This Blog contains recipes, thoughts, whats cooking at home and mostly things related to Bar-B-Que. Come on in, look around & read up on my
"Bar-B-Que Adventures"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cold Smoking, Bar-B-Quing or Grilling?

Smoking is as old as time itself. When cave man figured out how to create fire they soon realized how tasty meat was cooked over an open flame. As time and man evolved they figured out how to cure meat for storage, beins` they haven’t invented a fridge yet. Seriously though this implies curing the meat in a mixture of salts & other spices & cooking at a low enough temperature to preserve the meat for long periods of time while not drying it out. Cold Smoking at 150-200 degrees will produce a tasty product that can be reheated, grilled or served cold.

When I tell folks “I’m going to Bar-B-Que today” this implies a different approach in my opinion. When I fire up the Big 40 cooker my target temps ranges from 200-225 degrees for the first few hours to allow for the smoke wood flavor to penetrate deep into the meat. At this time I will adjust the cooking temps to 250-275 degrees and apply a “Hot Smoke” technique by maintaining a small hot fire with a clean light blue colored smoke, watch the exhaust stacks and you will see that the smoke coming out is barely visible if only light blue-ish color. This is the “sweet spot” of the technique that creates wonderful flavor. This also sets the dry rub and creates what we barbque nuts call “Bark” which is the sweet, spicy crust that forms on the meat from the dry rub that is applied. At a hotter cooking temperature the sugars in the dry rub will caramelize also. True Bar-B-Que enthusiasts follow this technique to the letter. “Barbquing” is at temperatures of 200-225 degrees; “Hot Smoking” is from 250-275 degrees respectfully. As you can see there is more to it than just slapping a big ole hunk of meat on the cooker. Cooking temperatures, dry rubs & spices play a key role in the flavors produced along with the types of cooking wood used.

Grilling is cooking at temperatures of 350-450 degrees & up. “Grilling” is a fine technique, nothing better for a good choice cut steak but it does not create the flavor that smoking or barbquing will. I love grilled burgers, steaks, sausages or even an all beef hot dog but when you Bar-B-Que Ribs with an indirect fire with the right amount & type of smoke wood added it will elevate you to a new level of Bar-B-Que bliss.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Smokers & Grill`s

I thought its about time to introduce you all to my smokers. First of all my main cooker is a Diamond Plate Products Big 40 out of San Antonio Texas. This one towed by my little blue truck burns all wood for flavor & heat. I have also added a removable 2ft x 3ft grill to the for firing up and cooking that sweet sauce on ribs and such. We have also used the grill at concession situations all over town. Grilled up some chicken legs, riblets & even polish dogs for the kids. About the fire box there is a water box for steaming your meat to get it extra moister.

My main smoker for home use is a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. Load this one up with charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal, add a few chunks of wood such as apple and your set for long cooks in the 14-18 hour range. I liked this one so much i have two of them. Great little smokers, makes the best pulled pork i have ever tasted. Here is a link to find out all about how they work and what you can cook at home on one just like it.

Next we have a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker that i like to use for bacon, fatties, sausages & chicken. It will give you all the smoke flavor with ease of use. Although it doesn't produce a smoke ring(another topic) like wood, charcoal or lump. It`s still a nice smoker to use for winter time cooks. Little to no tending of the fire like my other smokers. In my opinion electric smokers will produce a smoke/cooked product very similar to a commercial smoked meat. Even consistent heat & most like this one is insulated to retain heat. Link to Masterbuilt products...

Well that's the main smokers i use. I have one other Weber product i use a lot at home & that is a Weber One Touch Gold charcoal grill. It sports a 22 1/2 inch grill grate for grilling up steaks, burger, brats, chicken or what ever you like to cook. I use the heck out of this grill. Fire it up with lump charcoal add a hand full of chips like cherry wood for a "kiss of smoke" flavor and your cookin with live fire my friend! Here is a link to all Weber products... Weber stuff


Interesting name but a very good BBQ product for breakfast or as a appetizer.
Start with a bulk roll of breakfast sausage such as this brand from Farmland Food.

Remove the plastic wrapping from the sausage & roll in your favorite BBQ Dry Rub. A lot of folks like to roll or press the sausage out flat & stuff it with all kinds of cheese, eggs, onions, crumbled bacon et... & roll it back up.

What i like to do is smoke it on my Weber Smokey Mountain smoker at a temp of 225-250 degrees adding apple wood chunks for smoke flavor. Cook to an internal temp of 165 degrees. Usually takes about 2 hours to cook. Slice it to serve, scrambled up some eggs to go with and you have a hardy BBQ breakfast thats pretty simple & easy to do.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Buckboard Bacon

10 days ago i set out to make some Buckboard Bacon, which also is called Country Bacon. Basically its a whole cryovac packaged Boston Pork Butt that i de-boned & cured for ten days in my fridge at a temp of 35 degrees. Here`s how it starts. I went to my local grocer & purchased a nice whole in the bag Boston Pork Butt & a box of Hi Mountain Seasoning Buck Board Bacon Cure.
In the box you will find complete instruction on how to make this style of bacon. De-bone the butt roast & remove excess fat from the fat cap or fat side of the butt. Following the instruction from the box, apply cure rubbing into the bone cavity & all outer surfaces of the pork butt. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or place in a large quart sized zipper bag for 10 days.
I smoked this bacon in my small electric smoker set at 150 degrees for 45 minute, turning the heat up to 200 adding hickory chips as needed till internal temp reached no more than 140 degrees. Cool & slice to your liking... thick or thin. Below are a few pictures of the finished product. Let me tell ya you can`t buy bacon this good! Most good foods are simple & this is a good example of that. Give it a try in your smoker, you will love it!

Fresh from the smoker!

Sliced & ready to fry!

Packaged for the freezer!