample it; the rice should be cooked through but still have a bit of resistance. Once finished, take off the heat and let the rice sit for a few minutes, then serve.

    For bonus points, you can use rabbit instead of chicken, or add some seafood (i.e. shrimp, calamari, etc.), and even some lemon wedges.

    Like I said, I know that this is not exactly a "smoking" recipe, but there is just something about a paella made over an actual fire that simply can't be replaced. This recipe is ideally made on a hot summer afternoon. I usually make it on a 30 cm paella pan; if you want to get a larger or smaller pan, just be sure you keep a 3:1 ratio of liquid to rice, and increase or reduce the other ingredients proportionately. It's classy, it's delicious, and it's fun to experiment with. Be prepared to add extra charcoal to the fire throughout the process to keep the heat up.
     

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  4. Revengeofthenerds

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    Re: The Cooking Thread

    Oh, and tips on cutting/lighting wood are appreciated too.

    Right now just in what I use for my fireplace, I'm sitting on about half a cord of oak (mixture of live oak and white oak) which I cut into 1-ft pieces then chopped. In preparation for the smoker I've saved and separated all the small pieces that invariably fly off when the maul grazes or even the wood simply splits. I've also saved the live oak bark that sometimes splits off, though I'm not sure how well that will smoke.

    The idea is to use a *tiny* amount of lighter fluid to get the scraps going, then toss on the smaller pieces of wood, then bigger. Is there a better way? I'm not sure how I feel about using cardboard to light, and I don't get the newspaper anymore (who does?).

    Also, I've always been taught to "season" the smoke when you're cooking by putting directly on the logs food scraps like the outer layers from onions you were otherwise gonna throw away, the tops of jalapenos you cut off, bell pepper innards from cleaning, etc. While this has worked well for me in the past, it has always been on a camp fire type setup.... Does this hold true for proper smoking?
     
  5. Nettdata

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    FYI, I've spun this off of the cooking thread so we can have a dedicated Meat Smoking thread.

    I'm looking at making one myself next month so am quite interested in smoker designs and recipes.
     
  6. Revengeofthenerds

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    While I started asking questions about smokers mainly because I was interested in the "low and slow," 6+ hrs and a 12 pack kinda thing, I'm not a complete novice and do have some experience basically using my propane grill as a "smoker." My favorite recipe for wood-grilled pork chops using cedar planks and indirect heat:

    Prep:
    - Dry rub the pork chops - both sides - in your favorite rub, spicy or sweet (works better with spicy, but still good with sweet). Put in the fridge for at least 12 hrs. More the merrier though.
    - Soak cedar plank in 50/50 apple and cranberry juice. Add light rum (to taste; when you think you've added enough, add one more oz.), fresh mint leaves, and cayenne pepper. Soak the plank thoroughly, about half an hour at least on each side.
    - Dollar store spray bottles. These things are god's gift to cooking. Load up one with apple cider vinegar or apple juice (your choice). If things get hot around the edges, hit it with that.

    Cooking:
    - Off-set heat on the grill, whether it be propane or charcoal. (The temp is right when, during grilling, the wood plank smokes slowly.)
    - Put plank on the grill and the chops on the plank. If it ever looks a little hot or dry, spray it with your dollar store bottle
    - Do not over-cook pork chops. The moment you're gut tells you they're done, they're done. Unless you enjoy the taste of the bottom of boots, take that off about 5 minutes earlier than you think.

    Tips:
    - The thoroughly soaked plank will be what "smokes" the meat, and it will impart those flavors upon it... Like I said, better to go with a spicy rub on the chops to off-set, but to each their own (my wife likes the sweet shit with brown sugar).
    - The apple cider vinegar/apple juice spray is just there because I've always used it and it has worked well. You know what also works well? Having a bowl of water, dipping your hand into it, and tossing that on the flame-ups.
     
  7. gogators

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    For cutting the wood... I use a mitre saw and a splitting axe to cut pecan or hickory wood down to 4" sticks.

    I use a 55 gallon drum smoker, the wood required isn't nearly as much as an offset smoker.
     
  8. katokoch

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    Anyone smoked cheese before? A local grocery store in my hometown used to sell these smoked cheese sticks and they were ridiculously good.

    Next thing I gotta smoke up is venison sausage. Gotta make that first too, but I've got to figure out how to make a little rack that will fit within my Weber grill. This is how I "smoke" things with that grill.

    [​IMG]

    Two small bricks under the grate will isolate all the heat and coals to one side, and leaves space for a water pan under the meat. I was smoking some pork loin and a breast from a turkey I shot last year (was incredible).

    [​IMG]

    I like to use cherry wood for a lot of stuff but have a handful of boards and logs of different woods. I also prefer to use natural charcoal when smoking too because it has such a nice flavor (in my opinion).
     
