Archive for the ‘Smoker Eats’ Category

Basic BBQ Rub Recipe

Happy holidays, friends. This is a great rub recipe that offers a lot of options. First it makes the CollegeCookBook because you don’t need lots of ingredients. You just need to have the same measuring spoon or cup. So you can make a little or a lot. Just be consistent. It also allows you to experiment with different additions and subtractions quite easily.

5 parts Paprika

3 parts Chli Powder

3 parts Brown Sugar (more for ribs)

2 parts Kosher Salt

1 part each Black Pepper,Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper

Part can be any measurement – cup, tablespoon, teaspoon


Remember to Experiment with other spices

From the BBQ Pitman Website


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Our church holds a chili dinner once a year. I’ve been dying to get the smoker out a few more times before it snows and this seemed like a great opportunity.

I’m using a Texas chili recipe I found online and improvising a little due to the fact that the Davis Rib Rub (posted here, scroll down) is a tad on the spicy side and has close to the same flavor profile as a bowl of chili. I used about a 1/4 to a 1/2 a cup on the loin as a rub. That should be all I need once I add the chopped pork to the mix. But I may add some more to flavor it up once it all comes together.   

I mean what can go wrong? Chili is one of the most forgivable foods out there.


 5-6 pounds smoke pork loin seasoned with ¼ to ½ cup Davis Dry Rub


6 pounds Beef chuck; in 1/2-inch cubes


3/4 cup Minced onion 1

/4 cup Minced garlic

3 cups beef broth

3 cups Dark beer

1 1/2 cup Water

1/4 cup chili powder (or more rib rub) to taste

6 pounds Canned tomatoes; drained and chopped

1/3 cup Tomato paste

1 1/2 tablespoon Minced fresh oregano

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon Cayenne pepper; to taste



Smoke and chunk pork loin –or– brown the beef in a large skillet and drain the grease.


Reduce heat to medium low and add the onions and garlic and saute until softened. Poor into the stockpot along with the broth, beer, the water, chili powder, tomato, tomato paste, and oregano.

Over high heat bring mixture to a simmer. Add salt, cayenne, and more chili powder to taste. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, partially covered, until beef is tender (about 1-1/2 hours).

 Check occasionally and add more broth if mixture seems dry. Cook an additional 5 minutes to thicken.

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On the way home from church I was thinking about the upcoming chili night. We do it every Sunday in October when the local 10k shuts down the road in front of the church. I’ve made Wilderness Chili before with my mom’s recipe and some deer meat. Now I’m thinking I need to make a Mountain Man version with smoked meat instead of ground chuck or Italian Sausage. I came across this brisket recipe while looking for ideas. Sounds tasty. Plus if the weather isn’t that great you don’t have to sit outside and babysit the smoke for a long period of time.    

Prague powder is a curing salt. Search online for it and you can get some suggestions that don’t require a trip to Europe. Also some of the commenters in the original post brined the meat for a few extra days and also amped up the cooking time in the oven an hour or two. I’d definitely use a cooking thermometer on the meat to make sure you get it over 200 degrees to make sure that fat and flavor has dissolved into the meat.

This serves 4 to 6 people.


1 (3 to 5-pound) brisket


1 gallon water

6 ounces kosher salt

2 ounces Prague powder

2 ounces powdered dextrose

2.5 ounces plus 4 tablespoons pickling spices, divided

Rye bread, for serving

Mustard, for serving


Place 1 brisket fat down in a pan. Completely submerge the brisket with the brine.

Brine 2 days in the refrigerator.

Remove the meat from the brine and rub the meat with 4 tablespoons pickling spices.

Place the meat in a smoker for 2 hours with maple wood chips.

Remove from the smoker and place in a pan with 2 cups of water. Wrap with aluminum foil. Place in the oven for 3 hours at 250 degrees F.

Remove from the oven, slice, and enjoy with rye bread and mustard.

