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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 07-23-2013, 05:07 PM   #16
stepandfetch
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next time I will post pictures. It rained throughout the majority of the nine hours it took to smoke the pig, and I was in no mood for glamour shots. I actually had to hang a beach umbrella over my fire to keep it from going out.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 05:46 PM   #17
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Today's shoulder in the Pit Barrel Cooker. Pretty amazing piece of machinery. I am Not that good, but the Pit Barrel Cooker makes me great.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 06:28 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creekwalker View Post
Yes, I've been to Allen and Son a number of times over the years. Like a lot of online reviewers, I find them extremely inconsistent--but most of the time, they make one of the three truly great examples of pork bbq I've ever had. One of the others was O.T.'s in Apex, and the third place is on the Durham end of hwy 55 and still open: Backyard BBQ Pit. Like Allen and Son, their stuff has an even stronger smoke taste than what I've made--yet mine tastes over-smoked, apparently because some of the smoke elements in it are the wrong kind.
'
What kind of wrong smoke elements are you talking about?
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Unread 07-23-2013, 09:15 PM   #19
stepandfetch
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yea I'm also curious about that
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Unread 07-23-2013, 09:26 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
I love smoking neked. It's hard to beat plain smoked meat.
But the people next door are complaining about the view
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Unread 07-23-2013, 11:46 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by jonmhenderson View Post
What kind of wrong smoke elements are you talking about?
That's a good question...I'm too new too smoking to be sure. Am thinking it might be creosote. Only as of my last two cooks have I been keeping track of the time between pouring the partial chimney of lit coals over the pan of unlit (giving it 25-30 minutes). Have not cleaned the smoker since starting to use it, and no doubt I adjust the intakes too frequently (don't wait long enough after each change). The effect I'm talking about...is kind of "vague"...not just my attempt to describe it, but the taste itself. Sometimes, I'm actually not sure whether to think a piece of meat is over smoked or under smoked. Does that make any kind of sense? Does it sound like an effect that creosote might create? Wish I could describe it better.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 11:48 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by stepandfetch View Post
next time I will post pictures. It rained throughout the majority of the nine hours it took to smoke the pig, and I was in no mood for glamour shots. I actually had to hang a beach umbrella over my fire to keep it from going out.
Looking forward to it
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Unread 07-24-2013, 04:21 AM   #23
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To me, traditional bbq does not have a smoked flavor, per se, from the burning of wood. In traditional bbq, wood was always burned down to coals in a separate pit, then the coals were shoveled under the meat. The smoke flavor was kin to the flavor you get from grilling; a fat dripping in the fire flavor. That flavor can get real strong real quick in a closed pit, so most of the time those pits were open topped. The burning of a live wood fire in an offset firebox is a fairly modern invention comparitively, and while the flavor can be tasty if an immaculately clean fire is burned, it's not really that old time flavor. The one exception could be mesquite, where even the burning down to coals doesn't really get rid of all of the resins in the wood! :-)
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Unread 07-24-2013, 05:08 AM   #24
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Good stuff here, just remember it is all cyclical. You guys will make your way back to flavor wood and complex rubs. It is just the journey life takes us on.

I personally like the "grilled" flavor with the wood smoke and the complex rubs, but that is just the part of the cycle I am on.
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Unread 07-24-2013, 11:44 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmhenderson View Post
To me, traditional bbq does not have a smoked flavor, per se, from the burning of wood. In traditional bbq, wood was always burned down to coals in a separate pit, then the coals were shoveled under the meat. The smoke flavor was kin to the flavor you get from grilling; a fat dripping in the fire flavor. That flavor can get real strong real quick in a closed pit, so most of the time those pits were open topped. The burning of a live wood fire in an offset firebox is a fairly modern invention comparitively, and while the flavor can be tasty if an immaculately clean fire is burned, it's not really that old time flavor. The one exception could be mesquite, where even the burning down to coals doesn't really get rid of all of the resins in the wood! :-)
The idea that using wood coals so pure that they burn with little or even no wood smoke is desirable (mentioned earlier by stepandfetch) is one of the things that makes this thread really interesting. Right now I'm almost married to idea that it's good to have coal, some sort of flavoring wood (for most meats) and fat or drippings smoke going for me in the same cook, but maybe that will change. The idea that meat can get too much fat smoke (!) is perhaps the hardest thing to wrap my head around, so great is my prejudice in favor of it.

