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Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking

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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 26, 2017, 6:44 PM Post
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I smoke a Tri-tip today for the first time. Its called a poor man's prime rib and I can see why. There was a bit of gristle in it, but most of it was very tender. There is little fat in it, so I smoked it to medium-rare to my wife's chagrin. But I thought it was pretty good. One of my sons had thirds.

I also smoked some chicken legs along side and one of my daughters had three of them. My six year old son had a chicken leg and two small pieces of tri-tip. Nice to know that my kids like my cooking. [laughing]


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: July 07, 2018, 3:10 PM Post
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I've been volunteered to smoke two pork butts on Tuesday. The work does a good number of all-together eating things and I guess they're meaningful enough to the boss that when I said "But I have to work that day" it wasn't a problem for me to be in uniform, but sitting on my porch running the smoker.

I've done butts a good few times now, but apparently they'll be hungry at NOON. It's a charcoal smoker, so it needs a lot of tending, and it's thin so I can't do the things at 275 like Aaron Franklin does. So we're talking about 12 hours of cooking time not including any rest time. Fortunately I have some unlined parchment paper to do a wrap and not have to wait out the stall.

I know I could just dump them in a slow cooker and be done with it. But apparently I have a reputation as a very good cook and this is also the first time I've run my smoker for them. So I don't want to just slow-cook and disappoint them. So two strategies I'm debating:

1. Start it at about 10pm the night before and just wake up every two hours to tend the smoker. That makes it ready by 9 or 10am and then it just rests in a cooler for the remainder. I get that good bark, everyone's happy and I just go to bed early that night.

2. Run the smoker from 5-10pm the night before, then transfer to a 215 degree oven for the remainder and pull it off in time to properly cool. Won't get that bark probably, but will get at least a minimal smoke flavor.


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: July 07, 2018, 9:13 PM Post
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If you smoke them for a few hours, you'll get plenty of smoke flavor. The smoke ring comes early in the cook, and almost all of the smoke flavor. You didn't mention how many pounds they are, but yea, I would smoke them the night before and finish in the oven. Nobobt will know the difference. You could even throw them back on the smoker again at high heat for half an hour with a little brown sugar, butter, spices. That will still give you a bark, not as you know it, but it will still look and taste great.


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: July 08, 2018, 6:46 AM Post
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Might be late, but I've used the "snake method" many times to great effect using charcoal.

Now, grill dependent, temperature dependent, etc, etc.

With a solid thermometer you can set an alarm if the temp gets too high or too low, but once it starts, it can run for hours and hours unassisted.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLfstT2goRk

Might not be something you want to do the first time, but I've had great success.

"I wasted so much time in my life hating Juventus or A.C. Milan that I should have spent hating the Cardinals." ~kalle8

Twitter: @MKEHiker
Website: http://www.mkehiker.com


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: July 09, 2018, 10:40 AM Post
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Thanks. I'm going to do the smoker-to-the-oven on the pork. That'll get me roughly 12 hours by the time I wake up and plenty of cool-down time before lunch starts, with 5-6 total hours on the smoke. Will probably run the oven at 215.

I've seen the snake method before. My smoker is pretty thin and I need to drill some more holes in the charcoal pan for airflow. It's just near impossible to run it hot, so my method is just dump a lot of charcoal in there. I've debated buying a new one, but I need to get out of the habit of dumping $200 here and there on things. Because a low-temperature smoker only really means I can't do poultry, and I can live with that.


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: July 31, 2018, 9:00 AM Post
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Random question, but I've been using what is basically a cheap-o Brinkmann for years now with good results. However the cheaper construction means I have to use a lot of charcoal to keep the heat up, and I really can't get it past about 240 degrees. Ultimately that means using a lot of charcoal and I can't do poultry because it won't get hot enough. I've been ok with that since I prefer grilled poultry, anyway.

But I've been debating a new smoker since I use it fairly often. I've looked into electric and propane because they're both much easier, but I've heard they don't have anywhere near as good a flavor. Plus I also just don't want to mess with propane tanks. Pellet smokers seem great, but they just get to be too expensive for how much I grill/smoke, and since I'm only feeding myself.

Is there a big advantage to getting a good-quality WSM or other charcoal smoker, as opposed to continuing to use my cheap-o one? In your opinion, would it be worth the $300-ish I would spend on a new one?


