Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Using a Smoker 101

When it comes to barbecue or smoked meats,  pork, hands down is my all time favorite.  It's not always easy to get my husband to put something on the smoker. Smoking is time consuming and he's got his projects all lined up in advance and I'm more of a spur of the moment person.

Growing up I thought my dad could barbecue and smoke stuff like nobody's business and I still feel he was damn good.  My brother, John watched and learned and perfected by dad's technique.  Sorry dad, you can't touch John.

While my technique is FAR from perfect, it's pretty darn good.  Let's face it, I'm no John, Larry or Chris but this post is for those of you who have not taken that step in to the smokey, slow-paced world of real outdoor cooking.  This is a Beginner's or 101 post into smoking some ribs.





This is the bowl that goes down in the bottom of the smoker right above the charcoal. I lined it with foil for easy clean-up.  The bowl is filled with liquid to keep the meat moist during the low and slow cooking process.  Sometimes I add a beer to the water, sometimes I add a little bourbon, sometimes I add both.  A cup or two of apple juice works well too.  Fill the bowl about halfway with liquid.
     



Pile the charcoal in the place where the charcoal goes...sorry I don't know the technical name.  Pile it up and PLEASE use real charcoal and not the easy light coals.  There is a big difference in the way your food tastes.
Squirt the coals down good with lighter fluid and let them sit for about 10 to fifteen minutes.  Soak them again and let them sit for another 10 minutes before lighting.



Place the bowl in the smoker.  If you like to use wood chips when you smoke, now would be a good time to soak the chips in a bucket or large bowl of water.




Put the grill in place.


Fire up the coals.  Since we have a wood deck, I placed some blocks under the bottom of the smoker to be safe and not damage the wood.




After the fire goes out and the coals begin turning white, spread them out a little.  Be prepared and have more coals on hand.  Since the cook time is slow, once you see your temperature beginning to drop on the smoker, load up a "chimney" with coals and soak and light them.  When they begin to turn white, add them to the coals at the bottom of your smoker.



Place the rest of the smoker over the coals and wait for it to come to temperature.  If you're using wood chips, you can carefully toss them into the hot coals through the little door on the front.  Use an oven mitt, the door is hot.



When the smoker reaches its "Ideal" temperature, place your seasoned meat on the grill. Pour a glass of tea or pop a beer and relax!




I cooked these ribs for about 2-1/2 hours. 



Slather one side with your favorite barbecue sauce and cook for another 30 minutes and repeat on the other side.

I can guarantee two things:

1.  Your neighbors will be envious.
2.  Your eyes will roll in back of your head when you eat!


27 comments:

gigi said...

Wow! in 2 1/2 hours?? I'm so proud of you! I'm still not so sure I could make it all turn out so great.

Big Dude said...

Looks like some good eats there Katherine, maybe you'll inspire others to give it a try.

steph said...

Looks great! We grill all the time but we've never smoked meat.

Kari said...

What a great post! Enjoyed reading about something I've never tried:)

Cheryl said...

That was our first smoker, and can I tell you that it works just as well as our two thousand dollar Traeger! You rock it girl!

Marjie said...

Well, you may claim to be no pro, but Larry was proud of you! Nice summer (or winter) meal, Katherine!

buffalodick said...

I have over a dozen State ribbons, and this looks great! I know you are a great cook, no matter what heat you use!

The Japanese Redneck said...

My mom cooked the best turkeys on the smoker. I've never had one that even came close to hers. Too bad I didn't learn how from her.

My hubby is the grill/smoker of the house. When I don't want to cook I leave something marinating in a bowl. He'll see it and say "do you want me to grill that for you". Sssshh. Don't tell him cause I don't want to be bused.

Sweet Tea said...

Oh my goodness I think I can smell that yummy smoked BBQ right now. Yes, I sure can, course it's coming straight from my own Crockpot where BBQ pork chops have been cooking all afternoon. Your's will be better than mine, but my bunch will have to settle for "good enough". I'm with you on the "pork" thang. Soooo good!!

The Blonde Duck said...

I WANT A SMOKER!!!! (wailing)

Joanne said...

Damn do I wish I had a smoker. Because that meat looks fantastic. I'd have guys lined up around the block for days!

Claudia said...

Wow does that look good! You are a pro. We're smoking a turkey for the 4th for those who do not want brats. I'm thinking some pork ribs would be mighty fine!

Marguerite said...

Nothing like an "Old Smoky"! Those ribs look mouthwatering and I will be smokin' some myself, this weekend. Bon voyage and have a great time in NOLA, cher! Eat all of the seafood that you can!

pigpigscorner said...

Finger lickin' good!

Mary said...

Your instructions were so good I think even I could pull this off. Your ribs look mighty tasty. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Debbie said...

This is something new to me. We don't have a smoker. My husband is a huge fan of ribs...I'm sure he would love one!

Chris said...

I cooked Creole style this week and you smoked BBQ....the magnetic poles must be reversed ;) :)

Great post, Katherine!

Laughed about the deck. We are getting ours redone this summer and I know I'm going to have to go back to being careful not to drop hot coals. Ours was so old I no longer cared about burn specks.

SusanD said...

Sounds scrumptious! Love your deck. Have a fabulous weekend. Blessings, SusanD

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Sounds really good Katherine. You are way way ahead of me girl. Maybe I'll have to just give it a try.

Hope you and A. J. and the girls have a great 4th of July.
Hugs,
Sam (and of course Meakin who still hasn't quit talking about that jet ski ride on the lake at Larry's)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi There, Just stopping by to say HELLO. Hope you are doing fine and having a good summer so far.

Your Smoker looks great ---and you obviously know how to use it!!!! YUM!

Happy 4th of July.
Hugs,
Betsy

Julie said...

Looks just amazing! Happy 4th to you and yours :)

vanillasugar said...

god help us, now i want a smoker! i just want to see it when it says "IDEAL" LOLOLOL!!!!

Hornsfan said...

I've been dying to get a smoker for ages, this doesn't help at all :) it just makes my desire to have one much much worse! These look great Katherine!

Lynda said...

Looks good Katherine! I need to get a smoker...I do use my grill alot, but I've not tried the smoker.

meleah rebeccah said...

*drooling*

elra said...

and I will be envious too Katherine:). Sounds divine!

teresa said...

this is awesome. my hubs and i talk about getting a smoker all the time, mmmm.