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I got into a hobby, if you want to call it that,  about a couple years ago. I went and purchased a smoker and decided to give it a try. Not a pellet or disc but a real log fire smoker. I don't know what they put in those discs to hold the wood together so no, real wood. Cut seasoned cherry, maple, hickory, and oak. 

 

Now its kind of like buying your own 1/2 of beef from your local farmer and having a great tasting steak then going to Outback or Texas Roadhouse. They just don't taste the same. Not one bit. 

 

Well that's what smoking our own meats with real wood and seasoning the meat the way we want it, did to us. No restaurant can compare to what comes out of that smoker. Fall of the bone, juicy, excellent taste, and whatever else you can think of to describe what happens when you bite into your own smoked meat.

 

Anyone else out here smoke their own meats? Let's see some pics and hear some stories or experiences.

 

My outside kitchen.

IMG_4406.JPG

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I got into a hobby, if you want to call it that,  about a couple years ago. I went and purchased a smoker and decided to give it a try. Not a pellet or disc but a real log fire smoker. I don't know wh

If I had all the money I've spent on "disposable" grills over the years, I could buy 1/5 of DavidH's system.  🙂 You guys know - all of the gas grills that are great the day you first use it and then s

Here is mine. I made it 25 years ago from international gas transmission line pipe. Mounted it on separate platform with a center peg so that I can swing it around 360*. Once it heats up it can do a s

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Nice smoker! I have 2 Masterbuilt propane smokers I bought at Lowes. One for the house and one for the hunting camp. I set the temp at 240 degrees which seems like the best temp for outstanding results.

I mix apple, cherry and hickory chips together for a unique taste. I fill the reservoir with apple cider vinegar. 3.5 - 4 hrs is the average for babyback ribs.

Next is trying out a brisket to see if it turns out good. Which rub do you use for brisket?

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1 hour ago, aceman117 said:

Nice smoker! I have 2 Masterbuilt propane smokers I bought at Lowes. One for the house and one for the hunting camp. I set the temp at 240 degrees which seems like the best temp for outstanding results.

I mix apple, cherry and hickory chips together for a unique taste. I fill the reservoir with apple cider vinegar. 3.5 - 4 hrs is the average for babyback ribs.

Next is trying out a brisket to see if it turns out good. Which rub do you use for brisket?

 

I just use Kosher salt and ground black pepper corn with hickory logs. I also try and keep the temp around 240. Chicken and ribs I smoke for 6 hours. Brisket about 11 hours. Briskets are definitely an all day deal. 

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For my first Fathers' Day my wife bought me a Weber Smokey Mountain water smoker. It uses charcoal for fuel and water for a heatsink. My favorite thing to smoke is brisket.  I still haven't had much success with ribs, but I keep trying. Recently, I bought a set of thermometers from Thermoworks - one for grill temp and one for internal temp. The base station will even transmit the info to a receiver, so I can check temps without having to go outside. I try and keep my grill temp around 225. I've always wanted to try smoking with wood, but it does seem much more challenging than charcoal with smokewood chunks mixed in.

20200418_111723_copy_524x998.jpg.9badacf6ae7f90a8374963aee9371127.jpg
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6 hours ago, Rob said:

I got into a hobby, if you want to call it that,  about a couple years ago. I went and purchased a smoker and decided to give it a try. Not a pellet or disc but a real log fire smoker. I don't know what they put in those discs to hold the wood together so no, real wood. Cut seasoned cherry, maple, hickory, and oak. 

 

Now its kind of like buying your own 1/2 of beef from your local farmer and having a great tasting steak then going to Outback or Texas Roadhouse. They just don't taste the same. Not one bit. 

 

Well that's what smoking our own meats with real wood and seasoning the meat the way we want it, did to us. No restaurant can compare to what comes out of that smoker. Fall of the bone, juicy, excellent taste, and whatever else you can think of to describe what happens when you bite into your own smoked meat.

 

Anyone else out here smoke their own meats? Let's see some pics and hear some stories or experiences.

 

My outside kitchen.

 

 

A few of us post to What's cookin occasionally.

 

Some pics there of some of our efforts. Don't read that thread on an empty stomach.

 

I have a smoker similar to yours, and my favorite woods to use are mulberry with pork and northern red oak with beef. I've tried many others, but those are the absolute tops for me.

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I wonder where Travis is hiding, this topic is his specialty!  Also not seen @RonW in a while, he does bbq competitions!  Smoke should kill the coronavirus!!!

 

barryG

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On 4/18/2020 at 2:22 PM, PhilDent said:

For my first Fathers' Day my wife bought me a Weber Smokey Mountain water smoker. It uses charcoal for fuel and water for a heatsink. My favorite thing to smoke is brisket.  I still haven't had much success with ribs, but I keep trying. Recently, I bought a set of thermometers from Thermoworks - one for grill temp and one for internal temp. The base station will even transmit the info to a receiver, so I can check temps without having to go outside. I try and keep my grill temp around 225. I've always wanted to try smoking with wood, but it does seem much more challenging than charcoal with smokewood chunks mixed in.

