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Category Archives: Barbeque

Grill Mods: Dual Zone Thermometers

So we did this a while back but I never posted it…partially because it was in the winter and I was pretty ashamed that we had no grass at that point.  Our yard looked super white trashy at the time, but after putting a pool in the middle of our front yard and waddling my huge pregnant booty out there in a bikini, I figure that my white trashiness has reached the point of no return, so here goes.

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The common question seems to be “Why the front yard?” Because the dogs are in the back and it would take them all of 3 seconds to have torn this thing apart.

Anyways, we went down to our local BBQ store to look for a couple of thermometers to add to the lid of our 22.5″ Weber kettle so we could monitor the temperature and have better control over our dual zone cooking.  We picked up two thermometers and a silicone sealant safe for high temperatures.  You are also going to need a power drill, marking pen, and possibly measuring tape(if you want things to be all nice and symmetrical)

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We (meaning Derek, I just stood there and took pictures), measured out the desired distance and drilled a pilot hole, which is a small guiding “starter hole” before you start putting holes in your grill lid with a giant drill bit.

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We also noticed that there was a small notch on the back of the thermometer, to keep it from turning I am assuming? Not really sure, but it required the drilling of yet another hole as well.

It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to work

It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to work

Put your sealant around the top of the holes and install your thermometer.  Then seal up around the inside of the grill and you are done!

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Let this dry for at least 24 hours before using, and enjoy your new customized Weber grill!

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Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Barbeque, Technique

 

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Better Know a Smoker Part 3: So You’re a Yuppie…

Since it has been a while, you might want to catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 before starting with this one.  This is my final piece of advice for someone looking to buy their perfect summer BBQ; and that advice is not to buy pellet and electric smokers, they are not real smokers.

The Pellet Smoker

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This piece of [worthless] equipment does all the work for you….sounds like a BBQers dream come true, just set it and forget it.  Of course not everything that is easy is better.  Case and point fast food.  Enough said.  Many pellet smokers have built-in temperature control, keeping the smoker between 225 and 250 which is really a problem if you want to cook anything besides pork.  We like to smoke our famous briskets around 300 to break down the connective tissue and trust me we have tried cooking brisket low and slow…it ended up like shoe leather.  Smoked salmon or jerky on the other hand needs to be around 175 so having the ability to control the temperature yourself is imperative.

Also, check out any BBQ message board and you’ll see that people tend to complain about the lack of smoke flavor from these compressed processed pellets.  In fact, even if you have a pellet smoker that you can crank the heat up with, the higher the temps cooking with these pellets, the less smoke flavor you get because they burn very cleanly.

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Just like a big mac is not food…this is not wood!

And don’t forget, since pellet smokers are automatic, they have parts that can break, like a motor and electronics systems.

Even the man himself, Myron Mixon said at a pitmaster competition, “Man I know I got this thing won when I see the other team fire up a pellet smoker.”

The Electric Smoker

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Is that a mini-fridge? Nope, that is the saddest excuse for a smoker that you can possible waste your money on.  Sure, they do have a place in resturaunts, since the people cooking can’t maintain the temps on dozens of racks of ribs at a time…unless of course you are in the south, we still cook over open flame pits down here. However, these have no place in your backyard.  In fact, if you own one of these get off my blog, close out this window immediately, you are not allowed to use any of my recipes.

The flavor on these is inferior to even the pellet smoker, and don’t ever expect to get that beautiful bark or crispy chicken skin on one of these machines.  Hell, most competitions wont even allow electric smokers.  Enough said…just dont do it.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Barbeque, basics

 

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Better Know A Smoker Part Two: The Offset Box

There is one main reason why people what an offset box smoker…because they look really f*cking cool! You look like a serious BBQ professional with one of these big bad boys in your backyard.  Lets figure out what an offset box smoker really is, and the pros and cons of owning one.

