I'm getting pic for birthday. I raise animals for meat and the freezers are always full. Don;t know why it's taken me so long to get a smoker.
Problem is, I don't have muc pork shoulder, ribs, or brisket left.
How does a big chuck steak/roast do? Or cross cut beef shanks?
What are the "requirements" for a good meat to smoke? Cuz brisket is hugely different than pork ribs or shoulder....
Bacon is already smoked.
I'll do some short ribs cuz I still have a few, and some brisket and some pork shoulder (I have a few of each).
I'm curious about other meats. Someone mentioned on here that they smoked chuck. I'm curious as to the science of smoking and what cuts take to it the best. I figured fattier cuts wold be good, but I know people do chicken, fish, brisket, etc.
I have lots of chuck and beef shank and want to smoke them.
Excellent, thank you. I always sell my tongue and heart, but this year I'll save some to try.
An on on /b/b said burgers?! Half pound burgers, make sure they're fatty. LOVE the idea. Anyone know about smoking ground meat?
You seem to have the gist of it. Meats with fat take best to it. Almost any cut can be enhanced by it, but you want to be about the thickness of a beef brisket. Any thicker and you risk not getting enough smoke penetration and possibly undercooking the meat. Ideally you want to keep your temperatures below 185f. An exception can be made for tougher meats, as fat will render around 275f and help make the meat more tender and moist. In these cases a slightly thicker cut can be beneficial.
Do some reading on any cut right before you try it. You'll find that there is a lot of broscience theories about smoking, but for the most part, a consensus to keep heat low.
I'm a vegan and also 12 and I've never actually cooked meat let alone seen it being cooked, but smokers are lauded as being a very good way to make meat taste good. Smokers can get hot so you should be careful not to make anything catch fire nearby! As long as the meat isn't rotten and you use a good technique, you should be good, just make sure to practice a lot and watch many videos. I give you my personal assurances that you'll succeed.
Is this sarcasm? I can't quite tell. It often just happens so that when I think people are acting like idiots in order to impress others with their misconception of wit, they turn out to be genuine idiots.
Worse yet, the grasping kind of idiots you may have been trying to portray typically also invite more grounded, normal idiots who merely think they're following the rest of the herd. All we need now is a self-appointed suburban yankee barbeque king to roll over and spread platitudes.
I like you, you offer good advice.
I make a smoked liver pate that has become a requirement at holiday gatherings. It's simply and livers are dirt cheap. I have abundant access to mesquite and have been experimenting with heavily salted whole smoked fish, but have had mixed results and since. It's duck season here and I could have as many as I wanted, but fruit woods are expensive and hard to come by where I live. While I have pecan and mesquite out the ass, pecan imparts really nothing special IMO and mesquite is quite strong and I'm tired of it.
Thanks. Fancy that, I have liver on the pan right now. Beef liver, not calf alas, seared in butter, served with bacon and onion in smetana and honey sauce, tarragon carrots, and grilled mushrooms.
Heart and tongue are similar cuts in that they should be cooked in one of two ways: either quickly and hotly, or slowly and patiently. Smoking goes for the latter, and it is best that the meat is either red in the middle and capable of holding a crisp on the surface, or then stewed to a pulling point altogether.
50 pounds of hot dog? Is this some kind of exotic mode of punishment?
I still do think smoking can help hotdogs. In a limited fashion, at least. I prefer to use mine in traditional Finnish sausage recipes, since they're very similar. Which means very frugal everyday cooking - nakkikastike, or hot dogs in gravy, pictured above for an example.
Not meat but one of my hits at thanksgiving is smoked Mac and cheese. Cook up pasta regularly, then combine in a pan with Gouda, parmasian, cheddar and cream sauce. Smoke that shit for 30 minutes at 250 with hickory chips.
DON'T use the Texas crutch (wrapping in foil) if you're just starting to learn BBQ. It requires perfect technique to get it right.
The goal of smoking is to
A) Impart that smokey flavor
B) Get that delicious crust called the "bark"
C) hit a target temperature where the fats are all rendered and you get gloriously tender meats.