From: Food Network

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If you don’t have a smoker this recipe is a reason why you need to buy one. Or at least figure out how to use your grill and a smoke box to give this a whirl. Plus it helps you figure out how to cook it for a small group or half the neighborhood.

I smoked the meat for about 4.5 hours and hit it with hickory. When it was time to pull it apart it wouldn’t pull. I think it needed about an hour extra to make it melt.

Instead I chopped it and serve it as chunked pork. Outside of the blisters on my knife hand it was an amazing experience. We used the some of the Vinegar BBQ Sauce (about a 1/2 of a cup instead of the recommended 1.5 cups) and added in some Sonny’s BBQ sauce that has a sweet and smoky flavor.  Mixing the two sauces helps ease the spiciness of the meat.


6 to 8 hickory wood chunks or 3 cups hickory wood chips (I used more.)

1/3 cup Davis Dry Rub (see below)

1 5- to 5-1/2-lb. boneless pork shoulder roast (sold in some regions as Boston butt)

1 recipe Vinegar Barbecue Sauce (see below)

12 to 18 soft white hamburger buns

Bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)

Kohlrabi Coleslaw (see below)


1. Smoker Instructions: At least 1 hour before smoke-cooking, soak wood chunks or chips in enough water to cover. Drain before using.

2. Sprinkle Davis Dry Rub evenly over meat; rub in with your fingers. In a smoker arrange preheated coals, drained wood chunks, and water pan according to manufacturer’s directions. Pour water into pan. Place roast on the grill rack over water pan. Cover; smoke for 4 to 5 hours or until roast is very tender. Add additional coals and water as needed to maintain temperature and moisture. (Do not add more wood after the first 2 hours of smoking. Too much smoke makes roast bitter.)

3. Remove roast from smoker. Cover roast with foil; let stand for 15 minutes. Using two forks, gently pull the roast into long thin strands. Mix about 1-1/2 cups Vinegar Barbecue Sauce with the pork to slightly moisten the meat.

4. To serve, pile pork onto buns. Sprinkle with hot pepper sauce. Serve with remaining Vinegar Barbecue sauce and Kohlrabi Coleslaw. Makes 12 (4-1/4-ounce) to 18 servings. I served mine from a crock pot on low.

25 SERVINGS: Prepare two 5- to 5-1/2-pound boneless pork shoulder roasts. Smoke two roasts at a time on a smoker or grill. Prepare Vinegar Barbecue Sauce for 25. Pull pork as in Step 3. To serve, combine each pulled roast with 1-1/2 cups sauce in a 4-quart Dutch oven. Replenish pork as needed, do not allow meat to sit out for more than 2 hours.

50 SERVINGS: Prepare four 5- to 5-1/2-pound boneless pork shoulder roasts. Smoke two roasts at a time on a smoker or grill. Prepare Vinegar Barbecue Sauce for 50. Pull pork as in Step 3. To serve, combine each pulled roast with 1-1/2 cups sauce in a 4-quart Dutch oven. Replenish pork as needed, do not allow meat to sit out more than two hours.

GAS GRILL INSTRUCTIONS: tart with a full tank of propane. Adjust heat for indirect cooking over medium-low heat. Add soaked wood chunks according to manufacturer’s directions. Or wrap in foil and add to grill. Place pork shoulder on a rack in a roasting pan; set pan on grill rack over the unlit burner. Add 1/2 inch of water to pan. Cover and smoke 4 hours or until very tender, adding water to pan if necessary. Do not add more wood after the first 2 hours of smoking. Serve as directed above.

CHARCOAL GRILL INSTRUCTIONS: Prepare grill for indirect grilling. Arrange medium-hot coals around a foil pan. Fill drip pan with 1-inch of hot water. Test for medium heat above the drip pan. Add pre-soaked chunks or chips to coals. Place roast on grill rack and cover. Smoke as directed above, making sure to check food, temperature, and water once every hour. Do not add more wood after the first 2 hours of smoking. Serve as directed above.

