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deancox 05-21-2015 03:31 PM

Coveting my neighbor's Bandera and Newbie Questions
No, I am not eyeing my neighbor's wife (not that I would admit it any way,) but he does have a NB Bandera parked on the side of his house and never uses it....and I HAVE been eyeballing that!

I have never smoked anything in my life, but I am a reasonably experienced professional cook and have been wanting to play around with smoking. I am determined to start doing it, so I talked to him and made him a deal...he lends me the smoker and I will give him slices of whatever I smoke as I learn.

I have read the Bandera 101 mod document and will make the necessary mods to his smoker. I am going to fire up my first brisket on Sunday.

I can handle the rub recipe ok on my own......any other suggestions?

For a simple first time attempt, what are your recommendations for wood variety? How much wood should I buy?

Feel free to point me to a "sticky" or other basic posts about this, I am pretty sure these questions have been asked a million times.

Big George's BBQ 05-21-2015 03:38 PM

There is nothing wrong with adding splits to a hot bed of coals You can have too much smoke Let the smoker settle in before you add the meat- you dont want white smoke- people refer to thin blue smoke- less chance of a rancid taste Let your wood warm up on top of the warming box before you add it to the fire- you cook will go better. You are picking a hard meat for your first time but when done right it is great. I like to cook brisket fat side down- the fat helps to protect the meat from the heat I am sure others will chime in Good luck and have fun

markdtn 05-21-2015 03:46 PM

I started with a Bandera. I just bought a bundle of Hickory at Academy Sports when I started out. It would last about 2-3 cooks. I would add charcoal and a small split every 1/2 hour. I preheated the next split on the firebox shelf. Beware of the hot spot, the baffle will help with that. Raising the grate will help keep the fire burning. Those 2 mods are required IMHO. I always used a water pan and you will need to add water every say 3 hours. The temps vary pretty drastically from low to high so use that you your advantage. I never had much trouble maintaining 250 on the door gauge.

I made a lot of good Q on a Bandera, good luck with your cook. I might have suggested a butt instead of a brisket, as they are a bit more forgiving.

93vpmod 05-21-2015 04:27 PM

Nice deal with the neighbor...has he had much luck with the Bandera? Agree with what has been said about the brisket-first attempt.

I suggest Bigabyte's tutorial:

Another great reference is from Bludawg:

Best of luck, look forward to your results!

Big George's BBQ 05-21-2015 06:42 PM

That tutorial is a great source

SmittyJonz 05-21-2015 07:02 PM

Btisket is the Hardest BBQ - Pork Butt/Shoulder is the EASIEST and Most Forgiving.

ButtBurner 05-21-2015 07:26 PM


Originally Posted by SmittyJonz (Post 3247700)
Btisket is the Hardest BBQ - Pork Butt/Shoulder is the EASIEST and Most Forgiving.

agreed, learn your pit and fire management on a pork butt first is what I would do

deancox 05-26-2015 04:43 PM

Beginners luck
1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by SmittyJonz (Post 3247700)
Btisket is the Hardest BBQ - Pork Butt/Shoulder is the EASIEST and Most Forgiving.

The brisket turned out fantastic. I have never smoked anything before, was using a borrowed Bandera, and was very pleased with the results, as were my guests.

Just grabbed what I had in the spice box for rub, pepper, salt, paprika, garlic.

Watched it like a hawk.....I made one of the recommended coal baskets, but could not keep the temp up much over 200, so I dumped coals onto the grate (about 3 4 inches off the bottom of the fire box) and presto! Instant 350, choked it down to about 275 using the side controls and the chimney...and away we went, waited until it was butter soft to the stab.

This Bandera used a large amount of fuel, but perhaps that is just my inexperience.....thanks for all the good advice.

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