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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 10-25-2006, 12:17 PM   #1
chingador
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Default my first bandera cooking experience

Thanks again for this excellent site. Without the information I have gleaned here (especially the mods) the learning curve would be much more difficult.

With that said, I found some expanded metal and raised the fire grate. I really do not understand how this was not already done by the makers of this pit. I did not have time to make the damper so I fashioned one out of heavy foil. I will make the permenant one this weekend. Got home from work on Friday evening, opened a beer and covered all surfaces with vegetable oil (forgot to buy pam). Fired up the pit and got her seasoned. While I was seasoning the pit, I noticed that the door thermometer and the oven thermometer were not in synch. The oven thermometer was about 50 degrees higher. I took the oven thermometer inside and put it in the oven, and it was about 25 degrees higher than the oven reading. Besides that, the seasoning went off without a hitch.

While the pit was seasoning, I prepped the meat; 8lb brisket, 6lb pork shoulder, 1 rack baby back ribs, 1 rack pork spare ribs. Mustard brushed on, generous amount of gordons grub rub applied, plastic wrap and into the fridge they go. Off to bed I go after a couple more beers.

With all of this temperature uncertainty, as well as a little "new pit" anxiety, I awoke at 6:00am ready to go. My plan was to split the differance between the door thermo and the oven thermo to make a best guess of the chamber temp. Pulled the meat out to warm a bit. Started the fire. My plan was to err on the side of the temp being too low instead of too high. Started the fire with mesquite lump (about a chimney and a half. the basic small chimney from home depot by the way) and waited for the temp to come up to what I believed was 225 degrees.

At this time it is 7:30 and time to load the chamber. In goes all of the meat plus a fattie. After the meat is in and the door is closed, I notice that the temp has gone way down. I had a door reading of 140 so I was figuring that the chamber temp was around 170 or so. I put a couple of split hickory logs in the fire box to bring the temp up.

It took over an hour for the temp to get up to what I believed to be 225. By now, it is about 8:45 and the temperature seems good to me. From this point it is relatively easy to keep the temperature constant (or at least constant enough).

At around 9:30, I decide that it is a good time to open the 1st beer of the day (Hacker Pschorr Hefe-Weizen), and since my neighbor is already mowing his grass, I turn on my outdoor speakers which are powered by the stereo indoors with ipod on shuffle. Life is good.

Since it took so long for the chamber to get up to temperature, I decide to delay foiling the ribs by 1 hour, so the baby backs go into the foil at 10:30 and the spares go into foil at 11:30. Fatty comes off the pit at 11:00 and I have a very nice lunch of fatty slices and beer.

2 hours later I unwrap the babys and they are wonderful, but completely falling off of the bone. the meat was great, but since I have a pile of pulled rib meat, I consider this somewhat of a disaster. I pull the spares at 1:00 and they are falling apart as well, just not as much as the babys. They are completley done, so I pull them and take them inside. From there, I take the internal temp of the pork shoulder and it is at 185 degrees so into the foil it goes. The brisket is moving along just fine at this time. Back to the beer.

Up to this point, maintaining temperature has not been a problem. I have only had one slight temperature spike so all is pretty well. At 3:00 I pull the shoulder to take out of the foil and return to the pit to find that it is completley done. It falls apart nicely, has great color and flavor and is very moist, so I decide that there is nothing to gain by putting it back on the pit. That leaves the brisket which I now wrap in foil and put back on for 2 hours. Out of the foil for 1 more hour and it is falling apart ready to go.

All in all, the meat turned out very good. Flavor, color and moisture were great across the board. Asthetics were horrible, with the meat falling apart. My final conclusion is that the cooking temperature was way too high. I would guess that i was cooking closer to 250 -260 instead of the preferred 225. This will be an easy adjustment for the next cook. I also waited way too long, or the meat was too far along, before I put the meat into the foil. This will be an easy adjustment too.

I love my Bandera. It is easy to use and has the ability to make some quality Q.

