BIg Poppa's Obvious Keys to Smoking Happiness
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Thread: BIg Poppa's Obvious Keys to Smoking Happiness

  1. #1
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
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    BIg Poppa's Obvious Keys to Smoking Happiness

    This thread just came to me because a lot of the threads have touched on a lot of this. I also know that all of you probably know all of this but we get a lot of lurkers and newbies.

    The first basic....If you are looking you are not cooking. I've heard that each time you open the pit it slows the cook down by 10-20 minutes depending on the outside ambient temp

    If you arent sure what temp to cook a piece of meat:
    The thinner the cut the hotter and quicker
    the thicker the lower and slower.
    The leaner the meat the quicker you can cook it
    The cheaper the cut the slower the cook A great example is with pork...Tenderloin can be cooked at 300Butts and shoulders 225-275

    When cooking a Brisket or Butt for the first time. The cook will stall out and you will panic . I tell everyone about it and when It happens they panic. This is called the rest. It is where the collagen in the tough meat is converted to gelatin...It can happen anywhere between 155 internal to 170ish...YTou will check back after two hours and think your fire is out or your thermometer is busted. You will open your pit and lose heat and make things worse..Relax when it starts rising it is usually very quick.

    Things to look for at the butcher counter....

    The grading scale is a marketing division of the USDA...use you eyes first. Look at marbling charts on the internet and see what you like. Sometimes at Costco the choice is as good or not better than the prime. IN a rib eye great marbling is better...New yorks wil have a little less unless you get to cook Strube wagyu....
    Filets will have very little marbling.

    For pellet smokers thick steaks are better. If you have a 3/4 of an inch steak cook on high (see the thinner the cut the quicker the cook) 1 1/2 inch steaks love either sear first or reverse sear depending on your preferred style of cooking

    REST YOUR MEAT after cooking. This will require you to pull a few degrees from your desired finishing temp as it will rise before dropping iof lightly tented.

    If you know your desired pit temp and the desired internal meat temp you just need patience and a good wired thermometer.
    Foil...Your friend Also called the Texas Crutch...some diehards dont like it. it is a great resource/tool for 'tenting' which is where you create a tent shaped cover to the meat after it comes off. Many people use foil to wrap their ribs, butts and briskets mid cook once they get the color they want. It helps steam the food...when wrapping it is with two layers of foil and tightly with what ever desired liquid you choose. and the final is the 'FTC" which is 'Foil Towel Cooler'. When you need to hold your meat put a towel in your cooler (beachtowels work great) beachtowels work great. (Make sure there is a towel on the bottom or your hot food could melt your cooler) then you place your meat and put another towel or two to fill up the volume. You also if you are need ing to hold for a little while and not going anywhere just foil the meeat in its pan and cover with a towel.

    Fish likes to be cooked quickly...Its a sear,,,You cook fish like you cook a thin steak you can cook a delicate fish on heavy duty foil or even place an oven ready pan I like cast iron...Because of the delicate nature of the fish you should use either Frogmats or the grill grates. Look at the fish you are going to cook....a swordfish is almost as hearty as a beef steak...cook it on any surface....chilean sea bass is so delicate I actually wrap it in foil and cook with the sauce that I want to use...the sauce is used sparingly in conjunction with the selected seasoning. Salmon needs support when cooking also.
    Veggies...Most fresh veggies need to be cooked on high heat also. Here is the rub....in order to cook through you may not like what the outside looks like. A good technique is to steam or 'blanch' first...To staem you can use your stove top and or take a pyrex oven proof pan and put the veggies in slightly seasoned with a litle water do not fill the pan....and cover with saran wrap and turn to high for a coupla minutes...then season and grill on high heat. I like blanching WHere you take the veggies and put them for just a minute or so into boiling water then quickly remove and cool down into a bowl of ice or cold water....from there you season and smoke or grill on high heat
    Veggies that neeed blanching
    Asparagus, Squash, Snap Peas, String Beans, Broccoli, Cauliflower, carrots
    For artichokes I boil or steam for about 20 minutes I then season and grill on high heat.....No need to cool them down.





    Everyone feel free to add to this thread

  2. #2
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    Great Thread Sterling as I am a total Newb to all of this and want to make sure that I learn all that I can to make myself and the food I cook more successful!
    MAK 2 Star General #324

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rip's Avatar
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    Thanks BP! I've been searching for this kind of info, I know,it's dribbled out everywhere on this site, but but each search has so many distractions (great recipes, tips to research, links to follow)....it's good to have some newbie type generic info collected in one place.

    Example: researching for my first prime rib smoke (1/1) I see all these references to "tenting" with foil...took a while digging to find out it means exactly what it says...no big trick here, but to the newbie, ya never know when there's a little trick to an obvious technique.

    Thanks again for this invaluable forum!
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    Lil Tex (gone to ChiTown)

  4. #4
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
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    Jripo have you watched my videos yet? they are on the BIg Poppa Website on the left hand side under "Outdoor Cooking Videos" the grilling gallery there is cool too hundreds of great recipes...some even by me!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Poppa View Post
    Jrip have you watched my videos yet?
    quite a few, but not all...I have pretty much spent most of my spare time the last week soaking up as much info as possible...finally got smart and started a notebook of interesting stuff to research further....like any good endeavor, the possibilities are almost endless....enjoying the journey so far!
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  6. #6
    Moderator Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Poppa View Post
    When cooking a Brisket or Butt for the first time. The cook will stall out and you will panic . I tell everyone about it and when It happens they panic. This is called the rest. It is where the collagen in the tough meat is converted to gelatin...It can happen anywhere between 155 internal to 170ish...
    I always try to be asleep when this happens!

  7. #7
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    BP, you have a way of helping the newbie, the not so new, and the expert. Thank you for your input.
    MAK 2 Star General is smokin' in So Cal where the waters warm, the skie's are blue and somebody is always having a Que.
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  8. #8
    Moderator scooter's Avatar
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    Keep a log of every aspect of every cook you do. Nothing will help you improve your cooking quicker and guarantee repeat successes better than a log that you can refer back to! jimsbarbecue has created software for you to do just that and has made it available free of charge. Download it, set it up and tailor it to your own specifications and start keeping records. In my mind, this one aspect is the single most important thing you will do to improve your skills.

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  9. #9
    Scooter is right and it is why I made the software because I was not good at doing this and some of my best cooks at the dinner table the family lets me know it is a keeper and I have nothing written down.
    MAK Grills ,BPS Drum Smoker, Ole Hickory Pits Ace BP, Hasty Bake Legacy KCBS CBJ

  10. #10
    Hey, Poppa, tell 'em about your "beach towel" trick after smoking!

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