New person here with a strange question!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by chrisj, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. Hi,

    I'm new to the forum and to be honest have never even had smoked food yet.

    I'm interested in starting out, but before I do have some questions which hopefully will not come across as dumb.

    I've tried slow cooking both pork and beef in a crock pot as well as in a gas oven.  I do not like any spices or seasoning other than salt and pepper and am a very picky eater so cooking my own food is usually a must.  Practically all of my meat gets cooked outside on either the gas Weber or over lump charcoal and I was not happy with the results in the crockpot or the oven mainly because of smell and taste.

    In the crockpot I filled half way with water and cooked for 8-10 hours on low.  The meat was super tender which I loved but it had a weird smell and taste.  Last night I cooked some pork ribs in the oven.  I put them in a foil pan covered with foil and cooked @ 225F for 4 hours after which they didn't look too appealing and had the same smell as they did in the slow cooker so I drained the juices out and finished them @ 425F for 15-20  minutes uncovered.   They still had the funny smell and taste.

    I love meat cooked over lump charcoal, or even on my gas Weber so I'm hoping smoking with lump charcoal might provide me with the results I want.  Super tender with a smokey taste rather than this weird funky smell and taste I got from the oven and crock pot.

    So basically my questions are,

    Why does the crockpot and slow cooking in the oven the way I did give this specific smell and taste and does smoking meat do the same?

    Is smoking for me (hopefully it is!) , and if so how should I start? :)  I currently have a Weber Smokey Joe Gold and a Jumbo Joe currently as far as charcoal goes.
  2. Chris

    I don't know how to answer your question. I would say you need to go out to eat at a BBQ joint and see what you think of the flavor. If you hate it their it is unlikely you will like what you make. Their is no comparison of a crock pot and a smoker.

    I see this is your first post. When you get a chance will you drop by roll call so everyone can give you a proper SMF welcome?

    Happy smoken.

  3. Hi David,

    Will drop by roll call.

    The problem with stopping by a BBQ joint is as I said I don't like any spices or seasoning other than salt and pepper.  I highly doubt I could find anything I'd eat at a BBQ joint, sadly.
  4. Call around to a few places and ask is they have anything with just S&P. You might be surprised. If you will also add your location to your profile you may live right down the road from a member here.

    Happy smoken.

    chrisj likes this.
  5. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Chris, some pork can have a weird smell if it is not fresh, even if you bought it that day at the grocer.  Pork can look fine but will feel slippery and slimy when opened if it has started to turn, but not always.  I've purchased pork that still had lots of time before the sell by date but it was obviously not cared for properly someplace along the delivery line.  The smell is not appetizing at all and will not go away no matter if you pot it, roast it, or smoke it.  Definitely don't eat it. 

    Beef usually starts to brown when it has aged too long at the grocer or was not treated correctly during processing and delivery.  It too will develop a smell that I can describe as "earthy."  I've actually aged beef before.  The smell and taste can be offputting for those with super-sensitive noses and tastebuds. 

    Pepper can develop a mold so be sure your pepper is fresh.

    Salts are sourced from a variety of places.  Kosher salt is usually best.    

    If the meat smells fine when you first open it no off smell or taste should develop in the pot, oven, or smoker. 
    chrisj likes this.
  6. one big difference you will find is that the crock pot (with the amount of water you added) and the ribs sealed up are both going to give you variations of steamed meats.  While steaming will make meats tender - you can lose a lot of flavor, which is often replaced with herbs and spices. (Think of the old reputation for English boiled meat dishes...)  Smoking is a drier process - the smoke chemically interacts with the meat and helps break down connective tissue (as does the slow cooking process).  One of the reasons for slow cooking below 225 is that the internal meat temp stays below 212F (boiling point of water).  Water is a very good conductor of heat - it transfers the heat from the outside to the inside very efficiently.  Higher temp cooking starts boiling off the water - from the outside in, which will result in dry meats if overdone.

    However, I also agree with the others - if both meats smelled "funny" and had an odd taste after being cooked - check everything you are using. Even "steaming" your meats should not result in something strange.  Can you describe the strange taste and flavor at all?

    And, I second the Mule's suggestion.  Find a non-chain BBQ place near you - the smaller the better and ask them if they will cook something "naked" - or just salt & pepper, just to see if you like it.  I've found that small outfits are more willing to accommodate special requests.
    chrisj likes this.
  7. I always smell meats before I cook them and I am sure these were good.

