Smoking Meat Questions and Discussion

Cyclones_R_GR8

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The "charcoal snake" method from America's Test Kitchen looks really interesting. It is a lot of work for the brisket, but I bet it could be modified for cuts that do not take as long.


I do the snake method when I smoke a pork butt in my Weber. I put a cast iron pan in the middle as my water pan as it makes a great heat sync
 

dmclone

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Great question!

Doing 4 butts absolutely took longer. Although I did a single butt on Sunday and I had to rush it (higher heat than I normally run to finish it) to get it done in 12-13 hours, including butcher paper wrap at 160F IT. It still turned out amazing though.

The 4 butts at once picture -- it was a couple years ago so I am going off memory -- I think one of them was done around normal time (~12 hours) but at least two of them took about 16 hours or more, and again I think at the end I was like "THIS IS ENOUGH" and I cranked up the heat to git-r-dun. It was significantly longer than normal. I was smoking for a big event so that's really the reason for that situation.

Normally I try to do two butts at once since smoking just one thing seems like a wasted opportunity -- eat one and put the other in the freezer. And two butts, or one butt plus some chicken or whatever -- that's no extra time at all.

Smoking on the pan -- as you can see I bought pans with grates in them so I can keep airflow going all around the meat still. I spray the grates and pan with non-stick oil and put parchment paper on pan to try to ease clean-up. Cleaning those grates is THE WORST JOB but I figure it's far better than greasing up my pellet grill.

View attachment 128823

I've never been disappointed with the smoke flavor I get, but with a pellet grill I think you do naturally get slightly less than a true smoker. I did buy a smoke tube but I've never taken the time to try it out. Now I just use Mesquite pellets (with a little Pecan or Cherry or Apple) for everything but chicken to try to naturally get the smoke flavor up.

Here's an image of the pulled pork from that same 4-butt day:

View attachment 128820

Here are a couple different briskets, one has an awesome smoke ring on the flat, the other a little less:

View attachment 128821


View attachment 128822
What do those cookie sheets do to the temps in your smoker? e.g. Do you have to run hotter?
 

BACyclone

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What do those cookie sheets do to the temps in your smoker? e.g. Do you have to run hotter?

I've never smoked without them, but I prefer to run on my lowest temp setting, which holds around 235-250 and have no complaints.

Pit Boss grills have a "smoke" setting for the early portion of the cook which runs it around 160F and I'm not sure it's more smoky, but it extends the time when the meat will take smoke, so I do utilize that when I can.

When I said I was rushing my butt on this past Sunday, I was still sitting at like 180 IT at 4pm and I wanted it done in 2 hours. I cranked it up to hold more in the range of 300F (it floated to 320 a few times) and I finally took it off at 6:30pm (12 hrs). I did use the 'smoke' setting for the first 4 hours just because we were gone to church, so that's probably why it took extra time -- but the meat tastes outstanding.
 
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zarnold56

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How often everyone doing deep cleaning on the pellet grills and whats your method? I vacuum it out every 3 cooks or so.
 

hiltonisheaven

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How often everyone doing deep cleaning on the pellet grills and whats your method? I vacuum it out every 3 cooks or so.
I’m not that consistent. If I’m going to do a pizza/salmon that I don’t want off flavors from past cooks then I’ll vacuum out the ash and replace the foil on the heat deflector at that time.
 

Agclone91

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How often everyone doing deep cleaning on the pellet grills and whats your method? I vacuum it out every 3 cooks or so.
I have a RecTeq and their mantra is that you should scoop out the firebox every few cooks, but only vacuum out the bottom of the grill about once per year. They claim it helps insulate during the cold months, helps catch fly-away ash, and catches grease that happens to drip into the bottom of the grill.

I change the foil and clean the firebox every 2-3 cooks, but I've only vacuumed once in the 18 months I've had it.
 

BACyclone

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How often everyone doing deep cleaning on the pellet grills and whats your method? I vacuum it out every 3 cooks or so.

I take a shop vac and clean it out preferably every other cook.

There's usually some debris in that cook pot that can accumulate and can cause you to fail to start the burn at startup. This happened to me once and made a huge mess because it keeps feeding pellets until it hits the startup temperature. So I just make it a habit to at least vac out the pot before starting, and since it's open I vac out the rest.

I go much longer at cleaning my grates and the inside, but then I don't drip grease inside so that's less of a concern to me.
 

zarnold56

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I have a RecTeq and their mantra is that you should scoop out the firebox every few cooks, but only vacuum out the bottom of the grill about once per year. They claim it helps insulate during the cold months, helps catch fly-away ash, and catches grease that happens to drip into the bottom of the grill.

