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Canadian trying to do BBQ right

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hello folks, my name is John and I just bought my first smoker. It's a bullet propane 7in1 unit from cabela's and I'm excited to start smoking with it. Since my visit to Texas last summer I've been craving BBQ done right. Our BBQ here is terrible, mushy ribs slathered in bbq sauce with no texture or flavor. 

 

Anyways previously I have been smoking on my natural gas grill with some success, half the grill removed with a water pan and chips in place. I made a decent pork butt and ribs that my roommate loved and surprised myself with the results. I was tired of having to babysit a grill so much though as it was a whole day sitting beside that thing fiddling the knob. 

 

I've got a tall order, I'm having friends over for a meal this weekend. I promised them some good BBQ now I have to deliver, a bit of stress since this will be the first time smoking with this grill. 

 

I need some suggestions of easy and tasty recipes I can make, I will have all of saturday to smoke and dinners at 7. I need to feed about 10 people I'm thinking of doing a couple of briskets, a small pork butt, and couple racks of st louis ribs. Sort of a sampler meal. Fixins I am thinking for simplicity sake a smoke mac n cheese with bacon, baked potatoes, and perhaps a slaw if I have time. 

 

I've never cooked for a large group, usually I cook for me and my roomate and we freeze the rest. The last 2 full racks of ribs I did were gone in minutes though. So, any tips on how much meat to buy? I am looking to keep the meal cost around $10 a head. 

 

Any tips for a newbie? I'll start with a full tank, have got one remote probe thermometer (which I think will go in the butt) and a deep fryer thermometer I'll put in the lid.

 

Thanks in advance.  

post #2 of 11
Welcome and congrats on the new smoker! I'm not familiar with that particular unit, so my first question would be how much cook area do you have to work with? The menu you suggest will be way more than enough food for 10 people and require quite a bit of cook area. My suggestion would be to go a bit simpler. When I have 10'ish people over I might do two 8 lb. pork butts, which is way more than enough to feed everyone with plenty of leftovers. Rather than multiple meats, maybe do multiple sauces -- one tomato based and one vinegar based (think Lexington, NC style). Then do some nice sides and smoked appetizers, like ABT's, pork shooters, or any of hundreds of other ideas around here.

Those would be my suggestions for starters. Hope that helps, and welcome again.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

it's the same as the masterbuilt 7in1 smoker has two racks of 15" approx. I think I could roll a couple racks of ribs onto one grill and have the butt on the 2nd my only concern is the temps will be lower on the bottom. 

post #4 of 11
That sounds about right for that cook area -- 1 butt and 2 rolled racks. It's all going to come down to timing and a big part of that will depend on your technique. Are you going to foil your butt or go unfoiled? 3-2-1 method on the ribs? And don't forget you want your butt to rest 1-2 hours, but this gives you some flexibility as to when you put the ribs on. How much lower is the bottom rack? I'd probably put the butt on the top rack. Put the rolled ribs on the bottom rack at the appropriate time, then move them to the upper rack after you pull the butt to rest.
post #5 of 11
Welcome!

Two briskets, a butt and 2 ribs seem a lot to me too. Both from resources perspective and food required for 10 people. And if you buy your meat in Canada it will be close to impossible to stay within 100$ budget. The last brisket I got cost me over $50. And it wasn't that big.

As specificimpulse suggested: I would go with pulled pork. Easy and forgiving .

Another thing to keep in mind: briskets and butts are long smokes and can't predict whey they will be done. In recommend smoking the day before and re-heat. Or start very early and if you finish early the butt (brisket) will stay hot for hours if wrapped and left in a cooler.

Good luck.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have never tried foil wrapping with the smoker personally I don't like fall off the bone ribs, I've always just smoked them straight for 5-6 hours @ 225 and then brush with sauce and caramelize over a hot grill before serving. I wonder if maybe I should try foil on the butt since it should make it a bit more tender and juicy for putting on a bun? Last butt I did came out a little try but chopped up and tossed in sauce it was a good dish.

 

I do have to transport the meat to a friends house, I will be cooking at home and dinner is on his patio. I'm wondering what the best way to do this without making the crust all soggy?   

post #7 of 11
Given your timing and transporation requirements, I would foil the butt. For me, this cuts the cook time of an 8 lb butt from an unpredictable 12+ hours unfoiled to 9-10 hours foiled. My rule of thumb is to not open the smoker for the first 5 hours, then check the butt every 30 minutes to see if the bark has fully set. Once it has (usually at the 5-1/2 hour pont), I foil. In your case, I'd start the ribs at the 5 hour mark. Your ribs will be done 5-6 hours later and your butt will probably have been resting for an hour.
post #8 of 11

I know I'm late to the party, but if this is your first smoke I would try to keep it simple. Doing brisket, pork butts and ribs on a new smoker ???

 

Pork but is forgiving and everyone will enjoy it. Brisket is not, it has to right on the money for it to turn out right. You don't want tough briskes are 10 guest standing around waiting for it to be ready.

 

Gary S

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

thanks for the suggestion, I am getting ahead of myself and too excited to smoke I think. I will cut it down to two 5lb butts which should be easier to smoke and enough food. 

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

The dinner went well, we had 9 people and there was enough pork left for a single sandwich, good thing I made lots of fixins, bacon mac n cheese, slaw, and grilled corn on the cob. 

 

I did one picnic roast and one butt roast both about 4lbs. Started them in the morning, pat dry with paper towels, brushed with canola oil then dry rubbed and straight onto the smoker. After 5 hours at 240 I probed the butt and got 160, and foil wrapped them both. Another 2 hours at 260 and they were at 205 so I pulled them off and left them in a cooler for 3 hours to rest. 

 

A couple mistakes I made, not enough salt in the rub so the pork was a little undersalted, I was worried about oversalting. The pork came out a bit dryer than I expected, it still pulled well but I should have added some sauce when I pulled and tossed. 

 

At the 5 hour mark I did not get as nice of a bark as expected. I was a bit disappointed and I'm not sure why this happened. Maybe I didn't pat them dry enough? On the smoker there is a top vent that cannot be closed completely and the pork sitting underneath it did not have a bark at all. Perhaps I should not have foiled them and just finished them unwrapped. 

 

The homemade sauce I whipped up really saved the pork as I felt it had to lean quite a bit on it for flavor. I'm not too happy with that since I feel like pulled pork should be moist/favorful enough to stand on it's own. Any tips for next time? I will try ribs next and tweak my rub with a bit more salt. 

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

here is the pork before foiling 

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