OT: Smoking Meats (Donate Your Knowledge)

I know this has been a topic over the years, but bringing it back once again. Mostly because I always like learning from a lot of people on here that like smoking meats. Also it's 90+ degrees right now at 11PM on an overnight smoke, and trying to stay occupied while getting the temperature locked in just right so I can watch John Wick and fall asleep for a few hours before checking it again out of paranoia.

Some structure to this. Every smoke is different, so this should just be your ideal smoke.

  • What's your meats
  • Smoker
  • Size
  • Temp
  • Time
  • Rub (injection)
  • Leave fat or trim, cap up or down if it's something like butts, etc.
  • Chips
  • Wrap
  • Misc. spray bottle / mop, drip tray water or additions, anything else you want to throw in there

Here's mine:

  • Pork butt has always been my go to, such a long smoke, but I relish in the pain once it's done
  • Green Egg handed down from my mom, incredibly grateful, but would sleep better or any with a pellet. Temperature holds well, but 10 degree internal change in the middle of summer or cold of winter can shift the smoke by hours. My last two smokes were randomly on the coldest and hottest days of record for the year. Not fun
  • I try to only do it for special occasions, so ends up being about 15lbs, generally two 7.5lbs meats from any butcher in this area
  • I go low, try to keep it at 225 to 250, letting it drop below 225 makes it a stressful next day
  • I'm likely just an idiot, but my smokes end up taking about 2-2.5 hours per pound, have found myself in quite a bind when having company so have started earlier to avoid the stress
  • I do use yellow mustard, mostly because I think the flavor cooks off and it serves as a great way to get your rub to stick. I've spent hours going through good recipes for scratch rub, and settled on traditional seasoned salt, brown sugar, granulated sugar, paprika, garlic powder, pepper, dry mustard, cumin, and ginger. About standard, though I have mixed up the amounts based on taste. Didn't have time today and grabbed a local spice shop rub for tonight, ingredients no surprise were mostly the same, but will report back. I've injected once before, couldn't tell the difference.
  • I leave the fat and put the cap up
  • I like wood chips, and try to find the apple type (I'm heavy on apple in general)
  • Only wrap if I finish early and take the meat off, or top foil over the meat if I am running way behind. I have no experience at all with doing this or doing it well
  • I do spray after having a decent bark with a traditional 1/3rd of water / cider / apple juice. I've always had issues with my drip tray, try to keep a little bit of water in it, but had it overflow a few times toward the 2/3rd mark of a long smoke, end up having to empty it out a bit. Would be awesome to hear suggestions on that

In any case, would be great to hear thoughts.

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Comments

  • I do them all. Pork butt and brisket are most common. I do turkey legs and chicken regularly for the Lot 18 tailgates. I also do whole turkeys, fish, wings, bacon, sausage, and I currently have 9.5 pounds of Canadian bacon curing in the fridge to be smoked Wednesday evening. Not meat but baked beans and smoked salsa are common too.
  • Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 in. I have learned how to control my air flow with the vents so I can get the temp steady for hours without any problem. Last weekend I did an over night cook of 3 pork butts and the temp was steady for over 7 hours.
  • I can do up to 40 lbs of pork butt at a time (four 10 lb butts). I did that for my wife's parent's church last year. I also do something my friends and I call Smokerday where I smoke all of the meats. For one away game a year, I will smoke a pork butt, brisket, chicken, turkey legs, pork ribs and baked beans and we will eat until we get the meat sweats.
  • Temp depends on what I am cooking. Pork butts, brisket, and ribs get 225 to 250. Poultry gets 300 to 350 to keep the skin from getting rubbery. There isn't any connective tissue to break down with poultry so low and slow does you no good.
  • Rubs also depend on the cook. Pork butts and ribs and chicken get a Memphis style dry rub that I found on amazingribs.com (incredible website). Brisket get course ground black pepper and kosher salt rub, half and half. Whole turkeys get a kosher salt, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, and a creole butter injection. That I the only one I inject.
  • For pork butts I usually leave the fat cap on unless it is something excessive. It goes fat cap down in my WSM since the heat comes from the bottom. Brisket gets the fat cap trimmed until it is roughly 1/4 in and fat cap up because it fits better on my smoker that way.
  • I never bother with chips. They burn up way too fast. I only do chunks. Luckly my parents live in the woods of southwest Virginia so I have a nearly unlimited supply. My dad cut the wood into fist size chunks and I add them one a time as need to the charcoal to keep a thin, blue smoke. I currently have 6 different types of wood stacked at my house: oak, hickory, cherry, apple, sugar maple, and beech. Each one gives a different taste to the food and depending on what flavor I am trying to give to the food determines which wood I will use. Oak and cherry are my go tos.
  • I never wrap. I like bark on my meat and I think the only way to get a proper bark is to not wrap.
  • I don't mop or spray. I tried a BBQ chicken recipe recently that included a mop sauce but in general I subscribe to the saying "If you are looking, you aren't cooking." Opening the cover is the quickest way to mess with your temperature control. Most charcoal smokers do temp control through air flow and every time you open, you cause the temp to drop then flare up. If you are having temp control issues, try reducing or eliminating how many times you look.

