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EATING TOO MANY MISTAKES

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

The chicken was just okay.  Wife actually liked the Turkey breast.  Brisket was tough, and the Country Ribs far too smokey and salty.  The spare ribs today were odd.  One very tender, one very tough.  Wife says too much smoke.  Using a blend of oak and apple.  Apple alone has worked best so far.  I'm using a Masterbuilt Electric smoker.  Just learning, as is evident by  my mistakes, and questions.

 

Steve

post #2 of 14

Hello,Steve. Chin-up , my Friend... hanging with us will help your style improve...

 

Tell us how you are doing it and someone will be by to suggest a cure.  First one, be patient , most likely the culprit of the Brisket caper , Try the 3-2-1 method of Ribs , and the country ribs , well ,I like them Smokey,however, esy fix. Back-off on the Smoke Generation... She'll love them then , if not , you get more...

 

You will find your Click in no  time at all.  Just be patient and Vigilent , no - or  - less refreshments while cooking . LOL

 

Have fun and . . .

post #3 of 14

Steve,

Welcome and as already stated ...keep at it...you will find your sweet spot.

 

Keep notes and make only 1 or 2 changes at a time. If you change your rub, only change 1 ingredient. If you change the temp, time, moisture or amount of smoke. Only change 1 of them. this way it is easier to narrow down what are the good or bad changes.

 

The chicken was just okay.  Wife actually liked the Turkey breast. What was different from the chicken to the turkey. Try doing the chicken the same way....

 

Brisket was tough. Did you test with a tooth pick before you removed it from the smoker? You should be able to stick the brisket and pull out with little or no resistance......

 

Country Ribs far too smokey and salty. Less wood chips and less salt in your rub or less rub. The MES is a great little smoker. One of the things i like about it is the ease you can control your smoke and heat. Country ribs are very easy to over season. I will usually only give a light dusting instead of coating like i would other cuts of meat.

 

The spare ribs today were odd.  One very tender, one very tough. Different cuts of meat will cook differently. You have to cook each one as an individual. You could of had ribs from 2 different pigs and they could have had different diets or ways it was slaughtered. Anything can effect that, yes frustrating. Another thing could be is where the ribs were in the smoker. Were the ones on the bottom more tender? Could be temp differences in the cook chamber.

 

 Wife says too much smoke.  Using a blend of oak and apple.  Apple alone has worked best so far. Amount of smoke and types are personal preferences. Over time you will learn what works for who you are cooking for and what does not. That just comes with time. But always keep the wife happy!!!!!!

 

  I'm using a Masterbuilt Electric smoker. Great little smoker. Do a search here or even go to the section for electric smokers here. You will find all kinds of information about them with tips and tricks. I would suggest getting a remote style thermometer like the Maverick that can monitor the cook chamber and meats. The MES is very known for the thermometers being way off. This can and will effect how you cook and the results.

 

Just learning, as is evident by  my mistakes, and questions. We are all still learning. That is the great thing about this site. You can always get great information, just need to look for it and or ask........

post #4 of 14

Welcome!  Noticed that you have posted a few times....but have not gone to Roll Call yet!  biggrin.gif Would you mind popping in over there and letting us give you a proper SMF Welcome!  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/f/133/roll-call

 

You can sign up for the Free 5 -Day E-Course and that will help with some of your questions!

 

Kat

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Stan, I appreciate your reply.  But what you printed, or typed made about as much sense me sending you a golumbki recipe in Polish.  I have absolutely NO IDEA of what you said.  But I've heard in the past that Yankees don't speak Texan.

 

Steve
 

post #6 of 14

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Borkowski View Post

Stan, I appreciate your reply.  But what you printed, or typed made about as much sense me sending you a golumbki recipe in Polish.  I have absolutely NO IDEA of what you said.  But I've heard in the past that Yankees don't speak Texan.

 

Steve
 

 

 

Will try to translate speaking Kentuckian:
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschoolbbq View Post

Hello,Steve. Chin-up , my Friend... hanging with us will help your style improve...

 

Tell us how you are doing it and someone will be by to suggest a cure.  Give specifics on your process for each cook.   Smoking ANYTHING involves a number of variables.  It's beneficial to provide as many details of your process as you can to try and figure out how to improve results.  How long did you cook?  Internal temps when pulled.  Grate/chamber temp while cooking.  Were there major temp spikes ? 

 

 

First one, be patient , most likely the culprit of the Brisket caper,:  Lack of patience is one of the main killers of brisket.   Many people just don't get that a brisket will be done when it's ready to be done.  It doesn't follow a time schedule.  You don't just throw it in a 350 degree oven and take it out after X hours.    Many don't have patience to ride out the plateau.  They say "it's been on for X hours, so it must be ready".  

 

Another big mistake is that a person might follow all the other procedures correctly, and the brisket is truly ready, but they don't let it rest properly.  Nope.  They pull it out of the smoker, throw it on a cutting board and start slicing it.    It'll come off as somewhat dry, tough and stringy.   The "rest" period allows the natural juices to redistribute throughout the brisket making it both juicy and tender.
 