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 01, 2018, 3:11 PM Post
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GAME05 said:
Random question, but I've been using what is basically a cheap-o Brinkmann for years now with good results. However the cheaper construction means I have to use a lot of charcoal to keep the heat up, and I really can't get it past about 240 degrees. Ultimately that means using a lot of charcoal and I can't do poultry because it won't get hot enough. I've been ok with that since I prefer grilled poultry, anyway.

But I've been debating a new smoker since I use it fairly often. I've looked into electric and propane because they're both much easier, but I've heard they don't have anywhere near as good a flavor. Plus I also just don't want to mess with propane tanks. Pellet smokers seem great, but they just get to be too expensive for how much I grill/smoke, and since I'm only feeding myself.

Is there a big advantage to getting a good-quality WSM or other charcoal smoker, as opposed to continuing to use my cheap-o one? In your opinion, would it be worth the $300-ish I would spend on a new one?


Yes. Only because you seem to smoke and grill a lot, I think you would definitely get the use out of it. I have a Primo ceramic (similar to Green Egg) and am so glad I "invested" in it. Definitely a huge advantage in a lot of ways to be able to grill and smoke on the same device. Plus I still have my old Weber charcoal grill for the "overflow" when I have a lot to cook, which is rare.


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 06, 2018, 10:53 AM Post
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I tired a Balinese grilled duck recipe called bebek betutu. Here's how to make it. You take a bunch of ingredients that smells like vomit. Mix them together in a blender until it looks like vomit. Then add half the vomit mix with blanched spinach so it looks like dog vomit after it eats grass. Then take the other half of the vomit mix and cover a duck inside and out. Next take the dog vomit mixture and shove it inside the duck. Cover in banana leaves and grill it for four hours. When done, take the juices of the vomit mixture and reduce it to a slightly thicker vomit consistency and spoon it over the duck. All in all it was quite delicious and easy to make. I would highly recommend trying it but try to get someone else to prepare it.
P.S. When cooked it didn't smell like vomit. Here's the recipe for the brave or olfactory impaired. https://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/bebek-betutu

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 06, 2018, 1:32 PM Post
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I wouldn’t mind giving that a try. My problem is the time, money and effort required just to procure all of the vomit ingredients. Many of them I’m not certain I’ve heard of, let alone seen or tasted. Often I am lax to try making a new dish for that very reason. I hate cluttering up the fridge and cupboard with one-off-use ingredients and having them go bad.


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 06, 2018, 2:00 PM Post
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Most of it I found at a Hmong grocery store in Appleton on East Wisconsin ave. For anyone close enough to go there I highly recommend it. You can find just about anything there. I think if there is a Vietnamese grocer, or any number of Asian grocers around your area you'd be able to find what you need. If you have an asian grocer near you I would recommend taking a picture of the ingredients and bring it along. Some of the stuff may be called something else depending on the nationality of the grocer. Most of the ingredients come in small quantities so there isn't going to be much waste.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 06, 2018, 5:13 PM Post
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Location: bush Alaska
Thanks for the info. I’ll see if I can find the ingredients in Anchorage next time I make the trip. I always work on bringing home a few ducks in the fall, this sounds like it would make for a pretty unique feast. We usually get pintails, shovelers and scaup around here alongwith the occasional mallard. What kind of duck(s) did you use?


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 06, 2018, 6:02 PM Post
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When it comes to wild duck it's pretty much mallards. I usually cut the breasts out and use the rest for stock. I never have whole wild duck on tap to do this sort of thing with. Fortunately, my dad thought raising ducks and chickens was a great hobby in retirement. So, farm raise duck. Don't honestly know what it is...was. (Should get my tenses right since I ate it.) The stinky part of it is the shrimp paste. It's also something I think can be shipped anywhere. If you can't find that I would try to use fish sauce instead. It's wetter than the shrimp paste so I'd cut the water in half. Same goes for the palm sugar. If you can't find it try brown sugar. The lemon grass can be bought canned if you can't get fresh or google a substitute. Most of the other stuff I think you could fake well enough with dried or powdered. There is a lot of flavor going on so if you miss something I think you'd be ok. Just need a combo of the stinky, sweet and hot.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 07, 2018, 7:26 AM Post
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Bought a Sous Vide cooker and used it for the first time, kept it really simple and did 1/2 a pork loin, then cut it into chops and seared those for sammies.

