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HomeBBQ.com Backyard BBQ and Grilling Classes Start Tonight!

January 14, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

All About Grills - Oviedo, FL Oviedo, FL – 5 Time FBA Team of the Year Champion, and the 2008 FBA Triple Crown Champion, Kevin Bevington, of HomeBBQ.com begins his first in a series of Backyard Barbecue and Grilling classes at All About Grills in Oviedo, FL, tonight at 6:30pm.

The first class will be “Basics on the Grill”, in this class he will cover easy to prepare dishes on the grill, including a side dishes and desert.

Every wednesday will be a class which includes recipes from the DVD’s from HomeBBQ.com, “Grilling with HomeBBQ.com” and “Backyard Barbecue with HomeBBQ.com”. Class details are below;

January 14th 6:30 pm       Basics on the grill

January 21st    6:30 pm     Classic Steak House

January 28th   6:30 pm     Beef on the Grill

February 4th    6:30 pm     Seafood on the Grill

February 18th    6:30 pm   All About Ribs

February 25th    6:30 pm  Barbeque Beef

March 4th    6:30 pm – Seafood

March 11th    6:30 pm – All About Pork

March 18th    6:30 pm – All About Chicken

Early Bird Registration – $45 per person, or $75 per couple

For more Information, Contact All About Grills at the contact info below;

 

All About Grills Oviedo
71 Geneva Drive
Oviedo, FL 32765
407-366-7301
 

Real Wood Smoke Flavor from a gas grill

August 18, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

I am one of the guys who loves my gas grill, and I really do not care what others say.

I like the ease of use, predicable performance, easy of cleaning, and all of that.  But, it took me awhile to learn how to get “real wood smoke flavor” from my gasser.

 When using my smoker, I have learned to love certain smoke flavors with certain types of meat. For example, I like fruit woods such as Cherry, Apple, and Peach on poultry and pork. For beef (primarily Brisket Burgers on the gasser), I like a touch of Mesquite.

I have also played with specialty chips such as the Jack Daniels barrel chips and such with mixed results. To get the smoke flavor, I use a “Smoke Bomb” loaded with chips or pellets of the desired flavor.

A Smoke Bomb is basically a closed container with only a couple of air holes to allow smoke to escape.

A Smoke Bomb can be made that lasts a long time, even to an hour or more if needed. It works so well because it restricts the oxygen to the chips or pellets, producing a longer and smoldering burn that reduces flare ups and quick burning.

 I started with the most simple of Smoke Bombs, just heavy duty aluminum foil. I made a double layer big enough to resemble a small grapefruit with chips or pellets inside. Sealed it up good and poked one or two tiny holes in the top with a tooth pick or my trusty Thermopen. Place it on a burner and when smoke starts emitting from the holes, it is time to cook.

 The next step up for me was one of those stamped and bent sheet metal boxes sold by Home Depot with “smoking chips” in them Viagra 100mg. They Viagra Online are about 5-6 inches long, 3 inches wide, and an inch deep. The first thing is to throw away the “smoking chips” unless you really know what they are. If you try to use these open boxes with chips, you will need to soak them first or they will just ignite and last a minute or two. Not even long enough to do a smoked hot dog. So, I wrapped the box with good ole HD aluminum foil and poked a couple of small holes in the top to restrict combustion air. Worked like a charm. Biggest benefit was that the box gave some form to the Smoke Bomb when compared to HD foil only. Worked well.

My final evolutionary step was a cast iron skillet to hold the chips and pellets. I found an old 7 Inch skillet at a garage sale for $2. I cover it with HD foil with a couple of teeny -tiny holes again. One quarter to one half a cup of pellets or chips produces plenty of smoke for a good steak cook. Because of it’s mass, I put the skillet on my side burner to get the heat up and start the smoke. Then, the skillet fits perfectly on the two left hand burners on my five burner gas grill.

I defy anyone to tell that my steak cooked with a Mesquite Smoke Bomb came off a gasser! Outstanding wood smoke flavor, and that is what BBQ is all about.

Chips a pellets are available at many places, including WalMart if you watch the BBQ area closely. Small quantities of pellets are available on-line in many flavors. I tequires so few pellets or chips per cook that they are really cost effective when used only for flavor.

Happy Cooking.

