Charcoal Smoker

Redneck cuisine from the hunting camp.
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Hobbes_mobile
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Charcoal Smoker

Post by Hobbes_mobile » July 30th, 2020, 8:43 pm

I've got a cheap charcoal smoker that isn't the easiest to regulate temperature, but it does a pretty good job if I stay on top of it. I normally end up smoking most of the day or overnight then finishing up in the Crock-Pot so the meat falls off the bone.

I started this around 10:15 Mountain today, so it's been going roughly 8 hours. We aren't eating it until tomorrow evening, but I didn't want to smoke overnight because I have to check it multiple times and it's more difficult to keep up with.
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Both shoulders are smoked pretty good, so I'll probably allow to cool before refrigerating tonight then placing in crock-pot tomorrow until it falls apart. I'll let it cool just enough to not burn me (at least only a little) then pull apart and chop some.

I hope the group mostly cleans it up tomorrow night. If not, I'll make myself sick shoveling it in over the next few days.

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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by 935 » July 31st, 2020, 5:41 am

Looking good. I used to have a similar smoker, but mine was propane.
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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by pullit » July 31st, 2020, 7:05 am

I smoke a lot of meat and I usually smoke my pork butts for about 3-4 hours then wrap. After you wrap you are just cooking but the wrap does speed up the cook time. Most are done (internal temp of 195 is where I want to be) in 8 hours total of smoke and cook time. I let them rest about 2 hour and tear them up.
Here is a picture of one of 3 cooks I did on my big smoker for the church I go to. I cooked a total of 52 pork butts and 72 racks of ribs that weekend. Also cooked a couple of briskets, a little sausage, and a chicken or two for us to eat on during the cook.
Image

Image
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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by hoobilly » July 31st, 2020, 8:19 am

Man I’m now hankering for some smoked pork


Need to get it done soon cause you all are killing me
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Hobbes_mobile
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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by Hobbes_mobile » July 31st, 2020, 8:49 am

pullit wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 7:05 am
I smoke a lot of meat and I usually smoke my pork butts for about 3-4 hours then wrap. After you wrap you are just cooking but the wrap does speed up the cook time. Most are done (internal temp of 195 is where I want to be) in 8 hours total of smoke and cook time. I let them rest about 2 hour and tear them up.
Here is a picture of one of 3 cooks I did on my big smoker for the church I go to. I cooked a total of 52 pork butts and 72 racks of ribs that weekend. Also cooked a couple of briskets, a little sausage, and a chicken or two for us to eat on during the cook.
Image

Image

I think you may be working at a higher level than I am. :) I'm a relative rookie. I've used this smoker the last two years to cook probably 6 or 8 shoulders a half dozen ribs and maybe a couple chickens, so not as much as you have in that smoker.

I've probably smoked these longer than necessary. My wife doesn't like them overly smokey, but these may be.
They still need to just cook a little longer today.

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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by pullit » July 31st, 2020, 12:40 pm

I wrap after 3-4 hours on pork butts and around the 2 hour mark on ribs. If you look at the picture above you will see that I am starting to wrap the ribs. On ribs, I go by look more than time.
Anyway, with any of the meat, it can only take so much smoke before it will start to take on a bitter taste (some people like that taste, some don't. I am in the don't camp). I hear all these people say, "we smoke our pork butts for 16-20 hours" and I wonder WHY! I run my smoker at 225-250 range and they will all hit internal temp of 195 degrees right about the 8 hour mark. So I have to wonder, why does it take you 16-20 hours and what are your running the internal temp to?
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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by Hobbes_mobile » July 31st, 2020, 1:54 pm

pullit wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 12:40 pm
I wrap after 3-4 hours on pork butts and around the 2 hour mark on ribs. If you look at the picture above you will see that I am starting to wrap the ribs. On ribs, I go by look more than time.
Anyway, with any of the meat, it can only take so much smoke before it will start to take on a bitter taste (some people like that taste, some don't. I am in the don't camp). I hear all these people say, "we smoke our pork butts for 16-20 hours" and I wonder WHY! I run my smoker at 225-250 range and they will all hit internal temp of 195 degrees right about the 8 hour mark. So I have to wonder, why does it take you 16-20 hours and what are your running the internal temp to?
I ran a little over 8 hours so probably too much smoke. You saw the color of mine. The amount of smoke varied though. I'll like it anyway. My temps ran from about 170 to 220, probably an average of 200. I want it to pull apart easily, basically fall apart when I start working on it. I'll cook in Crock-Pot until it does. I don't think it will take long because I averaged a higher temp than I do when I smoke overnight.

Smoked meat is a personal choice and it varies widely from one region to the next. I'll keep your information in mind the next time around.

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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by howl » July 31st, 2020, 2:19 pm

One of my favorite discussions! White smoke makes it bitter. Blue smoke makes it taste smoky without the black layer of nastiness. Smoked meat should be red not black. If you like crispy char do that on the grill when you cook the sauce on.