Lot to think about here, thanks for the response!

@hokie_rd

For your temp issues with the green egg, I highly recommend the BBQ guru PartyQ/DigiQ/CyberQ. These attach a fan to where the air flows in, uses a thermometer on the grate and controls airflow to increase/l, lower or maintain the temperature. It makes the longer smokes on a ceramic grill much easier.

Been thinking about getting one of these, nice to hear they work well. Woke up this morning after 5 hours of sleep and temperature dropped to 195, and had it steady for hours before going to sleep.

@hokie_rd

Yup they work great. Just make sure the charcoal is lit well and you have enough fuel for the entire smoke.

Have you ever tried wrapping the brisket with butcher paper? I think you'd like it. Usually the bark is set and good to go by the time to wrap. And I agree with you if you wrap in foil, it does seem to affect the bark. But with the butcher paper I find I get the best of both worlds - a great bark with a nice moist inside. I usually wait a little bit to wrap it if the bark isn't set yet. Most of the time this is around 165 but I feel like every single brisket I cook has a different personality. Anyway, if you haven't tried the butcher paper before just a suggestion.

If anyone hasn't watched yet, the two Aaron Franklin episodes on Netflix's The Chef Show are awesome. He talks about how he trims, seasons, cooks, wraps and cuts his brisket.

After those episodes watch the rest because the show is awesome. It's just Jon Favreau and his tutor for the movie Chef just kind of hanging out cooking for themselves and for restaurants. There's really no production and they even said they started this by just hanging out and decided to film whatever they were doing.

Aaron Franklin also has a really great online cooking class deal. I haven't done it yet but plan to. I have had a couple of friends do it and said it was great.

Aaron Franklin Master Class

I've seen those adds everywhere on my phone. He does still have some videos on YouTube still that show you hoe to smoke.

Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 in. I have learned how to control my air flow with the vents so I can get the temp steady for hours without any problem.

Could you please share some details on your method to keep temps steady?

I bought a WSM 18.5" a few months ago. I've had good results so far (limited sample size), but I find myself adjusting the bottom vents a tiny bit every 45-60 minutes or so. But then, inexplicably, the temperature settles in at 225-230 and I don't have to make any adjustments for 2-3 hours. I don't have enough experience to know what's causing the fluctuations / lack of fluctuations. (Except when it's really obvious, like on my first smoke when I overreacted to a slight drop in temp and, like a moron, added like 15 hot briquettes and then skyrocketed the temp to 315. I know what caused that fluctuation: user error. The pork butt was forgiving though.) I've been keeping all 3 bottom vents around 25% to 33% open. When I need to adjust the temp, I'll just open or close one of the vents by about a millimeter at a time.

I recently read about a method where, when you get into your desired temp range, you open one of the bottom vents all the way and close the other two all the way. The top vent stays 100% open the whole time. Apparently this is good for keeping temps steady. I can see how it would be beneficial to take the human element out of the equation because I'd keep my increasingly intoxicated hands off the smoker and let it do its job.

Can anybody vouch for this? I'm bringing my WSM to the Rappahannock next Thursday for a long weekend. Smoking a couple butts on Friday. I'm thinking about trying this method out, because I want to be able to spend some time relaxing by the water and not have to walk up to the house every half hour.

