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  • Post #31 - April 28th, 2008, 10:34 am
    Post #31 - April 28th, 2008, 10:34 am Post #31 - April 28th, 2008, 10:34 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/


    Checked out the Cabela's in Hoffman Estates. Alder chips, but no chunks.
  • Post #32 - April 28th, 2008, 11:11 am
    Post #32 - April 28th, 2008, 11:11 am Post #32 - April 28th, 2008, 11:11 am
    What do you guys think about using walnut shells for smoking meat?
  • Post #33 - April 28th, 2008, 11:35 am
    Post #33 - April 28th, 2008, 11:35 am Post #33 - April 28th, 2008, 11:35 am
    Has anyone tried smoking nuts or olives?
  • Post #34 - April 28th, 2008, 1:54 pm
    Post #34 - April 28th, 2008, 1:54 pm Post #34 - April 28th, 2008, 1:54 pm
    imsscott wrote:
    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/


    Checked out the Cabela's in Hoffman Estates. Alder chips, but no chunks.


    I too have purchased wood chunks from Cabela's but the last time was an online order. I just checked their website and do not see what I remember ordering. They just have the "Chips N Chunks" bags which appear to be more chips than the 10# bags of chunks I bought last year.
  • Post #35 - April 28th, 2008, 4:19 pm
    Post #35 - April 28th, 2008, 4:19 pm Post #35 - April 28th, 2008, 4:19 pm
    Poking around Berger Brothers the other day and am almost positive I saw boxes of alder in the warehouse.

    Berger Brother's Charcoal
    1176 N Cherry Ave
    Chicago, IL 6062
    312-642-4238
  • Post #36 - April 28th, 2008, 4:57 pm
    Post #36 - April 28th, 2008, 4:57 pm Post #36 - April 28th, 2008, 4:57 pm
    I can confirm that as of yesterday, Cabela's in Hammond has alder, hickory, mesquite, cherry, pecan and oak in chunks and chips/dust.

    They actually didnt have much of them though as the shelves appeared to be raided for the BBQ season but im sure they will be restocking soon.
  • Post #37 - April 28th, 2008, 6:07 pm
    Post #37 - April 28th, 2008, 6:07 pm Post #37 - April 28th, 2008, 6:07 pm
    Da Beef wrote:
    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 tolls when you purchase one but before I just handed over $200/$300 bucks, I needed to get the word on them from LTH.


    Since we have strict condo rules and wooden decks, we cannot use anything but electric or propane powered grills or smokers. I use a propane grill and an electric smoker. I bought it at the huge store at Gurnee - not a Cabela's, but one of their competitors (whose name escapes me at the moment). It was $200.

    I bought it about a year ago and have done brisket, pork shoulder, salmon, tuna, ribs, etc. It says it cold smokes, but I don't believe it - but I haven't tried it, either. I use it mostly in the 175 to 250 degree range, depending on what I'm doing. I run a digital thermometer with a receiver through the holes in top so I have an idea what temp things are without opening it up.

    I love it. I might love something else better, but since this is all I can have, I'm happy I like it. The cabinet is never hot, it's well insulated, it's a great size for my 2 person family - and for when the extended family appears, it seems to be true regarding temp (I tested with my oven thermometer), and the water in it seems to help keep things moist. My complaint is that you can't really save drippings because of the water arrangement, but I guess I could try to get around that if I wanted.

    I did some trout today. Costco had what I assume is farm raised trout so I bought a package - 3 one-pound trout for about $10. I brined them for about an hour, then smoked them with some apple wood for about 50 minutes--20 minutes at 150, then 30 minutes at 200. I took them out when they reached 145 degrees.

    It truly is some of the best trout I've ever had. It is so moist, flavorful, slightly salty, deliciously smoky, and so tender it melts in your mouth.
  • Post #38 - May 13th, 2008, 4:03 pm
    Post #38 - May 13th, 2008, 4:03 pm Post #38 - May 13th, 2008, 4:03 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    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


    There is nothing at this location but a fenced-in empty lot and no sign. I called them and they said they have no wood there anymore.
  • Post #39 - May 13th, 2008, 9:13 pm
    Post #39 - May 13th, 2008, 9:13 pm Post #39 - May 13th, 2008, 9:13 pm
    Da Beef wrote:Does anybody around here have any experience using an electric smoker? how are they, do they get the job done? easier? harder?