Came out absolutely amazing. Can't wait to try more of this.

"I wasted so much time in my life hating Juventus or A.C. Milan that I should have spent hating the Cardinals." ~kalle8

Twitter: @MKEHiker
Website: http://www.mkehiker.com


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 07, 2018, 11:29 AM Post
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Bought a Sous Vide cooker and used it for the first time, kept it really simple and did 1/2 a pork loin, then cut it into chops and seared those for sammies.


I did too; it was my one Prime Day purchase. I made Iowa Chops, then seared them in butter when they were done. They may have been the best chops I have ever made.

A couple weeks ago, I attempted the snake method of smoking on my Weber kettle and I ran into a problem of it not getting hot enough. I topped out around 180 degrees (was smoking ribs) and I wanted 225-240. I may not have started with enough coals or may not have had enough coals in the snake. I'm willing to try it again but was a bit disappointed.


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 10, 2018, 10:20 AM Post
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NeedMoreFans said:
Bought a Sous Vide cooker and used it for the first time, kept it really simple and did 1/2 a pork loin, then cut it into chops and seared those for sammies.


I did too; it was my one Prime Day purchase. I made Iowa Chops, then seared them in butter when they were done. They may have been the best chops I have ever made.

A couple weeks ago, I attempted the snake method of smoking on my Weber kettle and I ran into a problem of it not getting hot enough. I topped out around 180 degrees (was smoking ribs) and I wanted 225-240. I may not have started with enough coals or may not have had enough coals in the snake. I'm willing to try it again but was a bit disappointed.


Interesting. I haven't had that problem... did you try adjusting your vents -- adjust a tiny amount, then wait awhile. Usually a lower temperature is from not enough oxygen flowing through the kettle. Did you have 3 rows of coals on your snake? Two on the bottom, one stacked across the top of those? Was it really windy?

"I wasted so much time in my life hating Juventus or A.C. Milan that I should have spent hating the Cardinals." ~kalle8

Twitter: @MKEHiker
Website: http://www.mkehiker.com


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 15, 2018, 11:25 AM Post
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I only just now discovered temperature controllers exist. Does anyone use one? I was probably going to upgrade to a better charcoal smoker, but now I'm thinking of instead spending that money on a temperature controller. It shouldn't be too hard to drill an appropriate size hole in my smoker near the pan and then screw it on.


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 23, 2018, 8:34 PM Post
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Last weekend I pulled a new one with my weber kettle. We'd been out drift netting silvers (coho salmon) and as we cleaned the fish I saved the heads from several to take home for the grill. Removed and discarded the gills from the heads and then split them down the middle. Drizzled all the half-heads in a bowl with olive oil, seasoned with garlic herb salt and fish seasoning. Grilled both sides of the heads on low heat, covered, over a mixture of kingsford and some wood lump coal.

The result: The meat from the base of the head was just your typical, delicious grilled salmon. The meat from the cheeks and jaws, though, very much resembled chicken thighs both in taste and texture. I'll definitely be making that one again. If I knew how to post my own pics on here I would. A grill full of heads is a sight to behold!


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 24, 2018, 6:27 AM Post
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That's interesting, and definitely different. Especially since they've been smoked, are you using the remainder of the heads for fish stock? The stock would be good in a risotto or any kind of fish soup.


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 24, 2018, 8:00 AM Post
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AKCheesehead said:
If I knew how to post my own pics on here I would. A grill full of heads is a sight to behold!


Head over to imgur.com and upload your pics there, get the link and post it here!

"I wasted so much time in my life hating Juventus or A.C. Milan that I should have spent hating the Cardinals." ~kalle8

Twitter: @MKEHiker
Website: http://www.mkehiker.com


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Offline  Re: Using a smoker… plus grilling and cooking
Posted: August 24, 2018, 9:31 AM Post
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Thanks, Baldkin! Now I know [smile]

I didn't think to use the remainder for stock. The rest was pretty crisp and juicy, so it probably would have had some nice flavor. My girlfriend was making fish soup, too. Although, I probably would have been chased from the stove if I'd tried adding my heads to it.

Oh, and here are the heads...

Image


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