"BBQ Joint Smoke Flavor?"


Dave Russell

TVWBB Honor Circle
Donna, I read of your affinity for stickburners in one of your well written articles on Harry's site. Any tips for getting a more robust wood smoke flavor on pork butts or briskets with the wsm? I read a post on a forum where a guy liked to first smoke them a while on his stickburner, but only have one try with that so far, which was more trouble than it was worth. (I only went four hours on my offset, though, and didn't have any hickory that was dry enough for it; just pecan, apple and cherry.) Anyhow, we rarely eat BBQ in restaurants, but I'm blown away by the smoke flavor everytime I get some of Pat Martin's hickory smoked pulled pork here in middle TN. I know this is probably the last thing you're thinking about when it comes to competition BBQ, but what do you think?
Hi Dave,
You know, there's so much good BBQ in the States that I have yet to try. What I do know is that there are smokers out there that can develop a bark that I don't normally get on my WSM. But if I were focused on bark formation the first thing I would do is increase the temperature and do a hot and fast. I think that does wonders. The second thing I would do is ensure I use a great aggressive rub. Not all rubs are the same. Some taste very good but look anemic. Some look good but don't give the right flavor profile. And then the third thing I would do is think about wood. I'd use different woods for shoulder vs. brisket. And the last thing I would do is spray often with water to develop the bark and smoke ring.

I can't imagine using a stick burner to start off and finishing off somewhere else. At least from a financial point of view and then from a work point of view but if you've got it, why not? Since you are in TN, I will assume you get great smoke rings? Is this true? I've always thought high humidity contributed to great smoke rings but I've never confirmed it.

And thank you for the compliment. I'd do like stick burners very much and would love a chance to cook Texas style briskets on them. Too bad I neither have the room or the finances! They are lovely!
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Donna, thanks for the reply. Yes, smoke rings have never been an issue for me here in fairly humid middle TN, whether cooking on a UDS, stick-burner, or WSM. Cold meat that's moist from the rub being applied ahead of time has always worked for me; no mopping or spritzing necessary.
Thanks for the bark suggestions. The only ways I could justify my ATC to my wife was that we'd get more sleep and better bark. :)