20200418_111723_copy_524x998.jpg.9badacf6ae7f90a8374963aee9371127.jpg

 

That is a great set up. Totally different than what I am used to but I have seen cold smoking before but never tried it. Keep practicing with the ribs and I am sure you will conquer it. 😎

On 4/18/2020 at 4:09 PM, Sk1Bum said:

 

A few of us post to What's cookin occasionally.

 

Some pics there of some of our efforts. Don't read that thread on an empty stomach.

 

I have a smoker similar to yours, and my favorite woods to use are mulberry with pork and northern red oak with beef. I've tried many others, but those are the absolute tops for me.

 

I would have never thought about mulberry but it is a fruit tree so why not. I will definitely try it.🍖

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2 minutes ago, Rob said:

 

That is a great set up. Totally different than what I am used to but I have seen cold smoking before but never tried it. Keep practicing with the ribs and I am sure you will conquer it. 😎

 

I would have never thought about mulberry but it is a fruit tree so why not. I will definitely try it.🍖

 

It gives a sweet/sour tang to the meat.

 

It burns very hot and very fast. I've also had it pop like flint in a fire. It's hard on a chainsaw too.

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7 hours ago, PhilDent said:

I still haven't had much success with ribs, but I keep trying.

 

Hey Tim, give country style ribs a try. I've cooked many of them in a smoker similar to the one you're using. They're not really ribs. They're a back cut. I found them much easier to nail than slabs or baby backs. 

 

Another trick is to put a bit orange juice in the water pan. Fresh squeezed, unsweetened is best, because all that cooked sugar in the pan is quite challenging to remove. 

 

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I've gotta stop reading this one.  I'm stuck at work right through to 8am, with only a week old slice of cold pizza, and the more I read of this, the more the poor guys doing cable work start looking like they might do good on a spit....    **))

 

Thanks to all for some of the great tips and ideas, BTW - that's the actual reason I added a note here.  ~^   I don't do much with smoking - I prefer it to be subtle, but my BBQ does have a built-in smoker that I plan to try some of your ideas with.

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2 minutes ago, Receiver2000 said:

Looks good and I see that you got the first step right - you cracked a beer.

Actually, I put it there for set dressing and I am making myself wait until noon. T minus 3 minutes...

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12 minutes ago, Receiver2000 said:

You know, in some jurisdictions, having a beer in hand is code.

 

It's a requirement for your man card here. :D

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Great topic.   I built one out of a bread proofer,   I installed a wood biscuit feeder, ( you can do a variety of woods, apple, cherry, mesquite, etc).  I installed two dryer heating coils, one is 1500 Watts the other 2000 Watts.  both are controlled by separate temperature control units and can set for temp control  and set for duration with ability to change automatically up to 6 times depending on how you set it up.  You can do box temperature control and meat thermometer control.   Installed adjustable vent in top and has air vents at the bottom.  I like it a lot, your not stuck to it for 6 or 8 hours or more monitoring temps.  Proofer looks like this  s-l1600.jpg

 

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If I had all the money I've spent on "disposable" grills over the years, I could buy 1/5 of DavidH's system.  🙂 You guys know - all of the gas grills that are great the day you first use it and then steadily deteriorate until you toss them out. Charcoal grills - rusting out on the bottom, racks falling apart, etc.

 

Enter the Traeger - a very high quality pellet grill.

 

I am not a great cook. I do love tasty food and I enjoy sharing with family and friends. My brother-in-law had been raving about his pellet grill for some time and I decided to do some research on the grills and wood pellets in particular. I learned two important items - wood pellets for cooking are VASTLY DIFFERENT than wood pellets for heating and bigger is better when it comes to grills.

 

Wood pellets for heating are made with all types of woods, bound with many different substances that are not appropriate for food preparation. Wood pellets for cooking are 100% hardwood. No binders or fillers - just hardwood. They are compressed with extreme pressure and that helps them deliver both heat and intense smoke flavor when burned. The better brands are 100% the type of wood advertised (alder, maple, hickory, mesquite, apple, pecan, cherry, oak, etc.) and you can definitely smell and taste a difference in the different wood varieties.

 

Reading hundreds of reviews on various pellet grills, I discovered a common theme - outside of tailgating or camping, almost everyone who purchased a smaller version of the pellet grill of their choice remarked how they wished they had bought the larger sized one instead. My brother-in-law said the same thing to me. Armed with said information I started researching pellet grills in earnest.

 

Fast forward a few weeks and I am in Costco. There is a guy there with a whole Traeger grill setup. He had a small tail-gater grill, two mid-size units and the largest home unit available. I had decided that Traeger was on the short list of grills in my research so I went over to check them out.