I do not have very many pics, but will hopefully post some tonight.
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Unread 10-25-2006, 12:19 PM   #2
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Congrats, and post those pics!
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Unread 10-25-2006, 12:29 PM   #3
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Sounds like a great first smoke - Congratulations.
Why not check both your thermometers calibration in boiling water. Your home oven may be off too.

One of the problems with foiling is that it is tuff to check the progress of your meat, and it is easy to overcook. Try no foil and see how that goes.
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Unread 10-25-2006, 12:35 PM   #4
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Thanks Richard. My plan for the next smoke is to go no foil for everything except the pork shoulder. I am very pleased at how it came out. Brisket was very good, but I would have preferred a much slower cook time, especially on the front end.
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Unread 10-25-2006, 12:44 PM   #5
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Chingador....LMAO, I love that name...

I think you went a little too long in the foil is all, and they might have firmed up a bit if you'd given them an hour or so back on the grill, after the foil. But hey - if the meat tasted good, you've won at least half the battle. Congrats!
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Unread 10-25-2006, 12:45 PM   #6
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I have come to the conclusion that a good set of remote therms is a great investment in your cooking. Although a little pricey at first, not having to worry about the temps, and being able to read them at any place in your house are well worth the initial costs. I have the NuTemps, and they have been great for me.
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Unread 10-25-2006, 12:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chingador
At around 9:30, I decide that it is a good time to open the 1st beer of the day (Hacker Pschorr Hefe-Weizen), and since my neighbor is already mowing his grass, I turn on my outdoor speakers which are powered by the stereo indoors with ipod on shuffle. Life is good.
Other than your choice of beer ..... this is me. RIGHT ON.
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Unread 10-25-2006, 01:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmayeux
I have come to the conclusion that a good set of remote therms is a great investment in your cooking. Although a little pricey at first, not having to worry about the temps, and being able to read them at any place in your house are well worth the initial costs. I have the NuTemps, and they have been great for me.
Good instrumentation is very helpful...
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Unread 10-25-2006, 01:10 PM   #9
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where can these thermometers be found? Are these probe type thermos? If so, do you have to modify them so the probe is not touching the hot metal of the shelves?
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Unread 10-25-2006, 01:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G$
Other than your choice of beer ..... this is me. RIGHT ON.
As the day wore on, I switched to the trusty old Bud Light.
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Unread 10-25-2006, 01:21 PM   #11
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When I use a therm for pit temp, I use a block of wood with a hole drilled in allowing the tip to be exposed exactly where I want to know the temp. However, even more important is knowing the internal temp of the meat. This is where a good thermometer really shines.

As far as deals, just search the net. There is a post of thermometer manufacturer websites in the sticky section of this forum. Also, sometimes there are forum related discounts, but you would have to ask management about that...

Edit: The sticky has been removed, but here is the thermo thread: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=19509
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Unread 10-25-2006, 01:57 PM   #12
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What Noah said. I just always cut a large potato in half and push the probe through that and set in on a shelf. The good thing about the NuTemp is you can buy three transmitters and probes and can keep one or two in you meat during the cook to monitor closely.

As for the ribs falling apart, you have to be REALLY careful with wrapping ribs! I have gotten to where I never keep mine in foil for more than an hour and then I learned to vent them.
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Unread 10-25-2006, 02:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G$
Other than your choice of beer ..... this is me. RIGHT ON.

Hacker Pschorr Hefe-Weizen? don't know WTF it is, sounds German; but it probably beats the $hit out of any American main stream beer.
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Unread 10-25-2006, 02:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chingador
where can these thermometers be found? Are these probe type thermos? If so, do you have to modify them so the probe is not touching the hot metal of the shelves?
The probes I have came with metal clips so that they could be attached to the cooking grates where I wanted them. If you use a potato or block of wood, it's been my experience that you need to make sure that the probe sticks out, so that the holder doesn't act as a temp buffer, and delay the thermometer's response time.
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Unread 10-25-2006, 02:14 PM   #15
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You may want to pull the thermometer out of the door and check it in ice water and boiling water. That should give you a better idea of the actual temp in the chamber.
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