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Just Starting Out

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

My name is Justin, I live in New Orleans, and I'm a definitely a beginner. I haven't got a "proper" smoker yet, but have been using my Brinkmann Dual-zone Grill to smoke meats on. It works pretty well, but I usually have to plug up the holes on the sides to keep the temp down. I use hardwood lump charcoal as my heat and sprinkle my wood over that for smoke. I've only used mesquite so far, but I have some apple soaking for my next project. My rub is improving more and more. At the moment it consist of 2 parts dark brown sugar, 1 part salt, 1 part pepper, 1/4 parts each mustard, cayenne, thyme and ground thyme (when I smoke chicken I add ground rosemary).

So far, I've smoked ribs, Beer can chicken, and soon a pork shoulder. My first batch of ribs were really good, nice smoke ring not as moist as I'd like it. The second time I didn't take the back skin off and for some reason they weren't as juicy as the first. The last time I made ribs I used too much smoke and the mesquite actually overpowered the meat flavor (which is rare so I've been told) and still not moist enough. People tell me to "boil" my ribs first, but I'll never boil ribs. Beer can chicken popped my cherry and has aways been good and gets better the more and more I cook it. I usually save the liquid in the beer can after I finish and use it in a steam pot under the next beer chicken.

Tomorrow I'm going to attempt a pork shoulder using apple wood. Any suggestions on smoking it?

post #2 of 17
Keep practicing.

Regulating your smoker's temperature is going to help you a lot. You might want to put a water pan in there. Some say it helps regulate the temperature (mass) and adds moisture. Also, keep the lid shut as much as possible.

Some folks use the 2-2-1 method for cooking ribs. This 3 step process requires wraping the ribs in foil. You might have to tinker with the cook times, but it does make for some moist ribs (sometimes too moist).

Pork butt. Takes a long time and it's not uncommon for the internal temperature to plateau for a couple hours. Just give it time. No shame in wraping it in foil and/or finishing in the oven (beats not having anything to eat).
post #3 of 17
Welcome to SMF Justin.....we're glad ta have ya here!!
post #4 of 17
Justin, welcome to the SMF. It looks as if you're going to have a fun and exciting summer. It's all good my friend.
post #5 of 17
Welcome to the forum Justin, Looking forward to your input! :)
post #6 of 17
Welcome to SMF, Justin. Glad you joined us.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Roger that everyone! Its good to be here! Thanks for the input TN_BBQ, I think I'm going to try to foil to finish it off, and can't wait to try the 2-2-1 method

I was reading some threads on here and I'm going to Walmart and getting my probe thermometer. By the end of the summer I'll have a real smoker. Any suggestions on what to get? horizontal, cabinet style (not sure what they're called) or vertical style?
post #8 of 17
Vertical smokers seem to be easier to learn on.... Heat rises. (just my opinion)
If you get a good horizontal, it's not that hard to regulate the temperature though.
post #9 of 17
Welcome aboard!
post #10 of 17
Welcome to the SMF Justin. Good job on your smokes, you'll do fine on your shoulder. Just remember not to hurry. It will stall and the temps sometimes even drop which is frustrating but then all of a sudden you're in the home stretch and good to go!

Apple wood is great for the PPB. Try a straight apple juice spritz during the smoke for a nice flavor combo.

As far as your smoker.....whatever works for you, buddy. We all have our preferences, but you gotta go with what you want. It's YOUR smoker. There are enough folks in here that have that particular style so you will never run out of help and advice on how to use it, improve it, and succeed with it.
post #11 of 17
Welcome Justin.
post #12 of 17
welcome to SMF-I use a couple ECB's set for coal -gas or electric-stack them when I do bacon or sausage-a home made job in the back yard-and smoke on the gas grill also-when u buy a smoker buy from elsewhere from walmart! will be a thinner gauage metal.gald to have ya here.
post #13 of 17
Welcome. Glad to have you here.
post #14 of 17
Welcome Justin - I am new here too! Lots of great advice can be found in the forums. Good luck on your Pork Butt.

I am going to do my first smoke of the season, and my first one on a Weber Kettle this weekend if the weather cooperates. Planning on Ribs, a fatty, and possibly some beer can chicken. As long as their is room, might as well smoke a few things.

Best of luck, and let us know what you decide to buy and how you like it.

By the way, try the 2-2-1 method if your ribs are not coming out moist. Also - make sure you have water or some kind of liquid below the ribs to help put some moisture in the cooker, and you may want to try mopping the ribs every once in awhile. Some people dont like to open their smokers at all, but I like to mop every hour or so.
post #15 of 17
Welcome to the forum. As you can see, you will have plenty of help with your new hobby.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
I just got out and started my smoking... hopefully by dinner time it'll be ready (everyone should be arriving here around 3 or 4). Thanks for all the help... I'll post pictures in the Pork section when all is complete!

post #17 of 17
Justin, welcome to the forum from northern California, glad you found us here.

Good luck with your smoke tomorrow. Read the different threads on different smokers... Find others near you that smoke if you can, and make decisions from there. A smoker doesn't have to be elaborate to get a good outcome. Keep an eye on craigslist, and ebay, you might find what you are looking for, or something to get you started. That is IF you find what you have doesn't do what you want it to.

Good Luck and soon you will find peace in the TBS,
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