Sunday, August 31, 2008

How to Use a Smoker-Shortibs the Final Episode ...

How to use a smoker with Brewski Bob's soon to be famous short ribs ..... the Final Episode!

The results:

Smoking took longer than anticipated (as usual). At 2 hours I checked the BBQ smoker and th
e meat looked wonderful but wasn’t tender yet. I wrapped it in alum foil and continued to cook at 220° for another hour and a half. I then placed them on the grill and slathered with my favorite BBQ sauce and cooked for just a few minutes.

Served with a summer salad of red and yellow tomatoes, fresh sliced cucumbers, fresh basil,
cottage cheese, a dash of salt, pepper, sugar and a tiny drizzle of balsamic,…..some fresh sweet corn….a couple cold beverages and…….. fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, it don’t get any better!

Brewski is nearly famous for his BBQ smoking recipes and you just never know what he is going to come up with .... I just wish that I was up in Batavia IL for this feast.

How to use a smoker? Brewski Bob knows!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Killer Short Ribs with KISS!

Once again, Aunt Patti and Uncle Brewski have come forward with a "killer" recipe ... this time it is for beef short ribs:

Today How to Use a Smoker is going to celebrate Labor Day by following the K.I.S.S. system.

We are going to do a really easy, quick method to smoke some beef short ribs.

We procured a nice package of short ribs from the warehouse club butcher, a little over 5lbs.

After a nice massage with a simple rub,

Brewski’s Short Rib Rub:

2T Kosher (coarse) salt 2T Onion Powder

2T coarse ground black pepper 1T Garlic Powder

2t Celery Salt

and then a little rest to reach room temperature, the ribs are ready for the BBQ smoker. We are going to try using an Oak smoke today and have the smoker set at 220°. Estimated time of plate arrival for these tasty little dudes is about two hours, so pull up a lawn chair, get a cold one and enjoy the holiday!

Bentley Brown, fur child of Brewski and Patti, chooses to forgo the "cold one" in lieu of a cob of fresh sweet corn. I've tasted the corn before and I'm not sure which one I would choose ... LOL!

P.S. I’ll let you know tomorrow how they turn out!

Monday, August 25, 2008

How to Use a Smoker with Brewski’s Brisket

This was sent to me by my good friends Brewski Bob and Aunt Patti. Well known on the Brown's Blue Bus Circuit and true champions in their own kitchen, I would go out of my way to eat at their kitchen table anyday ... LOL! I only wished they had sent me down some brisket!

Today “How To Use A Smoker” is going to smoke up some beef brisket. First we selected a butcher trimmed piece from a local warehouse club. We looked for a piece that has a nice even layer of fat on one side. Before going any further it’s a good idea to have a look at the brisket to determine which way the grain is running. You always want to slice it against the grain, and it’s much easier to determine the direction before placing on the BBQ smoker and the meat takes on that wonderful smoked look and color. After scoring the fat in a diagonal crisscross pattern (about 1” squares) we carefully rubbed every inch of the brisket with the dry rub, working it into every nook and cranny.

Brewski’s brisket rub:

1/2C paprika

1T chili powder

1/8C black pepper

1T garlic powder

1/8C kosher (coarse) salt

1T onion powder

1/8C sugar

1t cayenne pepper

Try to make the rub a day or two before to let the flavors marry together.

When rubbing the meat, I like to use a little olive oil spray to just barely moisten the rub if the meat juices are not sufficient. Next we wrap the meat tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge overnight.

The next morning remove the brisket and allow it to reach room temperature before throwing it on the BBQ smoker fat side up. The plan is to smoke this 5.5lb piece for about 6 hours in a ~210 deg smoker. I’m going to use a remote reading digital thermometer to monitor the meat temp and let it smoke until it reaches 190 deg.

Today I am also going to try a mop. I don’t usually use a mop because opening the smoker every hour or so looses all the heat and really slows things down.

Brewski’s Basic mop:

1T Brewski’s Brisket Rub

12oz dark beer

1 small onion chopped fine

1/2C cider vinegar

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2C water

1T Worcestershire sauce

1/4C canola oil

1 small onion chopped finely

Make this up the day before and place in a non-reactive bowl. Be careful not to seal too tightly to let the carbonation escape. Heat the mop before using and mop the meat every hour or so, starting about the beginning of hour 3.