The point of the texas crutch is to avoid something called the stall. This is when the meat goes hours without raising internal temperature. This is because of moisture evaporating causing it to cool, the crutch helps by creating an environment akin to a steamer and preventing the evaporative cooling. It has to be done PERFECTLY though, any gaps for steam to escape defeat the entire point. Although it can shave hours off the cook time, I think it's more trouble than it's worth. I've never gotten good results with it, and it ruins that tasty bark by making it mushy. Also, to answer your question, it doesn't interfere with the smoking process because you can get all the smoke flavor you need within the first 2 or 3 hours, which is before the stall happens. You can wrap after you've got all your smoke, so you're basically just trading a crispier bark for hitting your target temp faster.
I just take it the whole way naked. The crust develops nicely when you let it go through the stall since it's the result of the surface drying into a beautiful jerky-like substance. Done correctly you should get a delicious (almost crispy) crust, and a moist and tender interior. It takes longer, but I just can't argue with the results I've gotten from doing it without the foil.
I'll post more if you like, smoking is a HUGE topic with lots of finer points and controversy, but it's not hard as long as you do your research.
>I'll post more if you like, smoking is a HUGE topic with lots of finer points and controversy, but it's not hard as long as you do your research.
Bring it on!
If you can, tell me the science behind a prime rib on there, compared to a chuck roast, compared to a round roast.
And how about size? Can you smoke one cross cut shank, or do you need the whole shin roast?
If you can name it, you can probably smoke it. I can't say I'm specifically familiar with smoking those cuts, though, and they may require modified techniques.
When it comes to smoking, temperature is king. You never smoke for a particular amount of time, you smoke to a particular temperature. Do yourself a favor and get a digital thermometer. Those bimetallic ones that come stuck onto your rig are complete bogus. I have two probes, one that I stick into the meat, and one that I use to gauge the temp of the smoker itself. It's so much easier this way, it takes away a lot of the guessing.
For your usual BBQ cuts like brisket and pork shoulder, the two oft touted temperatures are 225 and 203. You maintain a smoker temp of 225 until the meat hits 203. Smokers can be pretty temperamental though, and you may find a completely different sweet spot that works for you. For me I find that getting the meat to 203 at somewhere between 250-280 works just fine. It's something of a personal journey that can be different for everyone. Learn your smoker, keep track of what works and what doesn't, you'll eventually find your sweet spot. Every piece of meat is different and it's really only done when it's done, you just have to pay attention to how your smoker behaves and what methods you use so that you can recreate good results.
Now, the cuts you're working with are a bit different since they're not your usual tough BBQ cuts. I honestly can't say what the best way to smoke them would be (since I've never tried), there are certainly recipes out there by people who have tried. You might like trying to smoke them for a bit to get the smoke flavor, then moving them to a different cooking apparatus to finish them in a more conventional manner. It really depends on what kind of results you're looking for. I'm mainly skeptical that low and slow will work for those more tender cuts. Luckily you're in a unique position to experiment since you've got a big supply.
I've got oxtail- Lots of it! I'll try those, too...
Excellent. I've got a thermapen that will work great for the meat. I don't know how the thermometer works in the smoker, but happy to pay more for a good thermometer. I swear by the thermometer...
I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to cooking, so I'll be keeping lots of data. A lot of my customers have smokers, so it will be nice to tell them what has been working for me.
Thanks, and keep the info coming if you feel like sharing more.
The first thing about size is the most obvious: trying to smoke a piece of meat too big for your smoker is an impractical pain in the ass. I once smoked a butt that just BARELY fit in my smoker, and it took nearly 18 hours because it was just too damn big for my little rig. Don't try and force a really big hunk of meat onto a smoker that's too small for it, it can be really tough for it to heat properly.
Now, probably the biggest point to be made about size:
Thickness impacts cooking time way more than size. Smoking a longer piece of meat of the same thickness will not increase cook time that much. Cooking a thicker piece of meat can increase time significantly. That's why you want to watch out for having sections that are too thin on your hunk of meat, one section might cook faster and dry out. On the other hand, this is why we have things like burnt ends.
Other than the amount of time you'll probably end up smoking your meats, there shouldn't be too much difference between a large cut and a small cut of the same kind of meat.
I'm happy to share if it helps put more good barbecue in the world. Just remember that my experiences will be different from yours and what works for me might not work for you. Be willing to follow recipes but also be willing to experiment. Barbecue lots and you'll get a sense of what works and what doesn't.