That is actually pretty close to how I run my WSM. I start it by loading it up with how much charcoal I need and then lighting 15-20 briquettes in a charcoal chimney. Then I dump the coals evenly across the whole surface of the unlit charcoal. I have an old pair of tongs that I use to move them around until they are completely spread out. Online this is called the Minion method after the guy who first started using the WSM in BBQ competitions.

I then go prep the meat and let the temp stabilize for 30 minutes or so. I find that helps get past the bad charcoal smoke stage. I also only use regular old Kingsford blue bag charcoal. I have heard that people who use lump in the WSM will get temp spikes because the charcoal chunks are uneven size and therefore burn uneven.

Also, do NOT rely on that temp gauge on the lid of the WSM. It is often HORRIBLY inaccurate. That thing gets thrown off by the sun and any other heat source. Get a good digital probe and a clip and put it on your cooking grate to get the real temp. You can also put water in the pan to help with temp control. I stopped doing it because it just increased the mess in my opinion and I found I didn't need it any more.

Another thing I have realized with the WSM is that there is a 20 minute or so lag after you adjust the vents before you start to see the temp change. If you are adjusting the temp that often, you are probably fighting yourself on getting the temp steady. I always keep the top vent should always be 100% open of the time. I only adjust the bottom vents during the cook. When I did my last pork butt cook, it was so hot I only had 1 vent open 2/3 of the way and that was it the entire time. It was so hot last weekend that it was all I could do to keep the temps down.

Could you please share some details on your method to keep temps steady?

They're not cheap but I swear by my DigiQ. I got it as a gift years ago and use it whenever I need to cook for more than an hour. Once you get the hang of it, it's set-and-forget.

I don't know if there are other options on the market, nor do I know how well these work across different smokers (I use it exclusively on a BGE), but as far as I'm concerned, if you're doing butts, brisket, or even ribs, it's a must-have accessory unless you LIKE fiddling with your vents every 30-45min.

"Those who jump into the void owe no explanation to those who stand and watch."
--unknown

I believe it works for all ceramic egg style grills and the WSM. You just have to make sure you order it for your specific grill because some require certain attachment and closure pieces.

The longer you have your WSM, the easier it will become to regulate the temp. Summer smokes are different than winter smokes. More fuel and air flow in the winter. I always keep my top vent 100% open. Just adjust the bottom vents. There is a 15 or 20 minute delay in temp changes once you adjust those vents....takes a bit for the smoker to reach a balance.
Try adjusting how you place your coals. I fill my smoker....but then remove coals from the very center, making a hole about the size of a quart of paint. None of these coals are hot. Then I fire up my chimney coal heater...but you don't need many hot coals, just enought to fill your hole in the smoker. I don't even super pre-heat those coals....just enough to get a little fire coming from your chimney - you use a chimney starter I assume.
Then you pour those hot coals into your hole. By doing this, you'll get a nice slow burn - working slowly from the center outwards. Of course, put a few nice big chunks of wood on top of those coals to get a nice smoke.
I bring my smoker up to 250 or 300...maybe even higher, then I dial it back by adjusting the bottom vents. Sometimes I'll burn the hell out of the inside getting internal temp a little higher if it's been a while since I've run a smoke and I've got a little funky funk inside my smoker....you may know what I'm talking about!!
Once my smoker gets back to 250 or so....It's time to add the meat. I'll adjust those bottom vents maybe two or three more times over the course of the next hour....just to get the temp perfect. If it's a hot summer day...I may have one 100% closed and the other two open just about as wide as the width of a hummingbird's beek. Sometimes it doesn't take much air at all. In the winter...I may have all vents open 20%. Nothing is ever open 100% unless my burn dipped below 180 becuase I'm running out of fuel (this sometimes happens at 7 am when I'm doing an overnight smoke). In that case....I just throw some more coal in there and open things up...then dial it back down after making a pot of coffee.
As you keep using your WSM you'll get a nice seasoned build up of goop around your joints (lid and sections). This'll keep your unit air tight with the exceptions of your vents. Once you've got the goop...you've become good friends with your smoker, and it's air tight. Temp regulating just gets easier.
Someone always buys me some kind of wi-fi temp thing for my smoker...like every other holiday. I used one like 7 years ago....but now when I get them, I just give them to someone else. Once you're friends with your smoker you don't need an ap on your phone to know what's going on in your backyard. All you need is a decent thermometer to poke into that rubber gasket and just leave in there during your cook. My temp guage on top broke two years ago!
I put my pork shoulder(s) on around 9 pm. Get my temp steady...then go to bed at 10:30 or 11. If I remember...I'll add a few more chunks of wood just before I go to bed. I wake up at 5 am to check my smoke but I already know my tem will be a little below 225 because I'm starting to run low on fuel. I add some more coal and couple chunks of wood, open up my vents, make a pot of coffee, go back outside and dial my vents back down, then find something else to do until my meat is done later in the morning. Or...go back to bed. If I oversleed and wake up at 7:30...it's fine. I'll find my smoker at 150...I just bring it back up.
You can't mess up BBQ!! That's the best part of the smoke project!

