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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 02-06-2004, 08:43 AM   #1
JasonF
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Default I'm a rookie, and looking for answers!

Wow, I've spent hours this week pouring over this website (and forums, and FAQ's), plus reading a grilling FAQ (300 pages) that a buddy emailed me with all kinds of bbq'ing information..... BUT, I'm excited!

I got a Weber Silver 22.5" charcoal grill this past summer, but was only able to use it starting in December when we bought a house (stupid apartments- no grills!). So I've been cooking on that a lot, trying burgers, steaks, chicken, etc.... Tonight, RIBS! I'm very excited about trying ribs.

Tomorrow night (Sat) I want to use my new ECB and try my first pork butt. I've already got the butt rubbed and in the fridge. I've got the ECB all assembled and ready to go. But, I've got a few questions left that I was hoping some of you more experienced Q'ers could answer for me:

1. Do you need to "break in" an ECB like I read about people breaking in their Bandera's? (If so I'll have to do that today/tonight I guess)

2. Where do you buy your smoking/cooking wood? My Dad's a straight LP griller, so we've never had wood around our house for cooking (and he's had a gas fireplace for years), so I have no knowledge of where I can get or where I should look for wood for bbq'ing with. (For now, I have Kingsford charcoal & one small bag of Cowboy Charcoal [lump] that I can use, plus some wood chips for smoking on the Weber)

3. What about the ashes? Once everything is said and done, what do you do with all your cold ashes? Bag 'em and throw 'em in the trash? Dump 'em in the yard? (I've been doing such small quantities so far that I can bag 'em once they're cold and put 'em in my trash, but I don't want to make a habit of that unless that's the standard procedure- it just seems like that would be a fire hazard to me)


Thanks for your time and your answers guys! I look forward to learning a lot here!!

-Jason
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Unread 02-06-2004, 09:03 AM   #2
willkat98
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Welcome Jason.

I got plenty to talk to you about, (check my post count) cuz I started with an ECB and just got a kettle 9 months ago. Love offsetting in a kettle.

First off, get a digital proble thermometer. You'll never know if a butt is done without it, and you don't want to keep opening the ECB and stabbing it with a instant read.

Answers: (wish I had more time today)
1. I think you spray down the inside with veg spray. Since you light the fire in there with everthing un assembled, that heats it up plenty. Spray down your racks each time for easy clean up.

2. Home Depot is great for hickory chunks. Fireplace store will get you a line on local wood sources. read the Bandera 101 file in the file section. Skip all the Bandera specfic stuff, but there is a wood article in there that is good reference. Personaly, in an ECB, just stick with the Kingsford. Others will disagree, thats just my opin.

3. Ashes. Welcome to the world of smoking. I have neighbors with gardens that get ashes, my own garden, etc. But in a couple weeks in the summer, they are saying "no more". So get creative. Throw them in the back of the a-hole neighbors pick up truck. Put them in that snot nosed kid's wagon up the street. Give bags of it to the local high school punks during Homecoming week. Let them get creative.

Welcome Jason
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Unread 02-06-2004, 09:10 AM   #3
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I will try to finish or rather add to Bill's thoughts. Yes on #'s 1,2...3 You want to probe your butt to a internal temp of 165 or so wrap it in foil spray the $hit out of it with apple juice seal the foil and take it to 195. Take it off and let it rest in a cooler wrapped in towels for a hopur minimum the longe the better. Remove pull and enjoy. It will be knock your dick in the dirt good stuff. Also you will want as good finishing sauce. Who's next ?
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Unread 02-06-2004, 09:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
First off, get a digital proble thermometer. You'll never know if a butt is done without it, and you don't want to keep opening the ECB and stabbing it with a instant read.
Dont listen to Bill here... A but is about the only thing I can tell is done without a probe. Check it every hour or so checking sometime just before you think it should be done (you gotta open up the cooker once in awhile to mop it anyway). When it's good and done, it will have pulled back from the bone quite a bit, plus it should just about fall apart when you try to pick it up with tongs.

That said, a probe makes it easier. I like to pull my butt at 205, but usually only wait until 195 (who can wait, it smells good, and we're all hungry). The difference is that at 205 the thing just falls apart when you go to pull it. Unlike some of the guys here, I also pull the butt within about 5 minutes of taking it out of the cooker.

I dump ashes in my compost heap, but you could dig a small hole in the back corner of the lot, or just spread them around the shrubs and rake it in good. Just be carefull because the PH of fresh ash is bad for some plants plants that like acid soil (is that right?). If you compost it you don't have to worry about PH.

Or like Bill says, build a catapult and send the ash to the jerk neighbor (if you have one) by airmail.
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Unread 02-06-2004, 09:17 AM   #5
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No foil here...
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Unread 02-06-2004, 09:25 AM   #6
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Welcome! I too use an ECB along with my horizontal smoker and gas grill, turkey fryer, etc. :D

The ECB doesn't need much burn in - small charcoal fire and a couple of hours would do it.

Good questions!!

1. Already answered this -- if you've got time burn it in, if not it'll be burned in after the first cook :D

2. Bags of wood chunks are everywhere! I use a lot of oad out of my yard and am going to pick up some at my mom-in-laws when she has a small oak removed from her yard (too close to the house). With the ECB I think charcoal with some wood chunks works best -- longer burns than wood only and you have to take the thing apart to refuel :D I usually start a chunk or two with my first chimney of charcoal and then add another chunk or two to the "minion" pile.

