Monday, December 14, 2015

Oklahoma Joe 1060 Smoker

After a recent move I decided it was time to get a new smoker.  I loved my Chargriller Duo, but I was ready for an upgrade.  After scouring numerous sites and peering at an endless array of smokers at both ends of the spectrum I took a step back and thought about what I really needed as a backyard dabbler in smoky meatiness. I had outgrown the limited space of the Chargiller, and I have a separate grill now so I now longer need an "all in one" unit. I also am not ready to drop a couple of grand for a smoker, so keeping things in perspective I decided I would check out the Oklahoma Joe 1060.  The smoker is pretty well built and at 252lbs, pretty easy to maneuver around the patio. I believe it took me longer to find a sales associate to get it off the shelf than it did to put it together.

Having read some posts prior to putting it together I knew a tube of high temp RTV would come in handy while assembling the fire box and attaching it to the main cooking chamber.  I also added some to the smoke stack to ensure a good seal.  Once I had it all together I let the RTV set for a couple of hours prior to firing it up to season it. Prior to heating it up I used cooking spray to coat the inside of the cooking chamber, and then fired her up.

Since I offered up a hunk of meat for the Christmas party at work I decided doing a brisket was a perfect way to break in the new beast.   I also grabbed  a tritip for us to enjoy!

I put the brisket and tritip on at 0850 in the morning knowing I would probably not be pulling the brisket off until 9 or 930 tonight.  Brisket is a labor of love, especially if you are running a stick burner. Smoking a GOOD brisket is not an easy task, so throwing one on a brand new smoker is probably foolish, but I like a challenge.  Thinking back, I am pretty sure brisket was the first meat I ever smoked right next to a pork butt.

The tritip came off the rack about 3 1/2hrs in at 135 degrees with just enough smoke to be amazing. That will be our dinner, with more than enough left over for lunches and sharing at work. The brisket came off at just over 14hrs (fighting wind and rain) and looked absolutely amazing. While it wasn't quite as smoky as I like, it was tender, juicy, and delicious!!!
I learn something new every time I fire up a smoker, meat placement, fire management, and timing (patience) are all vital to ensuring a successful smoke. The biggest take away from this smoke was fire management.  The smoke box is much bigger than my last, and the cooking chamber is 2x as big, so sufficient fuel x proper placement = amazing food!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Barbecue Training Day

It has been a while since I set aside a day for smoking, but this was a special occasion.  My brother in law just got back from a deployment and has been itching to fire up the smoker I gave him right before he left.

I wanted to do a project that was fun, with meats that are easy to do as an introduction to the process. I started by walking him through how to set up the smoker and start a fire without lighter fluid using charcoal and almond wood.  I always use the minion method and find that I can get away without having to constantly fiddle with the fire to get and keep it going.

Once the coals were hot and the smoke was rolling I closed the lid to let the temp come up to 225 prior to loading it up with meat.  While the smoker was warming up I walked him through prepping the ribs (removing the membrane, trimming straggling bits for uniform ribs), I bought 2 racks of St. Louis style ribs so I didn't have to do much.  As for the rub, I brought my "secret" blend and showed him how to coat the ribs prior to putting them on the smoker.

We went through the same process with the tritip, which was cool because it was something he has never tried before.  Tritip is awesome because whether you want to grill it or smoke it, it comes out amazing.  I typically smoke my tritip for about 2 hours at 225 to get max smoke without over cooking the meat.

The bologna and Braunschweiger were easy,  we cut the chubs into one pound chunks, and gave them a good rub.  For Ron's we did a coat of sriracha prior to adding the dry rub from some extra heat. I have never smoked a braunschweiger before, but it looked interesting, so I said what the heck and threw it on with the rest of the meat...

Before I opened the lid to put in the meat I went over the load plan with him so he understood how to set up the meat without having the lid open for a long time.  The ribs went in first furthest from the fire box, the tritip went on the main rack next to the fire box, and the rest went on the top rack.  The beast was loaded to the max!

Now that the lid was closed I taught him the most important rule, DON'T PEEK....  If you are lookin' you ain't cookin'...  The heat loss from opening and closing the lid causes the temperature to fluctuate and extends the cooking time.

After the first 2 hours I pulled the bologna, braunschweiger, and tritip off of the smoker.  After the third I wrapped the ribs in foil with some brown sugar, and put them back on for another 2 hours.  I usually follow the 3-2-1 method for ribs, but these things were perfect after 5 so I pulled them and added a light glaze of bbq sauce before serving them up to the family.

This was an exceptional training day smoke for Ron, and we both came out with a load of meat to keep us going for a couple of weeks..  I think I will take him through a pork shoulder next time before stepping up to brisket.  12 hours can be a long time for a beginner to be patient with the smoker and the meat.
Cheers, happy smokin'!!