JP

My advice, use two different smokers.

I start mine in an electric smoker with a meat probe and use wood chips. Then finish in a traditional charcoal smoker with charcoal and wood chips.

Starting with the electric smoker allows you to leave it with no worries, I do it overnight or while I'm knocking out yard work all day. You set the temp without opening the smoker and messing up the smoke process. Also with an electric I can catch a lot of good juices in the drip pan which I like to use for my basting/bbq sauce base. Really really good for a steeping sauce for chopped brisket.

The last 1-2 hours put it on the charcoal smoker to finish with a nice bark.

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

What's your meats
Mainly brisket, ribs, turkey tenderloins, turkey legs.
Smoker
ASF 24 x 20 Pit with Oven
ASF pit
I also have an ASF Sitloing pellet grill. I put a link above since these are mainly a Texas brand.
Size - it just all depends.
Temp - I'm a firm believer of 202 for the brisket to be pulled off at - I have had success with both 225 and 250. My wife is a longhorn grad and they too have a tradition of turkey legs at games. I find that the best temp for them is 275.
Time - depends
Rub (injection) - Our grocery store H-E-B sells a variety of meat/cut specific rubs. I've also got a couple of local places that make their own too.
Chips - I live just north of San Antonio but we lease a ranch down in South Texas. In the TX hill country where I live the predominant wood is live oak and it makes a fine smoke for just about anything, especially brisket. If I can grab some sweeter wood - apple or cherry I prefer that for turkey. It's easy to find those in pellet blends. The best place to find a good variety of harder to find woods is usually Academy. It costs ya but it's nice to throw in and mix with the piles of oak I have.
The ranch is a different story. I haul oak down there along with some other variety to store. The only wood there pretty much is mesquite. I can just drive around in the truck and fill the bed. Mesquite is overpowering as a smoke. It is nice to have a little for South Texas flavor but you need to use it sparingly or it's all you will taste. With things like chicken which are higher heat, shorter time it is better. I try to mix it in with the oak I bring down so the smoke on the longer taking meats isn't so dominated by that thick and dominant mesquite smoke.
Wrap - I didn't start making decent briskets consistently until I started using the Texas Crutch method. Then, when I replaced the foil wrap with butcher paper I broke through. It is amazing how much more moist and better your brisket is with butcher paper. It keeps it from drying out during that stall that you hit about halfway through. If you don't have it in your stores just order it online.

I've got a side firebox smoker that's close to 20 years old.

I stopped doing mops, like mentioned above, it's impossible to control temp that way.

I try for chunk but use what I can get.

Don't over look a long and slow chuck roast in a moist smoker.

My drip pan is usually part of my sauce.

Pork but is common, also, ham when I'm in the mood.
I do brisket point for burnt ends.

Smoked chicken wings. Cook them through then you can let them cool.
Later, sauce them and cook them on very high heat to reward and crisp them.

If you have too many onions, smoke them and then wrap and roast them to a light carmelization. Freeze it for crock pot roasts in the winter for sweet and smoke or use it in sauces or really cook them down and spread on rolls for sandwiches.

Also, roast garlic, it's excellent. People overlook the veggies. Even if you don't eat them as part of your event, freeze them for cooking with later.

This is going to be great for the ACC.

Electric smoker is the way to go if you're learning it out since they're just a smoking oven and you can just leave it worry free.
My favorite starter recipe is the 3-2-1 ribs recipes they work great and the smoker does wonders to tenderize the meat and then you cook the ribs in a beer for two hours then sauce em up for the last hour and they taste amazing.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

UVA is a great place to take a dump.

Everything you need to know is in this here video.

