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How and why did you first start smoking meats? - Page 2

post #21 of 81
Hated BBQ Ribs most of my life - 46 years so far. Used to go to Amarillo for business - everyone stopped at this little BBQ joint - being the new guy I had to go along with the flow. Guess what not so bad...

Next experience was in KC for a NASCAR race in 2008. We camp in the infield and one of the group brought a smoker. We smoked prime rib, andouillie (sp) sausage, tri-tip and ABT's. We eat very very well at the races!

I was hooked and bought an ECB as soon as I got home. This Christmas, santa brought me the QVC MES and I have used it quite a few times - have Canadian Bacon in the fridge with 3 more days of cure. The knowledge shared in this group is incredible and I thank you all for that!
post #22 of 81
Hey pops,
great story and I love the pics; I assume thats your dad cutting meat in a bow tie and hat...now THAT my friends is style that we all could learn from - very cool!
you really need to write a book and get all those memories, stories, pics and recipes on paper to share with the rest of us and to pass on all those years of knowledge and experience.
post #23 of 81
I came from a family that didn't have a lot of money. Self-employed carpenter with 4 kids to feed. My mother used to buy the cheapest Round steak, and fry it! I used to come home from school, and ask what was for supper. If she said "hotdogs", or meat loaf, I was happy. If she said "Steak", I was sad.
Then when I went to Vietnam, I found out that steak was good. My unit had a couple of cases of steaks allotted to us each month. We caught our Mess Sgt selling our steaks in "My Tho" to the locals (he was very apologetic---LOL--PDT_Armataz_01_19.gif). We got a new "less bruised" Mess Sgt a few weeks later. We made a deal with our new Base Camp Mess Sgt to keep our steaks in the freezer until we had enough for the whole unit. Then on a certain day, once a month or so, we would all come in from the boonies, and have a blow-out. We would fill a Jeep trailer with ice & beer & sodas, and we had a couple of 50 gallon drums cut in half (agent orange residue burned out of them first). We filled the drums with charcoal & wood scraps, laid some racks from the kitchen ovens on them, and had us a high old time. Most of my black buddies liked chicken better than steak, so there was more than enough steak for us steak lovers. There was always a mess of chicken to be had for those who preferred it. We ate & drank, and played softball, volley ball (rough game the way we played it), and horseshoes. The next day----it was back out in the boonies, but our bellies were happy!
I grilled great steak & burgers ever since.
Then years ago, I tried smoking meat-----before there was an internet---I failed, and didn't have a lot of time to play around & nobody to teach me, so I gave it up. A few years ago my son made a huge smoker, and did some whole pigs, turkeys, and some Salmon. It was good stuff.
Then last year I found this forum. I couldn't take it anymore. You guys made it look so good & so easy, I went out and bought an MES. So far all I did was Belly Bacon, Canadian Bacon, Buckboard Bacon, Smoked Salmon, and changed Fresh Venison Sausage into Smoked Venison Sausage, by curing it & smoking it just like I do bacon. It has all been great.

I could not have done any of this without you guys. I got a grinder from Northern, so I will soon do a "Curley's" Venison Bacon. Eventually I plan to try brisket and pork shoulders for pulled pork. Maybe even some snack sticks!

Thanks to all of you,
post #24 of 81
I really don't know how many years it's been since I knew I wanted to build a smoker. I've dabbled around with different types of grills and would use indirect heat to cook most of my grillin foods. Years ago I saw a 55 gal drum converted into a smoker and the ideas started popping in my head. About 3 yrs ago at work, my eye caught a nice, empty, 55 gal drum so I moved to my location and sat my tools on top of it. Well this last about a year and I finally asked the owners if I could have it and they said yea. They asked me what I was goin to do with it and I told them I was goin to build a smoker and they laughed their butts off. Well if they could see that barrel now and taste the food that comes outa it I bet they wouldn't laugh now.
post #25 of 81
I started a couple of months ago. Why? Because we were never near a good BBQ place when I had the taste. So now when I want Q, I do it myself.
post #26 of 81
Adam's Center, NY, Dmn you're practically Canadian!

I'm from downstate NY (long Island). Coming from a predominately Italian family I grew up in the kitchen coming. I learned to make sauce (Gravy, Ragu, whatever your family calls it) early on along with the meatballs that went with it. I also learned to make a variety of other dishes.

Unfortuntaely my mother's mother was a horrendous cook of German English heritage so my mother had to learn to cook on her own as well as through a couple of aunt's she had.

It made for interesting times at my house. My mother is a wonderful cook but has learned to cook a variety of cuisine's having not wanted to replicate her mother's cooking years.