When you have reached the desired temperature remove the meat and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing against the grain. Serve on a bun, or not, with your favorite BBQ sauce and cold beverage. Add an ear of fresh picked sweet corn and a little homemade slaw ……… OooooohhhhWeeeeeee. Enjoy!

Comments: I used hickory this try, only because I could not readily find oak, which I would have preferred. After about 5 hrs the meat was at 151 deg and not moving, so I bumped the smoker temp up to 250. After a total time of about 7 hours (I think it slowed because of the mopping) the brisket finally reached 190 and was ready to come off. The results???………awesome!

Gosh, I can hardly write any comments on this delicious sounding smoker recipe because my eyes keep tearing up, or maybe it is the drool .... !

How to use a smoker ? Just ask Brewski!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

How to Use a Smoker for YUMMY Beef Back Ribs

When you think about how to use a smoker and want some yummy ribs, think, "where's the beef?" While beef back ribs aren't nearly as popular as their porky cousins they are totally delish and even better, they cost less than pork ribs ... LOL!

Beef back ribs are taken from the upper part of the rib cage, right next to the tenderloin ... and we know how good these "bad boys" taste!

As with any time you decide to use your BBQ smoker, preparation is the key. Succulent, lip smacking ribs require a few basic steps.
  1. When you are at the store, ring the bell and talk with your butcher. Tell him that you want the meatiest slabs of beef that he has for your meat smoker. Make him a friend, out him on your Christmas card list. A good butcher can make or break you when it comes right down to how to use a smoker.
  2. Ask your "new" friend if he will remove the fell or fat and membrane from the backside of the ribs. If not, you can do it yourself by working something like a screwdriver next to the bone and grabbing hold of the membrane with a dish towel and giving a strong, steady pull.
  3. After the ribs are cleaned up break out your favorite dry rub. I always make sure that I wash my ribs first before rubbing. Nothing worse that cutting your hands on small bone shards! I like to use a combo of whatever spices I have in my cabinet. Sometimes I like a bit more spice and add a goodly dose of cayenne pepper to the rub ... even cinnamon sneaks in sometimes ... it creates an interesting flavor.
Now is the time to make sure your smoker is ready for action at 250 F. Drape the ribs over the grilling grates and monitor the "action" and wait. It may take up to 8 hours for the ribs to become tender and fall off the bone. Every slab is a bit different so just pay attention. If you want to hurry the action up you can always wrap the ribs in foil.

When the beef ribs are done, slather on some terrific BBQ sauce and let the ribs do the talking for you! Oh MY!!!!!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it ......

Friday, August 22, 2008

How to Use a Smoker for Drunken Drummies!

How to use a smoker to enjoy outdoor cooking is sometimes just about using your imagination. We were recently visited by Tropical Storm Fay and while she didn't do a lot of damage, she did knock our electricity out for 2 days. What a bummer! How to cook fabulous meals without the stove? By moving outside to the BBQ smoker ... Big Al came up with a tasty new treat. Now, I will admit that we really didn't use the wood chips to smoke because we were too close to the house and the weather wasn't co-operating to move further away so we just had the grill on low with the propane for that slow cooked YUMMY taste and texture.

I had a large pack of chicken drummies that were ready to go. Alfred did a quick sear then placed them on foil, low heat and basted constantly with my BBQ sauce mixture. A mixture of my favorite premade sauce, Caribbean jerk seasonings, Teriyaki sauce, EVOO, S & P.

The last hour Big Al steamed these chicken drummies in beer as you can see in the video. WOW! These were absolutely great. Moist, tender and fall off the bone succulent. A real lip smacking delight.

I have made drunken chicken with the whole bird many times, but have never branched out into drunken drummies ... next time you want to use your BBQ smoker, give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

How to Use your Smoker for the Best Darn Pork Butt!

How to use your smoker to make the best darn pork butt ... preparation is the key!

Get an 8 pound pork butt ... now that is actually a pork shoulder, but "butt" is more FUN to say!

4 cups wood chips, ( I like to use hickory) soak them in water for 1 hour

Preheat your BBQ smoker grill to 225 degrees F. I use an electric smoker to keep the temp steady.

Inject the pork butt with brine about every 2-inches:

1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

combine the brine until the salt and sugar dissolve and fill up your meat syringe.