    I have an electric R2D2-type smoker, which replaced a similar cheap charcoal smoker. The electric unit is easier than the cheap charcoal version, and I imagine easier than even not-so-cheap units, because, of course, you don't have to build a fire or worry about managing it.

    However, you also don't have any control over the heat, which can be troublesome in cold weather. Perhaps more expensive smokers include a thermostat.

    I haven't done anything challenging in it, but when the weather's OK, it gets the job done, and in cooler seasons you can do a kind of cold smoking. No true barbecue head would approve of it, though, since you need to use soaked wood chips.

    ViewsAskew wrote:I bought it at the huge store at Gurnee - not a Cabela's, but one of their competitors (whose name escapes me at the moment).

    Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, http://www.basspro.com
    6112 W. Grand Ave., Gurnee, (847) 856-1229
    709 Janes Ave., Bolingbrook, (630) 296-2700
    6425 Daniel Burnham Drive, Portage, Ind., (219) 787-6800
  • Post #40 - May 15th, 2008, 7:25 am
    Post #40 - May 15th, 2008, 7:25 am Post #40 - May 15th, 2008, 7:25 am
    I would be interested in what kind of wood combos you have tried and liked.
  • Post #41 - May 15th, 2008, 7:29 am
    Post #41 - May 15th, 2008, 7:29 am Post #41 - May 15th, 2008, 7:29 am
    I like:

    mesquite and apple

    apple & cherry

    apple and green tea leaves
  • Post #42 - May 15th, 2008, 11:14 am
    Post #42 - May 15th, 2008, 11:14 am Post #42 - May 15th, 2008, 11:14 am
    Could you explain how you use the green tea leaves and what kind of flavor they add?
  • Post #43 - May 15th, 2008, 11:23 am
    Post #43 - May 15th, 2008, 11:23 am Post #43 - May 15th, 2008, 11:23 am
    razbry wrote:Could you explain how you use the green tea leaves and what kind of flavor they add?


    I have a smoker with a side fire box, but during the colder weather I sometimes do not use it(it can be hard to maintain temperature when it is below freezing), and use indirect heat for smoking the ribs. I got the idea from watching a t.v. show on tea smoked duck, and another show, License to Grill. I uses lump charcoal, and make foil pouches filled with soaked wood chips topped with the tea leaves. Poking small holes in the foil pouches for the smoke to escape. I make enough puches to be able to switch them out every hour. I have used this method on spare ribs & the tea adds a very subtle flavor mixed with the apple wood.
  • Post #44 - September 26th, 2008, 9:05 pm
    Post #44 - September 26th, 2008, 9:05 pm Post #44 - September 26th, 2008, 9:05 pm
    Lump charcoal, hickory, couple of bucks worth of chicken and kielbasa from Chicago Meat makes for dinner in my book.

    Image

    Chicago Meat Market
    3021 N Cicero Ave
    Chicago, IL 60641
    773-777-7116
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #45 - October 7th, 2008, 8:17 am
    Post #45 - October 7th, 2008, 8:17 am Post #45 - October 7th, 2008, 8:17 am
    I don't know if anyone is still tracking this topic but I get a lot of my wood chips and chunks from the Charcoal Store online.
    http://charcoalstore.com
    I like the quality of their wood and they have a lot of other useful stuff.
    I'm going to smoke our Thanksgiving turkey this year.

    P.S. They don't have pimento though.
  • Post #46 - October 7th, 2008, 8:26 am
    Post #46 - October 7th, 2008, 8:26 am Post #46 - October 7th, 2008, 8:26 am
    I should add that the Charcoal Store carries all these kinds of wood in chunks and chips (They also have planks and pellets):
    Alder
    Apple
    Bourbon
    Cherry
    Grape
    Hickory
    Maple
    Mesquite
    Wine
    Oak
    Peach
    Pecan
    Persimmon
    Sassafras