  9. Revengeofthenerds

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    Wow, niche question and good timing for me (I'm also experimenting with this).

    My fire pit has a top that's a kinda chicken wire/cooking surface thing that can rotate 360 degrees. It's great for grilling sausages so that you can do direct heat, off-set, or just turn it into the smoke. The pit is actually what made me want to get a proper smoker. We've recently started trying to smoke our own cheeses, because I don't even wanna calculate the amount of money we spend on that shit each week.

    I haven't learned a lot for a fact, but what I have learned is that when you smoke cheese they need to be as close to room temp as possible. I've also learned that the flavor of the smoke is a lot more pronounced in the cheese, so make sure you use good logs (I learned that the hard way). I've found great success when I add stuff like rosemary, cilantro, olive oil, coffee grinds, beer (porter) baste etc. on top of the cheese while they smoke.

    Though again, this was all done with a fire pit I turned into a smoker based upon the wind. Obviously, results will vary in a more controlled environment.
     
  10. Flat_Rate

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    For cold smoking in a grill or smoker this is the best thing to use, it works excellent for cheese.

    http://www.amazenproducts.com/mobile/Ca ... aspx?id=12

    If you want to do cheese in the summer add a big bowl of ice in your pit somewhere to keep the temps low enough.

    I have two drum smokers and for the money they are the best value and performance. I can put a butt on my pit, go to work and then come back to pulled pork. They are rock solid when it comes to holding temps. Step by step instructions below

    http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showt ... hp?t=43943
     
  11. VanillaGorilla

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    If you're dead-set on a cheap offset cooker, you can make some mods to make it run a little better. First, use high-heat caulking material between the fire box and the smoking chamber. it will help seal the two compartments. Next, put some gasket material between the firebox and the firebox lid as well as the smoking chamber and the smoking chamber lid. Finally, use some more high-heat caulking between the chimney and the smoking chamber. Next, you'll need to baffle the area between the firebox and the smoking chamber. It will help even out the heat and prevent hotspots. Finally, making a coal basket to elevate the coals away from the bottom of the firebox won't hurt either. There are a bunch of thread on BBQ forums about modding inexpensive offset smokers.

    Frankly, the bad of the cheapie offsets outweighs the good. There are better options out there for sure. A 22" Weber dome can make some killer BBQ and has more of a multi-use advantage. A 55 gallon UDS (ugly drum smoker) is the real-deal when it comes to true low and slow cooking and will probably cost less. It will also have more useable space for briskets and such.

    No matter what you select, you're going to need to know what's going on inside of the cooker. A Maverick thermometer- the ET732 or the ET733 is pretty much the go-to for serious cooks. The wireless part is great for being able to walk away from the cooker. BTW- The bi-metal thermometer in my $1200+ Primo Oval is off by 25 degrees or more. My Maverick is my go-to for temp monitoring. One last thing about the Mavericks- the probes are delicate. They can't get wet. The cables can kink. It sucks. There isn't really a better option.

    http://www.amazon.com/Maverick--732-Rem ... hermometer

    Next- Don't use lighter fluid, ever. A piece of paper towel that has a squirt or two of vegetable oil will light briquettes or lump without a problem. The paraffin/sawdust lighter cubes are also great. If you get the lighter sticks, about a 1" piece is all that you'll need.

    While burning sticks exclusively is certainly feasible, it's typically more labor-intensive and inconsistent. The better option is to run lump or briquettes in your offset with hardwood splits or chunks providing smoke. You'll get plenty of smoke with coal and chunks and you aren't going to have to babysit it for the entire cook, as long as the unit is sealed well and airflow can be controlled. For low and slow cooks, check out the Minion Method.

    http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/fireup2.html

    Finally- Smoke. You really want to have thin, blue smoke. You don't want sooty, black smoke, or heavy white smoke. You'll get both at first. Let that burn off and let everything start smoldering before you load her up. This could take an hour or more. Be patient. It will happen.

    For a first cook, you may want to not cook anything at all. Fire it up and see how it runs. Move your thermometer around in the cooking chamber to see what your temps look like. Get an idea on how your coals run (if you buy a cheapo offset, the answer is hot and fast). Once you know you have it reasonably dialed in, give a pork shoulder a try.

    1- Inject the shoulder with apple juice. Use one injection point for several angles to avoid poking holes in your shoulder all over the place. I end up adding a cup or so of apple juice to an 8 lb. shoulder.

    2- Pat the outside dry and let it dry a little more if you have time.

    3- Rub the outside of the shoulder with plain, yellow "ballpark" mustard. This will add a little vinegar flavor to the meat and it will provide a great glue for the rub to adhere.

    4- Rub the shoulder with a rub of your choice. This one is very good. Be generous.

    http://bbq.about.com/od/rubrecipes/r/Memphis-Rub.htm

    5- Wrap the shoulder in plastic wrap and pitch it in the fridge overnight or longer. 24 hours is ideal.

