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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 02-27-2007, 10:38 AM   #1
WineMaster
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Default Rookie Errors "What are they"

Since the Brethren continues to grow, Im sure there are a lot of novice and rookie Qers that come for great advice to help them become better at the pit.
What I was wondering is can people share what they think are the most repeated errors that rookies make.
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Unread 02-27-2007, 10:55 AM   #2
AZPete
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First mistake I remember making was adding too much wood to my pit. I was thinking what most people do... more wood/more smoke better Que but ended up making some bitter food that tasted like chit.
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Unread 02-27-2007, 10:59 AM   #3
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I remember opening the door to the cooker to often.
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Unread 02-27-2007, 11:00 AM   #4
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Default Mistakes

To much drinking, in moderation or you'll have charcole when you remeber you have something on the grill
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Unread 02-27-2007, 11:02 AM   #5
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One of my bigger ones was putting too much food on a small smoker all at once, so my cook times extended 3 or more hours.
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Unread 02-27-2007, 12:04 PM   #6
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Not taking notes......I'm still a novice, but take notes to help you remember what you did, what worked, what didn't. Experiment, practice, and use what works for you.

EDIT: BTW Winemaster, I got that first batch bottled! So far so good. Will let it sit for a month or two before trying some more.

OK...back on track
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Unread 02-27-2007, 12:11 PM   #7
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Not planning enough time. The very first cook I did on my char-griller was butts and brisket. Everyone was good natured about it, but we ate seriously late that night. The saving grace was that everyone enjoyed the food......Remember to plan 1.5 hours or so per pound on the big cuts and set dinner time from there.....Give yourself a big window of time.
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Unread 02-27-2007, 12:13 PM   #8
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I'm ALWAYS forgetting to write down what time I put my meat on. I like to do some things by timing and I forget this step quite often.
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Unread 02-27-2007, 12:15 PM   #9
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Winemaster,
I believe the biggest mistakes have to do with a lack of knowledge regarding fire control in your pit(s). Each is different and if you don't know how much wood to use you'll:
  • Run out of wood
  • Cook too hot
  • Take two days to cook a load
  • Burn the hell out of your meat
  • Tick off the wife/family 'cause the meat's not done
  • And more!
Once you have fire control licked you're really off and running.

Arlin
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Unread 02-27-2007, 12:21 PM   #10
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Not informing the family that you can't be bothered while cooking.

That's a big mistake. You need your concentration on the smoke. And the beer. And the fire. And the beer. And the meat. And the beer...
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Unread 02-27-2007, 12:35 PM   #11
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Dropping a pork loin into the water pan, nearly extinguising the coals in the pan of my ECB was a pretty good fark up
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Unread 02-27-2007, 12:39 PM   #12
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For me, it was tossing the fork and getting use to the tongs. Fire control and allowing enough time for the cooking and resting of the meat. Don't be afraid to step out of the box and try something new and creative.
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Unread 02-27-2007, 12:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WineMaster
Since the Brethren continues to grow, Im sure there are a lot of novice and rookie Qers that come for great advice to help them become better at the pit.
What I was wondering is can people share what they think are the most repeated errors that rookies make.
This is a good idea for a thread. Two of the biggest errors I see are

1. Not evaluating your own product and making small changes to improve it. Too often other folks are just plain too polite and will always tell you to your face how good your Q is. Ask a few of them what do they really like and also ask what could be improved. Get opinions from folks that are good cooks, they have no reasons to lie to you. Compare that information to how you size it up yourself. I'm not saying to always cook for the other persons taste, but I have a few small changes I make depending on who I'm cooking for.

2. Using smoke correctly. I just cringe when I see a guys pit that is puffing white smoke and he sez something like .... "my butts are really smokin' NOW!!!"

I edited some of the other things I think are important from an article on my site called Introduction to Barbecue, and here is the short version.

PLANNING
First off, you need to allow plenty of time for barbecuing. Don’t get in a hurry. You will find that many times, preparation the day before will be worth the extra effort.

PRACTICE
Great barbecue is a journey, not a destination. Barbecue may look easy when someone else cooks it. The recipes generally don't have a lot of ingredients. The cuts of meat are very common. Don't be fooled, there are a lot of hidden variables. There is a BIG difference between good barbecue and great barbecue. You will be very lucky if you make good barbecue on the first couple of cooks. It may take years before you make great barbecue. So before you serve barbecue to a house full of guests or the preachers wife...practice, practice, practice.

COOKING LOG
Do get in the habit of recording the details of your cooks. If you make changes, change one or two things at a time.

THE COOKER
Many pit masters agree that “it’s the cook, not the cooker” but you must figure out your cooker and its capabilities.

THE FIRE
Use a good quality hardwood or hardwood charcoal. Let the fire become established before adding food to the pit. Until you get the hang of overnight cooks, keep an eye on the fire.

THE SMOKE
Make sure to let the smoke from wood chunks or chips settle down before loading your cooker. Keep a watchful eye on your top vent or stack. A white smoke plume, billowing from your vent will most likely impart a bitter flavor and maybe a residue on your product. A light gray or blue smoke whiff is what you are after.

SEASONINGS
The goal is to compliment the flavor of the meat, without overpowering it. Use good quality seasonings or rubs. DON’T apply sauces too early during the cook, wait until the end or serve them at the table.

THE COOK
Start out with easy cooks. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature at the grate as well as your product.

THE REST
Allow your meat to rest before slicing or pulling. The juices need time to re-distribute into the meat.

SERVING
Ok, now you are ready to dig in. If you are slicing beef, pay attention to the grain and cut across it for tenderness. When pulling or chopping beef and pork, remove some of the fat but be sure and mix some of the crust or “bark” in with the meat. Don’t be alarmed if the meat, especially chicken, has a pink color. Don't be too eager to slather on the sauce, it is not always necessary. I like to serve a couple of kinds at the table.

REHEATING
For reheating barbecue use an aluminum pan. Add a diluted sauce, CocaCola, apple juice, broth or a mixture of any of these to keep the product moist, cover and place in a 250° oven for about an hour or until warm.
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Unread 02-27-2007, 01:25 PM   #14
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Thirdeye,
GREAT INFO!
As for my beginners mistakes; 1. Too much smoke. One of my first pork butts was so bitter I could hardly eat it. 2. Too much spice in the rub. I had to wash a cooked butt in the sink to get some of the rub off. Far too much spice. 3. Not having a good meat thermo. 4. Not resting the meat. My Q is MUCH better when I foil and rest the meat for up to 3 hours. 5. Not taking notes / recording rub recipes / measuring ingredients. It's next to impossible to re-create a good rub if you didn't write it down. I used to eyeball rub ingredients. Now its all measured and recorded. 6. Not finding this site until 5+ years into the hobby that is Q.
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Unread 02-27-2007, 01:34 PM   #15
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God job guys...

I would reiterate... let the smoke settle... do NOT put the meat on when you have just gotten you lit coals in the cooker.

That goes hand in hand with no white smoke. Once I understood sweet blue and how to avoid white smoke it made THE difference for me.

Lots of stuff in Qing can be overcome. You have white smoke boiling out and you got a grate full of chit!!!
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