Link

If someone wants to embed the video that would be swell

Here lies It's a Stroman Jersey I Swear, surpassed in life by no one because he intercepted it.

Always wanted to get into smoking meats, but never took the plunge. What's your advice to get started? Good starter smoker, wood chips, meats to start with, etc?

Twitter me

The easiest way to get in, in my opinion, is just getting a Weber kettle grill. I have smoked ribs, chicken, bacon, Canadian bacon, salsa, baked beans, and wings on mine. They are only $150 and of course you can grill on it too! To smoke on mine I used the snake method. I line the briquettes 2x2 along the edge (2 on the bottom and 2 on top) . Then I light about 10 briquettes in a chimney and dump them on one end of the snake and it will burn low and slow until the snake burns out. If you loop it most of the way around the kettle, it will burn for about 6 hours no problem. I have the kettle with the ash catcher on the bottom with the adjustable air flow. If you want to do a longer cook, you will have to add to the snake. But if you have the grate with the flaps, it isn't that hard to add charcoal. It is just a bit annoying but I know people who have done pork butts and briskets successfully this way.

Right on with the kettle grill suggestion. Best thing is that you can grill and BBQ - Grill burgers like everyone know how....or BBQ like it says above. Great way to smoke smaller pieces of meat like chicken fisha and ribs. You can do a shoulder in the kettle too....you'll just have to check and add fuel more often than in a big smoker.

JP

I started with a inexpensive water smoker from Home Depot in college we referred to as R2 - probably ran $75. To this day my friends and I refer to upright water smokers as R2 units. You can cook quite a bit on those and make really good BBQ without worrying about it drying out because of the water pan. It will give you some experience working with coals and trying all sorts of things (butts, ribs, beer can chicken, etc.). I had a lot of fun getting my feet wet making BBQ drinking beers with R2. A couple years later I graduated to an offset stick burner - which was a huge pain in the ass to learn to use correctly. Glad I made the jump - I learned a ton. Finally after having 4 kids, much less free time and a significantly higher bank account I purchased a Memphis grills elite (pellet grill) for my outdoor kitchen. The thing is awesome. I sometimes miss the "art" of the old school smokers, but it is much more practical for me.

So I suggest you drive down to Lowe's or Home Depot grab a water smoker, a chimney, hardwood briquettes, and some wood chunks. Swing by the bookstore and get an intro to BBQ and give it a shot.

Well, today I have:
Four large racks of elk ribs, a pork backbone and ribs with Memphis dust, and a beef rump roast with pastrami rub going.
Pit boss pro pellet grill with pecan pellets at around 200. For some to-be-determined time.
On another propane smoker we have some deer and wild hog summer sausages smoking.

All this done in a very unscientific manner.

And how many people are you feeding? Because all of that sounds amazing.

2

This is going to be great for the ACC.

Any leftovers? I'll be by around 2.

I got a rotisserie attachment for the egg. So far only used it for thin sliced pork, marinated in mole, spitted with with pineapple, smoked over applewood chips, at 225 for several hours, for tacos. Any other good ideas?

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Well chicken & turkey are pretty obvious here, as is a prime rib roast. Higher heat of course. And take that same recipe you've done, subtract mole, use al pastor (achiote) marinade instead.

Example here: All Things BBQ - YouTube

Not smoking meat, but have recently gotten into smoking vegetables and grilling fruit. Peppers and summer squash work well, Brazilian pineapple and fresh peaches are a hit. Any tips?

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Grill asparagus and okra. Cover with some olive oil. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Cook until limp.

Any tips?

Try smoking meat ;)

"It's always great to beat UVA, that makes us all smarter and better looking for a couple days".

HokieEnginerd makes amazing smoked salsa. Cut Roma tomatoes, 1 purple onion, 1 poblano, 1 jalepeno, 1 serrano in half. Put on the grill and smoke with fruit wood until the veggies are soft. Throw veggies in food processor with cumin, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper.

2 time Longwood grad married to a Hokie.

I smoke the veggies for about an hour and a half for this. So not too soft. Mostly until everything has a soft brown color to it and I use cherry wood for this.

I swear by the Pit Barrel Cooker. I absolutely love it and the customer service is tremendous. The guy who sells them stamps his cell phone number in the side of the grill in case you have questions during a cook. Made in the USA out of an oil drum and horseshoes.