Now, about wood and charcoal:
When it comes to the wood you use, take your pick. Use wood or chunks, whatever works for you. I use apple chips on just about everything. Some types are somewhat more suited than others for particular types of meat. Nut and fruitwoods like pecan and cherry tend to be lighter and more suitable for poultry and fish, hardwoods like hickory and mesquite tend to be more robust and are good for beef and pork. There's really nothing stopping you from using any kind of wood on any kind of meat. Like I said, apple goes great on just about anything. Just be careful about using too much really strong flavored wood on the more delicate meats, too much hickory on some fish could render it inedible. Which brings me to the next point about wood.
Don't overdo it on the wood! You can always add more smoke, you can't take it back. Be consistent and you'll learn how much wood will get you the amount of smokey flavor you're looking for. You can measure by weight, handfuls, or cupfuls, or whatever else you can dream up, just be consistent. I use this cheapo metal box that you throw directly on the coals for holding chips, and they smolder quite nicely. I usually do about 6 handfuls worth over 2 to 3 hours and then I stop throwing wood on altogether. Constantly putting on wood for the entire duration of the cook is overkill and will ruin your meat.
As for charcoal. I know you might be tempted to get lump. It's macho, it seems more natural, it makes you feel like a mountain man. But don't. It burns really inconsistently, and it burns really inconsistently very fast.
Oh, a couple more things about the wood. I meant chunks or chips, not wood or chunks, that would be silly. And soaking your wood in water is a myth that won't go away. Soaking it makes it just take longer to start smoking, which is kind of their entire purpose. You can get more humidity by putting water in the water pan (assuming your smoker has one, which it probably does), which doesn't prevent the wood from doing its job.
Back to charcoal.
Briquettes are your friend. Each little brick is a precise and controllable unit of heat. Control of heat is key. Lump charcoal can take you on all kinds of crazy highs and lows, it's just much harder to get a good sense of how much heat you're going to get from a certain amount of lump. By no means does that mean lump is bad, it's just harder to wrap your head around. It can also add some interesting wood flavors, but that's what the chips/chunks are for. Briquettes are boring, but they're predictable.
>DON'T use the Texas crutch (wrapping in foil) if you're just starting to learn BBQ. It requires perfect technique to get it right.
Foil for brisket helps it cook faster and protects it from further smoking. The same thing for a pork butt. It's not rocket science.
Any gaps in the foil and it won't do its job. I started out using the foil and I got a lot of tough meat and mushy bark. I got a lot better results when I dropped the crutch and started going the whole way without it, and haven't bothered wrapping since. I find that doing it without the foil at high humidity is, although slower, much easier.
Birds smoke SO goddamn well. I'm not even sure how to expand on that. Some of the best chicken and duck I've ever had were ones I smoked myself. They can go on at high heat for a relatively short period of time, and they come out absolutely delicious.
Don't buy a $100 offset. That will lead to only tears.
Expect to pay about $200 for a solid entry level smoker. All the smokers I've seen going for less than that are kiddy pool tier. If you want to do serious smoking, get a serious smoker.
Upright smokers are damn good. They're easy to use, easy to control, and easy to maintain. The weber smokey mountain smoker (which I'm 99% sure is what's in the OP picture) is the one that everyone gets. With a few mods to fix some of its problems (mainly gaskets and such to fix some leaky parts), it can easily become a competition level smoker (in fact some pros even use the little 18.5 incher for competition cooking).
Offsets are the other main group. They're the big horizontal barrel looking ones with a box off to the side. They can be a bit more temperamental and harder to master, but pros use them all the time and they're good as any other smoker. If you go with an offset, you're probably gonna have to shell out a bit extra for a good one. The cheap ones have no heat distribution system, basically they just have the chimney on the opposite side of the fire box to pull the hot air over the meat, making it really hot on one side and really cold on the other. The nice ones have a metal plate between the vent where the smoke exits the firebox and the meat with a gap for the smoke on the opposite side, and the chimney is on the same side as the firebox. The metal plate heats up getting you a more even heat distribution. The cheap ones can be modded to use this system, if you have the tools and the guts to potentially damage your smoker.
There are bazillions of other flavors in the smoker rainbow, but those are the two basic types you'll see. You can even mod some kinds of regular grills for smoking, which is a totally viable option, especially if you've already got a good grill.