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Texas BBQ

May. 21st, 2006

04:53 am - Now we're cooking!! (and raining)

Mark my timer... Starter at 4:50 AM. I have a upright smoker with a offset firebox. I cook with wood. I'll keep it around 210 until I take it off around 7pm tonight.

Neighbor's floodlight just went off. Wonder I I woke them...

Current Music: The Weight - The Band

04:21 am - Good Morning!

I'm Brad in Georgia. I woke up 30 minutes ago to start smoling prok shoulder on my Char-Broil smoker. I've wanted to contribute to this for a while, and thought that a "Play-by-play" of today's BBQ might be the good time!

Started my chimney starter at 4:00AM. I LOVE CHIMNEY STARTERS!!! I don't know how the rest of the world does without one. I also have some other nessessities in beer and sangria. Gotta have your liquid refreshment!

Next chapter - what I do to the meat in prep.

Jan. 27th, 2006

01:36 pm - Wood

Here's a great idea if you are low on wood and don't want to throw down the coin for good hardwood. Find a local cabinet shop & ask them for their scrap. Cabinet shops use hardwoods to make cabinets, and most of them use Hickory or Oak. This isn't low grade wood either, we're talking stuff that has been cured nicely and very raw. Most of the pieces will be in 1" x 10' strips, but easily cut down into smaller sizes. I have a friend who has been supplying me with a steady stream of scrap wood from a couple of shops. It's pretty obvious to tell what the hickory is and what the oak is, but if you are not sure take a lighter to it - the smell will tell you. I can keep my smoker running with a 2"x8" piece at 250 degrees for about 60 to 90 minutes.

Dec. 12th, 2005

12:18 pm - BBQ Reference

I found this site recently and have to say that it's a pretty solid FAQ on BBQ.  I used some of their suggestions this weekend and the results for both their Brisket and Ham were pretty solid.  I'm still a fan of cooking a Brisket at slightly lower temps than those suggested (by some of the posts) but all in all, it's a great resource on anything 'cue related.

I've been using wood to slow cook but haven't been very satisfied with the overall smokyness of my dishes.  Yesterday I increased the amount of smoke by using only raw wood that has been burned down somewhat, but limiting the amount of fire in my box at any given time.  This technique was effective when trying to limit both the amount of smoke and heat being generated from the fire box.  I learned that the size of my fire box (15" x 15") is limited to using smaller pieces of wood, but is remarkably efficient when retaining heat and radiating the heat into the smoking chamber.  Before now, I've wound up with a box full of coals that were half as hot as one piece of wood with minimal flame.  It took me a few hours to get the hang of it, but it worked really well and saved me from wasting fuel.

Also, If you are in the Dallas, TX area and want a good deal on wood, let me know.  There is a considerable amount of oak and hickory left over from Hurricane Rita in the S. Texas area.  I have a connection down there who is trying to help get land cleared of fallen trees.

Aug. 29th, 2005

01:00 pm

I smoked brisket this week on my semi-new Oklahoma Joe smoker. I used a combination of woods to kindle the fire; and the same combination for the application of the smoke. It broke out to roughly 70% Oak, 15% Hickory & 15% Mesquite. The fire at 4 am, was great - I've never taken advantage of that time of the morning, I normally go and crash out in bed and set the timer to come back at hour intervals till the meat goes on. This time however, I pulled up a camping chair, a cup of joe and read (currently reading Lord Foul's Bane, Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever). It was awesome sitting there with the fire going and enjoying the pre-dawn hours of the day.

I used my new Fiskars axe for the first time this weekend, it's a great axe and one of the safer ones on the market. The night before, I chopped Oak, Hickory & Mesquite to equal the percentages above, cutting some into smaller pieces. The larger pieces I set aside for the fire box. I crammed the smaller pieces into a 5 gallon bucket and soaked it down with water to the brim. I put the lid on the bucket and set it aside.

At about 4:45 am the logs seemed to be turning to charcoal nicely, I doused the fire with Cowboy Brand lump. Not my favorite, but its readily available at most Lowe’s home improvement stores. I closed the lid and opened the dampers wide. The coals were ready in about 30 minutes, but I let them sit a while longer till the temp on my pit read 600 degrees. I closed the dampers and let the temp drop to 250 and that took another 45 minutes. The brisket went on promptly at 6 am. I immediately put my mix of water-logged wood on the fire. I never put on more than I could fist in one hand, always making sure that the ratios stayed the same (Oak 70-80, Hickory 20-30, Mesquite 10-20). I put on enough wood to give me a steady stream of smoke from the stack.

I also used a drip pan full of water in the base of the smoking chamber - I was curious since I've never used this technique before. I kept the temp between 225 and 250 but tried to keep it at 225 as much as possible. Once I hit the 5 hour mark I wrapped the brisket in foil. Why? Well I decided that since meat tends to quit taking in smoke at about 4 hours, 5 hours should be plenty of time to be exposed to the smoke. I also wanted to make sure that the meat was able to retain as much moisture as possible. The foil seemed like a good move for both needs.

We ate at 6:30 and it was possibly one of the best briskets I've had. It had nice moisture in the meat and the flavor was perfect, smoky enough to eat dry, but not overpowering.

