Monday, September 8, 2008

How to Use a Smoker Reveals Your Cheatin' Heart

How to use a smoker found this on a daily news site surfing the internet and thought I should pass this along .... This reminds me of the old song ... My cheatin' Heart!

What will they think of next?

Some ways to cheat at barbecue

Friday, August 29th 2008, 4:00 AM

Barbecue might be all the rage right now, but that doesn't mean most of us city slickers are making it. Even if we had the time and the know-how to cook a 12-pound brisket slow and low (meaning over low heat for a really long time) most of us don't have any place to legally do it.

That's one of the reasons Mindy Merrell and R.B. Quinn, a food-writing and barbecue-loving couple in decided to write "Cheater BBQ" (Broadway). The other reason, says Merrell, is to give people a way to make barbecue more often.

The book - a compendium of recipes for indoor smoked foods and the sides that complement them - hits shelves next week, just in time for fall. That's right: the fall, because the gist of the book is that you don't need a smoker, a grill, real wood charcoal or even a backyard to make barbecue… just an oven or a crock pot.

You're still cooking slow-and-low, says Merrell, the recipe tester and home economist of the pair, "we're just changing the chamber that you cook it in."

It is, as Quinn puts it, "the solution to serving the greatest American party food in your own home." He's the couple's smoke-loving grill master.

Most professional barbecuers will tell you that the bulk of the work is just leaving the meat untouched to cook slowly. "If you're looking, you're not cooking," jokes Quinn about the common saying. With "Cheater BBQ," you're doing the same thing with an oven or crock pot, he says: "putting on the cover and leaving it alone." In fact, he adds, "going to bed or going to work is the key for [cheater] barbecue."

As for the getting flavor of smoke, says Quinn, you just need a little touch to make things taste right. He insists many outdoor barbecuers who think they need "a chugging locomotive" are overdoing it. "The most important thing I've learned is that smoke is really just another seasoning," says Quinn. "Yes it's critical, but it is no more critical than salt, black pepper, paprika or anything else. Like anything good... it needs to be balanced."

To that end, Quinn and Merrell rely on a little liquid smoke, which, they're proud to point out, is actual liquid smoke and an ingredient lauded by the fastidious food testers at Cook's Illustrated magazine.

Using a little liquid smoke won't raise many eyebrows in New York, especially if the results taste good. But how do the barbecue enthusiasts of Merrell and Quinn's home turf feel about cutting corners?

"They all look at us and say, 'wow, I need that,'" says Merrell.

OK, I know that sometimes we just don't have time to learn how to use a smoker, but really, if you do cheat a bit ... keep it to yourself!


  1. Ooh, cheats ;) Interesting post, thanks!

  2. Obviously Ms. Wharton has never experienced REAL smoker bbq! I wonder what else she cheats on! LOL