By Kevin Bevington
When learning to cook barbecue, the one thing that everyone seems to learn quickly is to use wood, such as wood chips or wood chunks, or wood pellets, to give your barbecue a smoky flavor. What is not learned quickly enough is how much to use and most use too much, creating an over smoked, bitter piece of meat that is not very pleasant to eat.
Wood flavoring has to be considered similarly to a spice.
If you put salt on something, you are careful to add small amounts and taste, until you come up with just the right amount. The same thing applies to smoke flavor, start with a small amount of wood chips, or a wood chunk, and work your way up. You will find out real quick that people have much different opinions to yours, on how much smoke flavor should be there, so starting with a small amount is the best advice to give.
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By Kevin Bevington
There are many types of smoker you can buy, which include many shapes and sizes. When you’re purchasing a smoker there are only a few things that you really need to keep in mind.
1. How many people do you need to feed?
2. How much money do you want to spend?
3. How much work you want to do?
Just like you see on TV you can actually build a smoker for very little money however, you’re not going to want to use a very low quality smoker to cook for many people. If you plan on cooking professionally as a caterer or as a competitor, you will want to buy a smoker that will allow you to cook a lot of food at one time. If you’re looking to cook in your backyard perhaps for just your family or a few close friends a smaller cooker would be your best bet.
By Kevin Bevington
This is probably the single biggest obstacle to many beginner bbq’rs, in fact the unfortunate thing is many start out with the cheapest smoker they can buy, and don’t understand that they have just purchased a cheap piece of equipment, loaded with design flaws. However, they are fairly easy to overcome if you understand the basics to controlling heat.
First, heat is produced by fire, whether it is wood, charcoal, or gas (we will talk about electric in a minute). A fire needs air to stay lit, right? Most of us somewhere in life have attempted the experiment of putting a candle in a jar, and watched it go out, as soon as it ran out of air. The same applies to a smoker. We can now control the size of the fire, with the amount of air. Increase the amount of air, and you can increase the intensity of the fire (assuming you have enough fuel). Decrease the amount of air, and you reduce the intensity of the fire.
Second, you need to have somewhere for the smoke, and heated air to go. If you put an air tube in the jar with the candle, pushing air in, the candle would still eventually go out, suffocating from it’s own smoke. The same applies to a smoker, you need an escape (or vent) for the smoke and heated air.
To many in Southeast US, the very meaning of barbecue, is pork. Pork is obviously a very generic term, and really could mean anything cooked from a hog. However for most of us, in barbecue, cooking pork means the shoulder, and for most, the desired cut from the shoulder is the Boston Butt, and this is what we will cover in this article.
The selection process I use for this piece of meat, includes finding one has the fat well marbled or dispersed throughout the cut.
Then, I start looking at weight, the higher the weight, the longer the cook, so I like them right in the middle (8-9lbs). You can find very small ones, which in my opinion are normally difficult to get tender (4-6lb), and the very large ones (11-13lb) are difficult to cook evenly.
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