I change the foil and clean the firebox every 2-3 cooks, but I've only vacuumed once in the 18 months I've had it.
I am always worried about grease soaked ash starting a fire. My Camp Chef is nice because I can empty the firepot after every cook with the easy clean system they have.
 

Agclone91

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I am always worried about grease soaked ash starting a fire. My Camp Chef is nice because I can empty the firepot after every cook with the easy clean system they have.
Probably a valid concern, especially if you cook at high temps often. I pretty much exclusively use mine at 300 degrees and below. It's also pretty rare that I see grease get below the drip tray for any reason.
 

RagingCloner

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I am always worried about grease soaked ash starting a fire. My Camp Chef is nice because I can empty the firepot after every cook with the easy clean system they have.
I have had that issue a few times with my pit boss. Got to the point where I’m cleaning it out every other cook
 

AgronAlum

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How often everyone doing deep cleaning on the pellet grills and whats your method? I vacuum it out every 3 cooks or so.

I vacuum the entire inside, scrape drippings off the heat shield and clean the temp probe about every 2-3 cooks. I'll deep clean with a bottle of dawn power wash spray, a brush and a scraper maybe once a year. I hardly ever use pans outside of pork butt though.

I would use my pressure washer if I had a better spot to use it. As it stands, I'd be washing pieces in the grass or getting grease all over the patio or driveway.
 
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cycloner29

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How often everyone doing deep cleaning on the pellet grills and whats your method? I vacuum it out every 3 cooks or so.

I take the grates to a car wash and clean them when I was my car. I've never done a deep clean with soap and a brush. Just take a putty knife and my stand alone 1 gallon shop vac to clean the ash and gunk out. I also cleaned the chimney for the first time ever and was amazed by the build up in that and even on the under side of the cap!
 

Jer

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How often everyone doing deep cleaning on the pellet grills and whats your method? I vacuum it out every 3 cooks or so.
On our Traeger, I've never taken the time to clean the grates as I figure it's "seasoned" this way. I change the drip pan cover when needed - usually after maybe 50 hrs of cooking time. I use the shop vac inside it after roughly 15-20 hours of use - maybe more frequently depending on the ash buildup.
 
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Acylum

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Anyone try jerky 100% on the smoker? Wondering how it turned out. A lot of the recipes I looked at were a combination of smoker and dehydrator.
I use the Hi Mountain cure and seasoning and cook it completely on my Traeger. Works great. I use rump roasts , partially frozen, sliced to 1/4” on a deli slicer.
 
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tm3308

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That price point gets you a brand new Weber Smokey Mountain. They stand the test of time.
You can add a vent controller down the line but Webers hold heat pretty steady.

IMO grills have always been a "you get what you pay for."
Agreed. I bought a few third party parts for mine (all from Cajun Bandit) a couple years ago (been using my 22" WSM since 2017), including a door (stainless steel), a deeper charcoal ring, an extra section that sits where the lid would go on a stock WSM and adds an extra grate, and a shelf that screws into the side of the barrel. The door was the only one that I truly needed (I stepped on the stock door by accident and could never get it bent back to the exact shape it needed to be).

It's a workhorse of a smoker for the price.
 
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dmclone

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The results after being in the fridge overnight. Might cut back on the salt and pepper next time. It really does have that bacon taste to it.

View attachment 128880
Oh, is that buckboard bacon? I've done that a few times and really like it. Here is how I did it

Boneless 14lbs Costco shoulder

Cut in half so it was 2" thick

7.06lbs
.353 ounces pink salt
9.5 tablespoons brown sugar
3.5 tablespoons kosher salt
Shot in a little maple syrup

2 2 gallon ziploc.
Rotate daily for 10 days

Day Before
Rinse and then pat dry
Put in fridge overnight with great so it gets air. Forms pellicle
Add Black Pepper

225 degrees
Put it on the jerky racks for airflow
Cook to 155 degrees IT max

After cooldown, wrap meat in plastic wrap and let sit in fridge overnight.
Stick in freezer for 1/2 hour before slicing bacon.jpg
 

besserheimerphat

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I just seasoned my new Oklahoma Joe Highland charcoal grill with offset smoker this morning and made burgers for dinner. It's not the reverse flow version. I had a Char-Griller 5050 Duo for nearly 15 years but it finally bit the dust over the winter. The gas side rusted through a couple years ago, and the charcoal side was getting bad enough I didn't think it worth it to clean up for this spring.

Between the two, the Oklahoma Joe has much thicker metal all around and all the joints and doors seal much better. The OKJ does not have a height adjustable charcoal bed in the grill, but I did notice that things often got under it which contributed to the CG5050's demise.

I debated about gas, pellet or charcoal and just enjoy the charcoal too much. I totally get the appeal of "set it and forget it" with pellets/augers/digital controllers/wifi/apps, but I like the whole experience. 20240511_202134.jpg
 
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