Thursday, July 17, 2014

Smoking meat and BBQ; I live in Texas, I should be pretty good at it by now.

I live in Austin, Texas.  Austin has the best music, the coolest people (me included!) and the best BBQ.  I wanted to try my hand at the BBQ part.  I think the best restaurant, for BBQ, in town is La Barbecue.  I dream about that pulled pork sandwich, truly I do.  I went for their opening and have been back whenever I can sneak over there.  I picked it for my birthday meal with a friend who flew in from Canada.  It was freezing that day.  I wore a screaming hot pink feather boa with my sweatshirt.  It''s how we do winter in Austin.


It's not far from another famous BBQ joint, Franklins.  I've had Franklins, it's all hype and a little bit of overpriced meat.  You want REAL BBQ in Austin?  you want ambiance, quality, delicious and a real live REASON to stand in a line?  Go to La Barbecue, seriously, the (local) others are duds.  I do have some solid suggestions for out of town joints to chow down, but, that's another post.  Today, it's about me.

I've done a bunch of BBQ crawls around the area, where you get up early and pile into trucks and drive from one location to the next sampling the best BBQ they have.  Yeah, I've had my fair share of meat coma days. 

ANYway, I make a pretty good brisket, in the oven.  I make pretty good ribs, in the pressure cooker then the broiler but I haven't smoked anything and I was starting to feel like less of Texan than I could be. 

I have no problem whatsoever with the electric smoker over a standard wood smoker.  It does the same thing as a classic smoker without the drama of keeping temperature.  It's sort of like having an assistant watch the temperature without having to give them any beer.  It's the same meat, my own rub and wood smoke, I don't feel as though it's a cop out at all. 

I got a new smoker delivered yesterday, a Masterbuilt 30' Smokehouse.  I followed the directions to put it together, which took about 10 minutes.  I followed the directions do the 'preseason' which took 3 hours of which 2 1/2 minutes of that time involved me directly.

This morning I decided it was time and I was ready to face the smoker and to enter my name into the ring of pretty damned good smokers in Texas.  Yeah, I planned on being ordained after one time.  I know how good bbq and good smoked meat SHOULD taste and what the texture SHOULD be like.  I know how to cook.  How hard could this be? :D


INGREDIENTS and QUICKIE instructions

2 chickens, about 4 lbs (they were on sale at HEB)
1 small rack of babyback ribs (also on sale, I prefer St.Louis style but that'll be next time)
salt, pepper, smoked paprika, oil
applewood smoking chips
1 Masterbuilt 30' Smokehouse Smoker

Rub meat.  Smoke meat 4 1/2 hours (weight of each chicken) at 225 with applewood chips, refill once. 

That's the short version.

This is how *I* did it.  Right or wrong?  Doesn't matter, it's my version: 


I turned on the smoker, set it to 225, and went inside. 

I washed and dried the birds and ribs.  I had a cup of coffee. 

THEN, I sprinkled liberally with salt and pepper and smoked paprika.  I drizzled oil lightly over them and rubbed the seasonings in well.  I put them on a tray and took them outside.  The smoker was at temperature.  I filled the water holder with 1/2  a small beer.  I put the chickens on racks and the ribs on top.  

I closed the door and put wood chips, half soaked and half dry in the groovy little in the wall wood chip delivery system and went back inside.  I set my iphone timer for 2 hours.

THEY say don't peek, I had to peek
They're coming nicely.  I took the temperature of one of the chickens, it was 150something.  It occurred to me that I cook chickens in the oven for 5 hours so why was I fussing over the smoker?  I closed the door, reloaded some dry chips and went back inside the house.  I my timer for 2 1/2 hours.  

That follows the general rule I'd read about, 1 hr per lb for meat.  

At the 4 1/2 hour mark I went outside with my big tray and opened the door. AMAZING. The smell the sight AMAZING.  I didn't think they'd be THIS good.  

The ribs; perfect.  A perfect slight smoke ring, the meat tender and juicy and doesn't fall off the bone, yet melts when you pull it off with your teeth, gently.  AWESOME.  I've never made any ribs so good. 

The chicken; perfect.  Tender, juicy, smokey.  I'm shocked at how juicy it was really.  Wow. 

I highly HIGHLY recommend this product and method... Wow.



just.  wow.  



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  5. But do we make ribs if we don't yet HAVE a smoker? Us poor sad sacks?!?!?! No wow?? :(