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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 05-07-2006, 09:55 PM   #1
MilitantSquatter
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Default Bad Bones Practice Cook review w/ Pics

OK.. Sean and I stuck to our plan of cooking ribs & chicken and setting up a lot of our contest equipment for the first time. Things did not go as good as planned... although much of the ingredients were first time experiments for us...

This was a set back in many ways after a number of successful cooks together.

We made 9 racks of ribs and 27 chicken legs ( all ribs had a different rub and and we used five different brines on the chicken legs with about 6 different rubs... We also tested 6 or 7 sauces that we had not opened or tried before.


Problem # 1 - Ribs were going great but thens some of the ribs ended up getting very "toasty " on the bottom and got too overcooked. Weird thing was pit was never over 235-240 and generally in the 220 range and were only on for 4 hrs and were foiled after two. This was the most ribs I've ever had on the pit at any time and some of the ribs were very close to the firebox. While we had a plan to rotate when we noticed the well done pieces, it was too late. At the same time, the problem may very well be related to certain rubs that were tried for the first time.

Problem # 2 - Chicken did not go smoothly today. Based on schedules yesterday, we ended up having chicken in brine for 15 hrs !!!!!!!!! Very unique brines but the extended times killed it and all way too salty....Even worse, at the very end of the cook during the last rotation of the chicken legs, our log book of postioning that was critical to tracking what each brine/rub combo was got out of whack and we ended up not exactly knowing what rub was on each chicken other than guessing the looks. Then we tried crisping the skin on the Kettle grill and they got too charred...

We got our new canopy up for the first time along with two 6 ft tables which was good. We tried to prep and stay outside as much as possible.

Overall - 3 postives... We know what new rubs we will not use for contests in ribs & chicken, we nailed down the favorite sauce too. We learned what improvements we need to make next time for ribs & chicken to prevent overcooking next time and we had a good time.

I'll chalk this one up as a bad cook and move on.

Here's the good (the start to mid point), the bad (the worst of the worst that got too well done) and the ugly (Sean and I looking all calm and collected) pics...
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Unread 05-07-2006, 10:04 PM   #2
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Sorry.... Here are the pics...
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Unread 05-07-2006, 11:21 PM   #3
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Vinny, nice post thanks for sharing. It's good you stumbled in the yard instead of at a contest site. Don't sweat the imperfections, that's what practice is for. BTW, I'll eat some of those ribs anytime!!
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Unread 05-08-2006, 06:55 AM   #4
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Vinny,

Like KC said, thats what practice is for. Don't get discouraged. Our first test cook last year was no better, maybe even worse. Our practice cook is this weekend if you want to drop by.
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Unread 05-08-2006, 07:12 AM   #5
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Vinnie - wish I could have joined you. You may not have liked all the food, but boy it looks great! And the most important question - did you have fun?
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Unread 05-08-2006, 08:05 AM   #6
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How did this guy lose his right hand?

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Unread 05-08-2006, 08:36 AM   #7
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Make sure you are checking your pit temps right below meat level.
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Unread 05-08-2006, 09:21 AM   #8
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I thought the same thing too, Neil. Then I looked closer. Funny pic!

Hey Vinny, I don't know about some of the other guys so I'm only going on my recent experience... IMHO brining dark meat chicken isn't as necessary as it would be to brine white meat. Probably similar results but I've just been marinating it for 8 to 10 hours and then adding rub on both sides plus under the skin. I used to brine 3 to 4 hours AND marinate 6 or so hours until it was pointed out to me that was a waste of time. Maybe some brothers with more experience will chime in on this but if you're getting too salty, you might consider dropping the brine and getting your flavor infusion from marinade instead. Just tossing out ideas...
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Unread 05-08-2006, 09:38 AM   #9
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I don't see any beer in any of the photographs. That may be the reason the cook didn't go quite right.
Or maybe there was too much beer, and you hid them from the pics.

Keep trying, you are sure to get what you want.

PS I had a tent just like the one you have there. Be sure to tether that baby down. They're pretty good, but I had a big gust of wind vaporize mine and it was even tethered!
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Unread 05-08-2006, 11:03 AM   #10
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Vinny--

Practice is the time for ironing out the kinks-- don't beat yourself up about it at all, learn from what went awry and move on. Shoot, that all looks good enough to eat for me-- and you had fun, right? win-win......
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Unread 05-08-2006, 12:26 PM   #11
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A couple of comments from a strict amatuer...My horizontal section of BYC has no less than really 6 or 7 "zones" of temperature. The absolute hottest place is directly over the baffel from the firbaox and the raised grate above the baffel is second. I mean like....the outside temp guage is saying 235 where it is and the temp at the racks are in the 320-350's. Cooler the further away and lower you are with tthe left end bottom being cooler than the top. So yes, a crowded pit can reall y have some severe hot spots. I've actually gone to rapid check therms, and put the digitals to work as pit therm's in various places.

Chicken....I love chicken and have been experimenting with smoking hte chicken and then finishing over the firebox. Put a grate down and spend 5-7 minutes just carmalizing the outside. Did very well with some deboned thighs. Very tasty.

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Unread 05-08-2006, 05:55 PM   #12
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I think everybody else already chimed in, but to over stress the point. "We talking about practice, not the comp, but practice." A. Iverson paraphrase.

The food looks good to me, but then I love Chicken and Ribs. Wish I was in the area, so that I could have helped you keep track of the rotations, and get rid of {east} the mistakes.

Thinkgs will get better each time you practice. . .
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Unread 05-08-2006, 06:50 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the positive comments and suggestions...points well taken..

To answer some of the questions

1) Yes..we had a great time.
2) Yes we drank some beers...New Castle and Heineken
3) The brine has been very good to us before on legs which leads me to believe that the extended sitting time was the problem
4) the hotspot for my pit is clearly above the baffle plate. Those baby's were grilled !!!!!!!!
5) We need to bring down our "ideal" temp range 10-15 degrees... 225-235 was our range in the past but next time we are going to target 205-220 min/max....
6) Loved the canopy, very easy to set up and breakdown - less than 5 minutes...
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