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  • Smoke meat everyday...

    Post #1 - April 4th, 2008, 1:19 pm
    Post #1 - April 4th, 2008, 1:19 pm Post #1 - April 4th, 2008, 1:19 pm
    Warm weather is coming...believe it or not.

    Im the owner of a really nice "Texas-Hibachi" basically one of those smokers with the wood/charcoal pit on the side and a barrel where the smoke travels thru. I borrowed it to a friend for the super bowl and just got it back, the thing is large and heavy and fits a good amount of meat. Ive been using the hibachi for the past couple summers and experimenting with all sorts of things.

    At some point this week, I am going to go the store to pick up everything needed for summer BBQ and I am wondering what combo's of wood people like to use when they smoke meats. Obviously different wood pairs up good with different foods, for example alder wood works great with salmon, hickory/pimento work great with pork etc...

    What wood/woods do you like to use for different cuts of meat? Do you use just one wood? do you have a combo of woods you like to throw in the pit? Just curious what other people around here do when they smoke.
  • Post #2 - April 4th, 2008, 1:23 pm
    Post #2 - April 4th, 2008, 1:23 pm Post #2 - April 4th, 2008, 1:23 pm
    Wow, do I have a lot to learn. I will admit I am a newbie (just started smoking my own stuff last year) but I have a lot to learn about wood. I have only used hickory, and mesquite so far. I planned on smoking up a shoulder this wknd - maybe I'll try some new wood. Thanks for planting the seed in my head. I'll be watching this thread close. :D
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #3 - April 4th, 2008, 1:52 pm
    Post #3 - April 4th, 2008, 1:52 pm Post #3 - April 4th, 2008, 1:52 pm
    I usually use hickory for ribs and shoulders and mesquite for brisket. Last time I did a turkey breast I used mesquite 'cause it was in the hopper, and the mesquite flavor overpowered the turkey......won't do that again.
  • Post #4 - April 4th, 2008, 1:58 pm
    Post #4 - April 4th, 2008, 1:58 pm Post #4 - April 4th, 2008, 1:58 pm
    I use mesquite for pork or beef.

    I also like apple wood, and cherry wood.

    I did an interesting combination this last Saturday for some "asian" inspired spare ribs. I used a combination of cherry wood, apple wood, and green tea leaves for the 6 hour smoke.

    Turned out awesome.
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #5 - April 4th, 2008, 3:26 pm
    Post #5 - April 4th, 2008, 3:26 pm Post #5 - April 4th, 2008, 3:26 pm
    Da Beef wrote: hickory/pimento work great with pork etc...


    Please point me to a source for pimento. So far I've come up empty in Chicago, Kansas City and two towns in Texas.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - April 4th, 2008, 4:36 pm
    Post #6 - April 4th, 2008, 4:36 pm Post #6 - April 4th, 2008, 4:36 pm
    stevez wrote:Please point me to a source for pimento. So far I've come up empty in Chicago, Kansas City and two towns in Texas.


    stevez---same problem here, I have looked all around Chicago, Detroit, KC and all over the internet and I still have only come up with... http://www.pimentowood.com/

    I think there has to be a source somewhere in south Florida but I haven't found it searching the internet.

    Does anybody know what the deal is with bringing wood and such back from the island? Is it allowed? regulated and what not?
  • Post #7 - April 5th, 2008, 2:56 am
    Post #7 - April 5th, 2008, 2:56 am Post #7 - April 5th, 2008, 2:56 am
    Mesquite for brisket, Hickory for pork shoulder and spare ribs, Apple wood for pork belly.
  • Post #8 - April 5th, 2008, 5:09 am
    Post #8 - April 5th, 2008, 5:09 am Post #8 - April 5th, 2008, 5:09 am
    The best BBQ I've ever had, at a little streetside shack in a bad neighborhood in Houston, was smoked over a mix of white oak and pecan wood.
    You have to take it easy with the pecan - my son, who lived in Houston at the time, was so excited with his discovery of pecan smoke that he did his Thanksgiving turkey over pecan; he said it tasted like a tree, and had to throw it out. :roll:
    Suburban gourmand
  • Post #9 - April 5th, 2008, 8:49 am
    Post #9 - April 5th, 2008, 8:49 am Post #9 - April 5th, 2008, 8:49 am
    this is a website I belong to that has alot of info regarding using a smoker

    www.smokingmeatforums.com

    a nice weekend ahead I see the smoker being put to use both days.