TIM

What Appeared to be Becoming Fiction, is Now Reality

August 2, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

For over a year I have been talking about it, and almost 9 month’s ago, they were filmed, and now they are a reality. As of today, Grilling With HomeBBQ.com and Backyard dvdsBBQ with HomeBBQ.com are officially available for sale, and shipment.

At the begining of January, I sent out a notice to all of my loyal customers letting them know they could purchase the DVD’s, pre-release at a substancial discount. Many purchased them, the unfortunate thing was, they were not ready until now. I deeply apologize to those who have been waiting patiently for these, this is something I am brand new to, and had no idea what obstacles I  was about to face. I have lots of boxes outside my front door right now waiting for USPS to pick up, and they are finally on their way to you.

The DVDs are initially being made available through CreateSpace.com’s on Demand program, and are now also available through Amazon.com, the product ASIN’s at Amazon are as follows;
Grilling With HomeBBQ.com – B001DKY3H2
Backyard Barbecue with HomeBBQ.com – B001DL1DKG

You can purchase them directly through CreateSpace.com here;
Grilling with HomeBBQ.com – http://www.createspace.com/252519
Backyard BBQ with HomeBBQ.com – http://www.createspace.com/252518

In about 3 to 4 weeks, they will also be available through Amazon’s Unbox. This is an exiting time for us, and hope you thouroughly enjoy these DVDs.

HomeBBQ.com releases 2 New DVD’s

August 2, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

HomeBBQ.com releases Barbecue and Grilling DVDs

HomeBBQ.com has released 2 DVD’s for the backyard cook. “Grilling with HomeBBQ.com” and “Backyard BBQ with HomeBBQ.com”.

In “Grilling with HomeBBQ.com”, Kevin Bevington (5 time FBA Team of the Year Champion) demonstrates cooking on gas and charcoal grills. He starts with the basics and then goes into some great food, including full recipes, and preparation. This DVD will include; Hamburgers, Steak, Chicken, Tri-Tip Roast, Pork Chops, Grilled Salmon, Shrimp, Stuffed Flank Steak, Baltimore Pit Beef, Pork Loin, and much more..

In “Backyard BBQ with HomeBBQ.com” Kevin Bevington (5 time FBA Team of the Year Champion) demonstrates cooking low and slow on a small offset cooker  and a bullet style water pan smoker. He starts with the basics on how to start your cookers, maintaining even temp, goes through full meat prep, and the process of cooking and finishing these meats. This DVD includes full recipes, and preparation. Included are the following; Boston Butt (pulled pork), Beef Brisket, St Louis Style Ribs, Baby Back Ribs, Country Style Ribs, Standing Rib Roast, Turkey, and much more.

These DVD’s can be purchased now via CreateSpace.com through the links below.

Grilling with HomeBBQ.com – http://www.createspace.com/252519

Backyard BBQ with HomeBBQ.com – http://www.createspace.com/252518

We will make these available as packages on HomeBBQ.com online store soon.

Barbeque Fuels

July 25, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

charcoalMy name is Dan Colmerauer – aka “Big Dan.” You may know me from my booklet on how to modify a “backyard” offset smoker to make it perform better. The majority of my articles will deal with what goes into building proper fire in your smoker and related topics – but I will diverge from that from time to time. By the way, I will accept questions and comments via e-mail at: screenwriter2@earthlink.net or 2bigdan2@earthlink.net – I try to reply to any and all e-mails but I do not use my computer on weekends and sometimes it may take a day or two before I have time to reply so please be patient.

I am a backyard cooker only — I don’t do catering or cook-offs, etc. I have, however, been barbequing in one form or another for almost 35 years. Originally from Buffalo, New York I was often seen barbequing and grilling even in middle of the biggest snow storms. I now live in Phoenix, Arizona where some days in the summer I swear all you need to do is put the meat in your smoker and wheel the smoker out into the sun. I have a Hondo offset smoker, a Weber Smoky Mountain, a Weber “kettle” grill, and a barrel smoker and I use them all.

Knowing how to build and maintain a fire is the most important part of barbequing. You can have the greatest recipe in the world – buy the best quality meat you can find – yet if you can’t build and maintain a long, steady fire, your final product will suffer.

Today, I’d like to discuss fuel. There are three basic fuels for barbeque: wood, lump charcoal and briquettes.

