I have been a member here since August of this year but have been traveling for business pretty much the entire month of September so I am a bit tardy on posting in this forum.
I have been grilling/bbqing on a Weber Kettle for nearly all of my life. (47 years old) It is the only thing I will cook on. When there is a party, mine or not, I am usually the one that gets asked to do the honors on the grill. The Weber would always be the first thing packed on a camping trip or outing. I would leave my kids or my wife before I left it behind! :) But I digress this is a smoking meat forum!
I have been smoking meats, mostly salmon/trout or beef jerky for almost 20+ years. I have a Luhr Jensen Little Chief that I bought shortly after my wife and I got together. It still works to this day and has all of the original parts. I have various different Jerky recipes down to an art form at this point.
It was not until I received a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker for my birthday last year that things turned away from Jerky and Fish. I would call last year an experimental period with the smoker. Figuring out the best location around my house that provided optimal air flow to the vents, how much charcoal/wood to start with, when to add more when the internal temp of the cooker would start to drop, etc. etc. I experimented with some basic inexpensive meats: chicken thighs, sausages, pork butts, etc. Learned some good lessons. Some of the food was edible while some of it was edible but I knew there was much room for improvement. I learned about the "meat temp wall" (Especially on a pork butt) of around 165 degrees and how it seems to just stall there. I would usually end up becoming inpatient and pull the butt and finish it in the oven.
This year, while I am still honing my techniques, I have stepped it up and started adding injections, different rubs, and a few other types of meats. I have learned to get up really early to get the meat on (Butts and Briskets), so that I can have patience to let the meat stay on the smoker and work through that "temp wall". The family thinks I am crazy but they never complain when dinner rolls around!
I find it very challenging where I live, almost 9000', to keep the temperature consistent throughout the day due to the rapid drops in ambient temperature we have here in the summer. We get the afternoon clouds, rain, hail, and wind here in the summer time so on some days it is very challenging.
I am looking into a 24" reverse flow pipe smoker to really turn it up as a buddy and I have created a competition bbq team and joined the Rocky Mountain BBQ Association. Our plan is to hit s
ome competitions next spring, summer, and fall to just see how we do. I have been keeping meticulous notes on what I am using for a rub or injection, cook times, ambient temps etc on just about everything I have cooked this year. You never know when you may hit upon that one combo that blows the socks off of anything you have made before and really want to be able to duplicate it again.
Below are two of the latest items I did. The Tri-Tip was done prior to going on a business trip and the Pork Butt that we pulled was done on an in between travel weekend.
I look forward to reading these forums and hopefully as I hone my technique be able to contribute back to the members here.
Injected and rubbed for 10 hours, Smoked for 6 hours, wrapped and re-injected and put back on smoker for 5 hours then rested for an hour before pulling.
Tri-Tip Smoked to an internal temperature of about 125 degrees, pulled and charred over hot coals on the weber grill about 3 minutes a side. Wrapped and rested until sliced. Served on a warm Kaiser Roll with an Ajus!