Actually, I've been back home (that is, here in America) for the last couple of months, doing the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas thing with my family (that's been GREAT -- I miss my family ALL the time, and holidays are always a bit sad when I'm away from them).
During part of the trip, my husband (who's a composer) had a bunch of gigs lecturing at various universities here, many of which were in the south. As we drove, we stopped off at various places to have, of course, Real Barbecue. The consensus between my daughter and my husband was that, even after we'd tried nearly 10 different places, from big chains to one-off holes in the wall, they still thought my 'cue was the best. I was very flattered.
I know I'll probably get pilloried for saying this, but the best we found was at the chain Smokey Bones. Plus their sides were fantastic. The worst was at a little highway-side joint in Georgia. The sauce was mustard-based, which I found out I don't like. The meat was smoked over oak, which is a VERY subtle flavor, very complex, but it was dry as dust and chopped almost as finely. Still, the place smelled wonderfully of smoke and the atmosphere was VERY authentic -- reminded me of a crab joint on the Chesapeake (big folding formica-topped tables with plastic tablecloths, cheap wood panelling, prints of hunters on the walls, lineoleum floor -- you know the kind of place).
Cheech, mixing beer and smoke is not a good idea. I was having a beer the other night and decided to try this, so I crawled in the smoker (beer in hand) and shut the lid, and man that likend to choked me to death in just a few seconds. I guess it don't take long to smoke a beer, can't say as I like drinking a smoked beer. Well, the wife said I wasn't doing it right, what do ya think she meant by that, maybe the wrong wood, temp not right, anyway, she said I should just stick to regular beer, and I left it at that. BEAR
Welcome back!! I know exactly what you mean about the different "joints." One thing for sure, is that you really can't judge the quality of the Q from the outside of the reaturant. My real confirmation of that was the first time I visited Aurther Bryant's out in KC. But isn't it a real treat when you do come upon that quaint little place out in the middle of nowhere and the Q is perfect. That's a memory maker.
I have spent a couple years making beer, and smoking your own grains is easy enough - but for the beer making, you need to progress through the easier brewing with ready malts (liquid or powder) and move into all grain brewing - which involves enzyme rests converting starch into sugars.
If your already into this type of brewing - take a pound of 2 row barley and smoke at temps under 123 for about a half hour. Then proceed with your mash as usual.
I have smoked a couple of batches and more than a pound and the smoke is real over powering - I like my differences in beer (smoke, cranberry, ginger, etc) to be subtle, not the main flavor.
I've done a couple batches of beer, but only from the canned extract. Doing my own mash is something that I'd like to get into, but I don't think that I quite have everythind down as smoothly as I would like to before I do anything more complicated. Smoking the grain is something that is definitley something to plan for the future. Thanks for the tips.
Mashing grain is really very simple, it just takes longer and a bit more equipment. I've been homebrewing for 11 years and most have been all grain, any questions, I'll gladly help you out. I haven't smoked any grain yet, but I do have a recipe for a smoked porter inspired by Alaskan Smoked Porter, that I will be making. It requires about 8 lbs of the grain to be smoked with alder , so all I need now is the time to brew this beer, as I have alder and grain on hand.