Now my vertical smoker is modified to work like a UDS, that is, all the seams between the intakes and the vents have been tightened and there are three 3/4 inch holes centered on top of the dome for venting, which stay completely open during a cook. So it's a "closed" pit, but on the other hand smoke flows freely up and through and doesn't seem to have a chance to "congregate" much in the dome on top. Yet still, it's possible that too much fat smoke is settling on the meat...I'll have to continue contemplating this...
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Unread 07-24-2013, 05:33 PM   #26
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Places like Cooper's Old Time Pit in Llano fight the problem of too much fat dripping smoke (which can easily happen when you've got 40 briskets fat down on a pit directly over mesquite coals) with foil. They cook an hour fat down then an hour fat up at high temps then wrap an hold till needed. Seems to give just the right amount of that old time flavor. That's what I do as well when I'm cooking on my Llano style pit. Funny, i'd gotten away from that style the last few years, but I've done it more recently, having had a Argentie v grate grill built. Direct cooking over coals IS the original q and my first love.
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Unread 07-24-2013, 08:02 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmhenderson View Post
Places like Cooper's Old Time Pit in Llano fight the problem of too much fat dripping smoke (which can easily happen when you've got 40 briskets fat down on a pit directly over mesquite coals) with foil. They cook an hour fat down then an hour fat up at high temps then wrap an hold till needed. Seems to give just the right amount of that old time flavor. That's what I do as well when I'm cooking on my Llano style pit. Funny, i'd gotten away from that style the last few years, but I've done it more recently, having had a Argentie v grate grill built. Direct cooking over coals IS the original q and my first love.
I'd look forward to pictures of those cooks, too. (This from someone whose never contributed any himself.)
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Unread 07-24-2013, 08:13 PM   #28
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Next time I do one on the Llano pit, I'll snap some pics! Meanwhile, here's some Argentine parrilla action.....
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Unread 07-24-2013, 10:40 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creekwalker View Post
Yes, I've been to Allen and Son a number of times over the years. Like a lot of online reviewers, I find them extremely inconsistent--but most of the time, they make one of the three truly great examples of pork bbq I've ever had. One of the others was O.T.'s in Apex, and the third place is on the Durham end of hwy 55 and still open: Backyard BBQ Pit. Like Allen and Son, their stuff has an even stronger smoke taste than what I've made--yet mine tastes over-smoked, apparently because some of the smoke elements in it are the wrong kind.
'
I'm glad we have a couple guys here that's had A&S at their best. And man those hushpuppies!!! But, one must not forget the sweet tea!!

Nom nom!! If they weren't so dang inconsistent I'd make one of my "hankerin" food journeys more often.




(side note) I've been known to be driving around Asheville, NC at 5am and get a hankering for pork chops at Horst Gasthaus and drive all the way to North Myrtle Beach, SC to get then all you can eat style. LOL!
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Unread 07-25-2013, 08:52 PM   #30
stepandfetch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creekwalker View Post
The idea that using wood coals so pure that they burn with little or even no wood smoke is desirable (mentioned earlier by stepandfetch) is one of the things that makes this thread really interesting. Right now I'm almost married to idea that it's good to have coal, some sort of flavoring wood (for most meats) and fat or drippings smoke going for me in the same cook, but maybe that will change. The idea that meat can get too much fat smoke (!) is perhaps the hardest thing to wrap my head around, so great is my prejudice in favor of it.

Now my vertical smoker is modified to work like a UDS, that is, all the seams between the intakes and the vents have been tightened and there are three 3/4 inch holes centered on top of the dome for venting, which stay completely open during a cook. So it's a "closed" pit, but on the other hand smoke flows freely up and through and doesn't seem to have a chance to "congregate" much in the dome on top. Yet still, it's possible that too much fat smoke is settling on the meat...I'll have to continue contemplating this...

I highly doubt that the meat could get too much smoke of any kind. I shovel the coals up under the meat from a burn down pit, just like every pit boss at every NC bbq joint that still uses wood. If you look at the link I provided with my first post in this thread, you will see my pit, and that my pit is not an open pit- the smoke has to travel from the coals, around the meat, and swirl up to a small vent.

As the meat heats up- starting at around 180 F., every 30 seconds or so, you will hear the sizzle sound from the occasional fat dripping. To be honest, I doubt this slow dripping and sizzling adds much flavor from the smoke rising after the fat dripping burns up. The dripping does increase the flavor, because the sound signifies that the shoulder is now hot enough to render the fat- and that fat leaves flavor behind as it bastes the meat.

Now, if I only shoveled coals, I would only generate minimal smokiness. The coals that heat the meat are very clean. They produce very little smoke, blue or otherwise. If I stopped at this point, the meat would lack the smoke flavor. I exponentially increase the smoke flavor by adding unburnt wood. When I split the hickory logs with an axe or maul, I always end up missing the mark sometimes, sending thin splits and shards flying. After splitting the wood, I collect these shards in a grocery bag, and throw them on the coals after I put the shoulder on the grate. It only takes a few every hour or so to create a massive amount of smoke. Where you might only see a few wisps of thin blue smoke before, with these lumps of hickory wood, the smoke is very thick and billowy. It is sometimes blue and sometimes white, and that is okay. The only thing you really have to worry about is keeping the shards of smouldering wood from catching fire. I would highly recommend doing this, because there simply is not much smokiness generated by simply shoveling the burnt coals under the grate.

Honestly, I wish I could create the situation where there is simply too much smoke flavor (ala Allen and Son BBQ.) With that extreme conquered, I could then find a happy middle ground and keep it there consistently.



Here is a link to the Holy Smoke BBQ song:
http://uncpress.unc.edu/HolySmoke/song.html

Holy Smoke!
What smells so good?
Is someone burnin’ hickory wood?
What's that cookin' on those coals?
Why it's a pig! Lord bless my soul!
We're gonna have some barbecue.
Boiled potatoes. Brunswick stew.
Slaw that's white or maybe red.
Hush puppies or fried cornbread.
And sauce from an old recipe
known only to the family.
A great big glass of sweet iced tea.
Holy smoke! That's heav'n to me.
—from Holy Smoke by
Tommy Edwards

Last edited by stepandfetch; 07-25-2013 at 09:22 PM..
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