Things I've Learned


 

Dave Alvarado

TVWBB Super Fan
Ha! Great advice for beginners, but if I still told the Missus that, long cooks on my patio would only be an annual occurrence. Now I don't mean to pull early. I mean that if I'm behind, I'll raise the temp and/or foil. I'd rather be a little ahead of the game, though, and then drop the temp a lot toward the end of the cook. Nailing cook timing is half the challenge! :wsm:

Indeed it is. I think one other really important thing to note--big hunks of meat can be held a surprisingly long time if you foil them, wrap them in a bunch of old towels, and toss them in an empty cooler.

Learning "it's done when it's done" was my biggest challenge. Now I'm getting a better sense of roughly how long it takes for a hunk of meat to cook, and I try to time it to get done mid-afternoon. That way if I'm really early it's a BBQ lunch, if I run late it's done just in time for dinner, and if I hit my target dead on the meat can live in the cooler for a few hours until dinner time.

This my next purchase a smoker and I only know what i have read but I want to learn how to make a good smoked turkey,chicken,pork butt, & do it right and slow. this would be interesting to do. Now just need to find the right deal.

The right deal is a WSM, of course. :)

I got started with a Smokenator 1000 added to my kettle. That was enough to get me hooked, but it needs babysitting about every 30 minutes. My 22" WSM on the other hand will go hours without me needing to touch it.
 
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Dalton Breaux

New member
I'm a homebrewer and just like my beer, my barbecue never tastes the same but it always tastes good. Repeatability is best left to the professional competitors and super breweries, so I don't sweat over an ingredient or two left out of my rub or sauce. As a matter of fact when I create a baste I pretty much select several items in the pantry that I think might taste good together.....I haven't disappointed anyone yet.
 

Tony A

TVWBB Fan
Great Stuff on this one Ladies and Gents. I'd add that I've since learned that a food vacuum is worth every penny. Leftovers portioned out in lunch sized or even family dinner sized portions make our hobby an economical one too. I HATE wasting food. Ribs, butts and brisket all keep very well. My problem is that I want to BBQ faster than I can eat it all. These frozen lunch sized portions also could make you a very popular co-worker, If you needed the freezer space that is.
 

Brad Chilton

TVWBB Fan
I have to agree with Tony ...the best accessory to ours smokers is a vacuum sealer .. I'm hooked on smoking and fire it up at leat one a week ... My problem is Im single and got tired of feeding all my friends and coworkers ... Not anymore !!! Or at least until I run out of freezer space !!!
 

Curtis M

TVWBB Fan
That's some excellent advice... I especially love #1 on staying patient. That's the hardest part. Especially when you hit a longer than expected stall and your Italian Mother-in-law is waiting...

CM
 

Beach H

New member
Hey Guys, getting ready to smoke multiple slabs on my WSM. I have never used the lower rack to cook yet and I have read that the top rack cooks faster. Do you rotate the slabs and if you do at what intervals? I like the 3,2,1 method. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks Beach
 

Davo

TVWBB Super Fan
When cooking for company, start early.

If it gets ready early, it will stay good and hot in an ice chest or even wrapped in foil and towels in the oven.

If the doorbell is ringing and the meat isn't done yet, it sucks a lot of fun out of the event.

Yes...great advice Chris....I can't emphasize this enough......start earlier than you think you need to as the meat will be still rip roaring hot as Chris has stated......once that's tucked away waiting it's turn...you can then start on the entrees for your guests arrival or baking that dessert pie:wsm:

If you don't have old towels to use on BBQ meats, Newspaper is an excellent insulator and will keep the heat in for hours and is disposable after use...just wrap the meat in foil then lots of newspaper and put it in a dry cooler......

Cheers

Davo
 
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Facundo Silva

TVWBB Member
Great post! I just finished my first cook and I went to bed slightly disappointed. I guess I was expecting to be the best chicken ever!! Looking forward to improving and enjoying the journey along the way!!!

Cheers,
 

Adam.B

New member
Well said, Tim.

If I may add one thing: don't try to time your Q. It's done when its done.
Yes, this is super important as well. I've found that temp is more of guide when you're low and slow. Learn how the final product looks and feels and you'll go far.
 

Jerry N.

TVWBB Emerald Member
Yes, this is super important as well. I've found that temp is more of guide when you're low and slow. Learn how the final product looks and feels and you'll go far.

Unfortunately, people like to eat at something close to a designated time. To deal with that, I’ve learned that the best thing to do with butts and briskets (the large meats) is to plan for several hours of hold/rest time wrapped in the cooler. That way you have a good buffer. Things like ribs can be held too, but they’re just not as hard to time. Sure, you might be off an hour or so, but nothing like what can happen with a butt or brisket.
 

Big JohnV in AZ

TVWBB Member
My one and only contribution to this thread is to learn and perform the basics very well and you will always have a good cook. You will naturally progress and learn and be very confident when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. And above all, have fun!
 

Ron De Hoogh

TVWBB Super Fan
I have learned to slow down and let the charcoal get going good before assembling the smoker and to wait for the TBS (thin blue smoke) before putting the meat on.
 

Johanas

New member
Yes...great advice Chris....I can't emphasize this enough......start earlier than you think you need to as the meat will be still rip roaring hot as Chris has stated......once that's tucked away waiting it's turn...you can then start on the entrees for your guests arrival or baking that dessert pie:wsm:

If you don't have old towels to use on BBQ meats, Newspaper is an excellent insulator and will keep the heat in for hours and is disposable after use...just wrap the meat in foil then lots of newspaper and put it in a dry cooler......

Cheers

Davo

Newspaper wrapped around the foil end up creating the smell of the ink around the food. It can mix with the aroma of the wrapped meat at times. Anyone else have had such an experience of wrapping the newspaper around the foil ?
 

Dave Ontario

New member
one more rule
keep the ph # of the local pizza place handy !
(y) Well said. Esp if you've got a bunch of hungry mouths to feed before dark.

Enjoy doing some practice cook outs first when there's not a hungry crowd waiting, when the time is flexible, and you can relax a bit when experimenting with trying new techniques. When learning something new don't expect perfection every time. It takes time and practice to get good at something. Don't beat yourself up when you make mistakes, just keep practicing. Keep a notebook to record details about your cook outs : the cut of meat, time, temp, rub/sauce recipe etc. I highly recommend investing in remote dual thermometer.

What a great thread! Looking forward to more tips from all you experienced cooks.
 

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