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My Observations and Words of Wisdom

Discussion in 'Messages for All Guests and Members' started by gary s, Jan 31, 2018.

    1. My Observations and Words of Wisdom

    I have been smoking meat for over 50 years and a member of this Forum for 7 years.

    I have helped numerous people get started smoking and answered no telling how many questions. Which I truly enjoy.

    The two things I tell everyone, and stress is “KEEP IT SIMPLE” and “GET TO KNOW YOUR SMOKER”

    If you do these two things with a little practice you will be cranking out Super BBQ and it will be fun and easy.

    I realize some of you are just starting out and learning.

    There is a world of information on this site on just about anything you want to smoke, grill, cook, make or preserve.

    Just like anything you do in life the more you do it the easier it gets. Once you get comfortable with your Q try different things, rubs and sauces.

    I like Technology as much as anyone, but I am seeing way too many people get way to wrapped up in it when it comes to smoking. example “What temp do you sauce ribs” and “I keep checking my temp and my IT doesn’t go up on my Brisket” etc. , etc.

    I am not knocking temp gauges I have several. But learn by looking, touching and feeling, bend test, tooth pick test.

    That is the best and surefire way to check your meat and see if it is done.

    Now in saying that there are always exceptions Prime Rib for one use a temp gauge.

    Back when I was a kid and learning to smoke I didn’t have any temp gauges not even on my smoker, so I learned Old School. Had there been or had I had access to them, you bet I would have used them. But I would still have used the touchy feely, bend and toothpick test.

    I think (My Opinion) to many people are relying way too much on their temp gauges. I see all the time “I took the temp to such and such but it was tough” “What temp do you wrap”, “My Brisket has been at 170[​IMG] for two hours what do I do” on and on.

    Use your temp gauge and probes as a guide, then check it yourself. Simple, Simple.

    Also get to know your smoker. What I mean by that is its characteristics. Hot spots, Cold spots, how long does a split last, how well you can regulate your temp with your damper? Electric guys check your temp against a probe see if it is reading true.

    After all these years of Smoking its pretty much second nature to me. I know when I need to add a split how well it holds temp and I can regulate mine from 100° up in 10° increments by fuel and damper control. But I have had a lot of practice.

    Main thing is Don’t Stress Out or Over Think It, have fun and learn the basics and enjoy some great BBQ

    Thank you

  1. weedeater

    weedeater Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★


    Great post. I think the greatest advice in your post is for people to learn their smoker. Spend some time with it. Experiment with it. Take notes on all your cooks. What worked, what didn’t. Log how often you added splits. What were the temp swings, etc. Do your experimenting with a forgiving cook like a butt for pulled pork. But above all else have fun and don’t sweat it.

    Bearcarver likes this.
  2. oddegan

    oddegan Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you for your thoughts Gary. I'm into this for the relaxation of doing things that take time. I'm a machinist in a production shop in my everyday life where I follow detailed work instructions and have to hit relatively tight tolerances and always on a deadline. I don't want to turn my hobby into what I do at work. I like to write down what I'm doing and how I'm doing it but for the most part it's all about chilling out and burning some meat.
    mooski357 likes this.
  3. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great Thread, Gary!!

    I agree with all you said---100% !!
    I'm pretty specific about my times & temps, but if I wasn't I wouldn't be able to produce easy to follow "Step by Steps".

  4. Weedeater brought up a great point I should have addressed TAKE NOTES
    I did do this for several years and it really helps

    Thanks Weedeater

  5. Phil Chart

    Phil Chart Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Well said Gary. I've only been smoking for around five years or so and have a long way to go but I find myself getting caught up in all the technology out there and sometimes wonder why. Then when you watch some of the best bbq places in the country cook,it begins to sink in. It's technique and practice not technology that makes good BBQ .
    Again well said Gary
  6. Phil Chart

    Phil Chart Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    One thing I forgot to mention
    The more smoke on my UDS the better I'm getting and have made better BBQ on that than my Bradley or the Weber charcoal grill.
  7. hank2000

    hank2000 Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Well said
  8. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Expressed perfectly! Whenever I forget the KIS advice, I end up working a lot more than I need to during a smoke.
  9. ab canuck

    ab canuck Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great advice, Simple and true, I am always learning with things I do, Weather on the grill, smoker, or charcoal. Keeping notes is a great idea I have slipped away from. I should also get back into that. Everything helps and KIS is a must especially when new at this. Thx. Gary
  10. Ed Crain

    Ed Crain Smoke Blower

    Well said the notes is what I really need to start even if not perfect it would give you something to look at and change instead of trying to remember what you done
  11. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LOL---Like Gary, I always forget to mention that too, but I have all my old notes yet. I have 8 full Spiral Bound 11" notebooks full from all my notes. Usually one Page per Smoke from Prep to consumption. Then I use the notes to make my Forum Thread Post. Then I turn the page, and use a spring clip to keep it ready for the next smoke.

    If I didn't take notes, I'd be having to do every smoke as if it's my first smoke of that item.

  12. Thanks guys, I think some of my smokes seam like the first time ???:eek:

    Bearcarver likes this.
  13. GATOR240

    GATOR240 Smoking Fanatic

    I had been taking pretty good notes, but the last few smokes I've gotten lazy and tell myself I'll write the notes down tomorrow....3 days later when I finally realize I need to write them down, I forget a lot of the details. As stated above, they certainly are very helpful to have.....That is, GOOD notes.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  14. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great post my friend.
    Too many people worry way too much over every little aspect of smoking a piece of meat. BBQ is supposed to be enjoyable and relaxing. Definitely not stressful. They worry way too much about the little things like temp swings.
    Learn the basics. Learn your smoker.
    Chill out and enjoy a day by the smokerr. IMO that's what its all about.
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great point and I agee. The only other point that needs to be addressed is, the therm is the best tool to determine you have reached a safe IT. The old school and visual, " Cook until the juices run clear, " while safe, usually also indicates the meat is over cooked. The thermometer will guarantee you are safe and perfectly done...JJ
  16. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LOL---If I waited 3 days before taking Notes, I'd be lucky if I remember what it was I smoked!!! :rolleyes:

  17. weedeater

    weedeater Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    One of the things that really helped me in learning my smoker was as mentioned before taking notes. One tool that helped me emincely was some templates I downloaded from this site. Don’t know where to find them now on the site but below is one page of the four pages I use on cooks. Maybe someone can post a link to these templates or others that they use. Simple to say take notes but much easier to fill in the blanks.


  18. I have transferred all my notes and recipes to my computer

  19. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yep, me too. I use a spreadsheet. Some years I do great, like the last nine months of last year and so far this year. Some years, not so good. I completely skipped 2016 and didn't do real well in 2015.

    Each year of data looks different because it seems I focus on different things from year to year.