    Off to the butcher shop.
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #10 - April 5th, 2008, 10:45 am
    Post #10 - April 5th, 2008, 10:45 am Post #10 - April 5th, 2008, 10:45 am
    My standard mix for pork (and what I'm using today for the smoker shoulder) and chicken is white oak/apple/cherry and hickory. I try to keep the total amount of the first three woods in about a 1:1 ratio with the hickory, sometimes approaching 2:1. I don't usually use all three, just whatever happens to be handy. Today, it's just white oak and cherry, as I seem to be out of hickory. I go much gentler on the wood when smoking something like chicken than a Boston butt.

    For beef, same as above, except substituting mesquite for hickory, and definitely going much easier on the mesquite. My ratio is 2:1 - 3:1 oak/fruitwood to mesquite.

    As for pimento, I've only gotten it from the pimentowood.com website. There service is great, but you only get four slightly-larger-than-a-drumstick (as in the instrument)-sized piece of pimento wood for around $20. It was nice but, honestly, I could not tell the difference. For jerk, I tend to just use white oak and apple wood.
  • Post #11 - April 6th, 2008, 7:13 pm
    Post #11 - April 6th, 2008, 7:13 pm Post #11 - April 6th, 2008, 7:13 pm
    I'll be the first one to admit that I can't tell the difference among the various woods when I smoke. I've used the usual suspects and even remember thinking when I had a Brinkman smoker that plain ol' Kingsford without any wood still tasted the same.
  • Post #12 - April 6th, 2008, 9:55 pm
    Post #12 - April 6th, 2008, 9:55 pm Post #12 - April 6th, 2008, 9:55 pm
    rlr wrote:that plain ol' Kingsford without any wood still tasted the same.

    Rlr,

    If you are using Kingsford as the main fuel source it's not surprising you are having trouble differentiating flavor in wood types. Kingsford contains a number of non charcoal components and imparts a distinctive, and not in the least pleasing, flavor/odor.

    Switch to natural lump charcoal, discussed in detail on the Naked Whiz Lump Charcoal Database.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #13 - April 7th, 2008, 11:37 am
    Post #13 - April 7th, 2008, 11:37 am Post #13 - April 7th, 2008, 11:37 am
    rlr wrote:I'll be the first one to admit that I can't tell the difference among the various woods when I smoke. I've used the usual suspects and even remember thinking when I had a Brinkman smoker that plain ol' Kingsford without any wood still tasted the same.


    You'll definitely tell the difference with chicken. Chicken over wood vs chicken even over briquettes tastes a lot, lot different.

    As for woods, I'm not sure I can tell the difference between cherry and apple or oak, but I can definitely tell the presence of hickory or mesquite. It might be fun and instructive to do several different single-wood smokes of, say, chicken, and then taste the differences.
  • Post #14 - April 7th, 2008, 12:11 pm
    Post #14 - April 7th, 2008, 12:11 pm Post #14 - April 7th, 2008, 12:11 pm
    I use a pellet smoker. The heat and the smoke is created by burning compressed wood pellets. You can definitely tell the difference when you change pellets from Oak to Hickory to Mesquite.
  • Post #15 - April 7th, 2008, 7:36 pm
    Post #15 - April 7th, 2008, 7:36 pm Post #15 - April 7th, 2008, 7:36 pm
    I did the Kingsford thing a long time ago, and wouldn't try it again--although I recall doing a turkey that I remember thinking was among the best I ever had. No, I still seek the apple/cherry for poultry, hickory for the rest. I'm going to try the Jack Daniels wood next time and see what happens.
  • Post #16 - April 8th, 2008, 7:10 am
    Post #16 - April 8th, 2008, 7:10 am Post #16 - April 8th, 2008, 7:10 am
    rlr wrote:No, I still seek the apple/cherry for poultry, hickory for the rest. I'm going to try the Jack Daniels wood next time and see what happens.