    http://charcoalstore.com/
  • Post #47 - November 10th, 2008, 11:02 am
    Post #47 - November 10th, 2008, 11:02 am Post #47 - November 10th, 2008, 11:02 am
    I decided to do a test run for smoked turkey yesterday. I used apple wood with the natural charcoal. I brined the turkey breast (over night) and then put it in the refrigerator on a rack to dry for about six hours to get that "pellical". I studied G Wiv's BBQ information, and sort of flattened out the turkey breast before putting it in the smoker. I did have somewhat of a problem getting the turkey breast to cook to 160. Yesterday was pretty cold, and I thought about G Wiv's advice about putting sand in the water pan, but didn't do it. Here are my questions. If you replace the water for sand (in the smoker) doesn't that take away the cooking advantages of steam in the BBQ process? To get to 160, should I have just kept on cooking? After four hours (G.Wiw said it should take 3-4 hours) my turkey breast was only up to about 145. My final question is, if the turkey is pink, does that mean it is undercooked or just smoked? I'm not so sure I LOVE smoked turkey. It tastes like bacon (well that isn't bad), but the "turkey" is somehow lost in the translation. Any ideas on that? I also tried my hand at smoking some almonds. I spread them out on a baking sheet, and smoked them about an hour. Then I put the pan of almonds into my oven to crisp up the nuts. Pretty good results. I think I would smoke them longer next time, and maybe add some salt.
    Thanks!
  • Post #48 - November 10th, 2008, 12:02 pm
    Post #48 - November 10th, 2008, 12:02 pm Post #48 - November 10th, 2008, 12:02 pm
    Last time I brined a turkey I wasn't happy with the results either. The combination of all the salt from the brine and smoking may explain why the gobbler tasted like bacon.
    I think brining can be a good option for ribs but not turkey (my preference).

    Try a variation of the 3-2-1 method to achieve the moistness and cooking timeframe you want.
    In case you don't habla, the 3-2-1 method (for ribs) is 3 hours unwrapped in the smoker, then 2 hours wrapped in foil in the smoker and then 1 hour unwrapped in the smoker. For a turkey breast that takes 3-4 hours I guess it would break down to 1-1/2 hrs-1 hr-1/2 hr.
    You could also put apple juice in the water pan instead of or combined with water.

    The pinkness you asked about may be from the smoking. I would judge the pink areas by texture. If it feels like uncooked meat then you'll know.

    I go to the forums section of http://www.thesmokering.com for any smoking questions.
    People there are very knowledgeable and respond quickly to posts. There's probably a good turkey recipe on there.
  • Post #49 - November 12th, 2008, 3:57 pm
    Post #49 - November 12th, 2008, 3:57 pm Post #49 - November 12th, 2008, 3:57 pm
    curry71 wrote:Last time I brined a turkey I wasn't happy with the results either. The combination of all the salt from the brine and smoking may explain why the gobbler tasted like bacon.
    I think brining can be a good option for ribs but not turkey (my preference).


    Brining ribs? Oh noes!

    Anyhow, I actually like my smoked turkey brined. Doesn't taste much like bacon to me and is a hit at the folks' place every Thanksgiving. Papa brines the turkey, I bring over the smoker, and everybody's happy. I smoke the turkey whole (I don't bother butterflying), breast side up, and it generally takes 4-6 hours.

    AFAIK, the water pan is not there for the steam, but rather to act as a heat sink/regulator. I don't think the steam contributes much to the cooking process (in fact, I try to stay as far away from steam as possible in the BBQ process, including never foiling my meat), but I'm sure it must contribute some. I personally have not been able to tell the difference between cooking with sand in the pan and with water in the pan in terms of final taste and texture.
  • Post #50 - November 12th, 2008, 6:23 pm
    Post #50 - November 12th, 2008, 6:23 pm Post #50 - November 12th, 2008, 6:23 pm
    Oh it's on now!
    Time for a rib off!
  • Post #51 - November 12th, 2008, 8:53 pm
    Post #51 - November 12th, 2008, 8:53 pm Post #51 - November 12th, 2008, 8:53 pm
    curry71 wrote:Oh it's on now!
    Time for a rib off!


    L Fing O L!
    This same argument has spawned this Sunday's rib off between me and two of my brothers. One of my brothers is claiming to be pro-brine for ribs, so we've gotta learn him the right way. He was always a rebel. <sigh>Where did we go wrong?
    He'll learn...he'll learn.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #52 - November 12th, 2008, 9:58 pm
    Post #52 - November 12th, 2008, 9:58 pm Post #52 - November 12th, 2008, 9:58 pm
    Make Team No Brine proud, seebee!
  • Post #53 - November 13th, 2008, 9:23 am
    Post #53 - November 13th, 2008, 9:23 am Post #53 - November 13th, 2008, 9:23 am
    I think there was a question about maintaining temperature in the smoker when it's cold out.
    When I built a smoker out of a trash can I wrapped it in a water heater blanket to prevent heat loss. It worked pretty well.
  • Post #54 - November 15th, 2008, 12:23 pm
    Post #54 - November 15th, 2008, 12:23 pm Post #54 - November 15th, 2008, 12:23 pm
    razbry wrote: Here are my questions. If you replace the water for sand (in the smoker) doesn't that take away the cooking advantages of steam in the BBQ process?