    6- Bring the shoulder out and unwrap it.

    7- Start your fire and bring it up to 225-250.

    8- Rub the shoulder down one last time, insert a meat probe near (but not touching) the bone and place on the grill.

    9- Figure 1.5 hours per lb. or so. An 8 lb. shoulder should take 12 hours. It could be done in 10 and I've had one or two go for 15 hours or more. You're looking for the bone in the shoulder to be wiggly and for the meat to feel almost gelatinous. Temp- wise, you're shooting for 195-205 or so. But again, check for the jiggle.

    10- Wrap the shoulder in heavy aluminum foil and put it in a small cooler. Let it rest for 1-3 hours. It will remain plenty hot and your juices and rendered fat will redistribute.

    There are all sorts of BBQ sauce recipes and everyone has an opinion. Personally, I think great BBQ doesn't need much at all in the way of sauce and a simple Carolina vinegar sauce is an excellent compliment to excellent pulled pork.

    http://bbq.about.com/od/barbecuesaucere ... 40424c.htm

    That should about do it.
     
  12. Kubla Kahn

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    Yeah Ive heard nothing but great things about smoking cheese with those zig zag mesh saw dust holders. I'll be getting one when I get more into smoking in the Spring.
     
  13. Nettdata

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    Didn't want to lose this post:

     

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  14. CharlesJohnson

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    I did a quick googling for a cold smoker. Looks like all you need is aluminium duct, duct tape, and a galvanized trash can. Plus some metal snips. Redneck engineering at its finest. Is there a reason these would not work? $20 and a little elbow grease.

    http://www.mamaliga.com/bbq/started-smoking-meat

    http://harmonioushomestead.com/2013/08/ ... ld-smoker/

    I'm looking to smoke my own salmon and the occasional cheese. Both those products are ridiculously expensive.
     
  15. VanillaGorilla

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    You'll save $5-$10, which isn't bad and you'll have the satisfaction of doing it yourself. However, $10 isn't a very big troubleshooting fee.

    I haven't cold smoked much at all, but I have read about the dust burners several times over and they seem to work really well.
     
  16. Nettdata

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    The only thing I'd be concerned about is the galvanized metal. I know you can get what is commonly referred to as "metal fume fever" by welding galvanized steel, but that's obviously at much, much higher temperatures than cold smoking.

    Don't know if it is an issue or not, but that would be my only real concern with such a DIY setup.
     
  17. CharlesJohnson

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    The problem with the dust smokers is finding more sawdust. But what a neat contraption.

    And $10 is a lot every time I want a damn bagel. Which is often. I'm already fantasizing about an unlimited supply of salmon and bagels.

    Good point. I'll just use an old charcoal grill hooked up to my smoker flue.

    Then again, bums do trash fires all the time. They seem to be doing just fine.
     
  18. VanillaGorilla

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    I got some positive feedback from several members about my BBQ post, so here's a little more...

    It's easy to make good pork ribs. Making excellent ribs is fucking hard. Because you're not working with all that much meat, the windows between good ribs, bad ribs, and great ribs is very narrow and frequently, there isn't an major outward indicator that tells you when they're good and when they're great. But, they're fun to cook, don't take too long, and generally your dinner guests aren't going to know when you've made the best ever or just okay ribs. I'm on an amateur BBQ team that is part of the Memphis Barbecue Network (MBN) and we have managed to scratch out a trophy a time or two in the rib category. In the MBN, ribs are always loin back ribs (baby backs). Which brings us to the two types of ribs that you're likely going to encounter- Spare Ribs (St. Louis Spares) and Loin Back Ribs (bably back ribs).

    St. Louis Spares come from the center section of the pig's ribs. They are trimmed down to a rectangle of consistently-sized ribs. They're meatier, but they can be a little tougher. In any event, they're typically easier to cook because you're working with a bigger portion of meat. Some stores have SL spares already cut down. If they aren't, it's easy enough to do it yourself and the trimmings are great for beans and such.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=MmJmbyaI6qA

    Loin Back Ribs or baby back ribs ride on top of the SL rib section. They're smaller, less meaty, and the bones have a bigger curve to them. They take less time to cook. They are definitely more tender.

    For either SL Spares or Baby Backs, select racks that have even and consistent marbling, straighter bones, and consistent size. You don't wan the ribs to be thick on one end, and trimmed down to paper thin on the other. You want long rectangles of meat and bone if you can find them. If at all possible, avoid buying enhanced ribs. Enhanced ribs are pre-brined in a saltwater solution and can frequently taste more like ham than ribs when they're done.

    For either type, make sure to trim any big chunks of fat and remove the membrane on the back of the ribs.

