Archive for the Around the house Category

Busy few months… quick update and then were off again…

Posted in Around the house, Competition BBQ with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2012 by Big JT

It has been a busy few months since the last post, we have competed several times, vended at a few places and actually had a weekend off… here are some pictures from the past few months, like they say a picture is worth a thousand words…

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Hot and Fast cooking…

Posted in Around the house, Competition BBQ with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2011 by Big JT

Earlier this year I started cooking with the Hot and Fast technique . I was sort of hesitant to switch to Hot and fast from Low and Slow but I felt like i wasn’t getting the calls and was leaving a lot of points on the table. So two competitions into the season cooking low and slow I did a complete overhaul of my cooking methods and flavor profiles. I went from using 3-5 different rubs and sauces to only using 2 rubs and 2 different types of sauce.  I tried to simplify my ways of cooking to help minimize the amount of  hands on time so it gave me less time to over think and screw up my cooks.

Today i cooked a 19lb brisket, from start to finish it was a 6 hour cook, it is still resting right now. I am using my new beef rub I got mixed from the Co-pack. Like i said last year i felt that I was leaving a few taste points on the table so I am hoping this new beef rub will help out in the long run.  I am hoping that I will have my pork rub, beef rub, and sauce ready to send out samples next year at some point.

If you are looking for a good gift for your BBQ guy / gal check out http://drapersbbq.com/store/page4.html and get them the all in one gift for great BBQ.  I use Drapers BBQ products around the house and will be using their sauce in competitions next year. Shane is a good guy and has a great product don’t be afraid to try Drapers BBQ products.

I have heard recently that Mojobricks ( www.mojobricks.com ) will be coming out with a few new products in the next few months. I am looking forward to using them next year during competition season.

Speaking of next BBQ season, plans are in the works to head West to Las Vegas in March for the Smoke on the Water bbq competition. Also planning a trip down to Burleson, Tx to pick up my new Jamob Pit.  We are looking at several competitions and adding and subtracting some so we can branch out to new competitions and meat new teams.

 

Holiday cooking Tips…

Posted in Around the house, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2011 by Big JT

If I had one single tip for how to improve your holiday bird cook…..it would be summed up in one single word….BRINE!

There is a science to the brine, but without getting into it here is the simple explanation:  When the bird absorbs the brine. There, the brine begins to denature the meat proteins, causing them to unwind and form a matrix that traps the water. And if the brine includes herbs, garlic,or peppercorns, those flavors are trapped in the meat, too. Instead of seasoning on the surface only, as most cooks do, brining carries the seasonings throughout, and YES you can brine an enhanced bird as well due to osmosis it will help balance out the salt solution between the brine and the bird.

A quick search on your favorite internet search engine will yield a plethera of brine recipes. Over the years, I’ve ended up with a pretty simple brine recipe. I have found that the salt is the real secret to a brine. All the other stuff helps a little, but to keep it easy, I like a nice and simple brine:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 cup salt (Kosher)
  • 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • About a palmful (I’d guess a TBS or more) of whole peppercorns
  • Sometimes if I feel the spirit, I’ll add a squeeze of honey or maple syrup or squeeze a fresh orange or lemon

Just whip up the brine, place the completely thawed turkey SLOWLY into the brine and if necessary, top off with water to completely submerge. I’ve used a 5 gallon bucket before, but a 16 qt stockpot works well too. You want to make sure not to use an enhanced bird (injected) as it won’t take the brine as easily and may already have salt in it. I brine my turkeys for 18-24 hours…..usually 24 hours, if I’ve not pushed the time limit!

One big tip that I can offer regarding brining is this…..PLAN FOR ENOUGH TIME FOR THE BIRD TO REST!!! The skin on a brined bird will also take on some moisture with the process. Pur right on the smoker, this will make more of a “rubbery” skin when finished. If, on the other hand, you take the bird out of the brine the night before the big cook and place it back in the fridge on a rack (or upside down plate in a pan….just to keep it out off the bottom and out of the water), the refer will “dehydrate” the skin a bit and allow it to tighten back up and go back to “normal”. This will yield a better finish texture to the skin in the long run.