Google snake method for charcoal. That'll buy you some time away from the smoker. I use it when camping. When at home, I cheat with an electric smoker and wood chips in foil packs. Just cook the flavor out of the wood without burning. No white smoke, just wood smoke vapor for flavor. Last time I got real lazy and just set a coffee cup with a charcoal briquette in it on the heating element. Most of my meat gets smoked and cooked over night while I sleep.

I cook low n slow but only the first couple of hours involve smoke. I take a butt off when the bone pulls out clean. If you're having to chop, you cooked at too high a heat or not long enough.

Smoking fatty meat comes down to slowly rendering the fat out. As the water and fat come out the temp slowly rise until you get all that sticky stuff cooked out and the meat isn't bound together. I agree that's at about 195 for pork. If your smoker is at 220, the process is just waiting for the meat to approach equilibrium.

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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by Hobbes_mobile » July 31st, 2020, 2:23 pm

I've never noticed the bitter flavor and mine are always black at least if I smoke 8 hours I actually like that black charred looking stuff. :)

If I don't like tonight's pork, I'm blaming you guys for bringing it to my attention.

I thought white smoke was coolant burning and blue was oil burning. :)

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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by Hobbes_mobile » July 31st, 2020, 11:28 pm

Meat tasted good. The bigger one needed some more crock-pot time.
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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by SwampDrummin » August 1st, 2020, 2:23 am

I seriously hate you guys. After contracting alpha gal red meat allergy from a tick I can’t eat fatty mammal meat without shitting myself. Pork is the worst. Man do I miss pork. I broke down on the 4th of July and ate some pork ribs....woke up at 3:00 am to **** myself.

Some friends y’all are. I think this is the second time I’ve had to
call out such heartless posts. When is Hoobilly gonna do something about this?

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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by pullit » August 3rd, 2020, 7:06 am

Hobbes_mobile wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 1:54 pm

Smoked meat is a personal choice and it varies widely from one region to the next. I'll keep your information in mind the next time around.
You are 100% right about that. If you like what you are doing keep doing it. I like the way mine turns out but am always looking and trying to make it better. I don't experiment when cooking for groups of people. My wife and daughter and a few close friends are my guinea pigs.

By always looking, I don't mess with my brisket as I and my "pig posse" all agree "don't mess with it, it is great". Pork butts, sausage, and bologna, are pretty solid as well. I am always messing with my chicken and turkey.
I think the last time I smoked one of my turkeys I killed back in the spring it was the best I have done to date.
By messing around with my ribs, I have changed the way I do my personal ribs (not for big groups) and I just changed the way I do my personal cooks on them within the last year or so.

As was stated earlier, clear light color (have heard it called blue, thin, and others) is what you want. The thicker gray or heavy color smoke will leave a nasty taste on the meat.
The amount of smoke on the meat is also a personal thing. I have eaten BBQ that all you could taste was the smoke. For me, I want to taste the meat with some smoke but it should not overpower it. Same with sauce, IF you use a sauce, I want a thin sauce not the heavy thick stuff that is the KC style stuff. Once again it is a personal thing, same way with rubs.

I cook with a guy from time to time and his rub is VERY off putting to me, it taste like you crumbled a snicker doddle cookie up and rubbed it on the ribs. The other guys that help with that cook think so too and so we all started calling it the snicker doddle rub. It makes the guy mad, and nobody likes it but him, but it is his cook so we do what he wants. Once again it is a personal thing.
Funny thing, I have people come up to me all the time at that BBQ after they have eaten and say "y'all used Bobby's snicker doddle rub again" and we all tell them yes it is his cook. Not may people like it but he does so to him it is great.
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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by Hobbes_mobile » August 3rd, 2020, 1:10 pm

pullit wrote:
August 3rd, 2020, 7:06 am
Hobbes_mobile wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 1:54 pm

Smoked meat is a personal choice and it varies widely from one region to the next. I'll keep your information in mind the next time around.
You are 100% right about that. If you like what you are doing keep doing it. I like the way mine turns out but am always looking and trying to make it better. I don't experiment when cooking for groups of people. My wife and daughter and a few close friends are my guinea pigs.

By always looking, I don't mess with my brisket as I and my "pig posse" all agree "don't mess with it, it is great". Pork butts, sausage, and bologna, are pretty solid as well. I am always messing with my chicken and turkey.
I think the last time I smoked one of my turkeys I killed back in the spring it was the best I have done to date.
By messing around with my ribs, I have changed the way I do my personal ribs (not for big groups) and I just changed the way I do my personal cooks on them within the last year or so.

