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Best meat to learn.

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I just purchased my first smoker, a Weber Smoky Mountain.  Being a "frugal" consumer, what meat is recommended to "learn on"?  

post #2 of 19

Welcome Aboard!

Chicken for the short smoke and pork butt to try your hand at a long haul.

Now being that you went right in and got a WSM, I suggest spending a few hours reading about WSMs on here. I personally don't have one but I do know they are the best charcoal smoker other than a UDSjedismily.gif


Head into Roll Call and introduce yourself. You have come to the right place for info, advice, help, friendship, etc.. There are many professionals as well as experienced backyard smokers here so feel free to ask any question (the only dumb question is the one that is unasked) and they will be addressed in the most appropriate way.


BTW, we have a thing here called q-view where we post pics and kinda illustrate our topics. A picture tells a thousand words so please do include some q-view of your smoker and your food prep / smoke..


post #3 of 19

Chicken is quick and easy. For a longer smoke and something to impress people, I would go with a pork butt for pulled pork. It is worth while to take the 5-day e-course before you start.You will be amazed at what you will learn.




post #4 of 19

Bone in pork butt if by far the most forgiving and easy.  Drop over to the pork threads and find loads of info.  Chicken is not hard but make sure you cook at a higher temp for both safety and crispy skin.  You can find all ya need to learn about chicken in the poultry threads.  Also take a look at the top of the page at the search feature.  It will enable you to go direct to areas of interest. 


You are in beef now so a word about brisket.  It seems brisket has a rep for being difficult.  Brisket is about method and controlled temps.  Once you do one well you will always want one if you are a beef eater.  I suggest at first just to smoke the flat section seperated from the point.  It will cook very even that way and the point can be cooked unfoiled the whole smoke to make some kicken burnt ends. 


My brisket flat method.  Smoker at 225F.  Night before I rub and inject the flat with beef broth mixed with my rub at 2 tbs per cup.  I refridgerate overnight.  Take out of fridge about 20 minutes before going to the smoker so outside of the cut reaches close to room temp.  This will help not allow creosote from condensing on the meat which is a bitter taste if you ever had it.  Since I inject I have to get the meats internal temp over 140F in 4 hrs or less.  This usually is not an issue at 225F but over 250F you will be cooking it too fast and it may be tough.


At about 5 hrs or internal temp of 155-160 I foil with a splash of apple juice or more broth.  If sliceing I pull at about 190.F and place in a cooler wrapped in towels for min. 1 hr to rest.   This is important step in the process.  Anything over 200 F and you can pull it like pork. 

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you.  I just signed up for the 5 day course.

post #6 of 19

Oh yes one more thing.  If you have not been to roll call please go and introduce yourself.  We love welcoming new members and it lets us get an idea of areas you may wish help in.  Good smokes.

post #7 of 19

Burgers and meatloaf are quick and easy smokes that yield excellent results. As mentioned before a Boston butt is easy to smoke but you should be skilled in controlling your temperatures before i would dive into that. Chicken is a inexpensive smoke also and the finished product will surprise you. Whatever you smoke take plenty of pictures and share with us...We Love Q-View!!!!thumb1%20copy.gif

post #8 of 19

Birds & Butts...


Thinking the same thing here, only quarter the yard bird. This will give you small enough subjects to not test your patience very much, as well as give you the best method for controlling the finished temps by separating the dark and white meats. I probe for finished temps of 170-172* in the thigh and 165-168* in the breast. USDA minimum recommended temp is 165* for poultry, but I have found some red meat and juices near the bone of the thigh at much under 170*, so I go a bit higher to make that go away. 225-300* will work for birds...higher temps for less rubber-skin syndrome, but I haven't found any guaranteed method to get crispy skin, even with butter baste, olive oil pre-rub treatments, etc. Tossing the bird onto a hot grill for a few minutes when it's about 10* under your desired finished temps can help crisp the skin and bring the bird up to finish temp at the same time. Or you can go skinless...easier and healthier, and, you get much better smoke reaction/penetration without the skin/fat...PM me for methods, if you like.