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On the left you see where the barrel where charcoal or wood is burned, we use ours almost exclusively as a stick-burner.  The larger barrel is where you cook all of that delicious meat.  One can imagine that the obvious problem with these grills is one side ends up much hotter than the other, this can lead to some pretty depressing sunday afternoons when you end up eating takeout staring at all of the beautiful meat you ruined.  There are dozens of cheap offset box smokers out there, and you really do get what you pay for.  Cheaper metals, and poorly designed leaks and gaps around the door and chimney can cause you to lose heat, and have temperature variations of up to 100 degrees from end to end.

Don't use your good bone-broth for this, as you are just going to discard it later

Our big boy BBQ

If you already have one of these you are in luck, you can use any heat safe silicone sealant to close up the gaps.  Remember, the only place smoke should be coming out of the smoker is the chimney, so if you see it leaking out the door, run to the hardware store as fast as you can and seal that thing tighter than a pair of hipster jeans.  There is also a great way to test for hot-spots found here, those can easily be fixed with a convection plate in the bottom of the smoker.  If you are in the market for one of these smokers but don’t feel like doing modification, there are several high-quality brands that will make a great addition to your backyard.

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Ok, maybe you don’t have to go that high-end, but please consider that a smoker is a serious investment.  If you get one that does not work properly, you will not use it, and then you have just wasted a substantial amount of money on something that will turn into a rusty eye-sore that could probably get you fined by the home-owners association.

Don't be a victim!

Don’t be a victim!

Horizon and Oklahoma Joe make an incredible product, definitely worth the investment, or you could swallow your pride and get yourself barrel smoker, you wont have the ego inflating large size that we love to brag about in this country, but you get consistent temps and a very user-friendly design with little to no modification needed.  If you still have your heart set on an offset box smoker, look for one that is made out of thick metal, to help keep temperatures consistent.  A little shopping around at any BBQ store and you can feel which ones are made with high-quality materials and which ones are Chinese pieces of crap.  Thin metal simply cannot hold the heat the same.  Inspect the smoker and look for tight seals, or prepare to modify the smoker yourself with a little sealant, it really takes less than an hour to give yourself a superior meat machine.

 

And remember…BBQ is not a hobby, it is a way of life

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Barbeque, Random

 

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Better Know A Smoker Part One: Our First Baby

Our Weber 18.5 inch bullet smoker is and will always be our first love.  Fondly refered to as R2D2 in our house, this baby is the best investment for a beginner interested in smoking.  Seriously, I know the big offset box smokers look really badass, but this one is much better suited for the average person, both in ease of use and size.  Trust me, when they smell those wonderful clouds of smoke and the aroma of BBQ pork coming off this baby, you wont care that you didn’t get the one that makes you look cool.

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The inside of the smoker features two levels for maximum meat cooking and a water pan below.  A water pan is great for the novice because it keep the meat moist, and also helps R2D2 maintain a stable temperature.

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The exterior breaks down into three parts for easy access to all levels, and there is a door on the front for adding more charcoal or running the cords for your probe thermometers.  The Weber brand uses better metal than many other bullet smokers, which will help you keep your temp up on those windy days.

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Also similar in looks to this the ceramic Big Green Egg cooker. This thing is the Le Creuset of smokers, with a price tag to match.  Amazingly high quality if you are prepared to pay for it.  People that own them swear by them, in the same way that we will always recommend a Weber.

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There is our baby, proudly displayed in the back yard as a monument to our first adventure in to BBQ! If you are considering an investment in a smoker, I can not suggest anything other than an 18.5 in Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Barbeque, basics, Random

 

Myron Mixon’s Cupcake Chicken

Now, we love the show BBQ pitmasters, but you cannot watch this show without being subjected to the loud mouthed jackass pitmaster known as Myron Mixon.  I personally find him a bit too abrasive, but the hubbs loves him.  Anyway, the show got me thinking, all the people on there have really badass BBQ names, and Derek and Michelle just doesn’t sound quite as cool as Hickory Rick and Shotgun Chelle.  Ok, that was the best I could come up with…maybe they’re not the best pitmaster names, but maybe theyre at least as cool as Paul Diablo, Johnny Trigger, and Tuffy Stone.  I am still working on the names…I need some help.  What do you think?