    Rlr,

    I suggest you pay a visit to Berger Bros and Chicago Firewood.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Berger Brother's Charcoal
    1176 N Cherry Ave
    Chicago, IL 6062
    312-642-4238
    Lump Charcoal
    Apple chunks in 20-lb boxes, Hickory and Mesquite in 4-lb bags
    M-F (Closed Sat/Sun)
    7:30am - 4pm
    Cash only

    Chicago Firewood
    1300 N Halsted (Rear Lot)
    Chicago, Il
    312-335-9696
    10am - 5pm
    7-days a week
    Hickory, oak, apple, cherry, sometimes pear.
    Split logs - cash only
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - April 8th, 2008, 7:44 am
    Post #17 - April 8th, 2008, 7:44 am Post #17 - April 8th, 2008, 7:44 am
    I just found out Chicago Firewood has a Mt Prospect location now too for those out in the burbs
  • Post #18 - April 8th, 2008, 7:50 am
    Post #18 - April 8th, 2008, 7:50 am Post #18 - April 8th, 2008, 7:50 am
    Head's Red BBQ wrote:I just found out Chicago Firewood has a Mt Prospect location now too for those out in the burbs

    Good news indeed!

    Chicago Firewood Company
    790 N River Rd
    Mount Prospect, IL 60056
    847-724-3182
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #19 - April 8th, 2008, 9:21 am
    Post #19 - April 8th, 2008, 9:21 am Post #19 - April 8th, 2008, 9:21 am
    G Wiv wrote:Hickory, oak, apple, cherry, sometimes pear.


    They also have maple, don't they?
  • Post #20 - April 8th, 2008, 10:32 am
    Post #20 - April 8th, 2008, 10:32 am Post #20 - April 8th, 2008, 10:32 am
    rlr wrote:I'll be the first one to admit that I can't tell the difference among the various woods when I smoke. I've used the usual suspects and even remember thinking when I had a Brinkman smoker that plain ol' Kingsford without any wood still tasted the same.


    The distinctive aspects of a particular type of wood don't come out right away. You need to smoke the food for several hours before you get noticable differences. There are exceptions: I notice hickory every time.
  • Post #21 - April 8th, 2008, 3:40 pm
    Post #21 - April 8th, 2008, 3:40 pm Post #21 - April 8th, 2008, 3:40 pm
    For someone who is very new to smoking, this topic is very helpful. Other questions:

    For long durations of smoking, do you use only the selcted wood(s) and no charcoal? Does charcoal make it easier to maintain the temperature? If you use all wood, can you end up with too much wood-smoke flavor -- other than by using the wrong wood, as mentioned above?
  • Post #22 - April 8th, 2008, 11:32 pm
    Post #22 - April 8th, 2008, 11:32 pm Post #22 - April 8th, 2008, 11:32 pm
    Im not the smartest person the world ill admit that off the bat. I have been trying to find what the regulations are for bringing wood into the US with no luck. Im pretty sure that it has to be regulated and not most likely is not allowed but you never know, im sure there is something on it somewhere on the internet but I cant find anything. Does anyone know the deal with bringing wood (from the Caribbean) into the US is?
  • Post #23 - April 8th, 2008, 11:42 pm
    Post #23 - April 8th, 2008, 11:42 pm Post #23 - April 8th, 2008, 11:42 pm
    jimwdavis wrote:For someone who is very new to smoking, this topic is very helpful. Other questions:

    For long durations of smoking, do you use only the selcted wood(s) and no charcoal? Does charcoal make it easier to maintain the temperature? If you use all wood, can you end up with too much wood-smoke flavor -- other than by using the wrong wood, as mentioned above?


    jimwdavis,

    A quote from "Legends of Texas Barbecue" a cook book by Robb Walsh and an absolute must for anybody serious about BBQ.