Jul. 28th, 2005

08:59 am - Six Shooter BBQ Grill


Mar. 8th, 2005

07:13 pm - At Long Last

Dad's Famous Barbecue Recipe

For some Goddawful reason he calls it "Colorado Cowgirls Dancing in the Moonlight." The following is a complete word-for-word transcription of the recipe that he handed me over a year ago, spelling mistakes and goofy jokes intact.

2 medium yellow onions, chopped
6 celery stalks, chopped (optional)
4 cups ketchup
1 cup water
2 cups worcestershire sauce (or what is that sauce?)
1/2 cup white vinegar
4 to 6 teaspoons ground cumin
4 to 6 teaspoons chili powder (or if you really want to kick some butt, add all you want)
4 to 6 teaspoons black pepper
4 teaspoons kosher salt (add little at a time and then at the end after cooking. You may want to adjust the amount)
1/2 to 1 cup liquid smoke flavoring (if no liquid smoke available, just throw in a couple of 12 gauge shotgun shells)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 to 1 cup dijon mustard or any yellow stuff that you may have hiding in the back of the fridge)
1 cup molasses (or one old black sock will do)
1/2 to 1 cup hot sauce (hey, didn't I say that this stuff is really hot or not!) (If I remember correctly, I threw in a couple of jalapenos and some other stuff that Jim Ward gave me that he dried out and ground up last year. Yeah, what a kicker)

Puree (that's French for beating the hell out of whatever you are going to put in the pot) so puree the onions and celery and whatever else you think you desire in a blender or a food processor until very fine. In a large pot to hold all the ingreeeeeeedients, simmer for 30 minutes to an hour or longer. After bringing the ingreeeeeeedients to a boil, turn the temperature down until it's just simmering. You have to keep stirring it to keep it from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by yours truly. The Food Network chiefs or chefs have not tasted this recipe and I ain't going to let them, so there! Therefore they can't make any representation as to the results of this sauce.

P.S. After cooking this stuff up, I bottled about 3 quarts and all I did was put the hot ingreeeeeedients in washed quart jars and threw the lids on and they sealed themselves up for storage. Neat, huh? I also had to tone down the sauce from its original flavor because someone in the family thought it was too hot so I just added more ketchup.

Chef Ron Skorick puts his OK on this sauce as one of the best that he stole and changed for the better.

Feb. 14th, 2005

08:40 am - The low-down on Lump

Not very many know the tremendous benefits of using lump charcoal. Choosing this variety of charcoal is much preferred by the Brisketeer, even fancy New York Chefs. Why? First, the mass-produced stuff is loaded with fillers and coal to produce a longer burn. While the end result is a longer burn, its also dirtier, and produces high quantities of ash. High quantities of ash is not only irritating to have to clean up, but also when wet becomes lye, which in turn eats anything it touches. Ever wondered why that old grill has holes in the bottom?

So if you want a really hot fire with little ash, plus the added benefits of flavor, the wide varieties of lump charcoal are for you. And it just so happens that I found this nifty database that rates lump charcoals. If you want to find a dealer, call the manufacturer, they can usually point you to a store that distributes the goods.

Jan. 14th, 2005

09:49 am - Real Ham

I got a bone-in Pork Shoulder at the store the other day for .99 cents a pound. I have plans to cure and cold-smoke it on my little modified home-depot special. Cold smoking is the art of pushing smoke into a chamber at no more than 120 degrees for an extended period of time. This should produce a fine piece of ham when it's all said and done.

Nov. 2nd, 2004

04:12 pm - Fall is a great time to 'cue

Finally cold weather! Well, if you consider 57 degrees to be cold...this is Texas afterall.

Crisp weather like this is great for BBQ. For some reason the smell of a fire was meant to be enjoyed with a bit of chill in the air, just enough to offset the smell of your favorite hot beverage coffee, gluwein, etc.

Check right now for good deals on wood for grilling. I bought 4 cu. ft for $20.00. I went with hickory and pecan, both great hard woods. Although the Pecan was intensely more hard than the hickory. Be sure your axe is sharp...

Here's my recipe for perfect coals using raw hard wood:
3-4 1/4 split logs of hardwood or more depending on the size of your firepit
1 bag of lump charcoal (choose brands that have large lump - BB's is a good one)

1. Split the hardwood into 1/4 slices using an axe (swing away from your body).
2. Make kindling by shaving bits of the wood off, enough for a 2 fisted pile.
3. Flatten the newspaper and place the kindling on top of the newspaper.
4. Lighter her up!
5. Begin carefully arranging the 1/4 logs over the small fire tee-pee style. Do this by leaning 3 logs together just over the fire, then slowly add more logs.
6. Sit back & enjoy.
7. Once the fire is really blazing knock it down into the pan of your smoker and stack the logs (evenly disbursed across the base of the pit) in 2 layers. Let it get hot.
8. Once the fire is flaming nicely, cover the top of the fire with lump charcoal enough to snuff it out.
9. Let it sit for about an hour and come back, you should have white hot glowing coals, if not, let it sit and come back.

My menu this weekend:

Pork Shoulder Butt & Chuck Roast (yes chuck makes for an awesome side of bbq).

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