I know its gross that they cat is on the table, you try telling a cat what to do.

I know its gross that the cat is on the table, you try telling a cat what to do.

So, Myron Mixon does this competition chicken in a cupcake pan, so that the end result is perfectly round and uniform, making for a nice presentation.  So, we got Myron’s top-secret method…which you cannot get from watching the show, you have to shell out 30 bucks for his book of course.  Anyway, we adapted it for Primal Smoke, since we are not too keen on following any recipes that call for 5lbs of sugar and 1 cup of MSG “flavor enhancer.” Seriously, you cannot help but laugh when you read that!

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You will need:

  • A cupcake pan with holes drilled in the bottom, as a bonus, now you cant scarf paleo cupcakes because you don’t have a pan to cook them in.
  • a cookie sheet (we used disposable)
  • enough chicken thighs to put one in each hole…in this case 12
  • bbq rub
  • bbq sauce
  • chicken stock

Ok, so the holes help the meat drain, so that it does not get “water-logged,” A collection of liquids in the muffin pan will ruin your perfect, slightly crisp skin that is so sought after when cooking BBQ chicken.  You can start prepping your meat by cutting the knuckle end off of the bone and trimming the bone down until it fits in your pan.  Trim all the big chunks fat off the edges of the chicken, and especially off the edges of the skin.  I know fat is good for us, but too much fat =soggy, rubbery skin.  Sprinkle a little BBQ rub, or just some salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken thigh and place it skin side down in the pan.

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Be sure to trim off any excessively large chunks of meat that stick out of each little nest and then throw those babies on your smoker.  We used our stick-burner for this one, which is a large offset box that we burn whole logs of wood in, instead of the usual charcoal-wood chips combo that I use for the bullet.  Put the cupcake pan onto a cookie sheet and pour a layer of chicken stock into the cookie sheet, being very careful not to get it on the meat.

Don't use your good bone-broth for this, as you are just going to discard it later

Don’t use your good bone-broth for this, as you are just going to discard it later

Smoke the meat at 275 using a strong wood, we used mesquite which is traditionally not for chicken, but the meat is only in the smoker about as long as the media cared about John Travolta flashing his junk to a hotel masseuse…not very long, so it makes a stronger wood acceptable.  Smoke the chicken for about an hour, or until the internal temp gets to about 140-145, then pull it off, flip the chicken and put it back in the pan skin side up.  Before returning it to the smoker sprinkle the skin with more rub, or salt and pepper, then put it back on the cookie sheet and let it cook for another 30 minutes or so.  Once the internal temp hits 155-160, brush some sauce on top of the chicken and close the lid for another 20-30 minutes.

When they come off the smoker, cover them with some foil and let them rest for about 3 minutes, then glaze again with sauce one more time before serving. Here is a perfect recipe for BBQ sauce, this stuff with make your meat sweet and juicy, like JLo’s backside.

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That’s it for this week, we have been Qing up a storm of Whole30/Sugar Detox compatible foods, so check back next week for more smokey goodness.  Shotgun Chelle signing out!

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Barbeque, Chicken

 

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Oh Jeez, She is Angry Again…