Typical briquettes are made from powdered charcoal mixed with binders and fillers such as coal dust. Their biggest advantage is an easily controlled, steady fire with very little temperature fluctuation. Their biggest drawback is the large volume of ash produced when burning briquettes. In an offset style smoker the ash will actually build up and snuff out your fire in about 4 hours – not enough time to barbeque much of anything. Plus, there are too many additives that can alter the flavor of the final product for my taste. But, they are inexpensive, readily available, easy to use and certainly can turn out a fairly decent final product.

There are briquettes available (but very hard to find) that are made out of 100% hardwood charcoal and all natural binders. No additives – no strange fillers – just pure 100% hardwood charcoal. I have used Rancher 100% hardwood briquettes and Royal Oak 100% hardwood briquettes and was pleasantly surprised – both at the flavor and the performance. While producing much more ash than lump charcoal, I was still able to maintain a steady 220 for over six hours. And the flavor was a huge improvement over regular briquettes. In an upright “water smoker” such at the Weber Smoky Mountain these are probably the best fuel you can use. I ran mine for over 22 hours with the Rancher briquettes without refueling and still had briquettes left in the smoker to burn. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find either Rancher or Royal Oak 100% hardwood briquettes in over a year.

Natural lump charcoal (sometimes called www jesextender JesExtender “charwood”) is my fuel of choice. Lump charcoal is made by burning hardwood in the absence of oxygen. The process burns off all the impurities (creosote, etc.) leaving a final product that is free of all the bad stuff that can ruin the flavor of the meat. It burns hotter than briquettes and a quality lump charcoal will leave very little ash – which means you will achieve a long, steady burning fire which will impart a wonderful “woodsy” flavor to the meat with a nice touch of smoke. There are a large number of brands of lump available – some not much better than briquettes and others darned near the “holy grail” of barbeque fuel. Hopefully, you will have a good brand available in your area.

The ability to use wood as a fuel is seen by many as the hallmark of the true pitmaster. I don’t necessarily agree.

The single most important factor in whether you can successfully use only wood as your fuel source is your smoker. The typical backyard smoker is simply too small to use wood as fuel unless you burn it down to coals first. In fact, many commercial pitmasters (especially in the barbeque belt) will burn the wood down to coals first no matter what type of smoker they have. The reason for this is simple – you want to burn off the impurities before exposing the meat to the smoke.

So — I tried this once. I used over $50 worth of wood – spent six straight hours burning wood and shoveling coals and the ribs came out tasting exactly like they did with lump charcoal. Some Internet research revealed what has since become my mantra: a glowing lump of hardwood charcoal is IDENTICAL to a glowing coal/ember burned down from logs. The only difference is how it got there.

Interestingly enough – at the more recent bbq cook-offs I’ve attended (I do love to eat good ‘que) I’ve noticed that most of the competitors were using lump charcoal in even the biggest of smokers because —- a glowing lump of hardwood charcoal is IDENTICAL to a glowing coal/ember burned down from logs.

Now, what about wood chunks or chips for added smoke flavor. They work, but you have to be very careful because there is a very fine line between a little extra smoke flavor and over-smoked, creosote-coated meat. Cross that line and you’ve ruined a nice hunk of meat (unless, of course, you like the flavor of creosote). This is more of a problem in the offset smokers than with the uprights. The man in Phoenix who sells cooking wood to all the local restaurants taught me a neat trick if you like to use chunks or chips for a stronger smoke flavor. Simply take a piece of heavy duty foil and gently place it on top of the meat – don’t “tent” it and don’t “wrap” it – just gently lay it on top. The foil will catch most of the bad stuff before it settles on the meat leaving the meat exposed to the remaining flavorful part of the smoke.

Next time I’ll discuss exactly how to build a fire using the Minion method for a long, steady fire.

For now….

Keep on cookin’!

Big Dan

Another Year Gone By

July 19, 2008 by · 5 Comments 

birthday_cakeWell Folks, today is my birthday, so I figured it would be a good time for a post. But it’s also a good time to wish my twin brother Happy Birthday. I will bet many who know me never knew I had a twin brother, but I do.

So here goes, Happy Birthday Keith, I hope we both have many more!

Just like the title says, it’s another year gone by and as a famous phrase from one of my favorite movies says “they go by in a blink”.