As was stated earlier, clear light color (have heard it called blue, thin, and others) is what you want. The thicker gray or heavy color smoke will leave a nasty taste on the meat.
The amount of smoke on the meat is also a personal thing. I have eaten BBQ that all you could taste was the smoke. For me, I want to taste the meat with some smoke but it should not overpower it. Same with sauce, IF you use a sauce, I want a thin sauce not the heavy thick stuff that is the KC style stuff. Once again it is a personal thing, same way with rubs.

I cook with a guy from time to time and his rub is VERY off putting to me, it taste like you crumbled a snicker doddle cookie up and rubbed it on the ribs. The other guys that help with that cook think so too and so we all started calling it the snicker doddle rub. It makes the guy mad, and nobody likes it but him, but it is his cook so we do what he wants. Once again it is a personal thing.
Funny thing, I have people come up to me all the time at that BBQ after they have eaten and say "y'all used Bobby's snicker doddle rub again" and we all tell them yes it is his cook. Not may people like it but he does so to him it is great.
Yeah, I've never had a heavy/dark smoke rolling out if my smoker. I have been letting it smoke longer though and giving it a darker looking outside. I wish I had time to do more and get better at it.

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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by decoykrvr » August 3rd, 2020, 5:07 pm

I have tried about all the "Smoking Woods" and have settled on just three; apple, pecan, and cherry. If I'm using hickory, I have a satellite fire and just shovel the glowing embers, no burning wood. Like Pullit, I use the foil wrap method on ribs and butts, and the older I get, the more I lean to the Texas cooking philosophy that, "If you need sauce, it's not cooked right." I've tried them all, and only use Kingsford charcoal and have a current inventory of 420 lbs. which should get me through the year.

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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by pullit » August 4th, 2020, 6:41 am

I use hickory for my big cooks as fruit wood is a little hard to get around here in any quantity. On my small smoker I will use apple pecan, cherry and hickory or a mix depending on what I am cooking. I have a friend David Bousha that owns Butchers BBQ (he has been on BBQ pitmasters TV show, as well as other and won the World BBQ and others) and he has helped me with what woods go best with what meats. If you have never played with the type wood you use, you owe it to yourself to do that, it MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE in taste.
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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by Hobbes_mobile » August 4th, 2020, 9:30 am

I've always used hickory and for the most part Kingsford charcoal. I can buy Kingsford bags of a few different smoking woods, but that's about my only option. Not a pile of hardwood readily available to me.

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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by howl » August 4th, 2020, 10:19 am

If you can get some Cowboy briquets, you'll get longer burn time and better flavor. Switched to that after they stopped selling it as Stubbs. Get it at the Home Depot or Lowes or whatever. Royal Oak briquets are close on flavor, but the burn time is short. Hardwood lump will substitute in a pinch but it gives too much fly ash and a third of the bag is a waste.

Hard to beat pecan for pork, but fresh green pear is my favorite for chicken. And then there's meat quality. You can't make good Q without decent meat. The saline injected, hormone filled stuff won't cook down right. I smoked a shoulder one time that had so much saline in it, it came out as ham.

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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by Hobbes_mobile » August 4th, 2020, 2:10 pm

howl wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 10:19 am
If you can get some Cowboy briquets, you'll get longer burn time and better flavor. Switched to that after they stopped selling it as Stubbs. Get it at the Home Depot or Lowes or whatever. Royal Oak briquets are close on flavor, but the burn time is short. Hardwood lump will substitute in a pinch but it gives too much fly ash and a third of the bag is a waste.

Hard to beat pecan for pork, but fresh green pear is my favorite for chicken. And then there's meat quality. You can't make good Q without decent meat. The saline injected, hormone filled stuff won't cook down right. I smoked a shoulder one time that had so much saline in it, it came out as ham.
I've seen Stubbs at HD or Lowes. That is where I usually buy Kingsford charcoal and Kingsford bags of hickory wood. I'll look for Stubbs or the Cowboy briquets. There supply will start running low as fall approaches here. I'll probably smoke some more meat when my folks are here to visit in a few weeks.

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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by pullit » August 5th, 2020, 6:20 am

You are right about the meat, if you don't start with good stuff, the rest does not really matter.
I went to a BBQ competition with David (it was the Jack Danial's World Cook off) and watched him prep his meat for the smoker. I can tell you, the meat they are using is not the same stuff that you or I can buy at the local grocery store.
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Re: Charcoal Smoker

Post by decoykrvr » August 5th, 2020, 8:47 am

Cooking and reloading have a lot of similarities. With both, once you have developed the desired product, the goal is to repeat it by minimizing the variables which could adversely impact the final result. I know "professional" competition smokers who pre-heat/dry their charcoal to obtain the desired moisture content before they will use it in competition. Just like the armorers who reload for the shooting teams and sniper units and buy all of the components in huge lots/batches for uniformity, I know smokers who buy charcoal from the plant by the truck load, and their spices in commercial quantities. Whatever you do, don't buy charcoal which has been stored by the retailer outside under a roof, and then wonder why your smoked meat doesn't turn out as planned.

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