Originally Posted by DavidLSI
Thanks for the replies...
I went for my second chicken and first ribs yesterday on my Brinkman electric. I purchased a thermometer to sit on the rack with the meat so I can now watch the temps inside and out of the meat.
Very good to have grate and meat temp readings...this will soon be one of your most valued tools of the craft. Oh, I like to put my grate temp probe into a small block of wood so it's not touching meat or metal with the probe for the most accurate readings.
The ribs I used the 2-2-1 method they turned out great with only one slab cooked there were no left overs.
The chicken I split open so it laid flat and in 3 1/2 hours the internal temp was up to 192. I then finished it off in the hot grill to crisp up the skin. We only ate about 1/3rd of this bird so I pulled the balance of the meat off and mixed enough sauce to coat everything. Into the refrigerator over night, I took this to work today along with some crusty bread. It was a a very tasty lunch.
As mentioned above, 165* if hitting the grill after wards will be less risk of drying out. Spatchcocking the bird is a very good way to go to speed things up and helps to even out the cooking temps. I even like doing separate quarters so I can get the breast out when it's ready instead of waiting for the dark meat while the breast is already done...great results with that method.
I used apple wood only this time and filled the cast iron smoke box twice. I think the lesson this after this smoke is only fill the smoke box once. The ribs and chicken soak up the smoke flavor and this time I feel it was too heavy.
Apple wood is a very good choice for poulty and pork ribs...personally, I think it's too light for pork shoulders, just so you keep it in mind when/if you do some pulled pork from a butt. If the smoke comes on pretty heavy and stays that way for more than a few minutes, the, quickly fades away, you'll probably want to find a way to get the smoke wood further away from the heat source or close off most of the air getting to the smoke wood. More heat/air means faster heavier smoke...less of either means lighter and longer smoke. It should only take a small handful of chips (or a small chuck) for a 2 to 3 hour smoke as above. A long smoke like a brisket or pork butt will use more.
If the smoke flavor was bitter, that's definitely time for a lighter smoke on the next round.
I wonder if the smoke flavor is like spicy food and whiskey and takes time to appreciate?
What I have found, and I think many experienced smokers will agree, when I spend several hours (and especially all night and into the next day) around a smoker, you tend to get accustomed to the smoke odor. It permeats your clothing and hair, and you take it with you everywhere you walk. I walk into the house and my wife and kids give me comments like "mmm, you smell REALLY GOOD!!!" This can make you actually loose your sense of taste for the smoke. Also, with successive smokes, you may tend to start laying it on a bit heavier and longer, or using a sharper, deeper, less sweet smoke wood than you normally would use, just to see if it will taste better to you, and it will eventually become an overpowering strength of the smoke flavor and aromas after it's cooked, so be careful of that...I've done it more than once myself. On long smokes, it always seems to taste better the next day...that's not anything to do with the smoke, dry rub or meat...it's your nose and taste buds, so don't think that you did something wrong when it doesn't taste quite right, or the way you think it should...the next day when you eat leftovers will be the moment of truth...that's after a shower, 6 or 8 hours of sleep and fresh change of clothes has come into the equation. Yep, it's all coming back to me here...hah-hah!
The real appreciation for the smoke flavor should be instantaneous, I think. The first smell of the food should get your attention and lure you in for a closer look, and entice you to have a taste. If that doesn't happen, either the smoke wood just isn't what you like with that meat, or the dry rub and smoke wood don't match up very well. Some folks just don't like smoked foods at all...period...I rarely hear talk of such a thing.
Anyway, my suggestion is to be sure you have a light smoke, and preferable a sweet smoke as you have with apple...cherry is another good smoke for a starter. You don't need to see smoke to be smoking your meat...if you can smell it above or downwind of the smoker, you're smokin'. Less is more when it comes to smoke.
You're coming along just fine with having just a few opportunites to try your hand at smoking. A few lessons along the way is expected, and really, we don't learn much if we don't make mistakes. The best part is, you get to enjoy your mistakes by eating it...it has to be a total flop, which is rare, to not be able to eat it.
You will find a few things sometime down the road which you will prefer over others, like certain smoke woods or seasonings for certain cuts of meats. That's just part of what makes this so interesting and fun, IMO. Many, many variables to play with, and it's all great eating!