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Old 07-05-2008, 08:58 PM   #99
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Wood is a regional thing. Texas has alot of pecan trees and mesquite. The Southeast has hickory, no sure what species are best. Up here in New England we have sugar maple, other maples just don't do the same job. Seems everyone has white oak, red doesn't give the same flavor. Ask the guys from Jack D's place. Throw in some apple or other fruit wood except cherry unless you like bitter. Mesquite is the hardest to use because it has to be 2-3 years dry to not get a bitter taste when used for smoking. Not hard to dry things out good in Texas. Found this out from a guy with a BBQ shack along the road in the middle of Texas pecan country. In New England it will never dry out enough. Some use chips, some chunks, some logs.

Sure would like to have one of those 1/4" steel pipe smokers. Like smoking in a case iron kettle. The iron does alot of the work. In the sheet metal ones the hot air has to do the work so it's more heating from the outside in. Takes longer to without that 1000 pounds of hot steel.


PS. Dear Frank... that's only because you haven't had my butt yet.
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Old 07-05-2008, 09:00 PM   #100
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Well Frank,

I lived in Texas for quite some time in my military career, and even started my family there. As for the BBQ judge, he is NOT from KC...he is from Springfield, MO. You can be from anywhere, and take the certification course for being a KC BBQ judge.

I hate to say it Frank..(Cause I like you ), but you guys in Maryland need to stick to crab cakes, and Old Bay seasoning while the rest of us BBQ folks enjoy life

I don't like mesquite because it is very overpowering (At lease I think). Pecan works some magic though. I have also smoked using corn cobs, and coffee beans.

Steve
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Old 07-05-2008, 09:27 PM   #101
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Well Frank,

I lived in Texas for quite some time in my military career, and even started my family there. As for the BBQ judge, he is NOT from KC...he is from Springfield, MO. You can be from anywhere, and take the certification course for being a KC BBQ judge.

I hate to say it Frank..(Cause I like you ), but you guys in Maryland need to stick to crab cakes, and Old Bay seasoning while the rest of us BBQ folks enjoy life

I don't like mesquite because it is very overpowering (At lease I think). Pecan works some magic though. I have also smoked using corn cobs, and coffee beans.

Steve
Cann't get pecan here.

Like I said, unless you live somewhere that's dust and shrub year round it will not be dry enough. And if you get it there and bring it home it will be sucking up moisture the whole way like dry wood being rained on. I only use chips for grilling now and again.

Try green tea to "lightly" smoke fresh Lousianna shrip. I also do a bourbon rub cold smoked salmon. Did I mention I really like the whole smoked food thing..... Got some smoked short ribs fresh out of the smoker in Pa on the way back from VAC East Coast. A counrty smoke house. Even had smoked beef hip bones and a hog head, whole. The ribs was one of the best things I ever tasted and reminded me of Brisquet I had in Texas. Dietrich's Meats on I78 Exit 40.
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Old 07-05-2008, 10:12 PM   #102
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Ha!

Frank is a rabble rouser my friends. He's a great man, and I see genius in his work. I think I can call him a friend in the truest sense that we can be friends on the Internet without ever having met, but I honestly believe we would (and will) be really good friend when we finally meet in real life. And I say all that while still admitting honestly that he is a rabble rouser!

Anyway-- my thoughts on wood are this:

1) I use real-wood lump charcoal when cooking over charcoal. The pressed-wood briquettes just don't get the job done IMO. HOWEVER-- it's okay to use briquettes to start your logs when preparing for a long smoke. The flavor in the briquettes is long gone by the time the smoke penetrates the meat.

2) In Texas we smoke with a lot of oak because it's plentiful, and consistent. Here in Central Texas, Live Oak is King. But other oak species work out just fine.

3) Pecan and Hickory make great BBQ. They're slightly less common and slightly more expensive, but well worth it. By genus, these are the same wood. And when it comes to flooring, they are look about the same and are often treated interchangeably. BBQ afficionados tend to treat them the same too for heating and taste.

4) Fruit woods are great for smoking. Apple is among the best, but it's fairly rare and expensive here. I've used Fig and Pear with great success. I've never tried Cherry-- down here, it's rare, expensive, and typically just used for furniture. I've heard grape vine is great, but I've never done it myself.

5) Mesquite-- this one is actually one of those "touchy subjects" in BBQ. As has been pointed out, it needs to dry and season well before use. Here in Central Texas, that's not a problem. Some people find the flavor to be very intense after a long smoke. Personally, I'm fine with the flavor, but mesquite tends to burn too hot and too fast for me when it comes to low-and-slow BBQing. HOWEVER, although I stay away from it with respect to BBQ, I use it extensively for direct grilling, where hot and fast burning (with intense wood flavor) is highly desirable.

These are just my opinions after a few decades of smoking meats, results for others may vary.