Test Kitchen Tip: To make ahead, prepare as above through Step 3. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. Reheat in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Davis Dry Rub: In a small bowl stir together 1/ 2 cup paprika, 1/3 cup black pepper, 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup chili powder, 1/4 cup ground cumin, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar, and 2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper. Transfer to a small airtight container or bag. Store at room temperature up to 6 months.

Vinegar BBQ Sauce:


3 cups cider vinegar

6 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. dry mustard

2 to 4 tsp. crushed red pepper

2 tsp. bottled hot pepper sauce

1-1/2 tsp. salt

1-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper


1. In a clean 1-quart jar mix together vinegar, sugar, mustard, red pepper, hot pepper sauce, salt, and black pepper. Cover and shake well. Use to prepare Pulled Pork Shoulder or refrigerate, tightly covered, up to 7 days. Makes about 3-1/4 cups.

25 SERVINGS: In a 2- or 3-quart bowl whisk together 6 cups cider vinegar, 3/4 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons dry mustard, 1 to 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper, 2 tablespoons bottled hot pepper sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature 6 hours to meld flavors. Use to prepare Pulled Pork Shoulder or refrigerate, tightly covered, up to 7 days. Makes about 7 cups.

50 SERVINGS: In a 3- to 4-quart bowl whisk together 12 cups cider vinegar, 1-1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup dry mustard, 3 to 5 tablespoons crushed red pepper, 3 tablespoons bottled hot pepper sauce, 2 tablespoons salt, and 2 tablespoons ground black pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature 6 hours to meld flavors. Use to prepare Pulled Pork Shoulder or refrigerate, tightly covered, up to 7 days. Makes about 13 cups.

Kohlrabi Coleslaw:


3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. celery seeds (optional

1/2 tsp. salt or to taste

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1 lb. green cabbage, chopped or finely shredded (9 cups)

2 medium carrots, finely shredded (1 cup)*

1 cup shredded kohlrabi, jicama or radishes*

1 cup snipped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley


1. For dressing, in a medium bowl combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

2. In a 4-quart bowl combine the cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, and parsley. Stir in the dressing; mix well. Cover and refrigerate until serving time, or up to 24 hours. Serve with a slotted spoon. Makes 12 servings.

25 SERVINGS: Double the recipe above.

50 SERVINGS: Prepare the 25-serving recipe twice.

*Test Kitchen Tip: Use the shredding blade of a food processor to shred the cabbage, carrots, and kohlrabi. Instead of the cabbage and carrots, you can also substitute one 16-ounce package of shredded cabbage with carrot (coleslaw mix).

Meat from: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/pork/pulled-pork-shoulder/

Sauce from: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/sauces/vinegar-barbecue-sauce/

Coleslaw from: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/salads/kohlrabi-coleslaw/

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It is summer and what better excuse to fire up the smoker for several hours than to share some soft tender brisket with your friends when you’re done?

This effort comes by way of Jeff’s Smoking Meat website. I also tried his ham recipe listed on this site for Easter and it was simple and fantastic. I also posted his video. The audio isn’t the greatest.

Smoking Brisket Juicy, Tender and Tasty

I will tell you right up front that this is a very long tutorial on smoking brisket. I have tried to cover anything and everything about smoking brisket and while you may not see the need to read all of it now, it will be a great reference tool for later.

The brisket is one tough cookie when it comes to meats. It is so tough that it seems almost like it was never meant to be eaten. Ironically, it is extremely tasty and has loads of fat running through it making it a prime candidate for a juicy morsel of tantalizingly flavorful meat. Those who are patient and willing to follow a carefully prescribed method can find themselves at dinnertime with some really wonderful tasting meat in my opinion.

The key to brisket is low and slow. The second key to brisket is it ain’t done until it’s tender. Forget about temperature if you have to. The tenderness will tell you when it’s done. Usually tenderness happens at or above a certain temperature which I will get into later but it must be tender or it’s not done.