So along the way we always tried to make food from many different countries.

I was the 21 year old guy having 25 of his friends over to his apartment for a post thanksgiving feast of leg of lamb, pasta and sauce, and all the fixings.

I've also always liked the idea of craft cooking. Making my own beer was fascinating to me. I then moved onto grilling and eventually BBQ.

My first attempt was when I was living in apartment with a buddy of mine where we had yard access. I bought a cheap Brinkmann bullet smoker and tried to make my own beef jerky.

I followed the directions that came with the Brinkmann and away I went. I ended up with a bunch of charred meat after 3 hours of blasting away at WAY too high of temperatures. I only had the thermometer on the top of the bullet (Warm, Ideal, Hot I believe were the markings on it).

I put down the BBQ for about probably another 10 years. I then started researching what I had done wrong. When my wife and I bought our house I decided that one of the things I was going to spend money on was a smoker.

So I bought a Brinkmann SnP and have been smoking (much to my wife's dislike and my friends/neighbors joy) for the last 2.5 years. I've got a pork belly curing in the fridge which is going on the smoker tomorrow.

My ribs have converted a 7 year vegetarian back into a meat eater, though I would say what I am best at is my pulled pork.

Great to hear all of your stories!
post #27 of 81
Growing up in central Illinois the only Q came once a year at the town festival. There was a man (the father of one of only two black families in the town of 15,000) who would set up a stand. He sold pulled pork sandwiches that were out of this world. I saved up my paper route money for months to stand in a long line for that Q.
Joined the Navy to get out of Hooterville and ended up in northern California. Now San Fransisco isn't known for Q, but believe me, it's there. I walked into some places that could have gotten me killed just for doing that. The folks in those parts of town didn't even see very many white faces, let alone break bread with them. Anyway, once I went back a few times and was a regular I was as welcome as anyone. Q knows no racism.
Moved to Houston after the service and a friend downsizing from a house gave me an Old Smokey electric. I didn't use it until I came back from a party boat trip on the Gulf with a gunnysack full of Red Snapper. I decided to try smoking most of them so they would keep longer and they were dee-licious. That prompted me to try on pulled pork to see if I could make it like the tastes I'd had in the past. You see, Texas has a style all it's own, and there's not a lot of care put into PP hereabouts. Long story getting longer I was successful.
Moved to Dallas, moved to KC, back to Dallas over the years. Been through a number of different style smokers. My "usual" smoke is a brisket, a butt, two chickens (wife's fav), and as many sausages and boudin I can wedge in between. Come to think of it, we have all of them in the freezer. Gotta run!
post #28 of 81
Always like cooking out on campfire way back when. Then upgraded to drinking beer. Then upgrade to grills,smokers and other contraptions.

Nothing better than drinking beer,smoking then eating it!!!
post #29 of 81
I can't claim any fantastic beginings,,,

In about 1988 I was visiting my brother in NC and he had a fella that on the same farm.
Now when I think of dirt poor I think of this fella, No indoor plumming, no electric that I ever noticed and house flat falling down. We were cutting wood and passing his place 4 or 5 times a day. Every time I smelled this fantastic smell. I saw a old barrell sitting outside with smoke coming out of it and honestly didn't know what it was. Long story short he caught us one day as we went by and asked if we wanted a sandwich. I was pretty aprehensive but my brother said yes... Honestly I don't know what kind of meat it was but is was absolutely fantastic..... Been in love with smoking ever since...
post #30 of 81
[quote=DownstateSmoker;423940]Adam's Center, NY, Dmn you're practically Canadian!

Yup, 30 miles from the 1000 Island Bridge in Alexandria Bay. My dad was Scottish descent and my mom was Canadian (born in US to Canadian parents).

That's why I like Canadian Scotch so much! lol! tongue.gif Now a transplanted Texan! (aye!)
post #31 of 81

It was jerky

I was into making jerky with my dehydrator. A guy I used to work with mentioned one time that he had made some on his smoker one weekend and I got to thinking. It sounded like the more natural and ols school way of doing it so I bought myself a Brinkman PitMaster Delux. It all started there and now I am hooked. That was more than 10 years ago now.