It has been a very interesting year, some good times, and some not so good times. But you have to take the bad with the good, and make the best out of it. My brother and I are 48 years young today (I couldn’t find a picture made with 48 candles).

I have been working hard on getting 2 DVDs released, and am just about finally going to get there (for those that have purchased the pre-release, I am expecting to have yours to ship to you within a couple of weeks, and they will include everything I promised).

The DVD’s are; Backyard Barbecue with HomeBBQ.com and Grilling with HomeBBQ.com.

For those that have not purchased the pre-release they will be initially for sale through Amazon and CreateSpace.com. I hope to have them in volume to be selling them myself, and in normal distribution channels in the not so distant future. One thing I did find out, is this is not an easy thing to do, and definately not an inexpensive project to undertake.

I want to thank Rennie Knopf of Elite Video & Recording, and FK & Cindy Whited, it would not have been possible to get these done without them.

They were filmed in December of last year, at the beautiful home of FK & Cindy Whited, and we initially projected a release in February of this year. This was extremely aggressive as we found out, and have been plugging through set-back, after set-back. This appears to be behind us now, and we will finally get them released.

We will also be exploring some digital distribution options as well, and will keep you updated here on that as well.

Until next time!

Modifying the Typical Backyard Off-set Style Smoker

July 7, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Hondo SmokerBought my Hondo over ten years ago and really struggled to get good ‘cue. I researched and researched and bought book after book but still struggled. I was ready to spend big bucks to purchase a fancy rig – or even get one custom made – I Was that frustrated.

But before I did, I used my research to make the following modifications, and my problems disappeared. Then I tried a fire-building technique in addition to the modifications and was finally able to maintain an absolutely steady 220 degrees for 6 to 10 hours with ease. I was thrilled!

Nearly all the “backyard” offset smokers (typically those that sell for under $750) need these modifications. The only exception that I am aware of is the new model Bar-B-Chef

sold by Barbeques Galore.

These modifications are inexpensive and easy yet they work wonders. Try them and see if they don’t work for you, too.

 First the Modifications

 Stuff to Get        

Go to your local home improvement or building supply store and get the following:

1. One roll of aluminum flashing for the chimney.

2. One piece of unpainted, non-galvanized 22 to 16 gauge light steel for the baffle.

3. Pipe plug or metal cap to fill the thermometer hole.

4. If you don’t have one, you will need either a 3/4″ drill bit or a 3/4″ hole cutter.

 

Lower the Position of the Temperature Gauge!

This is critical. You want to measure the cooking temperature at the grill level, not at the top of the cooking chamber. Heat rises, and the temperature reading with the temperature gauge in its original position will give you a reading up to 80 degrees higher than the temp at which you are actually cooking. 1. Remove the existing temperature gauge. The hole is 3/4″ in diameter. Fill the hole with a pipe plug or a metal cap.

2. With an electric drill and 3/4″ drill bit or 3/4″ hole cutter, drill or cut a new hole a little to the side of the handle (if your firebox is mounted on the left side – if your firebox is mounted on the right side, you want to put the new hole to the left of the handle) and remount the temperature gauge in the new hole.

Note: Another option is to purchase a digital, remote temperature gauge. This eliminates the need for drilling a new hole. Get a small block of hardwood and drill a hole all the way through. Insert the probe of the remote temperature gauge through the hole so that 1″ to 1½ “ of the end of the probe is exposed. You can then place the probe anywhere in the cooking chamber and obtain a very accurate reading.

Improve the Chimney, by lowering it Toward the Cooking Grate

This modification will improve heat retention, helps to even out heat distribution and promotes proper heat conduction over the meat.

1. Unroll the aluminum flashing and cut a piece off about a foot to a foot and half in length.

2. Roll the cut piece of flashing into a cylinder about ½” less in diameter than the chimney.

3. Stick the cylinder up inside the chimney from the bottom leaving enough of the flashing exposed so the chimney is about an inch or so above the cooking grate.

4. Let the flashing unroll and it will unroll to the diameter of the chimney.

Insert a Steel Baffle between the Firebox and the Cooking Chamber

This modification serves two purposes. First, it directs heat downward below the grill for much improved heat circulation, which together with the chimney modification dramatically evens out the temperature in the cooking chamber. Second, it acts as a heat shield between the firebox and the meat to eliminate radiant heat so that you are cooking by heat convection only. This prevents the meat from burning before it is done.