Don’t forget that, OK?!!

Now let’s just start at the beginning with purchasing a brisket and I will walk you through every step of the process from there and forward.

Purchasing a Brisket

Briskets are not super expensive usually.. I find packer cut briskets (which is what you want to buy) anywhere between $1.49 to $1.99 per pound on a fairly regular basis and this is something I can live with.

I know that briskets are very tough by nature so right off the bat, I am looking for the most tender brisket in the store. How do I do that? Well, here.. let me show you.

Find a packer cut brisket in the 8-10 pound range and if it is wrapped in only plastic, hold your hand out like you are going to shake someone ‘s hand and balance the brisket on the edge of your hand.

Watch the bend at both ends of the brisket. The brisket with the most bend is a good candidate for being the most tender. How do I know that? Just lots of experience in picking out briskets, that’s all.

If your store sells the briskets on a Styrofoam plate then you will not be able to see the bend in the store. Not to worry, I will still be able to show you how to make it tender and juicy.

You also want to look for a good fat cap. You only need about 1/4 inch so if there is more than this it can be trimmed away pretty easily.

Prepping the Brisket

Unlike a lot of folks, I do very little to prep my briskets for smoking. I have been able to get a tender, tasty and juicy brisket by keeping things very simple and I figure why fix something if it’s not broken.

Should You Inject a Brisket

If you choose to do so, you can inject briskets with marinades which can range from something as simple as Dr. Pepper to a mixture of melted butter, Worcestershire and other liquids such as beer, apple juice, soy sauce, etc. in any number of combinations.

I am not the one to best inform you on what works the best. I would say that we probably have some folks over at the forum who do inject their briskets and could let you in on one of their secret blends. You can check out the forum later at smokingmeatforums.com if this interests you.

My basic prep includes the following steps:

* Trimming the Fat

* Scoring the fat cap

* applying mustard/rub

* and nothing else

See, I told you it was simple.

Trimming the fat consists of just getting rid of any fat that seems to be more than about 1/4 inch thick. I don’t actually measure it but if it looks thicker than this I will trim it down a little. I want some fat since it renders during the long time in the smoker and keeps the top of the brisket basted with those tasty juices.

Spend a couple of minutes on this and don’t get too precise with it.

Scoring the fat cap simply means we are going to cut through the fat down to where the meat starts. I do this lengthwise then crosswise in about 1 inch increments.

Why score the fat? That’s simple..

* it allows the smoke to get down to the meat better

* it creates pockets to collect and hold the juices

* it allows a place for the rub to “grab” on to

Now we need something to help the rub to stick a little better. For this you can use any number of things such as olive oil, Worcestershire, butter, honey, etc. but I prefer to use regular yellow mustard.

Squeeze out a little mustard onto the top of the brisket and rub it in a little. Pour on about a half cup of rub then massage the mustard/rub into the brisket. You will notice that a lot of this mixture will get down in those score marks that we made. This is exactly what you want.

Turn the brisket over and do the same mustard/rub massage on the bottom and sides of the brisket.

Flip it back over and add a little more on the top if you like.

I know what you’re thinking and I don’t even claim to have ESP;-) Why not do the bottom first then flip it over and do the top?

Well, you could but I like to add some extra rub after the initial rub on the top has started “wetting” and this just works for me. If you prefer to do bottom first then flip and do the top, be my guest. Make it fun, do what works for you and you will end up with something wonderful.

Leave the brisket sitting as we now need to go get the smoker ready.

Prepare the Smoker

I chose to use the Weber Smokey Mountain smoker hereafter referred to as the “WSM” in preparing for this newsletter and the accompanying video. I will tell you that you will need to be able to keep the smoker going for a very long time so brisket is probably not the best thing to start with if you are an absolute beginner with your smoker.

I used an 8 pound brisket for this newsletter and it took just over 13 hours at 225-240°F and luckily the WSM does this easily using the Minion method. Some folks choose to use gas or electric when cooking briskets since the best time to cook these is overnight in order to have it ready for the next day at lunch or dinner.