@hokietailgate

I really like my Pit Barrel Cooker as well. Got it mostly for smoking pork shoulder but have been amazed at the results I get with a whole chicken. I've thrown in some apple wood a few times, but the flavor just cooking over charcoal is pretty amazing.

What's your process for pork shoulder? Do you take it off at the stall and wrap it like he recommends in the video? I like taking it off the hooks and leaving it on the grate to finish but without wrapping it to get a crisper bark, but usually need to add charcoal at that point. I'm insecure also about it only taking 60-75 min per pound, but the results are still delicious.

Any tips for brisket from your experience?

Class of '02. GO HOKIES!

It's funny - I do exactly what you do. I transfer to the grate without wrapping and I add charcoal. My go to cook is ribs on the Pit Barrel, and I love that I can do many more racks than on the Green Egg.

@hokietailgate

Brisket on the PBC is amazing - just did two 4.5 lb flats this past Thursday for a church potluck event.

I trim the cap to about 1/4 inch, and rub generously with morton's salt and coarse ground black pepper the night before, and wrap tightly with saran wrap. bring up to room temp while you're getting your coals set. I like a combination of cherry and pecan for the wood. Oak works great. This most recent time, i used a bunch of cherry chips and a chunk of mesquite.

the PBC cooks it pretty quickly - you'll wanna keep the temp in the 280-290 range. Much lower than that and it'll take a while and I've found that it's a pain to try to get the PBC regulated in the 225-250 range like everyone suggests.

If only one flat, i just put it on the grate cap-up and jet it go. For multiple flats, i've found that it's better to do the double-meathooks method and hang.

If you're at 280-290, the internal temp will stall out around 165-170, some people will pull and wrap in foil, but i think that ruins the bark. If you have to, use pink butcher paper like someone mentioned above. I've done this and it's not bad, but i generally plan to wait out the stall -- with smaller flats (< 5 lb, like you'd find in a standard grocery store) the stall will be under an hour before it starts climbing again.

You'll see people swear by final internal temperatures anywhere from 190-205 F. I aim for 195 ish. Pull from the smoker, wrap in pink butcher paper and then in an old towel and put it in a cooler for at least an hour, then slice against the grain.

Time from uncovering the PBC to wrapping the done meat to rest is about 4-5 hours, but will depend on size of cut, etc.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

I'll share a secret recipe of my own for an amazing rib glaze:

2 Sweet onions halved vertically
5-6 bulbs peeled garlic cloves (depending how much garlic you like)

Put in grill pan or something with holes on the bottom. Drizzle of olive oil and pinch of cracked black pepper

Applewood chunks - full smoke
Smoke at 200* for 50-60 min. You will know as they will get a beautiful golden color all the way around

When done, put in a non reactive container and submerge fully in apple cider vinegar in the fridge overnight

Blend all ingredients in sauce pot, add 1.5 cups brown sugar. Medium heat, stir till sugar dissolves and reduces to glaze consistency

Apply at your pleasure

Has anyone used a smoker box on a propane grill? I don't have room for a smoker in the place I currently live but just got a smoker box for the grill

You can smoke in that propane grill!! Easy. I used to use an aluminum pie pan...poke a few holes in bottom and put the pie pan directly over your burners (under the grill). Just run one burner on the far left of right, and put your meat on the opposite side. Works!! I bet the smoker box your talking about does pretty much the same thing.

JP

I tried it for "cold" smoking and it works decently well. You definitely get a smoke flavor that's much better than liquid smoke.

What you cold smokin? Cheese?

JP

pro tip: cold smoke chicken and then bread and fry it

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

It was a bizarre sous vide pastrami recipe before I had a real smoker. Turned out really good, but it was quite the process.