1. Cut a piece of the steel wide enough to cover the opening between the fire box and the cooking chamber at its widest point (side-to-side). Make this piece of steel 12″ to 16″ in length (better to be slightly long than slightly short).

2. Line the piece of steel up with the upper bolts that hold the firebox to the cooking chamber and mark the spots. Drill holes to line up with the existing bolts.

3. At a height just below the cooking grate, bend the piece of steel into an “L” shape, but the angle should be less than 90 degrees. You want the end which extends into the les meilleurs casino en ligne cooking top casino en ligne chamber to angle slightly downward toward the bottom of the cooking chamber.You want at least 6″ of the steel baffle extending into the cooking chamber (more is better than less).

4. Mount the piece of steel using the existing bolts and nuts, making sure the bottom half

of the “L” extends into the cooking chamber below the cooking grate.

Building a Fire in a Offset Style Smoker

For the longest, steadiest burn times I recommend you get the best quality hardwood lump charcoal you can find. Briquettes will work, however they produce so much ash that the fire chokes itself out within about 4 hours. High quality hardwood lump charcoal produces very little ash. If you don’t use a charcoal basket, you need to find a way to keep the charcoal away from the air intake. Here is a good way

Fill the firebox with charcoal all the way to the lip of the opening between the firebox and the cooking chamber then hollow out every so slightly — about an inch or so — just enough to make the pile slightly concave — a small area in the middle by pushing the charcoal up around the sides a little.

Fill a Weber chimney with charcoal and light it. When it is going real good (all coals glowing)

then pour it all on top of the charcoal in the firebox, keeping it centered as much as possible. Close the lids but leave all the vents (air intake and chimney) wide open. When the temp reaches 275 – 300 degrees, begin closing the air intake. Close the air intake half way then check the temp in 15 minutes. If it is too high, close the vent half way again and check in 15 minutes. If still too high, close the air intake all the way. Check again in 15 minutes.If the temp is still too high and ALL VISIBLE SMOKE DISAPPEARS, begin closing the chimney – you guessed it — half way. Check again in 15 minutes, etc. At some point the temp will stabilize — check the vents and remember where they were as that will be your starting point next time. The fire will slowly burn down through the pile of charcoal providing a nice, long, steady burn. For a review of the lump charcoals available in your area go to:
http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lumpindexpage.htm?bag

This site reviews most all available hardwood lump charcoals. The higher the quality charcoal, the longer your burn time. 

It takes some time to learn the individual quirks of your smoker, but if you work with the technique and use the highest quality lump charcoal you will easily get 6-8-10 hours of steady 210-220 degrees. This really does work — I have heard back from hundreds of people who have followed these instructions and all report results just like mine.

I don’t recommend that you use wood as your primary fuel. The backyard sized off-sets have a cooking chamber that is just too small and it is very easy to over-smoke the meat making it taste very bitter and, well, gross. I have been trying for years to figure out why this is and I believe (and others tend to agree) that it is because in order to get the wood to the proper temp to burn off the foul-tasting impurities you will not be able to maintain the low temp required for proper barbequing (remember, low and slow) — the cooking chamber just gets way to hot.

A good brand of lump charcoal will give you a mildly pleasant smoke flavor but if you want it a little stronger, put a few wood chunks around the perimeter of the firebox and let them smolder or wrap them in heavy duty foil and poke a bunch of holes in the top and lay them on top of the charcoal). If you do this, it is a good idea to gently lay a piece of heavy duty foil over the meat (don’t “tent” it and don’t wrap the meat – just gently lay the foil on top of the meat) to prevent creosote from depositing on the meat surface. You only need to do this once or twice during the cooking process — remember, it is very easy to over-smoke in these smaller cookers. I seldom use the wood chunks and I have been told by many people that my ‘que is the best they’ve ever had.Like I said, a good quality lump charcoal should be all you need to turn out “the best ‘que they’ve ever had.”

