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good meats for learning

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok, I just smoked my first brisket and on a scale of 1-10, I rank it about a 6. Came out a little dry and not as tender as I was hoping. Any suggestions on good meats to practice on while I'm still learning. I want to get a few more smokes in before another brisket try. By the way, I'm using a New Braunfels Longhorn Traditional. Thanks.
post #2 of 13
The brisket is one of the more difficult or tricky pieces of meat you could've picked. I'd recommend a pork butt, a fattie, chicken quarters or a slab of ribs. The butt will likely take the most time, but is pretty forgiving if you're chasing smoker temps all over the place. And will give you some tasty q. Fatties are a fast and easy cook, well depending on what (if anything) you fill them with. Chicken quarters are cheap, and cook pretty quickly and taste great. And ribs, well if you can keep your smoker temps pretty consistent, it's one of the staples of BBQ. Follow the 3-2-1 method to start, then start making your adjustments everytime you cook them.

If you're a beef fan. I'd recommend a chuckie. IMHO it's nearly as good as a brisket. But is a quicker and easier cook.
post #3 of 13
i would go with a butt, they are really hard to mess up, if your boss prefers steak than cook a chuckie, they are cheap cuts and come out great on the smoker.

and really if you think about it , if you mess up and its not a ten, a six on the smoker is better than a ten in the oven
post #4 of 13
Fatties, many cuts of poultry, ribs following the proper 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 methods or possibly a chuckie if you are comfortable with holding a steady temp.
post #5 of 13
Pork butt (a.k.a. - pork shoulder), and chicken leg quarters are about the two easiest/best things to start with. Both taste great and are fairly foregiving.
post #6 of 13
Chicken and some pork butt.

Try brining the chicken for a day before smoking, it is amazing. That is what I started with, moved onto some butt and then the world.
post #7 of 13
I would say go for the butt for the easiest and the most forgiving of the big hunks of meat we smoke alot. The ribs are pretty easy also and they can be really good too with not much afford
post #8 of 13
I agree that the butt is pretty easy and very forgiving but it's probably not something I would recommend to a newbie to smoking due to the looooooong amount of time they can take.
Someone just starting out might not have great luck or desire tending the fire for 12 hours.
Condisering you have already tried a brisket then a butt should be no problem but for others who may be completely new I think a looooong smoke may be a bit overwhelming for them.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everybody for responding. I'll probably try some leg quarters next (I've never brined anything either). Then, I'll try the pork butt. I really have to give a big thanks to this forum. I've learned so much in the last couple of weeks. I rated my first brisket at a 6. I know that doesn't sound so great, but had it not been for this forum, it probably would have been trash. Thanks again!
post #10 of 13
If you have never had or made a fatty you have to try it!
post #11 of 13
I'll say pork butt also, start out with a small one to shorten the finish time. You can also get it started in the smoker and finish in the oven to get your feet wet. Hope this helps.
post #12 of 13
I cooked whole chickens for my first smoke. Just be sure to brine them before you smoke. It will help keep them from drying out. I chased temps like crazy and the still turned out great.
post #13 of 13
For newbies, the 3 B's are what you want to work with.
  1. Brats - inexpensive but great on the smoker. Use these to get your temperature under control and experiment with different smoking woods.
  2. Butt - The next step. Hard to screw up but will test you for a longer smoke and also throw a plateau at you.
  3. Bird - This will expose you to brining.
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