What a day!
The lamb steaks:
After some experimenting last week with a thinnish sirloin steak going dry after an hour of smoking(no IT thermometer), I decided to give the lamb steaks 1/2 hour on the edge of the hot charcoal, using some applewood I cut 2-3 days earlier. For no reason other than experimentation, I had cut the bark-stripped applewood branches into 1/2 long discs, in an attempt to dry them more quickly. I also collected up the sawdust from the cutting process, to use for short sharp smoke bursts when needed(you never know!)
I placed a number of applewood discs in a prepared biscuit tin, which I placed on the ready and waiting hot charcoal.
At this point, and for 5-10 minutes after closing the lid, and covering the vent at one end, to draw the smoke over the lamb, I started to realise that the smoke wasn't happening. I had to open the lid...
Things could have been better, but even though it meant removing the iron grid and lamb, and the tin of applewood discs, I decided to add more charcoal.
Within another 5 minutes of putting everything back, the charcoal had heated, smoke was abundant, and there was the sound of fat dripping onto hot coals just audible :)
It turn out to be 3/4hr cook, but the lamb came out, and remarkably was still just pink on the inside. It tasted beautiful alongside some salad and coleslaw.
Next time, I'll add the wood box sooner, and once thats smoking, I'll place the lamb or beef steak just on the edge of the coals, and cook for 20 minutes.
The chicken legs:
Well, the legs went on at the same time as the lamb, but I thought I'd keep the stories separate.
I brined the chicken legs for just over an hour with a mix of sea salt, brown sugar, soy sauce, and 1/4 pint of pear cider, and water.
I also made a rub of sea salt, black pepper, cumin and paprika, which I applied after washing off the brine, drying, and bring the legs to room temp for 1/2hr.
So after I had removed the lamb, I left the legs where they had started, at the furthest from the hot coals as possible, lid down for a further 1/2hr.
I then turned them over, keeping them in the same place, with a view to leaving them in for a further 3/4hr to 1hr.
The applewood discs were still producing a constant smoke, and eventually after what turned out to be just over 2hrs, which included the re-heat at the beginning, I removed the chicken legs, which looked just as I hoped they would. They tasted wonderful, with more salad and coleslaw.
What I did notice was probably more saltyness than I would have liked, but this was more confined to the skin, and I think I might leave out the rub next time to see if that makes a difference.
I have never cooked chicken that was as tender as this before, or tasted so wonderfully smokey. I will be doing this again soon.
Below is a pic of the chicken just off the smoker/bbq, taken by my mother on her new samsung tablet.
The final thing I should mention, is that I was lent a IT thermometer, which I used to great effect on both the lamb and the chicken. I don't know which make it is, but it was a spike on a cable attached to a display,which sits next to the smoker. It was a huge help in knowing when the meat was ready.
Have a good week all!