 

 

 

Try the 3-2-1 method of Ribs: 3 hours in the smoke, then foil and put back in smoker for 2 hours, then remove from foil and put back in smoker for 1 more hour

 

 , and the country ribs , well ,I like them Smokey,however, esy fix. Back-off on the Smoke Generation... She'll love them then , if not , you get more...:  IF something is "too smokey", then give it less smoke next time.   Two different things to look at here.  First, the volume of smoke.  If using chips/chunks, don't use as many next time.   Instead of filling the wood pan, cut the amount of wood in half.    Second thing to look at is the duration of the smoke.    Some people smoke throughout the entire cook.  Others only smoke a portion of the time.   I've been known to have Butts in a smoker for 18 hours, but I stop generating smoke after the first 10 hours or so.  Why ?  A more subtle smoke flavor. 

 

You will find your Click in no  time at all.  Just be patient and Vigilent:  Smoking is both an art and a science that takes time and experience to master.   At this point, you don't have a personal knowledge/experience base to draw from.   As you smoke more, you'll gain experience and "figure out" what the "right way" is for you.   This will happen by learning from one smoke to another and making adjustments. 

 

One thing I've noticed is that it appears that you have jumped around and experimented with a number of different meats/cuts.   Nothing wrong with that at all, BUT, it hasn't given you that "experience" factor yet.   Think of it this way.  You start a new job assembling some Widget.  Doesn't matter what it is.  On your first day, the process is new to you so you fumble around with it.  This continues for the first week as you gain experience.   The more you do that process, the better you become at it.    Now, if you got moved to a different assembly line putting together a different Widget, some of your experience will transfer, but there will still be a learning curve for the new task.

 

Smoking is no different.  The way to "get good" at smoking ribs is to smoke more and more ribs, learn from the experience (what works and what doesn't) and refine your process.  Same for smoking Brisket, Butts, Prime Rib, what have you.   For instance, I've smoked a heck of a lot of Butts, Spares, Baby Backs, Pork Loins, Briskets and Pork Loins and I'm decent enough with all of them.  But, I've only smoked Beef ribs twice and both turned out as miserable failures.  I mean, they truly sucked.    I haven't smoked a Fatty yet but I'm sure that it will take some trial and error with those as well before I'm able to turn out a good product.

 

I'm not alone in this.  I know some people who can smoke the heck out of some ribs, but if you gave them a Brisket they'll destroy it.  Or they might smoke Butts that are the best thing this side of Heaven, but they can't smoke ribs to save their life.   Why ?  Because they don't have practical experience with those other cuts, and just because you can smoke one thing (even really well), doesn't necessarily mean that you can smoke anything else you come across.

 

 

 

, no - or  - less refreshments while cooking . LOL:    Drink less while smoking   :)

 

Have fun and . . .

 

 

 

X2 for everything that JarJarChef said as well.

post #7 of 14

My advise is if your just now learning then master one thing at a time. There is enough info on here to get you a good smoke on each item you are cooking in your smoker...Read Read Read then try what you have learned by reading...It just takes time..The brisket is going to be the toughest with chicken being the easiest...Good luck to you and do not give up...

post #8 of 14

By the way read alot about how to produce Thin Blue Smoke and not white smoke...

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Borkowski View Post

The chicken was just okay.  Wife actually liked the Turkey breast.  Brisket was tough, and the Country Ribs far too smokey and salty.  The spare ribs today were odd.  One very tender, one very tough.  Wife says too much smoke.  Using a blend of oak and apple.  Apple alone has worked best so far.  I'm using a Masterbuilt Electric smoker.  Just learning, as is evident by  my mistakes, and questions.

 

Steve

Steve, morning...... Sorry to hear of your problems, but that's why we are here....   To help out.....    

Smoking one item at a time and getting it to come out great is a big task... several items at once, daunting.... 

Chicken, smoke at a 225 ish temp and fininsh at 300+ to crisp up the skin.... 165 IT

Brisket, smoke with a water pan for the first 2-3 hours...  finish with an internal temp (IT) of 190 for slicing or 205 for pulling..  if a toothpick slides in easily, it's tender...

Salt addition...  I weigh each chunk of meat separately and add salt by weight... usually 2% is a good starting point...   weighing keeps a recipe repeatable or adjustable with good results... 

Smoke, one chunk, or 1/4 cup of chips at a time will allow for light smokey flavor.... Most often, less smoke is better...  heavy tasting smoke, like mesquite, should be used sparingly...  do not need to soak chips or chunks in water....

One tender, one tough.... each piece of meat has it's own make-up.... they need to be cooked "as they like it"... time doesn't work...  manipulating each individual piece until it is perfect is the best method.....    

Thermometers can be a very big help... they need to be calibrated for consistent results....   

Smokers have hot and cold spots and learning those quirks is part of the learning process when trying to make great Q.....  each smoker is different.... 