3. I dump them in my flower (yeah, right!) beds. It is an issue. Some guys get a barrel and put them in there and then dump the barrel now and then. Thing can get heavy! Cool ashes can be put in the trash and that's OK as long as the ashes are cooled :D

Bill is so right about the electronic thermometer -- even a cheap Pyrex works fine. Actually two (or a model with two probes) would be nice - one for the meat and one for the chamber. Be patient because you can't rush the pork no matter what you do -- more heat will just toughen it up.
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Unread 02-06-2004, 10:18 AM   #7
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Great!!

A dissenting opinion. David from Portland.

I will try it without foil David, and see what happens. Up to 205 and pull. The thing I don't like about my cooler method, the sodas know all taste like pork butts.

I only said a proble was vital with a butt, cuz I have had a 10# butt that took me 6 hours to get to 190, after being stuck at 155 for an hour, and I had a 9# butt that took 8 hours, being stuck at 163 for nearly 3 hours.
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Unread 02-06-2004, 10:33 AM   #8
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They all hang diffrent so I think a probe is vital for that reason. I was amazed at that when I started paying attention to it.
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Unread 02-06-2004, 10:34 AM   #9
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Hey Bill, I'm with you. Go for the thermometer -- no, you don't have to use one but it sure takes the guess work out of getting the pork (and brisket) to where you want it.

Yeah, you can pull the pork immediately but I find that using the cooler (and foil) let's me plan my day better. If the meat's ready early it just goes into the cooler and gets pulled when I take the time. I usually plan on having the meat up to 195 or so an hour or two before meal time -- that way if it runs late I'm still on time.

Hey, whatever works for you. But, with my thermometers I haven't screwed up pulled pork or brisket in a long time. Time and temp RULE! Low and slow is the game plan.
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Unread 02-06-2004, 10:38 AM   #10
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I've never tried a butt much larger than a 7#.

I cook everything as "lazy" as I can. That means no messing with the food except to slap on some liquid every hour or so. Really don't like messing around with the cooler, unless it's something that will be sliced or I have to hold done food for a long time. If your gonna pull it just get it up to temp, maybe let it sit on the counter till it's cool enough to handle (maybe not), and pull it.

I also, don't have the temp in the cooker very constant when I'm cooking. Could be anywhere from 225 - 300. Doesn't seem to make any difference when doing a butt. Ribs at 300, however... mmm, crunchy.

I don't think you can really mess up a butt, as long as it's fat side up. I tried removing the fat cap before cooking last time. Not bad, but not as good as with it left on.
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Unread 02-06-2004, 10:44 AM   #11
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I never remove a fat cap like sc....... a virgin without a kiss.
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Unread 02-06-2004, 10:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david
I've never tried a butt much larger than a 7#.

I cook everything as "lazy" as I can. That means no messing with the food except to slap on some liquid every hour or so. Really don't like messing around with the cooler, unless it's something that will be sliced or I have to hold done food for a long time. If your gonna pull it just get it up to temp, maybe let it sit on the counter till it's cool enough to handle (maybe not), and pull it.

I also, don't have the temp in the cooker very constant when I'm cooking. Could be anywhere from 225 - 300. Doesn't seem to make any difference when doing a butt. Ribs at 300, however... mmm, crunchy.

I don't think you can really mess up a butt, as long as it's fat side up. I tried removing the fat cap before cooking last time. Not bad, but not as good as with it left on.
i've tried butts as large as 12-13#. its a pain over 8.

The best i've ever done was for a softball tournament my girls played in. I qued roughly 75# of butt (about 8 butts on the diamond). started around 7:00 on friday night. by lunch on Saturday, I had 6 trays of some of the best pulled, chopped, chipped, and sliced butt you could imagine. cooked at about 200-225.

the bitch of it all was 1) staying awake and 2) pulling the pork (my hands were sore for days....). sold 1/4lb for 4.50 per with barbecue cole slaw and pickles on a hamburger bun. it sold so fast that all but 1 tray was gone in about 1.5 hrs. and I didn't even get to eat it!!

and crowd went wild!!!
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Unread 02-06-2004, 10:56 AM   #13
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Sounds great smokeypig, but all this butt talk just ruined my plans.

So in addition to the yard scratcher in the kettle, I gotta now throw in a 6# butt I have in the freezer for emergencies.

I'll try and keep temps around 275 in there. Kettle likes 320 better, so I have to fark with her with the vents and all.
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Unread 02-06-2004, 11:06 AM   #14
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the bitch of it all was 1) staying awake and 2) pulling the pork (my hands were sore for days....). sold 1/4lb for 4.50 per with barbecue cole slaw and pickles on a hamburger bun. it sold so fast that all but 1 tray was gone in about 1.5 hrs. and I didn't even get to eat it!!

and crowd went wild!!![/quote]

You need some Bear Claws

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Unread 02-06-2004, 11:07 AM   #15
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i'll be thinking about you. we're expecting 2-3 inches of rain this weekend, so i won't be out there. my better half has given me the heave-ho about queing in the garage so we'll probably be going out for dinner.

on the other hand, I may make gumbo on my frying rig (in the garage). yea, that's the ticket, chicken and sausage gumbo.
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