As far as seasoning the bird after the brine, I personally will use Simply Marvelous Sweet Seduction for my turkey cook this Holiday Season.  But if you want to be creative you can just about anything  you want to, or you can tweak this simple Turkey seasoning to your tastes.

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 teaspoons minced onion
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup white wine Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, mix rosemary, thyme, onion, garlic, white wine Worcestershire sauce, coarse salt, pepper, and olive oil. Pulse until well blended. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator at least 10 minutes before rubbing under turkey skin or injecting into meat as desired.

THE COOK

So…. After you take the bird out of the brine and allow it to rest, apply your seasoning of choice to the bird and pop it into the Cooking device of your choice. For me I don’t use the oven very often anymore, so I would turn to my old stand by UDS or if  I am cooking multiple birds I will fire up my CTO and crank the heat up as high as i can get it. I have found that poultry responds better to a higher heat cook rather than a low and slow as poultry will soak up smoke and the skin will be rubbery if cooked at lower temps. When smoking your bird stick with a lighter fruit wood instead of a heavier flavored wood such as hickory or mesquite. If you do not have access or do not want a smoked bird for your Holiday you can turn out a great bird in the oven.

Before you pop the bird into the Smoker or Oven you want to take into consideration that the White meat and Dark meat have different finishing temps.  White Meat is done at a lower temperature than Dark meat. When cooking I like taking the bird to about  170* in the thigh and pull it once it reaches that temp. Residual cooking will take it up a few more degrees but it shouldn’t overcook the white meat (which is done about 10* before that). Some people will put a foil tent over the top of the breast  to help keep from overcooking, but I like taking a zip top bag and filling it with ice and place on the breast of the bird for about 15-20 minutes to help chill it so it wont cook as fast.

Once the bird is cooked let it sit and rest for about 30 minutes before carving. I have included a Turkey carving video for you to get an idea of how to do it.

If you follow these cooking tips you will have a bird that will have your friends and family raving about it all year long.  I also want to thank  and give credit to Kempis for all his help for putting this together.

BBQ 101!

Posted in Around the house, backyard, Important News with tags , , , , , on April 21, 2011 by Big JT

Well, it seems that the first BBQ 101 class received rave reviews, we are tentatively  scheduled to hold another class on June 11, 2011 at Eastside Community Center.  We here at Smoke Break BBQ want to say thank you to all who helped make this class a success. Here are some pictures to show you what you missed!

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The good stuff…

Posted in Around the house, Competition BBQ, Important News with tags , , , , on March 24, 2011 by Big JT

I just got back from running some errands around town trying to gather things for next week. 1st and most importantly the  9:22 drink of choice i picked up my first ever bottle of Single Barrel Jack Daniels. It wont replace my bottle of Jack I purchased at Lynchburg (that was stolen), but it seems like a pretty good replacement. Well, maybe we will just leave the Single Barrel to sipping on some crushed ice.

Squealers BBQ & Wicked Good Charcoal…

Posted in Around the house, Competition BBQ with tags , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by Big JT

On Saturday we made the trip up to Mooresville, In to pick up Some Wicked Good Charcoal from a BBQ place called Squealers. I have never been there, but I heard that it was owned and operated by a fairly successful competition team.  I wasn’t expecting much in the way of food since it was after all a restaurant.  When we pulled into the parking lot and opened the doors you were immediately hit with the aroma of smoke (which is good if you are a BBQ place)

Once inside you were greeted withdozens of awards and other bbq decor hanging on the walls.

I ordered the 3 meat pit sampler; Ribs, Brisket, and Pulled pork with slaw and potato salad as sides. After about 15 minutes our orders arrived.

Well I can say that i was pleasantly surprised with the quality of food that we received, everything was well seasoned and had the right amount of smoke. I asked for my meal dry since they apply sauce for you in the back. Turns out i didn’t need any sauce at all.  I ended up taking the ribs home and eating them for dinner later that night.

And finally I now have 20 bags of WIcked Good Charcoal in my garage waiting to be used.