 

Dave

post #10 of 14

Great translation ,Demo.... Thanks. was in a hruuy,Trish wanted the 'Puter. I've ben here all day.wife.gif

post #11 of 14

I can not add anything to the great advise you got, other then agree keep at it

post #12 of 14

I still consider myself a noob, though I have been smoking for about 2 yrs, but here are a few things that I have learned that may help you.

 

First thing I learned was this site.  With all the helpful people, recipes and search function I am always able to find my answer.

 

Next thing I learned was to learn my grill.  Learn where the hot and cold areas are as these can affect cook times.  A trick here is get a couple of cheap biscuit tubes, and place them around the smoker and check them after a bit. (Even though they to bake at something like 350, I still smoke at 225.  It takes longer but this way I can get finer details on hot spots.)

 

Next was to cook everything by temp .  I tend to pull items off 5-10 degrees before ideal temp as they will continue to cook for a few more mins after being pulled off.  Along this line is patience, I have had 12lb briskets finish in 8 hours and another finish in 16 hours.  Don't rush the food.  For ribs, I do either the 3-2-1 mentioned above or the "bend test"

 

When I am trying new meats, I tend to get two.  I do one first with basic S&P, then smoke he second learning from the mistakes of the first.

 

Always take notes of each smoke.  Though it seems like an after thought they always come in handy down the line.  I generally record weight, start time, start temp, start of stall time, start of stall temp, end of stall time, end of stall temp, end time, end temp, recipe used, and general notes on the smoke.

 

Lastly is what I call the "advanced search feature" for the site:  In Google, type site:smokingmeatforums.com then what you are looking for (i.e. site:smokingmeatforums.com pastrami)

 

Hope some of this helps.

post #13 of 14

Meat Thermometers, if you don't have one, get one. Maverick makes what I use. What you'll waste on bad food will easily pay for the thermometer. If you don't have one its going to be a looooong process  learning. Its not impossible mind you, but it automatically moves you from the 1st grade to the 8th grade. With the thermometer you can make good food immediately. Your mistakes are more a pleasure to eat than a punishment. You can enjoy learning.

 

Once you have internal temps ball-parked, everything else is just a refinement on the basic. Change one thing at a time so you can understand what you changed. If you change the temp, the vent, the smoke, the meat, the rub/sauce all at the same time how do you know what you've accomplished? When you find something you like, write it down so you can do it again.

 

Good advice above, stick with one meat till its comfortable. In all things look for cheap and locally available to learn. Salt and pepper was the original spice, and what wood is easily available?

 

Smoking is fun, plus its a good excuse to get away from all the household, go outside and relax. Maybe have a beer if you sneaked some in the grocery bag. Its like Zen or Yoga. You should be happy happy not stressed. "Honey, did you weed that flowerbed?" "Can't now dear, got to watch this chicken smoke, so its the way you like it".

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Borkowski View Post

The chicken was just okay.  Wife actually liked the Turkey breast.  What was the difference? I'm a noob on solo smokes, but have experience as the "helper". If the chicken was just okay, what stopped it from being great? Not enough smoke? Seasoning not what you wanted? To me, turkey has a great flavor that needs very little to be great, chicken on the other hand can sometimes be bland without the proper seasoning.

 

Brisket was tough, and the Country Ribs far too smokey and salty. Solid advice given here already, I have no additional thoughts on the brisket. For the Country Ribs, did you use oak and apple or just one or the other for them? How long did they smoke and how heavy of a smoke? When I use apple or another fruit wood I tend to go for a heavier smoke or smoke longer throughout the process, for heavy woods like oak or mesquite I go for a light smoke and cut the smoke off part of the way through the smoke. Ribs especially, being less meat to actually smoke, I go for a lighter, subtle smoke and stop the smoke about halfway through.

 

  The spare ribs today were odd.  One very tender, one very tough.  Did you check temps of both, or just one? I always rotate when I'm smoking more than one rack because the back of my smoker stays cooler. For instance if the rack is long ways like this: (---------->, I'll rotate the rack so its like <--------), so everything stays even. If I have two racks I'll rotate twice, once to flip like the above illustration, and again to switch positions entirely. This goes against the "if your lookin you ain't cookin" mantra, but I do what I have to for a good even cook. IT is important, and IMO ribs are the hardest to get a good temp on as there is less meat to get the temp from. You could always do the "pull test" and grab two bones in the middle and pull apart, should offer resistance at first and then separate easily.

 

Wife says too much smoke.  Using a blend of oak and apple.  Apple alone has worked best so far. As others have said, keep at it, keep learning. My wife likes a medium smoke and very little heat, I like a heavier smoke and lots of heat. Different strokes for different folks. If you can live with a lighter smoke, you may want to keep with fruit woods, more forgiving and lighter taste. If using stronger woods like oak or mesquite, cut off the smoke sooner.

 

I'm using a Masterbuilt Electric smoker.  Just learning, as is evident by  my mistakes, and questions.  We are all learning. I can tell you from experience I have had quite a few pizza nights, where the smoke just didn't turn out good at all. First turkey I ever did tasted like I was eating the left over wood chips straight out of the grill.

 

Steve

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