 

smokermodifications.pdf – Download the document

BBQ LAMB RIBS

July 6, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

BBQ Lamb Ribs from HomeBBQ.com

BBQ Lamb Ribs
2 Tbs lemon pepper
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs salt
1 Tsp chopped parsely
2 8 bone slabs of lamb ribs, trimmed

Mint Sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar 1/2 ounce bourbon 1 Tbs sugar 1 Tbs chopped mint leaves

Coat ribs liberally with spices
Place bone side down on grill, and grill with indirect heat for 40 to 50 minutes. Turn ribs and cook an additional 25 minutes.

Combine mint sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes stirring frequently.

What is the best “1st” smoker?

July 5, 2008 by · 3 Comments 

wsmWell, you have been grilling for years. But, you want to make some of that great pulled pork like your buddy does with his smoker. And, maybe a smoked turkey for the holidays would be nice.

So, what is the best smoker to buy to get started?

There is no perfect answer except, “It Depends”.

You must ask and answer the following questions to start your search for that perfect smoker for you.

  1. How many people to you intend to feed, both routinely and on those special occasions?
  2. Would you like an “easy to use” approach to smoking? Or, are you interested in the ancient art of fire tending and long nights around the smoker?
  3. Finally, the big question. What is your budget?

Let me take you through a brief tour of the different types of smokers on the market today.  There is plenty of variety and you should find one that is best for you. For each type, I will list the most commonly discussed “Pros and Cons” for each genre.

I will be using a term throughout this discussion that needs to be defined now. A “charcoal basket” is a simple box, normally made of expanded metal or something similar. This basket holds a good supply of charcoal and wood chunks. A small amount of charcoal is lit and then spreads slowly through the supply. The burn rate is controlled by restricting the airflow.

With that out of the way, let’s proceed through the smoker types.

“OFFSET FIREBOX” SMOKERS

These are the “traditional” smokers with a separate chamber for the fire and one for the smoking area. The fire can be pure logs (sticks) or may be charcoal in a basket. Sizes and prices run the gamut from the inexpensive sheet metal ones found at the big-box stores through custom trailer rigs that cost many thousands of dollars.

PROS

Offsets are “sexy” and traditional. If you say “BBQ Smoker”, most people have a mental image of an offset firebox design.

Offsets have produced fantastic BBQ for decades. Lots of smoke flavor and the legendary “smoke ring” are common.

Offsets are dependable and relatively low maintenance. No electricity required and no real moving parts unless it is a rotisserie unit. Normally, keeping the smoker rust free, clean, and lubricated is about all the routine care required.

Offsets require the highest level of fire management skills. Many cooks consider this a badge of distinction as a “Pitmaster”. Maintaining a relatively constant cooking temp is an art form requiring frequent attention throughout the cooking cycle. This may be considered a great time to just “enjoy friends and life”, and maybe enjoy a few adult beverages.

CONS

Offsets require the highest level of fire management skills. Sound familiar?  The learning curve for fire management can be steep and long, depending on the smoker used. I personally started with a “Bandera”. It is an offset with a vertical smoke chamber made of sheet metal. I had excellent guidance on fire management, but it still was a trick to learn. I loved my Bandera, but grew weary of tending the fire every 45 minutes or so. I built a basket and that helped.

Offsets, small horizontal ones in particular, have a “hot spot” by the firebox end. Temps can be 50+ degrees hotter there. Some cooks build a baffle to even out the heat. Some cooks learn to use the difference to their advantage. But, the hot end can significantly reduce the usable cooking area in many cases. As the smoke chamber grows larger, the influence of the hot area diminishes, but the purchase price goes up exponentially. 

CABINET STYLE SMOKERS

These are the smokers that just look like a box with one or more doors on the front. The fire or heat source is located below the meat and is normally charcoal. However, the heat source may be propane or electric with small pieces of wood used for flavor. All heat sources work fine and produce excellent BBQ.

PROS

Cabinet Style units normally have relatively even heat distribution throughout the smoke box. Not perfect, but pretty even on most units.

Cabinet Style units normally enjoy long burn times at relatively constant temperatures. The ones that burn charcoal normally use some form of a basket or a gravity feed system to control the burn and keep the temperatures even for a few hours up to “many” hours of unattended smoking.

 CONS

Cabinet Style units work best if they are insulated. This means that this style with insulation may cost more that the lowest priced Offsets and some other styles.