Now rub with marinade:

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons of chopped garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Place all the marinade ingredients into a blender and whip until smooth.

Let's get serious now with a dry rub:

Dry Rub:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sweet paprika
1/4 cup coarse salt
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup dry mustard
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Old Bay crab boil seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Rub this on generously. Once you have given your pork all this kind of "love" it is ready for the smoker grill!
Place the pork on the grill, directly over the drip pan and cook. Be sure to keep the temperature steady if you are using charcoal.

After 6 hours, spray the pork with cider mop every half hour. You can actually mop this on or use a spray bottle, which is what I do. Cook until a thermometer placed into the thickest part of pork reaches 195 degrees F.

Cider Mop Spray:
1 cup apple juice
1 cup water
1/4 cup cider vinegar

Once the butt comes up to 195F take it out of the smoker and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the bone and chop or "pull" the pork making sure that you mix in some of the really tasty outer area with the juicy inner meat ... WOW ... I am starting to salivate here!

Serve with sandwich rolls, your favorite side dishes along with a BBQ sauce of your choice and you, my friend, have a terrific feast! Invite your family and friends and PS. Please invite ME!

Learning how to use a smoker just takes commitment, so practice, practice, practice.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

How to Use a Smoker with KINGS!

One of my very first experiments when learning how to use a smoker was King Mackeral.

My husband proudly presented me with a humongous fish that he had just reeled in from the Gulf of Mexico. YIKES! What to do? Well, since that day, I have become quite proficient in not only using my electric smoker in actually smoking the fish, but my smoked fish dip has made me quite popular with the neighbors!

Preparation is the key in how to use a smoker with success and I start out by brining the fish fillets:

Kingfish fillets
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 quarts of water

Mix sugar, salt, garlic, lemon and water. Soak fish in
mixture for four hours, turning every half-hour or so. Remove the
fish and rinse gently. Allow it to dry on a rack until a glaze forms.

Next soak your wood chips .... I like to use hickory and I soak it in a water and beer mix.

The smoking usually takes between 4-6 hours at about 250F. I start checking for doneness after 4 hours....the fish should be a dark rich color and flake when you break it.

As for my special recipe for dip? I got it out of Florida Sportsman Hook to Table Book many years ago:

1 cup smoked kingfish
3/4 cup equal portions of sour cream and yogurt
2 tbsp finely minced celery
2 tbsp sweet pickle relish
1/2 small sweet onion finely diced
Squeeze of lemon juice
Dash of garlic powder
S & P to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill for a few hours in the fridge to let the flavors mingle and marry. Serve with your favorite crackers and cold beer. How to use a smoker ..... does it get better than this?

Friday, August 15, 2008

How to Use a Smoker – Electric, Gas or Charcoal, OH MY!

Oh my, how to choose the best smoker when you are just learning how to use a smoker. Should you use bottle propane gas, that you haul around and fill up at the store, what about charcoal briquettes, some of them have quite a distinct flavor or maybe just say to heck with it and use an electric smoker which is easy to handle and all you need is a 110 outlet standing close by. Each type of smoker has pros and cons and everyone has their very own favorite.

Charcoal grills add a flavor that no other grill can match. Some briquettes even come in different flavors. It is quite easy to add natural woods to the charcoal and the end result can be very tasty. Of course, many of the latest grill designs give you the option to add the natural woods also. The real trick to charcoal smoking is making sure that the lighter fluid has had a chance to burn off. There is nothing worse than smoked pork butt with lighter fluid aftertaste! Charcoal also has the disadvantage of being tough to control the temperature and you do have to watch for flare up that might char your meat.

Propane is much easier to control, but you need to make sure that you chooses a model that allows you to crank up the heat if need be. Flare ups usually aren’t an issue since splashing grease doesn't cause add-on ceramic briquettes to produce a scorching flame. I have found that I always keep two bottles in reserve. There is nothing worse than running out of gas at a critical time during the smoking process. Who wants to break up the party to run to the store for more gas?

If you choose to go with an electric smoker make sure that it allows you to raise the temp above400F. With smoking you usually don’t need a heat that high, but you never know and you should have a model that is all purpose.