Pork butts for pulled pork are an easy smoke, and will give you a longer run-time with the smoker...250* chamber temp for reduced time in the stall (plateau) and overall smoke time, instead of 225-235*. Foiled after 160-180* internal temp is quicker, but no-foiled will give you a superb bark on that pork with the right dry rub. Just cook to ~200* internal, give the bone a tug and if it wants to come out it's done. Rest in foil wrapped in a towel in a cooler or in a warm oven for a few hours, an pull away. Oh, definitely buy bone-in butts...it's a built in done-ness gauge...biggrin.gif...and, if you don't inject it with marinade or otherwise tamper with the inside of the meat, you don't have to worry about danger zone temps/time while smoking because it's intact whole muscle meat.




post #9 of 19

Leg quarters are 7.99 per 10 lb here .Yea i'm a cheap skate.Meatloaf and burgers is cheap and easy like got to race said or smoked chili.ABT'S are easy and o'so good.drool.gif

post #10 of 19

I like the chicken yahoo.gif

post #11 of 19


Well some say chicken and I say pork butt. It's a longer smoke and you can make a few mistakes and it will still come out good. That way you can practice your temp control and stuff like that.

post #12 of 19
Originally Posted by mballi3011 View Post


Well some say chicken and I say pork butt. It's a longer smoke and you can make a few mistakes and it will still come out good. That way you can practice your temp control and stuff like that.

Your right Mark..............the more time spent by the smoker is time well spent Beer.gif


post #13 of 19

Beer can chicken or pork butt.

post #14 of 19
Originally Posted by SmokinAl View Post

Beer can chicken or pork butt.



post #15 of 19
Originally Posted by SmokinAl View Post

Beer can chicken or pork butt.

X3 - These are both very forgiving AND Very Tasty 

post #16 of 19

Welcome Deer Trail,


Smokin Al, AfricanMeat, and ScarBelly are correct.  Simple, easy, yet forgiving if you make any minor errors. The beer butt chicken is delicious, and the pork butt is too.  Either way, please let us look over your shoulder by sending photos of your smoker, and your efforts.


Lots of resources, and experiences from around the globe here.  Use the search, read up, and go get 'em! You will be great!!  Enjoy!

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

At the risk of appearing extremely ignorant, what is roll call?

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the consistant suggestions.  I will follow the good advice and post results.grilling_smilie.gif

post #19 of 19

chuck roast.

One of the cheapest cuts of cow, and hard to screw up.


You'll love your WSMC, they're awesome!

Here is my suggestion for starting:

It's hard to keep a steady temp with your WSMC for the first go-round, so see if your local butcher can give or sell you some scraps of beef or pork fat from their waste trim. (you'll need at least 3 pounds, I did five)

They cannot legally sell it if it's in the bone barrel, but if you're lucky they'll be up to their armpits in rib roasts this time of year, and may have a pile of fat scrap on the bench, this stuff can be had for a song.

Fire up the smoker, spray the inside down with PAM, put the fat on it, and play with it. See how hot you can get it, see how cool you can get it. Play with each vent, observe and note what manipulating each one does so when it's show time, you know what you can do.


This will pre-season your smoker, and shake it down, so the soot and fat will dull some of the reflective properties of the inside of the smoker, and you'll know where you stand when the time comes to impress the family or friends with your cuisine.


From there, have fun with it.

There are lots of neat tricks to woning one. Some folks have been replacing the water pans with terracotta pans, which offer more of a consistent heatsink property. I fill my water pan with play sand and hot water.

What else?

Bend the ears that hold the water-pan in. They leave the factory without enough grip to hold a heavy water pan in place, but bending the ears in about 1/4" gives them a nice grip.

Another trick, and this one I learned from Smokin' Al, is to start your smoke cold, meaning, once your coals are going, assemble the unit, and put the meat on at once, that way the meat's internal temperature raises with the internal temp of the smoker, and helps the heat distribute across the meat evenly.


good luck! 

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