    "when you first get started with real wood BBQ'ing, there is a tendency to oversmoke things. Its not hard to tell when meat has been oversmoked-it tastes like tar."

    "If you cook with a blend of charcoal and wood or with dry, seasoned wood, you shouldnt have this problem. But be aware that there is such a thing as too much smoke"

    http://www.robbwalsh.com/01cookbooks/1legends.shtml
  • Post #24 - April 9th, 2008, 7:00 am
    Post #24 - April 9th, 2008, 7:00 am Post #24 - April 9th, 2008, 7:00 am
    Does anyone have a source for alder chunks?
    "Good stuff, Maynard." Dobie Gillis
  • Post #25 - April 9th, 2008, 7:53 am
    Post #25 - April 9th, 2008, 7:53 am Post #25 - April 9th, 2008, 7:53 am
    Da Beef wrote:Im not the smartest person the world ill admit that off the bat. I have been trying to find what the regulations are for bringing wood into the US with no luck. Im pretty sure that it has to be regulated and not most likely is not allowed but you never know, im sure there is something on it somewhere on the internet but I cant find anything. Does anyone know the deal with bringing wood (from the Caribbean) into the US is?


    check out this website:

    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export ... ndex.shtml
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #26 - April 9th, 2008, 9:48 am
    Post #26 - April 9th, 2008, 9:48 am Post #26 - April 9th, 2008, 9:48 am
    imsscott wrote:Does anyone have a source for alder chunks?


    Not sure about your location but I have purchased large amounts of alder chunks at Cabela's...I get them at the one in MN every summer but there are locations in Hoffman Estates and Hammond, IN...I have heard interesting things about the fresh fish station at the one in Hammond.

    http://www.cabelas.com/
  • Post #27 - April 9th, 2008, 9:53 am
    Post #27 - April 9th, 2008, 9:53 am Post #27 - April 9th, 2008, 9:53 am
    jimwdavis wrote:For someone who is very new to smoking, this topic is very helpful. Other questions:

    For long durations of smoking, do you use only the selcted wood(s) and no charcoal? Does charcoal make it easier to maintain the temperature? If you use all wood, can you end up with too much wood-smoke flavor -- other than by using the wrong wood, as mentioned above?


    Yes, you can oversmoke. One of my first smokes, before I completely understood all the variables involved, was in a cheap $50 Brinkman (which didn't have proper ventilation for the smoke to escape). We made some rib tips and, I'm not exaggerating one bit, but we were coughing and hacking like we had just smoked a pack of Lucky Strikes. That cigarette sensation hit the very pit of our throats.

    So, in a typical smoke on a WSM, I may use a total of 4- 8 or 10 fist-sized chunks of wood, the smaller amount for things like chicken, the larger for brisket or pork shoulder. The rest of the fuel is lump hardwood charcoal. Different smoking methods may encourage different techniques, but that's what works for me on a vertical water smoker.
  • Post #28 - April 11th, 2008, 7:44 am
    Post #28 - April 11th, 2008, 7:44 am Post #28 - April 11th, 2008, 7:44 am
    even 10 chunks seems a bit much for most cooks on a wsm(unless you are using a mild wood like apple)
    especially if you are using lump which imparts a bit of smoke flavor of its own
    I steer clear of mesquite myself
    the worst was when I was doing a local rib burn and the guy next to us was loading mesquite into his cooker for a full 6 hrs or more..like he was feeding a coal powered locomotive..just the smell itself was making me ill so I can only imagine what those ribs tasted like
  • Post #29 - April 11th, 2008, 10:54 am
    Post #29 - April 11th, 2008, 10:54 am Post #29 - April 11th, 2008, 10:54 am
    Head's Red BBQ wrote:even 10 chunks seems a bit much for most cooks on a wsm(unless you are using a mild wood like apple)