Whatever smoker you decide to use, do what is required to get it to 225-240°F and once it is maintaining this temperature you are ready to place the brisket in the smoker.

Smoking Brisket Directly on the Grate

Traditionally briskets are placed directly on the grate fat side up as this gives the best bark and allows the fat cap to render and keep the brisket basted. Some folks also place the brisket on the grate but fat side down as they say this protects the brisket from the harsh heat below and turns out a more moist brisket.

Then you have the brisket flipping method (I made up that term..can you tell?) which is simply placing the brisket directly on the grate for 4 hours then flipping it every 1.5 hours thereafter until it is done however long that takes. A generous mop is applied after every flip. This used to by my standard way of cooking briskets and I basted with my very own “mop water” Here is the recipe:

Mop Water Recipe

1 cup of water

1 stick of REAL butter

2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning

Microwave to melt the butter into the water, add the seasoning and mix well.

Brisket in a Pan Method

Many folks cook briskets in a pan and this is a favorite method of mine since it allows me to catch the juices and the brisket turns out extremely juicy since it sits in the pan with the juices and the brisket acts like a sponge and soaks up a lot of those juices while it cooks.

For this method, place the brisket in a large throw away aluminum pan with fat side up for 4 hours then fat side down for a couple of hours then back to fat side up for the remaining time in the smoker.

Brisket Above a Pan Method

I tried this method for the first time in this newsletter write-up. I purchased an enamel coated pan with a rack for this purpose and set the brisket on the rack which held it about 3 inches above the bottom of the pan.

I did not flip the brisket at all since I felt like the smoke could easily get under it. The pan would catch those precious juices and all would be good. I really liked the brisket this way as far as tenderness and flavor goes but the juiciness just wasn’t there that I am used to getting with “Brisket in a pan” method.

What Kind of Wood to Use

Well that is YOUR choice but since you’re asking me, I recommend pecan, mesquite, hickory or oak or any combination of the above. Pecan is one of my favorites and so is mesquite. I also really like the flavor notes of hickory and oak and I have tried dozens of combinations of these on brisket and believe me when I say.. it’s ALL good!!

How Long to Add Smoke

Those of you using charcoal, electric or gas smokers will want to know just how long to add wood and keep the smoke going when smoking brisket and I have a standard answer for almost all meats. About half of the estimated cook time seems to work perfectly for me. My 8 pound brisket was estimated to require 12 hours so I added smoking chunks to the WSM for about 6 hours then just finished it the rest of the way with heat from the charcoal.

Help! The Brisket has Stalled Out!

You don’t even want to know how many frantic emails I get like this and it always makes me smile because I understand what they are going through and I know that this is just what we call the plateau on large cuts of meat. The meat will get to a certain temperature usually around 170°F or so and the temperature just levels out for sometimes several hours before it begins to climb again.

This really freaks people out and many folks lose their patience during this time and decide to go ahead and try to eat it. It is frustrating and the best way to handle it is to go into every brisket smoke knowing that this will happen at some point.

You don’t rush a woman and you certainly don’t rush a brisket.. I am sure my wife will have something to say about this later;-)

You have to let it just take its own time and do its own thing.. it is during this plateau that the tough fibers in the brisket break down and become tender. Be patient and you win. Lose your patience and you also lose out on what could be a wonderful thing.

When is it Done

Well, of course, it’s done when it gets done but that’s not what you want to hear so I will try to remove a little of the mystery for you. We use time to estimate but temperature tells us when it’s actually done.

Brisket is officially safe to eat at 160°F but I can guarantee you that it will not be tender at this point. It will be like eating your shoes or maybe your ball glove. To get it tender you will need to continue cooking it past it’s safe temperature all the way up to at least 185°F degrees and I recommend taking it all the way to 200-205°F for the best results.

