Questions on Techniques & Equipment

John Sp

TVWBB All-Star

Thanks for all of your effort. I really learn a lot here. I am curious about your thoughts on equipment and techniques. For instance - what is your favorite grill/smoker and why? Do you prefer cooking certain cuts on a specific device or do you change it up according to your mood (or perhaps some other reason)? What about techniques and temperatures? There is quite a debate on this board (and most others) regarding high temp vs. low temp smoking. Do you prefer one over the other or do you decide based upon the cut of meat you are smoking? Where do you weigh in on foil wrapping? Finally, what is your favorite home made 'bite' of BBQ (your go-to dish)?


Chris Allingham

Staff member
My favorite smoker...hmm, let me think about that. I would have to say the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker! But honestly, I'm such a Weber fanatic that I've never tried another smoker. I know there are lots of good ones out there, but I'm just happy as a clam with my Weber and don't feel a need to stray.

My favorite last-minute, weeknight grill is the Weber Summit 425. It's from 2002, really well-built (maybe a little more rugged than those today?). I've refurbed the innards twice, but grates are original as are most other parts, and it runs like a top.

My favorite kettle is the 26" that I got in 2007, the year Weber brought that grill back to the market. I don't cook large quantities on it, but I appreciate having a lot of real estate to work with, having a big hot zone and a big cool zone, etc. I use it when I want to really enjoy the cooking process, which is probably on a weekend or a holiday.

I cook tri-tip, chicken parts, skirt steak, ribeye steaks, burgers, and veggies on the Summit. I cook tri-tip, ribeyes, and porterhouse steaks on the kettle. I cook the typical barbecue meats on the WSM.

As for high temp or low temp barbecuing, I've tried both and I do both. Both seem to work well. High temp has the advantage of getting done faster so I can eat sooner, and how can that not be a good thing? ;) But if time is not of the essence, I feel like low temp is more traditional and the way to go. It's like going out for a drive...I can drive fast or slow. Both approaches get me to the destination. Sometimes I appreciate getting to my destination quickly. Sometimes I enjoy the leisurely ride. Both are OK depending on my need.

Having said that, I cook all poultry at high temp. I've not cooked any low & slow for a long time. But I might try some Harry Soo chicken thighs soon using low & slow.

Actually, I'm more likely to go with low temp cooking but wrap with foil (I want to try butcher paper soon...I want to be Aaron Franklin in my next life, but without the early morning hours) to accelerate the cooking process a bit. I'm not a fanatic about foil...I understand the stigma about it, but having just gone to Harry Soo's class and watched his foiling technique and then tasted the results, I am on-board with foil! All day long and twice on Sunday! That was some tasty, award-winning brisket.

My favorite homemade, "go-to" bite of barbecue? It's got to be a pork rib, probably a baby back. Freshly barbecued, meaty, from the middle of the slab. Brushed lightly with sauce. Leftover ribs don't really do it for me, but a rib right out of the cooker is phenomenal. Wish I had one now.

Eating a rib with my brother, Jeff, on Super Bowl Sunday.

My dad eating one of my ribs. You can tell he didn't like them. :)