Originally Posted by smo-kingmamma
I am beginning to understand that there are many complexities when grilling/smoking meat. Your ability to get out information to the point is well done. I have a lot to learn...
Appreciating the information that you have to share. Now, I will let the experience of trial and error to find its way. Lesson #1, let sleeping dogs lie.
Thanks you for being kind and helpful.
Again, you're welcome. With outdoor cooking, things can get complicated, yes, but they don't necessarily need to be as such. I find myself looking for simpler methods, or using those which I already know to be simple, or simpler seasoning blends, at times. There are many methods that can be incorporated into your smoking and grilling, but that doesn't mean you have to use them. KISS method comes to mind...use what works for you, your cooker, and as you gain experience, you will find there are little things you can do with certain cuts of meat, for example, to change things up and make it a little better than the last time you made it. There's no need to fret over any of it, in fact, that takes all the fun out of it, IMHO. Experimenting with some basic knowledge and methods, while following safe food handling practices, of course, can give you a lot of insight which you can carry forward to the next day you get to spend time with your cooker. As time passes, you gain experience and a better sense of confidence in your skills...and the cycle continues. Every cook becomes an easier task, becomes more enjoyable, less stressful (cooking should NEVER be stressful, it should be fun and relaxing) and allows you to consider more ways to create a meal. There are a wide variety of foods that can be smoked or grilled, and probably just as many methods to accomplish the goal of making a good (hopefully great) meal from these foods.
I can and have used some rather complicated methods with multiple cookers for a single meal, or just one cooker for the entire meal...they have all been rewarding, with a great dining experience. In recent years, I have come to realize that it's not just the methods as much as it is the ingredients and care used in creating a meal that makes it stand apart from the ordinary. A little creativity goes a long way. When your creativity begins to flow freely is when you can begin to see your true potential, and then nothing seems unthinkable or impossible to accomplish with a smoker. It took me a few months for that to happen after joining SMF, but when it did, all smokin' hell broke loose at my house...LOL!!! How far and how fast you let yourself go with it is entirely up to you. My only regret is that things got so fast-paced for me that I ran out of steam a couple years back, and haven't gotten that level of energy again since then. But, I still have the experience...nothing can take that away from me. The methods I fine-tuned for my personal preferences are still with me, as well as the recipes I formulated, from simple to complex. So, I can roll with whatever I choose when I decide to fire up for a smoke...that's part of the beauty of it all...it never leaves you. Sure, I still experiment from time to time, but not at the pace I did a few years back, and I do still enjoy the journey of making it all come together and sharing it with family and friends...even here on the forums.
Being new to smoking is exciting, but I will caution you to set realistic goals. Start with simple dishes so you can get to know your cooker. If you decide you want to smoke a particular cut of beef or pork, poultry or fish, do some reading on it from reliable sources until you decide on a method you'd like to try with it. Look for the simple side of things and these will usually be easier to follow. More complicated methods tend to be used due to the ability to create a better finished product or a particular texture/characteristic, but until you have used simpler methods typical of a more basic product, you really have nothing to gauge other more complicated methods with.
Tami, I'm looking forward to reading more from you and giving what I can...just paying it forward. It's been a pleasure!!! I don't know everything there is to know about smoking in my somewhat limited 8 years of getting really involved in it (after 6 years of just basically puddling around), and I'm not ashamed to say I'm still learning. So, when you say you've got a lot to learn, yes, to some degree, you do. However, you don't need to know a ton to be quite capable with a smoker or grill, just the same as indoor cooking...your skill-set and knowledge will determine what you can cook. Take it one day, one smoke, one cut of meat at a time...everything will come together and present itself to you with each meal you create. With everything, there is a learning curve...it may begin as quite steep, then over time and with practice, the curve flattens out. You'll do fine...just be patient with yourself...and, remember: there's no such thing as a stupid question, so when in doubt, just ask.