    * there are no advantages to steam in the BBQ process (quite the opposite)
    * there won't be any steam unless you've sealed off the smoker to contain it (which, of course, having read Gwiv's 5-step you wouldn't be doing anyway) as any water vapor just passes up through the vent

    The water in the water pan is just a heat sink. Over time it evaporates away - and up and out! - and may need refilling, depending on the length of the cook. The suggestion to replace the water with something else (sand or even crumpled aluminum foil) in cold(er) weather is to allow for the fact that you may not need as effective a heat sink.

    The wind has more of an effect than just the ambient outside temps. People use various methods to deal with this - wind breaks, custom-fit thermal wraps, or hot water heater blankets among them.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #55 - November 15th, 2008, 12:47 pm
    Post #55 - November 15th, 2008, 12:47 pm Post #55 - November 15th, 2008, 12:47 pm
    .
    WSM 22" w/two 15-lb full packer cut briskets

    Image
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #56 - November 16th, 2008, 10:20 am
    Post #56 - November 16th, 2008, 10:20 am Post #56 - November 16th, 2008, 10:20 am
    .
    Low Slow Brisket

    Image

    Image
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #57 - November 16th, 2008, 11:13 am
    Post #57 - November 16th, 2008, 11:13 am Post #57 - November 16th, 2008, 11:13 am
    G Wiv-

    I'm about to meet at the location of today's rib off between me and my brothers to start the coals. Some say that Vince Lombardi could inspire a mouse to move a mountain on Sunday morning.

    Your picture is worth a thousand Lombardi speeches.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #58 - November 19th, 2008, 7:42 am
    Post #58 - November 19th, 2008, 7:42 am Post #58 - November 19th, 2008, 7:42 am
    seebee wrote:I'm about to meet at the location of today's rib off between me and my brothers to start the coals.

    SeeBee,

    How did it go?

    Results, info, pictures, tastes.............

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #59 - November 19th, 2008, 1:19 pm
    Post #59 - November 19th, 2008, 1:19 pm Post #59 - November 19th, 2008, 1:19 pm
    Um, Oh yeah.
    Team No Brine was the clear cut winner. No pictures, and I'll tell you why:

    Me and Papa seebee delivered the spares and tips to the hungry judges, and asked that they be placed in the oven on an ultra low setting to keep warm while we tended to the other meats (Uncle John's hot Links, Parker House links, assorted Italian snausages, and the chicken breasts.) Real estate in our smoker setup is limited, so we had to do it in batches. We at least STARTED the snausages /chicken parts while the ribs were going, so it only took about 30 min longer. Well, it was 30 minutes too long apparently. When we brought in the rest of the meats, people were already on their 2nd plates.

    So, team no brine brought 3 full slabs of spares, 3 slabs of baby backs, plus about 8 lbs of tips which were all cut up and placed into one hotel pan.

    Team Brine brought two slabs of spares.

    It was no contest. Team brine pretty much had an entire slab of spares left over.

    Team "No Brine's" ribs were so much more juicy, and tender...seriously, just no contest whatsoever. I knew they were gonna be great when they were in the smoker during the last 20 min or so. They were bursting with juice, most of the fat was rendered off, meat was coming apart with a slight tug, and the juice was filling into the hole were it was poked (you know what I'm talking about) and the color was that beautiful rosy hue. Papa seebee suggested that we keep half a slab for our own personal outdoor appetizer because they looked so good, and he's the real rib mastermind of the family. He can make them pretty much anytime, and they'll turn out great. These were pretty special if he was trying to horde them. In retrospect, I should have listened to him, and kept the half slab behind for us. We only got like three bones a piece after the masses had their way with them. :evil:

    Sure, we all told Team Brine that his ribs were good, but even he knew it was no contest.

    In the end, Team Brine easily, and voluntarily conceded (while nibbling on a no brine spare no less.) :roll:


    The "chili off" is planned for the Sunday after New Years Day. I plan on teaching everybody about the importance of layering heat with different chile peppers. Team No Brine claims his chili will be the hottest, and the bestest. Much like the brine vs no brine - I already know I'll win. 8)
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #60 - November 19th, 2008, 2:12 pm
    Post #60 - November 19th, 2008, 2:12 pm Post #60 - November 19th, 2008, 2:12 pm
    If it's not a family secret, please do post the chili recipe!

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