    The smell and taste seems to only happen when slow cooked.  Whenever I grill anything, or even bake it @ 350-400F it's completely different.
    Not sure I can describe the smell or taste other than it's always happened with the crockpot and it happened with the ribs in the oven.

    I should note I have an extremely sensitive sense of taste and smell.  I can smell garlic on a steak that was cooked on the same grill as a steak that had some garlic on it and forget about eating it.  Stuff most people never notice at all is so strong I can't eat it.  My wife thought the food was fine and didn't notice anything weird or bad, I just didn't like it.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  8. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Dang you have a pretty sensitive palate

    My concern would be if you dont like any spices or flavorings, you may not like the taste of smoke.

    Have you tried a dutch oven in the oven with maybe a cup or two of water?

    I have had great results with a DO

    Not sure why you get a funky taste in the crock pot

    OK back to the smoking part, Is Smoking for you?

    Nobody but you can answer that question, my wife does not like smoke flavor but loves the pulled pork I do on the pit, this is cooked with the least amount of smoke as possible.

    Sounds like you like the sear or (Maillard reaction) that occurs on the meat. (Lump Charcoal or Weber Grill).

    Try this, cook your meat on your charcoal Weber liker you usually do but add a pouch of wood chips (wood chips foiled in a pouch with a dozen or so fork holes), place this pouch on your charcoal when grilling.

    If you like the outcome, try lowering the temps and extend the cooking time and smoking process, if possible.

    This way there will  be no extra cost to see if you like it or not.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  9. Something I've always loved is eggs cooked over maple.  Throw that on some bacon and I'm in heaven.  Also love chicken or cooked over maple or hickory.  I've also used a smoker box on the gas grill.  So far my favorite wood has been maple.  However, all of these foods have been cooked at normal temperatures (350-400) so of course things aren't that tender.

    If a smoker can give me that taste with the tenderness of what a crockpot delivers it sounds awesome.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  10. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like you answered part of your own question, Is smoking for me (hopefully it is!) , and if so how should I start? :)  I currently have a Weber Smokey Joe Gold and a Jumbo Joe currently as far as charcoal goes.

    So lets move onto part two of yor question and if so how should I start?

    As I said in my first post, If you like the outcome, try lowering the temps and extend the cooking time and smoking process, if possible.

    This way there will  be no extra cost to see if you like it or not.

    You can try temps in the 275 degree range on picnics or butts. Just make sure to use indirect heat and a water pan may help stabilize the temperature on your grill.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  11. I've seen videos of guys setting up charcoal in a kettle to slow cook and I think it was called "the snake"?  Where you make a continuous trail around the outer edge of the grill and only light one end.  Not sure how well this would work with lump charcoal, might have to use bricketts but would this be similar to smoking?
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  12. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would say yes, although I have no experience in Low and Slow cooking on a charcoal grill, however I am pretty confident someone on this forum has done this.

    I will look into this further and see what I can come up with.
  13. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    chrisj likes this.
  14. Back years ago I would do a brisket on a kettle. I would get my temp going then add a few briquettes every hour. It worked pretty good. That would get you started to see what you think.

    Happy smoken.

    chrisj likes this.
  15. Did you light the briquettes in a chimney and then add, or just add them directly to the kettle?
  16. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'll go ahead and say "Hello" here , strange person with a new question , [​IMG]

    I'd agree with Squib... and say if you dislike Spice , just use Smoke... no Rubs .

    And to save on a wasted (We certainly hope NOT) meal 'if' you do not like the taste , do a Chicken...

    Best  answer , bite the bullet and go to a BBQ Joint, they say7 NYC has some decent ones...[​IMG]
  17. bbq ken

    bbq ken Newbie

  18. No chimney just drop them in. It is not the best setup but it will let you get your feet wet with out jumping into the deep end head first.

    Happy smoken.

  19. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Chris, if you're already grilling over lump then all you need to do is drop a chunk or two of wood in the fire, and don't let it breathe enough to flame. Start with a little bit, and also maybe let the meat rest for a while to mellow out any smoky sharpness. 
  20. dahoovman

    dahoovman Newbie

    Sometimes crock pot pork can have a sulfurous smell. Not sure of the origin, but I haven't really noticed it unless the pork is entirely unseasoned and the lid doesn't vent well enough. Once it hits your nose it's hard to power through and eat it. Sometimes leaving the lid ajar for a bit will help it clear the smell. If the smell persists, I usually play it safe and toss it. I've never had the same issue when smoking. Not sure if it is the amount of air flowing through the smoker or something else.

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