 

For those who don't know how they work, here's a picture description:

Traeger Cutaway 2.jpg

 

Here's a cutaway view of a small Traeger:

Traeger Cutaway.jpg

 

Here's mine:

Traeger Texas Elite 34.jpg

 

Looking at the Traeger, the sales guy approached. I asked for the basic info he felt was important. Smart guy - he realized the "food is so good on a XXX grill" sales pitch wasn't going to fly with me. He immediately jumped into the pertinent stuff:

 

1. The entire grill, minus the legs, is powder coated steel. The steel is heavy gauge - the grill weighs about 130 lbs.

2. The firebox, heat baffle and grease drain pan are all made of heavy gauge stainless steel. No rusting away, no damage from thermal cycling.

3. The grill grates are porcelain - no rusting away.

4. The temperature controller has two optional temp probes - perfect for monitoring both racks of ribs. You don't have to use them to grill however.

5. You can buy replacement parts right from their web site. They use the same motors, fans, controllers across many models for simplicity and to ensure availability.

6. There are quite a few accessories available for the grills too. Three I thought were must haves are a thermal blanket for winter grilling, a top rack and a front shelf. The thermal blanket really helps with maintaining temps in the winter and it lowers pellet consumption. The front shelf folds so the cover will still fit. The top rack is 1/3rd the depth of the main rack - perfect for parking veggies, breads, etc. out of the way but still in the heat and smoke.

 

This is the newer version of my grill with the blanket - the legs are angled, making it a bit sturdier.

Traeger Blanket.jpg

 

The sales guy then told me that most customers who bought the smaller grill (usually to save $$) ended up wishing they had bought the larger one. I already knew this from my brother-in-law and the reviews I had read so I was pleased that he was honest about his customers.

 

I bought the Texas Elite 34, the largest they made at the time. The Costco promotion included a cover, the top rack, three bottles of Traeger Chicken Rub, three bottles of Traeger Beef Rub, two 20 lb. bags of pellets (one hickory, one mesquite) and a recipe book. I added the blanket and front shelf later. All told it was $800 or so. I see now they have the same grill, with the top rack, cover, pellets, etc. for $699 on their web site. That is a good deal, IMHO. The new ones even offer wi-fi connectivity so you can adjust it remotely.

 

One downfall of this grill / smoker - it is 120VAC powered. If the power goes off and comes back on it will not re-start itself. If you intend to do an all-day, unattended smoke session I recommend you plug it into a decent sized UPS.

 

I did not intend to make this a Traeger sales pitch but I did want to share that this is a very well-built grill that should provide a lifetime of cooking if you give it basic care. I have had mine for four years now and it has ZERO rust or corrosion.

 

Anyway, this is how I cook a brisket. I start by getting a 10 - 12 lb brisket - from Costco usually. I try to find one that is mostly flat and has an even pad of fat across it. I pull it out of the refrigerator at midnight the night before I intend to cook it. Letting it warm up a bit before cooking keeps the the cook time to 12 hours or so. The first one I cooked took 15 hours because I pulled it from the refrigerator and went straight to the grill with it. Lesson learned. Anyway...

 

I make a "mopping sauce" with the following ingredients and put it in a spray bottle.

 

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tbs chile powder

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup beef broth

1/2 cup cold brewed coffee

 

I heat the Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, beef broth and coffee together and then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Heating the liquids really helps with dissolving the solids, making spraying easier.

 

My rub is simple - I use a 1/4 cup of John Henry's Texas Brisket Rub mixed with 1 tbs of ground coffee.

 

Coat the meat side of the brisket with the rub, let it set for a few minutes to stick to the meat and then place it on the grill, fat side up. Set the controller for "Smoke" and smoke for four hours. Once the smoking session is complete, adjust the temperature to 225 F. Spray the entire fat side of the brisket once an hour with the mopping sauce, making sure to shake the sauce before spraying it. Cook the brisket until the meat probe shows 190 F in the thickest part of the meat. This will take 6 - 8 hours for a 12lb. brisket. I usually start my grilling at 6:00 AM and serve the brisket around 6:00 PM, depending upon the temperature of the meat.

 

If you like a lot of smoke flavor I have found mesquite seems to be smokier than the other woods. So far I prefer hickory and / or oak for brisket. The good news is it's easy to try different flavors so have at it.

 

Last but not least - one of the secrets of great grilled meats is allowing them to "rest" before you serve them. I pull the brisket off at 190 F and put it on the serving platter (be sure the platter has a lip all around as the meat will be juicy). I wrap the platter and meat in a layer of foil and then I set the platter on a thick beach towel. I then cover the entire platter in another thick beach towel, insulating it while it rests for 30 minutes or so. Slice it across the grain and serve.

 

If you like barbecue sauce with your brisket but like a little sweet and kick together, this is a simple mix I make for myself. I put Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce in a small cup and add Texas Pete Hot Sauce. Adjust the hot sauce until you get the right combo for you. Easy, cheap and really adds a bit to the brisket.

 

This is the last brisket I made, back in early March. You can see what I mean by the juice coming from the meat. It is very juicy and tender because it was cooked on low temp for 12 hours or so. I was pretty happy with the smoke ring and everyone said I made the best brisket they've ever had.  🙂 

Small Brisket 1.jpg

 

Small Brisket 2.jpg

 

Small Brisket 3.jpg

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