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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 01-26-2013, 09:35 PM   #1
dealm9
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Default Smoker vs. Oven

I have been very busy at college so this is my first post in awhile. Since I am at college, I do not have my smoker and have to use an oven or stove top to do all my cooking. I also have a crock pot. It's amazing how I feel very comfortable using a smoker which is, for most people, more complicated than an oven where you can just turn a dial. Basically, I am trying to get the hang of using an oven, but my meat just never holds up to my expectations since I became an avid user of my UDS about 3 years back. I try to make most of my meals on the stove top with my CI skillet. However, I would really like to start using my oven to replicate as close as possible, the tender, juicy meat I get from my UDS.

I understand that I will never be able to replicate the smokey flavor of a UDS. However, it seems to me that there are so many other desirable qualities that I get from my meat in my UDS that I cannot achieve in an oven, such as tender, juicy meat inside an barky exterior. I am sure there are valid reasons to this. One guess I would have is that achieving tender meat in an oven, in my experience, usually involves basting or braising it which results in a soggy exterior. However, the heart of the problem for me, I guess, is that I just don't understand (and would very much like to) why other than the smokey flavor, the smoker and the oven produce such different results. How to's would be great, but I would really like someone with knowledge on the science behind the two cookers to explain or make reference to some literature which would explain the differences between the two cookers and why they cook the way they do. I have googled it extensively and have not found much in the way of what I am looking for. I the very least I would like to just learn more of the two cookers and maybe come up with some ideas to best replicated "UDS meals" in my oven.

As a disclaimer I am a HUGE amateur when it comes to oven cooking so it may be that others do not have the problems I do and I just don't even know the very basics of good oven cooking. I am sure, however, that there are many who cannot cook in an oven and achieve results that could somewhat live up to those of good bbq. It may just be a naive dream of someone bbq deprived and missing his UDS very much
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Unread 01-26-2013, 09:55 PM   #2
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Not smoked meat, however one time my wife decided to cook steak in the oven....I was not thrilled in the least bit.....I was surprised at how well she did! She took the steaks, seasoned them, and then broiled them on a broiler pan. I don't know how long etc, I just know they were GOOD! Not soggy in the least bit and very juicy. She has only done it one time, so it may have been a fluke. Just my 2 cents worth. Also, I would agree, it is hard to beat good smoked meat!
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Unread 01-26-2013, 09:58 PM   #3
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If you like chicken, I know, who does not like chicken.

I bake this for the family all the time.
Use a flat baking tray with a metal liner that keeps the chicken above the baking pan. Line the baking pan with tinfoil. Put the metal grill liner on top of that and spray it with Pam. Take chicken thighs and load it up. Now, take lemon pepper and sprinkle it all over the chicken. Preheat oven to 425. Cook it for 45 min. Depending on your oven the temp and time can very. You will get the feel of it after a couple of cooks. This is a good meal and a fast one on a rainy day or just in a hurry. Once you get the feel of it and know your oven you will be pulling out perfect juicy chicken with crispy skin!!! Best of luck. That's chicken 101.

Clean up is pulling tinfoil and dumping in trash. Rinse tray and metal grill. All done.
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Unread 01-26-2013, 10:17 PM   #4
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Ovens are overrated IMO.
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Unread 01-26-2013, 10:25 PM   #5
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Mines not!!! 1920s and is ventilated like a smoker.


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I woke up to the smell of BBQ and I said to myself, self,
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Another old Kamado. Size #3.
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Weber gasser with side burner, silver.
22" Weber Kettle Gold.
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BLACK PIRATE THERMAPEN Yes, It's FAST.

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Unread 01-26-2013, 10:42 PM   #6
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What's an oven?

Don't tell anyone but I made some burgers in the kitchen on a cast iron skillet Thursday and they were killer! I felt like I cheated on my Weber kettle and I owed it an apology. I apologized and gave it a big kiss yesterday.




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Unread 01-26-2013, 10:42 PM   #7
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Not an expert on the science, but guess since you are in college (like me) you are probably in a dorm or small apartment. Which means you likely have an electric stove and oven. Correct me if i'm wrong..

Anywho, I think the secret to the difference is in the products of combustion. Natural gas in a gas oven burns extremely clean and completely, leaving very little by-product to affect the meat aside from the heat. In an electric oven, there is no combustion, so therefore no by-products.

Its the by-products produced by charcoal's incomplete combustion that makes BBQ meat so different than oven meat. You add another variable when you are introducing hardwood and fruit wood. Ultimately, the by-products "stick" to the meat and make it taste ohhh so good!