post #32 of 81
I helped my buddy's girlfriend's dad cook for a large event (few hundred people) a couple summers ago. I have always loved cooking meat on the grill, but this was my first experience with smokers. We cooked so much meat, ribs, pork loin, tri tip, rib roasts, and a whole hog. It was the most fun I'd ever had cooking. Been hooked ever since. And now I get to share my experiences with ya'll and vice versa!
post #33 of 81
I just started about 2 months ago searching for the thin blue smoke. I have loved grilling and done just fine by my standards and all my neighbors. My wife and I would go on the weekends trying to find good BBQ spots, and never found anything that deserved a special trip back. After seeing a ton of smoked meat on Diners, drive-ins and dives on TV I had to try it. We got an MES and have only done a few meats, but I am hooked. I found this site after I tried my first pulled pork and whole chickens. And being a true smoking rookie this site has helped so much. I look forward to the weekends and special events so I can research or try something new. I look forward to learning and contributing to this site for a long time to come.
post #34 of 81
For me, I bought 2 racks of babybacks a couple of years ago, got a stainless smoke box and threw them on the grill. While they turned out pretty good, I wanted to get more serious about smoking and getting that great flavor. So after researching and reading up for about a year, 2 summers ago I pulled the trigger and bought my smoker and haven't looked back since.
post #35 of 81
I started 30 years ago when we brought our venison scraps and trimmings to have them make sausage with it.Then I got the bill and it was $1.19 a Lb. and I gave them the meat ! So I learned to do my own and kept track of everything I did just in case I struck the money recipe.I thought If someone else can do this so can I.
If you think you can , or you think you can't ,your right.I just always think I can.My wife is the baker in the house and she knocks it out of the park .The bride made fresh hoagie buns last night and we took out some pulled pork that was frozen and "bingo" a great dinner.She makes breads , bagels and anything that can be baked.
Then I saw this site and now I'm really smoken and it's fun to impress the friends and family.Bill icon_mrgreen.gif
post #36 of 81
My family is seriously into hunting and fishing, and have been making our own dehydrated venison jerky for as long as I can remember. We started butchering with another family many years ago, and then had a falling out and do it all ourselves now. We raise or own cattle, buy hogs, and shoot deer and butcher them all. We use to get a whole bunch of the deer and some hogs and get summer sausage made and pepper sticks from a guy who was amazing at it. He smoked it all and it was great. Then he died of a heart attack. We had the local lockers do some for us, but at $3 a pound processing its pretty expensive for my young family (I am 24 with the first baby on the way), and the quality was not as good as I remembered.

I have always been a bit of a do it yourselfer, so last year I did some online research on an archery site I am a member of, and found how to do your own summer sausage and snack sticks. I built an electric plywood smoker because I couldn't afford a large enough smoker for large quantities of sausage, used my jerky shooter as a stuffer, ordered in some spices and tried it.....WOW was all i could say. Did sticks, summer sausage, and they are all great. The family has really lived large in that department for the last year or so. My smoker, however, tops out at 200 on a good day, which is great for sausage but not so good for somking meats. Just got an GOSM so I can do smaller loads at the correct temps and my first butt for pulled pork is going in the smoker at 10:00 tonight! Looking forward to having successes, failures, and getting this really figured out. Just bought Ryteks book have alot more sausages I want to learn to smoke as well, so hopefully it will be a long and fun road.
post #37 of 81
Probably 1974, Merritt Island, Florida. Had my first smoked turkey at a friends house. I was hooked and went out and bought an ECB. Still got it in fact.

post #38 of 81
I always loved to grill and did for years only with charcoal and then did propane for a few years and when the propane grill needed to be replaced I went back to charcoal.

But how I got into to smoking was about 2 1/2 years ago when we moved from Kansas to Denham Spring LA and I got invited to a hunting camp to do some deer hunting, They smoked and grills everything, But it was the whole hogs that did it for me,

I want to add, I have tried more new foods since moving here. the people here like good food and like to share, I have gained 20 pounds in 2 1/2 years.

I love the South and the people and culture.
post #39 of 81
Maybe 20 years ago, when I hooked up with a fellow hunter and Army buddy, he showed me how to make snack sticks. Used a KitchenAid mixer/stuffer and little chief. Looking back on it, neither of us knew what we were doing. Basically cooking meat sticks on a smokey oven LOL.

From there, I bought a chief and would throw trout in it when I caught them, but the fish never tasted like the smoked ones at the store. Just figured it was some big secret to smoking and only learned by being passed down from generation to generation.

It wasn't until a year ago that I came across this place while I googled a jerky recipes. Was going to make a batch up on the Chief.
Read more and more and and became really intrigued by what I found here. I have a long long ways to go before I would even consider myself an accomplished pitmaster, this place with everyone in it has and will continue to slash the learning curve. If I only had this place 20 years ago.
So with that being said, I don't think I started smoking 20 years ago, it really started within the last yearPDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #40 of 81
That a great point Meat Hunter, really started smoking when I saw this site. And the kitchen aid and a little chief is the same set up I used until a few months ago.I made a ton of things with that same combo.Bill
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