    I would have thought so as well, but this weekend I smoked a 10 lb pork butt using the Minion method with 4 fist-sized chunks on the top and 4 fist-sized chunks of apple and oak buried in the middle, and the smoke flavor was weak enough that my brother -- who was part of the failed oversmoked experiment -- and other guests said that it could use even more smoke flavor. I added another 2 chunks halfway through the cook (about 6 hours in), but at that point, I don't think the shoulder was absorbing any wood flavor. I personally thought 8 at the start was fine, but I would unhesitatingly bump it up to 10 for the next time. The flavor wasn't particularly smoky when you mixed in the external bark with all the interior meat, and this was over a 12-hour smoke at 225-ish.

    As with anything, your mileage may vary, so see what works for you. My baseline is 6 chunks of wood, three on top, three in the middle of the unburned coals for a rack of ribs. Shoulder can handle a lot more wood than that.
  • Post #30 - April 28th, 2008, 10:09 am
    Post #30 - April 28th, 2008, 10:09 am Post #30 - April 28th, 2008, 10:09 am
    Da Beef wrote:
    imsscott wrote:Does anyone have a source for alder chunks?


    Not sure about your location but I have purchased large amounts of alder chunks at Cabela's...I get them at the one in MN every summer but there are locations in Hoffman Estates and Hammond, IN...I have heard interesting things about the fresh fish station at the one in Hammond.

    http://www.cabelas.com/


    A friend and I made it out to Cabela's in Hammond yesterday to check out the BBQ gear, guns and everything else they offer. While not quite as big as the some of the flagship stores (no car dealership) it was still very large and took a good 2 hours to do all the sightseeing.

    The BBQ section is a pitmaster's dream, I hadnt felt that giddy since I was a kid inside Toys R Us, if its a BBQ tool/need odds are they have it, including alder chunks, I was very impressed. From wood chunks of all variety to electric smokers to tools needed to roast a whole turkey on the grill. Most of the items are made by cabela's or for them exclusively so alot of this stuff can not be had elsewhere.

    Foodwise they had a grill upstairs with a pretty extensive menu ranging from BBQ food to pizza and daily specials. Nothing really caught my eye except for maybe Sunday's "special" duck wings w/ Asian zing. I didnt have a chance to sample anything as I had already stopped for a burger at the Schoop's in Hammond* down the road.

    Does anybody around here have any experience using an electric smoker? how are they, do they get the job done? easier? harder? They had what seemed to me to be some pretty good deals on various types of smokers with all sorts of rebate offers and free BBQ tools when you purchase one but before I just handed over $200/$300 bucks, I needed to get the word on them from LTH. The fresh fish station I mentioned above was not there, sorry I misheard I guess.

    *- Schoop's in Hammond is recently "under new management, same great burgers" now I am not sure if previous management didnt give a flying hoot so they brought in new ones or what, but new management doesnt seem to give damn about customers. Burger was great as always but it took 35 minutes despite there being only a mother and son finishing up and an elder couple drinking coffee, the waitress just sat there and talked with "Hammond's Finest" like no one was there she needed to take care of. after a 35 minute wait for our food and drinks, the burger was still very good and one of my favorites, maybe just visit the location near the casino instead if you go.

    Cabela's
    7700 Cabela Drive
    Hammond, IN 46324
    Telephone: 219-845-9040

    GPS Coordinates:
    N 41° 34.15' W 87° 28.57'
    Last edited by Da Beef on April 28th, 2008, 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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