Originally Posted by boomhower
I've been asked by my church to help at a "Beast Feast" event at our church next weekend. It will be a large event with about 300 people. Other people are taking care of the pulled pork, beef brisket, alligator, turtle, and shark. I've been asked (volunteered) to smoke the buffalo ribs and elk brisket. We will have 192 lbs of buffalo ribs, and 38 lbs of elk briskets. I have no experience with smoking buffalo or elk, so I need some help.
The buffalo ribs will come in 6-8 bone racks weighing approximately 6 lbs per rack.
Here's my questions for the buffalo ribs:
1) How big are these racks? How much square footage of smoker will I need for 32 racks? At least 16 sq ft...if you have rib racks to stand them up on, you can save a lot of grate space, but this can add to cooking time by 20-30% depending on how crowded they are on the racks. This also can complicate things if you want to foil, because you can't easily rack foiled ribs without destroying the foil, so the grate space needed will multiply when you go from racked on open grates to foiled, so it's best to go with seperated slabs of ribs if you're going to foil...unless something else will be coming off the grates by then, like your elk brisket...just thinking through the keyboard here.
2) Should I brine these before rubbing them? If so, recommended brine recipes? Brining this much ribs will require alot of fridge space for brine buckets or bags, or ice-bath capability to keep the buckets/bags cold.
3) Rub recommendations? I'm thinking a SPOG with maybe thyme and rosemary or savory. SPOG should do them justice...I wrote a ratio for the elk brisket below...should be about right for the ribs as well.
4) Cooking recommendations? I'm thinking a modified 3-2-1 method with probably 8 hours of total cooking time. Should I use fruit juice or something else in the foil? I'm thinking maybe some beef stock or Worcestershire or some sort of jus. 8 hours will be close at 225*, but you may find your smoker settles in at 240*, and if so, will work fine, too...you may want to start peeking at them for pull-back after 5-6 hours, then decide on going to foil.
5) Sauce recommendations? Sweet or spicy? I would suggest vinegar/tomato based, not too sweet, with onion, garlic and pepper...kick it up a few notches with fresh minced jalepeno, or for a bit less heat use green chilies [ancho chili] (either one just to keep it simple).
6) For wood, I'll have hickory, some oak, cherry, and maple available. Maple and hickory would be great for these...would also pare well with the elk brisket, btw.
7) Are these going to be tough? Should they spend a little more time in the foil to tenderize them? Anything else I need to know? I find all ribs to be tough if you don't cook them somewhat slow and to a good amount of pull-back...foiling will bring them to a very tender state if you give it enough time.
The elk briskets I was told will come in 4 lb. sections. This seems small to me, but that's what I was told. These will probably be trimmed and halved brisket flats...they will be very lean, I'm sure. BTW, I figure you'll need about 5-6 sq ft of grate space, if these are trimmed flats.
Here's my questions for the elk brisket:
1) Rub recommendations? I'd go SPOG on those as well...ratio of 1:1.5:2:1.5 parts...not too salty, as they're every bit as lean as beef is..
2) Cooked temperature? Same as beef? Yes, around 185-195* for slicing...probe for tenderness before you wrap to rest...give them a good rest (2 hrs minimum, 3 would be better) in foil/towels or blankets in a cooler...resting makes a big difference on the finished product. I'm thinking cook to internal temp of 145. Then letting it rest for an hour or so in a cooler under some foil. Then slice to serve. Brisket is brisket, no matter the animal, it will be tough unless taken to at least well-done temps.
3) Sauce recommendations? A light glazing, if anything...slightly sweet, savory spiced, again with vinegar/tomato base.
4) I'm worried the elk will be very lean. Yes, it will be lean. Do I need to add some fat somehow? No, but an Au Jus would be a nice finishing touch instead of glazing...catching the drippings for a base would be the best for this, if possible. Add water to the smokers water pan during the cook? You could do something similar to what I use for a wet-to-dry smoke chamber, which would will help to seal in the natural juices of the meat...works very well with lean meats, and ribs alike...wet up front, then transition to a dry smoke chamber about half-way through the anticipated cooking time. Anything else I need to know?
Since you're smoking leaner meats for this gig, if you haven't yet had the opportunity, you want to look give this article a look. The opening paragraphs will lead you into how it all works, and why:
Wet-to-Dry No-Foil Smoke Chamber Method for Smoking Meats - SmokingMeatForums.com Community
Thanks in advance for any help.
Best of luck...sounds like a whopper of a smoke coming your way...hope you have enough grate space for all of this, too!