New addition to the family…

Posted in Around the house, backyard, Competition BBQ, Important News with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2011 by Big JT

Well, after returning from my morning work out I hear a knock on the door. I went to go see who it was and found a package. Opened it up and it contained a NEW SUPERFAST ORANGE THERMAPEN !!!

What a great way to start the day…. Im not sure which one will be faster the Orange or the Green, now all i need is the silicone boot for it.

If your interested in purchasing a Super Fast Thermapen go to www.thermoworks.com

Beginners Mistakes….

Posted in Around the house, backyard with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2011 by Big JT

Well, it seems like just yesterday when I bought my Char-Griller and started my quest to make ribs better than Texas Roadhouse’s “Blue Ribbon” Ribs. Little did i know that that purchase would lead me down the road of 7 bbq pits,hundreds of pounds of meat, and several thousand dollars spent.  I learned quite a bit from different BBQ Forums and just plain trial and error.  Here are some tips for the beginners and some of the more experienced BBQ cooks out there.

Most common mistakes made by beginners…
1. Getting in too big of a hurry. Barbecue takes time and patience. You can’t rush it. Figure 1 to 1 1/2 hours per pound for most meats. If you’re tending a wood-burning smoker, figure on adding fuel every 30-45 minutes.

2. It helps to be a semi-good cook in the kitchen before you get into barbecue. If you can’t boil water, let someone else do the barbecuing. I’ll bet that almost all the old hats here on the BBQ List were pretty decent cooks in the kitchen before they learned to grill and barbecue.

3. Opening the lid to peek too often. This lets out the heat and the smoker will be below temperature. Open the lid only when necessary to mop or move or turn the meat. The meat’s not going anywhere, so you don’t need to keep checking up on it.

4. Trying to do a brisket or spare ribs the first time you use your smoker. Start off on the road to “Perfect Q” with the simplest meat to smoke–a whole chicken or a pork picnic roast. They’re cheap and hard to ruin. Don’t fill up the smoker with meat until you’ve had some successes. Start with just one item.

5. Using lighter fluid to start your charcoal briquettes. This can give you some really awful odors and tastes in your smoked meat. Use a chimney starter for charcoal. If you must use a charcoal lighter fluid, let the coals burn for at least 30 minutes before you put on the meat.

6. In a wood burning smoker, making the fire too big and closing the inlets and exhaust dampers to control the flame. This is a no-no. Open that exhaust damper all the way. Regulate the oxygen intake with the inlet damper. Be careful how you close that inlet damper–your fire can smolder and give you some nasty-tasting smoke. Best advice–keep your fire low and your dampers open. Remember, a bad-smelling smoke=bad-tasting meat.

7. Using green wood. You must use seasoned wood to get good results when you begin barbecuing. The old pros can use a mix of green and seasoned wood, but beginners should not use the green stuff until they know about fire and temperature control. Using green wood without knowing what you’re doing is the surest way to ruin the meat. You’ll get creosote and that will make bitter meat that cannot be saved.

8. Trying to adjust too many things at once. Don’t adjust everything on the smoker at once. Change one thing, see what happens, then change another.

9. Changing things too much at once. Make small changes to the smoker. Open or close the intake vent a little bit, not a lot. If you are continually making big changes, you will continually overshoot the correct temperature point. Your temperature curve will look like a giant sawtooth. Make the changes in small increments.

10. Putting cold meat into the smoker. This can lead to the condensation of creosote on the surface of the meat if you don’t have a clean-burning fire. Beginners should allow the meat to warm up on the counter, but for no more than an hour, before you put it in the smoker. Experienced smokers can put the cold meat directly into the smoker. Some say this helps smoke penetration.

11. Don’t invite the family, the in-laws, and the preacher and his wife over the first day you get that new smoker. Practice some, get to know your smoker on a personal basis. Do a pork picnic shoulder, some chickens, then some ribs and finally when everything’s coming together, do a brisket. Then invite the whole gang over and wow ’em good.

12. A small hot fire is better than a large cool fire, meaning a smaller cleaner fire is better than a large one starving for air.

Now I didn’t come up with all that on my own, it’s just bits and pieces i have collected from various places, but it is sound advice for any BBQ’er Backyard or Competition…

BIG JT