I use a big green egg, and I swear by it. the consistency, the fact that it burns real wood, the versatility, and the smoke flavor you can get out of it is tremendous once you know what you are doing. I use it primarily as a "smoker" meaning, I don't use it much for hamburgers, pizza, etc. - I do on occasion, but I have a propane weber for such cooks. I firmly believe that smoking meat is just that- you need 4-5 hours to get good smoke flavor penetration, and most meats I cook are large and I cook them slow. Pork shoulder, Brisket, Whole chicken, Turkey breats, Ribs are primarily what I smoke. Preparation, rubs, brines are very important for good tasting meat- which should be the goal. You need to learn how to trim and prepare meat properly when cooking it for 8-10-12 hours potentially. I use a basic bbq rub for pork and chicken. Slightly different for ribs, and for a brisket- salt and pepper only. I am a huge proponent of texas style brisket- salt pepper, good bark, good smoke flavor, cook until you can probe a toothpick effortlessly- then its done. the only reason I would not use a BGE is do do a whole hog- the holy grail of BBQ- which I plan to do next spring on a cinder block Pit I build myself in my yard. If you can cook a whole hog properly and use all of the typical cuts, you can smoke BBQ- period. I'm also typically a "low and slow" guy. I cook brisket and shoulder around 225 grate temp. Ribs around 275.. Chicken/turkey a little hotter so the skin is edible. There is no true right/wrong way to smoke meat if your stuff tastes good. I've had my share of shitty "321 ribs" -trust me. I've also had competition brisket cooked at 375 degrees that was delicious. Fire the smoker up, pop a beer and cook good meat! That's what is all about.

There is no true right/wrong way to smoke meat if your stuff tastes good.

I have never agreed more with anything you've ever said. The process informs the product, but you can arrive at a great product with wildly different processes. I spent way too much time trying to dial in a long smoke at low temp on the PBC and turns out you just don't need it for some things.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

I'm going to buy a PBC one day. Hokietrax in this thread tuned me into those a few years ago. Seems like a very cool toy/smoker. Would love to cook with one and experiment.

The cautionary tale is the PBC is "set it and forget it"...after BGE-ing for so long you could go berzerk watching temps fluctuate. Folks who want to dial in temps seem to like the BBQ Guru & things that control airflow. I *do* like the idea of hovering around 275 for most things.

I have a 20" WSM (or whatever the middle size is). I use Royal lump charcoal typically and "flavor" with apple or some other chunk wood depending on what I am smoking.

I am primarily a pork shoulder/butt and pork rib guy. I also have done beef short ribs (the kind that are 1.5" - 2" thick, not "baby back"). These are what I like to call a "poor man's brisket". My next smoke will be my first flat brisket (about 4.5 lbs).

I tend to inject my pork butts with apple juice and rub with a commercial rub. I did make my own version of Memphis Dust from a recipe on the internet but I found it didn't have a lot of flavor and was overly sweet. Otherwise, I use a pre-made rub (Billy Bones) for pork and the local butcher shop's signature Beef rub for my beef ribs.

I typically smoke between 215 and 250, although temp control on my smoker sometimes leaves something to be desired. I typically run all 3 of my lower vents half open and then try to control temp with the top vent. I will try the other recommendations up thread for my next smoke. I did recently purchase a 4 channel wifi thermometer (one smoke probe, 3 meat probes) from Thermoworks.

My smokes tend to take *all* day, usually with meat going on at 6am or earlier and getting pulled off around 10pm, sometimes even going into the oven to finish if I don't feel like staying up. I think this is due to not having the meat to room temp when I put it on (and having 8-9 lb shoulders.) I am probably going to go back to 4-5 lb butts to make that a little more bearable. I also don't wrap shoulder to get through the stall which sometimes takes several hours.

For pork ribs I usually do a variation of the 3-2-1 method, although its more like 2-2-1. I add apple juice to the foil when I wrap. Sometimes I finish them on the grill (like 90 seconds meat side down) to firm up the bark. I think the next batch I do will be a straight 5 hour smoke without wrapping to see how that works.

Those ribs are called "plate" ribs. FYI

FYI, cook temp is why your smokes take all day, not the starting temp of the meat. Letting your meat warm to room temp does little to impact cook time, especially for "low and slow" cooks.

Also, in order for a 9lb butt to fully come up to room temp, it would take many hours, which puts the meat in the danger zone for far too long.