Definition of barbeque
abbr. BBQ
NOUN
1.outdoor party with food cooked outdoors: an outdoor party where people eat food cooked on a grill
2.food cooked on grill: food, especially meat, poultry, and fish, cooked on a grill
3.equipment for cooking outdoors: an apparatus, including a grill and fuel, used for cooking food outdoors
[ Mid-17th century. < American Spanish barbacoa, probably < Arawak barbakoa “frame of sticks” ]
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Guess what the definition of BBQ does not include:
1. Meat covered in a sugary-red sauce that you cooked in your crock pot
2. Pulled meat products of any kind that were cooked indoors
3.  Anything that requires electricity to cook.
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I really tried not to start this post with another pissed off rant, but it did not happen once I started looking at recipe blogs this morning.  I do not care what you call it, but if you are cooking indoors you are not making bbq.  You can make pulled pork inside, but you cannot make BBQ pulled pork.  Do you understand?  Real barbecue is a friggin art and takes time and dedication to master.  It makes me angry when you people throw that term around just because there is some sugary red crap on your meat.   I want to beat them with a slab of baby backs until they change the name of their recipe to not include the word barbecue!
Now, while we are on the subject of BBQ, do you want to learn how to do a St. Louis style cut on spare ribs?  Of course you do! Now that we are nice and pissed off let’s go grab a knife!
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This, ladies and gentlemen, is a slab of the finest spare ribs.  Wrapping around one half of the slab is an extra hunk of meat that is not actually part of the ribs themselves, and for aesthetic purposes it is often trimmed off.
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With your fingers you will be able to feel where the excess meat is that is not directly attached to the bones.
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Trim the excess off in an L shape and throw that sh*t in your crock pot for some BBQ pulled pork! Haha.
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Now, we cooked these exactly the same as we always cook spare ribs, because there is no sense in messing with perfection.  So you can follow these instructions.  What you end up with is a nice rectangular slab or ribs that you can use to impress your neighbors, or to stick it to that b*tch at a potluck who brought a tofu salad.
 
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Posted by on December 27, 2012 in Barbeque, Pork, Technique

 

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Smoked Deer Jerky

Do you want to know why I hate the rain? It drives my little fur babies inside where they just sit around and look depressed in between random bouts of tearing up the house.  If I put on Animal Planet the big one is fine, but the munchkin hasn’t quite caught on to watching TV just yet.  I know, I am a terrible parent letting them watch TV all day.

Alas, not Caeser Milan again!

Alas, not Caesar Milan again!

While they have been busy driving me crazy I was making smoked jerky.  My spoiled yuppie dogs would not even eat any raw venison.  If there is anything a dog should like it is freshly killed wild game, but no.  They wanted the nicely seasoned and cooked chicken thighs that were sitting on the counter for lunch.  Spoiled little monsters.  To keep the puppy entertained I just throw a lemon on the floor, which you can see here .  I am not sure if that is for the her entertainment or mine, but this went on for a solid hour before she got bored.  The lemon is like crack to her, she knows it will make her suffer, but she just can’t stay away.

Why do you torture me ma?

Why do you torture me ma?

If you want to make them feel better, you can of course share some deer jerky with them, but first you have to make it.  So, get some mesquite wood soaking and your BBQ set to 175, only use about 1/4 of a chimney full of briquettes.  You want to cook on very very low indirect heat here, because you are just trying to dry the meat, not cook it.  Remember, because the meat is still technically raw, you will want to store your jerky in the fridge.  You don’t have to use deer, any small beef roast or cut of steak will work too, I have not tried this with poultry yet though.

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Cut your meat into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick, it really helps if the meat is slightly frozen.  Put your slices in a bowl with a marinade made from

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 TB Worcestershire sauce (optional, you can add more salt to the marinade if omitting)
  • 1 TB honey
  • 3/4 TB – 1TB salt
  • 1 TB BBQ rub

Add extra water if needed to cover the meat.  This recipe makes enough marinade for up to 2lbs of meat.  Let it soak up the awesome juice for 1-2 hours, then discard the marinade.  Cover your cooking grate with tin foil and then poke some holes in it to let the smoke through.  This is just a precautionary measure, but I was worried about some of the smaller pieces falling through the grates as they shrunk up a bit.  It is part redneck ingenuity, part BBQ genius.

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The setup

You only need to add smoke in at the beginning, since meat this small cannot continue to pick up smoke flavor through the whole drying process.  Leave the strips on there until they start to look dry and brittle, ours took about 1 hour and 50 minutes.  If you need to add more charcoal, remember to add lit briquettes, as the ones in the smoker will not be hot enough to light them.

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After you are done, let it cool for an hour or so and then dig in.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Barbeque, Game, Snacks

 

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