Of course some purists think that electric smokers are for sissies and it is just like cooking in your kitchen only outside! Well, it all comes down to choice when you are learning how to use a smoker … Electric, Gas or Charcoal, OH MY!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How to Use a Smoker - Rubs, Marinades and Mops!

When you learn how to use a smoker you need to consider how you will add extra flavor. Of course, the wood smoke adds a great deal and the predominate flavor, but then you need to have the icing on the cake, so to speak.

You have a couple of choices here. Do you want to marinade, use a BBQ sauce, a dry rub or maybe just mop the whole darn thing!

The marinade is something you have to plan in advance and then let your meat hang out with this tasty sauce for up to twenty fours hours before you actually put it on the smoker. A rub will go on before you put these bad boys on the grill and let the dry rub char on the outside of your meat. As for a BBQ sauce or mop, well, you have to decide how much "sugars" are in the sauce and when you want to apply. The longer these sauces are in the heat the more chance you have of them actually burning a bit and giving you that charred flavor.

So while you are learning how to use a smoker, you have to decide whether you want to rub, marinade or mop ... OH MY!!!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

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Friday, August 8, 2008

How to Use a Smoker as a Weapon

You will have to simply read the latest way on how to use a smoker ... you wouldn't believe me if I tried to tell you. Thank goodness they didn't have any of my ribs on that grill or the charges would have been have been a lot worse than just aggravated battery .... LOL ...

How to use a smoker ... I don't think so

August 08, 2008

ALEXANDRIA, La - A man and a woman found a new use for a barbecue pit - one that landed them in jail.

An argument over whether a third guest should stay in the house got so heated that the woman picked up the barbecue pit and hit the man over the head with it, police said.

The man picked up the barbecue pit and returned the favor and hit the woman in the head with it, police reported. The woman then told police that she picked up the barbecue pit and hit the back window of the man's car with it.

Police admit that the whole situation was confusing, but after medics treated the man and the woman, they were handcuffed, read their rights and taken to jail.

The man was booked on a charge of aggravated battery and the woman was booked with aggravated battery and simple criminal damage to property valued less than $500.


Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk,

Thursday, August 7, 2008

How to Use a Smoker and Become A Neighborhood LEGEND!

How to use a smoker? I get that question a lot. Is it the same as a regular BBQ grill or is it something different altogether? Well, yes and no ….
Throughout mans history, smoking food, and meat in general, has always been one of the basic parts of cooking and preserving our foods. Our ancestors also recognized the great taste that smoke infused into the foods we eat and that it was a terrific benefit! It is this delicious smoked taste that has carried over into the modern world with BBQ smokers to fit every pocket book and lifestyle.
So, what is the real difference between the afternoon BBQ grill and the serious smoker? The main difference is the temperature of the heat used and the amount and kinds of smoke that is involved in the whole cooking process. Regular BBQ uses a higher heat and the food cooks much quicker. Take a steak for instance. Four minutes per side for many steaks and you have a perfect medium rare, where as smoking a rack of ribs will take several hours to get just right. With your steak, you do not want flare ups or smoke. The burned charcoal is just not the best taste for your steaks, compared to a YUMMY Mesquite smoked pork butt.
With properly prepared pulled pork or ribs, the smoked meat will be falling right off the bone and lip smacking delicious! The secret is slow cooking in a BBQ smoker with low heat … as low as 200 to 220 degrees. With home BBQ smokers, BBQ can be cooked as well as any restaurant or competition cooker as long as you pay attention to a few details.
The really cool thing about smoking meats is the fact that the smoking tends to tenderize cheaper cuts of meats and of course, if you start out with expensive cuts, your taste buds will be singing Mama Mia! Even less experienced cooks have a lot of success with smoker grills because the slow cooking and low heat means the food will never dry out or be over cooked. Smoking meat takes so much time, all you really have to do is put the food on the racks and smoke will start to form from the meat's own juices dripping down. All that's really left is making sure the fire stays going for the time needed if you are using a charcoal or wood smoker. Electric smokers even take the worry away from the fire going out … what could be easier?
Check on it every hour or so and you should be good to go for a great smoked meal that will make you the neighborhood cook-off KING!
So when anyone asks me how to use a smoker, I tell them “slowly” and don’t get too hot!

For some terrific tips and tricks on how to use a smoker and killer BBQ smoking recipes, pick up a copy of Competition BBQ Secrets .... you will be glad you did!