  • I smoke pretty much all the meats. Brisket, butts, ribs, chickens, chuckies, bacon, canadian bacon
  • I have a unconventional smoker, but it's essentially a reverse flow horizontal offset from M Grills in Texas. It's a small footprint, but I've smoked a brisket 2 butts and several racks of ribs at the same time with room to spare. It doubles as a santa maria style charcoal grill, which I love.
  • My smoking temp is typically whatever the smoker feels like when adding a split every 45 minutes or so. Unless I'm smoking poultry and want it 300+, I just let the smoker dictate to me where it wants to sit and adjust my plan accordingly. For my smoker, this is typically 250 to 275.
  • I keep my rubs simple. Typically something like memphis dust for pork and poultry. Salt and pepper for beef. I spray if the bark is getting dark and/or dry and I wrap if things are slowing down or the bark is getting too dark even with the spray. For brisket, I like to have a water pan as well to keep things moist in the cooker.
  • Brisket fat cap gets trimmed to 1/8 to 1/4". Pork butt depends on how lazy I am. Sometimes I leave it on full, sometimes I trim to ~1/8". If I leave it on full, I don't bother putting rub (other than salt) on the fat cap since it will just slough off when pulling. Fat cap goes wherever the heat comes from. My smoker is reverse flow, so it's hotter on top and that's where the fat cap goes.
  • I smoke with whatever wood I have around, but try to keep it milder for pork and poultry. Hickory and mesquite are saved for beef. I've been smoking with a lot of mulberry lately, which I really like.

The biggest thing I've learned is that if someone says there's one way to do something, they're probably wrong and shouldn't be listened to. There are tons of ways to arrive at great BBQ.

SMOKING MEATS (DONATE YOUR KNOWLEDGE)

Your mom's got plenty of knowledge

*runs away giggling*

Dad, that you?

@hokie_rd

Grill: Sidebox smoker (I have a Chargriller dual gas and charcoal grill and added a sidebox to the charcoal grill). I always keep a pan of water in smoke chamber to help keep temperature relatively constant and meat moist. At start of smoke session, I put in boiling water to get the temperature up more quickly.

Meats: Turkey every Thanksgiving. Wings all the time (1 hour smoke, so can be done on a spur of the moment). Ribs are relatively simple afternoon while working in lawn. Pork butt on bigger occasions (too much work for a casual occasion with charcoal sidebox, imo).

Temp: 225 for anything not poultry. 250 for poultry. I use temp probes to keep a measure on smoker temp and meat temp.

Keep fat on top. Rubs and sauces dependent on meat and my desire for the day.

For T-day turkey: Select a 12 lb bird. I always make a sage butter rub and put it in between the skin and meat, within the cavity, and also layer it on top. I also cook the turkey breast side down, which ruins its presentation (the bird will have grill-like marks indented) but dramatically increases the taste of the breast meat (as the sage butter soaks in). Alternatively, if you want it to look prettier on the table and willing to sacrifice taste of the breast meat, cook it breast side up (looks nice golden brown with crispy skin). Cook the turkey until it reaches 165 or so, about 30-45 mins per pound. And always cut the breast meat correctly for best taste (cut out the entire side of a breast, then slice against the grain).

Sage butter rub: put lots of sage into food processor, and run processor to make into gritty green paste. Add lots of salted butter, run food processor so it's a softened butter with the sage throughout.

πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ

Ahhh, my favorite hobby outside of CFB season.
Thighs, shoulder, pork ribs, beef ribs, turkey, chicken, bacon, anything besides brisket. I've ruined more $60 briskets than I care to remember, and I don't even really like it that much. Unless it's La BBQ in Austin. That's meat candy right there.
WSM 22.5. Kingsford for consistency.

My rub (as close as I could get to St Louis Super Smokers' version who won a bunch of Memphis in May competitions in the late 90's to mid-2ks) is as follows:
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup kosher coarse salt
1/4cup black pepper
-or-
1/8 cup black pepper
1/8 whatever the hell other kind of pepper you want

It's strictly for pork products. Cross between Memphis and KC style (which geographically makes sense).

Also recommended the chicken thigh recipe in Wicked Good Barbecue book. Involves homemade sauce plus a white bbq rub heavy on the powdered citric acid but holy Shane Beamer is it good. Like, run through a glove on a stick hahaha now I'm at OU good.

Oh yeah, get a ThermPro or something that monitors your meat and ambient air temp. Those thermometers on the grill are useless. Instant read thermometer also very helpful.

Gonna show my old man pants here, but if it ain't wood/charcoal, it ain't smoking. It just isn't. Your neighbors might waive and smile but at least one dude on your block is going to almost imperceptibly shake his head at you if you go electric.

Not funny. Not funny. And now the baby is upset.