When it Gets Done Early

If the brisket happens to get done a little sooner than you had planned this is not a problem. Simply wrap it in heavy-duty foil, wrap it in a couple of thick towels then place it in an empty ice chest or drink cooler with NO ICE. Fill in any remaining space with blankets, towels, pillows, etc. and close the lid. The brisket will stay above 140°F for up to 4 hours. I recommend using a digital probe meat thermometer to verify the temperature at all times during this process.

This is a great way to hold the meat until dinner. I usually plan on getting it done early on purpose as this just further tenderizes the meat and that is never a bad thing.

How to Serve the Brisket

This is based on your preference but I like to let the brisket rest for about 20-30 minutes after taking it off the smoker or after removing it from the ice chest to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

I will then either slice it, pull it or chop it depending on what my wife wants generally;-)

If it’s just family then I usually don’t go to the trouble of removing all the fat. I just slice and serve. If it’s for special guests then it gets separated, fat removed and then sliced, pulled or chopped.

The brisket has two parts known as the flat and the point separated only by a thick layer of fat. Take a long sharp knife and run it through the brisket crosswise and pull the blade along the length of the brisket to separate the two parts. This gets easier with practice so don’t expect to do a perfect job the first time. remove any and all fat and gristle from the meat.

Once you have two parts, slice the brisket across the grain thick if the brisket is super tender or a little less thick if it is not as tender as you like. You can also pull it apart into pieces or chop it for sandwiches.

What if the Brisket appears to be Dry

Dry is not really a problem. It’s not ideal but we can do something about it really easy. You can use some Au jus from the brisket dripping or you can buy some beef broth ahead of time in case you need it. I like to use the Swanson brand with no MSG and low sodium if possible.

Whether you slice, pull or chop the meat, it can be juiced up with a little beef broth or au jus. You will be amazed at how good of a job this does for you.

How to Get the Au Jus

This is easily done if you smoked the brisket in a pan. Simply pour the juices into a tall container and place it in the fridge for an hour or so. The fat will solidify at the top of the container and can be easily scooped off and thrown away. What is left is the wonderful au jus which can be mixed in or poured over the brisket right before you serve it. The au jus is a mixture of natural juices from the brisket and spices from the rub.. simply delicious!

From: www.smoking-meat.com

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I wanted to give it a try and post some video to the blog. I read a lot of Jeff’s posts on his website: http://www.smoking-meat.com

I’m thinking this will make for a great Easter meal and make my wife happy because she loves ham for the holidays.

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I love this recipe mostly for the picture that comes with it. I’m drooling here. Also the recipe comes from a magazine that somehow manages to cram together two topic areas that I didn’t think could possibly go together: Garden and Gun Magazine.

Serves: 4 to 6

Cooking Method: indirect heat

Suggested Wood: hickory, apricot, apple

Marinating Time: 4 hours

Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes


1 cup apricot preserves

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons kosher salt

4 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

8 whole chicken wings cut into wings and drumettes (16 pieces total)

If there is one fruit whose flavor melds perfectly with chicken, it is the apricot, but incorporating juice or fruit chunks into barbecue sauce can give grilled foods a charred fruit flavor. The alternative is a fruity marinade that can be tasted throughout the meat, not just on the skin. The recipe gives fruit lovers (and wing lovers) the best of both worlds in one simple step, as the marinade forms a sweet glaze while the chicken cooks.

Mix the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well blended. Place the chicken in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over the wings, turning to coat. Cover or seal, and marinate the wings in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Build a charcoal and/or wood fire on one side of the grill, leaving the other side void. This will create an area for indirect heat. When the temperature reaches 450°F, remove the wings from the marinade (do not shake off the excess marinade) and place them on the grill grate away from the coals. Close the lid and cook for approximately 30 to 35 minutes, flipping each wing piece once. Remove the wings from the grill and serve.

From: http://gardenandgun.com/blog/big-bob-gibsons-bbq-book-recipes

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