So what are the by-products?? Lots of nasty stuff that "known to the state of California can cause cancer, birth defects, upset stomach, head ache, soar throat, burnt finger syndrome, yada yada yada.......and death." Good thing we don't live in California eh?!
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Unread 01-26-2013, 11:29 PM   #8
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Just duplicate what you would do in a smoker time and temperature wise in the oven. You will not have the benefit of the smoke flavor so you may need to tweak your rubs and brines to bring a little more flavor. What you produce may not be true 'Q but it can be very good. In addition you will learn more about other aspects of flavor that will benefit your results when you do get to fire up your UDS.
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Unread 01-27-2013, 04:59 AM   #9
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When wife and I were first starting out, and lived in an apartment we cooked steak, chops and chicken on an indoor electric counter top grill. Sometimes we would char it and then put it un a crock pot. They work well. Quite a few models out there from $ to $$$$$. Check ebay listings. And Craigslist too.
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Unread 01-27-2013, 08:03 AM   #10
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Great opportunity to cook Pitmaster T's Night Train Brisket a few times and really get the feel of what brisket tenderness should be.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...hlight=brisket
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Unread 01-27-2013, 08:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dealm9 View Post
I have been very busy at college so this is my first post in awhile. Since I am at college, I do not have my smoker and have to use an oven or stove top to do all my cooking. I also have a crock pot. It's amazing how I feel very comfortable using a smoker which is, for most people, more complicated than an oven where you can just turn a dial. Basically, I am trying to get the hang of using an oven, but my meat just never holds up to my expectations since I became an avid user of my UDS about 3 years back. I try to make most of my meals on the stove top with my CI skillet. However, I would really like to start using my oven to replicate as close as possible, the tender, juicy meat I get from my UDS.

I understand that I will never be able to replicate the smokey flavor of a UDS. However, it seems to me that there are so many other desirable qualities that I get from my meat in my UDS that I cannot achieve in an oven, such as tender, juicy meat inside an barky exterior. I am sure there are valid reasons to this. One guess I would have is that achieving tender meat in an oven, in my experience, usually involves basting or braising it which results in a soggy exterior. However, the heart of the problem for me, I guess, is that I just don't understand (and would very much like to) why other than the smokey flavor, the smoker and the oven produce such different results. How to's would be great, but I would really like someone with knowledge on the science behind the two cookers to explain or make reference to some literature which would explain the differences between the two cookers and why they cook the way they do. I have googled it extensively and have not found much in the way of what I am looking for. I the very least I would like to just learn more of the two cookers and maybe come up with some ideas to best replicated "UDS meals" in my oven.

As a disclaimer I am a HUGE amateur when it comes to oven cooking so it may be that others do not have the problems I do and I just don't even know the very basics of good oven cooking. I am sure, however, that there are many who cannot cook in an oven and achieve results that could somewhat live up to those of good bbq. It may just be a naive dream of someone bbq deprived and missing his UDS very much
Gas oven heat is not as dry as the heat coming from your smoker as the gas burning gives off water vapor. Electric oven heat is much drier, like your smoker.
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Unread 01-27-2013, 10:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverfinger View Post
Mines not!!! 1920s and is ventilated like a smoker.


I wish my apartment had one of these

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke View Post
Great opportunity to cook Pitmaster T's Night Train Brisket a few times and really get the feel of what brisket tenderness should be.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...hlight=brisket
That has been on my agenda for awhile. I need to find another grocery store because the one I use has not had any brisket in stock for awhile

Quote:
Originally Posted by TailGateJoecom View Post
Gas oven heat is not as dry as the heat coming from your smoker as the gas burning gives off water vapor. Electric oven heat is much drier, like your smoker.
I got an electric so I guess that is good for me
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Unread 01-27-2013, 11:58 AM   #13
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Try one of these.



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Unread 01-27-2013, 04:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TailGateJoecom View Post
Gas oven heat is not as dry as the heat coming from your smoker as the gas burning gives off water vapor. Electric oven heat is much drier, like your smoker.
Burning wood gives off moisture too. Any combustion process does. Complete combustion only gives off water vapor and CO2.
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Unread 01-27-2013, 04:46 PM   #15
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The bigger difference is not in the heat, but, in how the heat interacts with the meat you are cooking. The difference between how conduction, radiant and convective heat works on food, how the thermal energy transfers and the nature of the heat, to a lesser degree.

Anytime you are cooking on a smoker/live fire oven, you are looking at having a draft of heat, moving through the area where y the items you are cooking are sitting. This changes the effect of the heat on the surface of the food. Silverfingers amazing range notwithstanding, modern ovens do not have the same properties of a constant movement of air through the cooking chamber. Not only is the air moving, but, because we cook at temperature well below where a perfect combustion would occur, the warm/hot air is also moist. This aids in the creation of bark (as opposed to char), a better surface texture and moister meat. Now, many commercial ovens have convection as a feature, and if you ever get a chance to cook chicken in an electric convection oven, you will have some of the best textured chicken you will ever eat.

All non-convection ovens will have hot and cold spots, we never check on this, but, any experienced baker will know that their oven cooks unevenly. This is why all commercial bakers of cakes and pastry use convection ovens, and why breads from a wood burning oven are far superior to non-convection gas or electric ovens. Smokers that are drafting properly can have warm and cool spots, but, they are predictable, and the best cooks learn how to use those spots to their advantage.

A well seasoned oven is rarely as 'dirty' as a well seasoned pit. This makes a difference as well, if someone were to run their pit as a sparkling clean cooker, they would find that the cooks are not as good. The seasoning makes a difference, each pit has it's own smell, whereas a clean oven, necessary to prevent smoking or fire, will always lead to a cook with clean characteristics. These can be exploited as well, I love cooking in my oven, it is just another tool. If you put as much time into understanding your oven, and learning how to use it, it will yield excellent food.
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