    Here's how I cook ribs at home and more or less how we cook ribs in competition, omitting a few things here and there. I'll try and adjust time for baby backs vs spares. Assume that we're cooking at 225-235 the whole time. We tend to smoke for a few hours, then wrap the ribs in foil, then unwrap them for the final leg of their cook. For spares, this method is commonly called the 3-2-1 method because the ribs spend around three hours in smoke, two hours wrapped in foil, and one hour out of the foil. BBs will take less time and 2-2-1 is pretty close to accurate. If you're running a hotter cooker- 250-300, cook times drop dramatically.

    Tools-
    Ribs
    Yellow Mustard
    Apple Juice
    Squeeze butter
    Brown Sugar
    Heavy foil

    Once your ribs are trimmed and prepped, rub them down with yellow mustard and the rub of your choice. At home and in competition, I lean towards a sweeter rub than what I normally use on butts. Make sure to sprinkle the rub and pat it on. Avoid rubbing it all around like sandpaper. Wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and allow them to rest overnight to 24 hours if possible.

    Take the ribs out of the fridge when you're prepping the grill.

    For smoke, use a milder wood- oak, cherry, and apple are at the top of my list. Pecan is good, too. You want to go very light on mesquite or hickory. It's just too much for ribs because they're going to suck up a lot of smoke in the first couple of hours of cooking.

    When your smoker is settled in, put the ribs on the grill, shut the lid and walk away for two hours on BBs and three hours on spares. This is when your ribs are going to absorb most of the smokiness of BBQ, so keep the damn lid shut!

    After 2-3 hours, check the ribs. By now, they should be a nice red color, but not anywhere near done. If you were to poke them with a toothpick, you'd get strong resistance, like poking a steak.

    I pull the ribs and wrap them in heavy foil. Here's where competition ribs and home ribs part ways.

    Home ribs- Put down a large sheet of aluminum foil as your work area. Put a tablespoon or two of Parkay squeeze butter on both sides of the ribs and begin wrapping them, keeping one long side open. Pour about 1/4 cup of apple juice into the packet and wrap everything up tight. Repeat for each rack.

    Comp ribs- Same as above, but sprinkle both sides of the racks liberally with brown sugar and squeeze butter. Don't be scared to add different fruit juice either. Many of the mexican nectars work pretty well. Peach, mango, papaya, etc. are all good choices. Use about 1/4 cup.

    Once all of your racks are wrapped up, put them back in the smoker for about an hour. After an hour, check the done-ness of the ribs. Poke the racks in the thickest part with a toothpick. By now, the connective tissue should be softening up and when poked, it should feel like you're poking chilled butter. Additionally, the meat should be pulling away from the ends of the bone. What you don't want is the feeling that the ribs have softened like room temperature butter. Your guests will probably like it, but frankly, they're going to be a little over cooked. STL spares will probably need another 30 minutes to an hour of wrapped cooking. BBs will be close to done with this leg.

    Once the ribs have sufficiently cooked, unwrap them and put them back on the smoke. At this point, it might not hurt to bring your temp up a little bit. Give them a minute to dry and start slathering on your favorite BBQ sauce. Typically, two to four bastings is all that you're going to need. I haven't tried this sauce yet, but it looks like a good mix of pretty much everything great BBQ is supposed to be. I'll probably sub out ketchup for pureed tomatoes, or do half and half or something. Now is also a time to add some heat (spice) if you're so inclined.

    http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011 ... sauce.html

    I won't say much about finishing comp ribs, but we use a rib glaze. There are several companies that provide pre-made glazes.

    Finally, if you have the space, room, and inclination, bring your cooker on up in temp and put a little char on the ribs. A LITTLE CHAR. Sugar burns quickly and tastes gross when it's burnt, so you can practically wave them over a hot fire and get some charred and crispy bits. I have had a smoker and a charcoal grill going at once during some cooks at home and put the done ribs on the grill for a minute to finish them up.

    Let them rest for a minute or two and dig in.
     
  19. Revengeofthenerds

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    After doing the seasoning/testing her out thing, El Cheapo (as I have affectionately named her) is shockingly easy to regulate as far as temps go. Small grill area which, right now, is perfect for the wife, son and I. Combined with it leaking like a sieve and me burning a combination of live oak and white oak, and I was able to take her from 200 degrees, max out the thermometer at 450, then back down to below 150, in under 15 minutes without lifting the lid. She holds real easy between 250-300 which seems like the ideal temp.

    Test grill with some sausages tonight. We have hamburger helper on standby.
     
  20. archer

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    Great timing for this thread!

    I recently got a smoker and have been toying around with it, ive made a pulled lamb which turned out OK but not great.

    All i seem to be able to get here in Australia for smoking are wood chips and while i soaked them for a few hours prior to use they seemed to burn off really quickly.

    I was placing them direct on the coals though, should they be in a pan or something to stop them catching alight so quickly?