 BULLET STYLE SMOKERS

These are the “cute” little smokers that look like R2D2 from Star Wars. They produce heat and smoke similar to Cabinet Style cookers, bur are round. Many, many cooks started with one of these. The “major player” in this genre is the Weber Smokey Mountain. I proudly owned one of these for over 2 years. I miss it sometimes.

The Pros and Cons are similar to the Cabinet style except they tend to be a single layer of steel and much more affordable. The WSM is easily the most commonly recommended smoker for a new cook.

 PELLET SMOKERS and GRILLS
These can be cabinet type or resemble an offset cooker; I made them a separate genre because they use a unique fuel—compressed wood pellets. These cookers may be complex with a timing device or a computer to control the pellet feed. Also, they normally have a combustion fan to keep the pellets burning cleanly.

PROS

 

 

Rock solid heat control.

Long burn times of over 20 hours if needed with little or no attention required.

The flavors and types of wood pellets make it easy and relatively inexpensive to create the exact smoke flavor desired. I spend approximately $.50 per hour for pellets in my FEC 100.

Pellets burn very cleanly and it is considered difficult to “over smoke” the product.

CONS

Pellet smokers require electricity to operate the controller and the fans.

Pellet smokers have electrical and mechanical parts that are subject to failure. They have an excellent service history, but most owners keep a few basic repair parts like “drive pins” available.

Pellet smokers are expensive.

 So, this completes my tour of the various types of smokers on the market.

Remember those three questions?

Evaluate your needs first and then start shopping.

Once you determine your needs, feel free to ask here for more information on specific brands.

 Happy smoking.

How the Internet Changed the BBQ Culture

July 4, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

Internet BBQThe secrets to juicy and tender barbecue have been closely guarded for many, many years and the art of barbecue has been handed down from father to son and treated as family heirlooms. The rising popularity of the Internet during the past decade has changed the culture of barbecue forever.

In the southeastern region of the country, barbecue usually referred to whole hogs cooked slowly over a fire of coals. Families often had their own recipes for rubs and sauces to go along with their favorite woods for smoking. Gaining access to these secrets wasn’t always easy. Good barbecue recipes were a source of family pride.

When I moved to Dickson, TN from Missouri in 1992, I was invited to help out with a family barbecue. I arrived at about 6 p.m. on Friday evening to find a hog roasting on chicken wire stretched over a metal bed frame. The cooks took turns roasting various meats including ducks, rabbits, and chickens throughout most of the night. There was a lot of conversation, some beer drinking, and a lot of work tending the fire. Periodically they would dab a vinegar marinade mixture on the hog.

After relocating to Florida in 2001, I rediscovered barbecue again. While searching the Internet for grilling tips and a recipe for pulled pork, I found Barbecuen.com and TheBBQForum.com. These websites reopened my eyes and ears to barbecue. About this same time, Food Network started airing various programs featuring barbecue restaurants, festivals, and contests.

A couple of years later, I discovered HomeBBQ.com and met up with Kevin. After a sharing a few e-mails and a couple of cell phone conversations, I drove to Kevin’s to help him break in a brand new Lang reverse flow offset smoker. I attended KCBS events with Kevin and Clara in Brooksville and Lakeland, FL and a few FBA events including the big contest in Sebring, FL. I struck out on my own at the Okeechobee, FL contest and got my first category win at the FBA event in Arcadia, FL in the chicken category. I’ve been preparing my own style of barbecue ever since.

I’ve cooked in KCBS events in Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, and Indiana since those early contest days and I’ve have competed against some of the best teams in the country holding my own with consistent top five overall finishes and several category wins. I’ve started my own web blog about barbecue to help others get started in the hobby and started selling my own spice rub on my personal web site.

Before the Internet Age, my learning curve would have been much, much steeper. However, for those seeking how-to barbecue information these days, championship recipes and techniques are only a few mouse clicks away. For $240, you can order a Weber Smokey Mountain from Amazon.com and have it delivered to your door step. You can spend some time reading the articles and forums and watching videos at VirtualWeberBullet.com or YouTube.com and learn how to use it effectively. There are numerous discussion groups and Forums that will answer any questions you have about specific cuts of meat or specific recipes you want to try out.

HomeBBQ.com is just another example of the vast amount of information provided on the World Wide Web for those that seek it out. I’m honored to have been invited to contribute to the collection of articles and discussions on this site. If you have questions about barbecue or suggestions for future articles, please let me know.

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