-Marcus
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Old 07-05-2008, 10:23 PM   #103
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Nice thread...I spent 8 hours smoking food for the festivities yesterday. A rack of spare ribs, eight pound Boston Butt, whole chicken, and 10 pounds of Tri Tip. Beautiful smoke rings on everything. We were able to find a BBQ trailer locally for an amazing price, and bought it immediately. It's an old 500 gallon oil tank, and had a nice fire box welded offset to it on the rear. The weight is a bit off now, but a shelf on the front to carry the firewood will fix that.

Thank goodness it's all over...my clothes smell of smoke terribly (In a good eay).

Steve
The real question here is, have you balanced the running gear on your smoking rig? If not, then shame on you!

From your next post, I completely agree with your methodology. I use charcoal to start the fire, and then I use real wood logs exclusively thereafter. If they came from a large trunk or branch, then I split them. For small branches, they get cut down to an appropriate length (12"-16") and then put in the firebox whole. In some ways I actually prefer these branch logs, because seasoned split wood tends to burn just a bit hotter, faster, and with more variability than do the whole logs cut to length. I am always shooting for approximately 225 degrees F in the smoking chamber.


P.S. On this 4th Of July holiday weekend, I'd like to say a special thank you to Steve and all of the other folks who serve our country in the military. Your service, and your sacrifices, are much appreciated by me, and by my family.

Thank You.

-Marcus
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Old 07-06-2008, 07:13 AM   #104
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IMHO - There is grilling, then smoking and then there is barbeque.

For grilling steaks and etc. it is hard to beat really seasoned mesquite or at least mesquite lump charcoal. B&B lump charcoal is my favorite. Really hot fire that cooks quickly.

When I think of smoking I think of turkeys and etc. Pecan and Hickory are good as long as they are really dry but they can get pretty strong.

To me when I barbeque I try to keep the smoke moderate. Too much smoke on a brisket, pork loin, or chicken can really ruin the flavor. Therefore I like to use a mixture of charcoal and dry oak. Enough wood to keep the temperature up but smoke down as much as possible.
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Old 07-06-2008, 10:24 AM   #105
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Fire is going, ribs are about to go on. I'm doing 4 racks of pork spare ribs today for a family get-together at my brother's. I'm using the same 3-2-1 method as last time, so the meat will go on the smoker at 10:30, come off around 1:30, get wrapped in foil and go into the oven at 225 for two hours until 3:30, and then go back on the smoker for a final 45 minutes to one hour . Only difference is this time the final hour of smoke will come over at my brother's house.

No new pictures, it looks the same as last time but more ribs (and no brisket).

-Marcus
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Old 07-06-2008, 11:58 AM   #106
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Four racks of beef short ribs in the smoker over a tray of aromatic water. Except these are the supply house style not cut in half but about 12x12. Hardwood charcoal, hickroy chunks, and a small 3x12 piece of white oak. Holding nice and steady at 180 degrees. In a couple hours I'll put the temp probes in to track the temp of the ribs and the chamber........

I'm thinking some of yesterday's rib feast left over mac and cheese. Always make more than they can eat so I have some left.
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Old 07-06-2008, 12:57 PM   #107
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Just checked the ribs, they were ready to pull off and put in the oven a bit ahead of schedule, so now they're wrapped and in the oven where they will stay for the next couple of hours. Then I'll take 'em over to my brothers for another hour on the grill to firm up, and then it's time to eat!
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Old 07-06-2008, 01:55 PM   #108
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One of the benefits of this method is that even wrapped in the oven, the ribs give off this wonderfully delicious, subtle, smoky smell all throughout your house.

If you just kept the ribs on the pit the whole time (which I sometimes do) then you don't get the aroma of BBQ'd goodness permeating your house, and that's sort of sad.

-Marcus
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Old 07-06-2008, 02:54 PM   #109
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Oven time is done, ribs are packed in a cooler to take over to my brother's for another hour of low smoke.

Everybody have a great afternoon!

-Marcus
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:35 AM   #110
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I just want all of you to know how much I hate you... yes hate. Flaunting your killer BBQ... "oh 3, 2, 1 method and hickory... then dry oak followed by wet rub over briquets... and what do I have? nothing. I really need to take a road trip to Texas so I can get a real BBQ rig. They sell these "New Braunfields Cookers" here at Lowes, but the steel is thin and I just do not think they will hold up. I have a friend that lives in Mc Coy, an hour and a half south of San Antonio, and his Co-op sells the ones made out of the supper thick steel. They weight so much they use a forklift to load them. I dream of owning one of those. Then I could cook my brisket the right way.

I really do not hate anyone... I was just joking. I think everyone that has contributed to this thread is very special and all of you should Fedex me some product. Help a Yankee out... I am not really a Yankee because I live south of the Mason- Dixson line, but when in the Republic, some will ask me where I'm from, well I am always refereed to as a Yankee. I live south of the line, but not far enough.
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:12 AM   #111
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Frank, come down in September for some dove hunting and I will hook you up with some Q. If you come down on the right weekend, I'll even throw a giant tailgate party in your honor, and pack 90,000 people into a stadium just for you!
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:51 PM   #112
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thats an offer that I might be a fool to pass up.
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