Baby Backs and Chicken Legs

7/4/12 – Happy birthday America!

DC is under a heat advisory today but I gotta practice ribs.  Here’s the BBQ log for today’s cook.

Did Chicken legs and babybacks.  Used the same rub on both

  • 3 Slabs of Baby Back ribs
  • 5 chicken legs
  • 1 Cup Big Time Rub
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar in the Raw

Remove underside skin from the ribs.

  • 1:15pm – mix sugar with the rub – rubbed both chicken and ribs – cut slabs in half, 3 whole slabs won’t fit on the Big Green Egg.
  • 1:30pm start fire – be sure to clean out old ash
  • 1:40 pm prepare a foil packet for Apple chips about 2 cups of chips, soak 1 cup in water leave to other dry.
  • 1:50pm fire at 300 still need to burn off charcoal smoke –  daisy wheel small holes only / close down bottom draft 1/4″ of the screen exposed. (Burn off the charcoal smoke BEFORE adding wood – Do not let the temp get to high, takes a long time to cool down.)
  • 2:05pm Charcoal smoke nearly burned off – temp is a little too high still (300 need to get down to about 275)
  • 2:05 pm clean grill don’t leave the lid open any longer than needed
  • 2:11pm fire down to 270, open bottom draft only slightly
  • 2:15 fire took off, up to 350
  • 2:20 fire down to 300 – added 4 chunks of hickory and 4 chunks of apple and the foil packet inserted plate setter after that, the fire now down to 225
  • 2:50 ribs and legs on fire down to 220 open bottom draft full, try to get to 275 ribs meaty side up
  • 3:30 temp up to 275 close the bottom draft halfway
  • 4:00 legs hit 150
  • 4:50 bones up and chicken at 160
  • 5:30 Legs 170 and off
  • 5:45 foil wrap honey and brown sugar granny smith apple wedges
  • 6:00 return foil wrapped to grill at about 300
  • 7:45 off the grill

The legs came out a touch over smoked, but still moist.

Ribs went a little over, falling off the bone, next time only about an 1:15 in foil. Maybe just a touch too much smoke.

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Chrome Wheels and Offset Smokers

A 1965 Chevy pickup, manual transmission, white over red. Other than our old gray Ford tractor, that is the vehicle my dad used to teach me to drive. That old pickup kind of looked like this, but without the fancy wheels.

Just like the pickup my dad used to teach me driving lessons.

Oh sure, we had another car — automatic transmission and all — he could have used for the driving lesson, but my dad’s main idea was this; if you could learn to drive a crappy old truck with a four-on-the-floor manual transmission, you could pretty much drive anything after that.

A couple of years ago, when the mere thought of trying to smoke meat scared the living bejeebers out of me, I wanted to make sure I could tackle this new pastime without ruining too much meat in the process. I know, I know, our fine farm and ranch families will produce more…but stilll. I also did not want to make a big investment in equipment, just in case smoking meat did not turn out to be my weekend calling.

So…I started out small. You have likely seen my Charcoal Chucker posts about my cheapo offset smoker($89 at Walmart).

Charbroil American Gourmet smoker, aka the cheapo offset firebox smoker.

It served me well for about three years. The price was certainly right. And it

Two pork butts on the cheapo.

Two pork butts on the cheapo.

allowed me to try my luck at the art of meat smoking without making a big investment. Well, the cheapo finally started rusting and I wanted something that could hold heat better, and something that perhaps I would not have to reload with charcoal every two or three hours.

Well, my Charcoal Chucker brothers certainly would recommend to me that I go whole hog and purchase one of the coveted Big Green Egg ceramic cookers. Truth be told, I would have loved to have been able to do this, but I am but a simple Kansas farm boy (with three kids in college to boot) and I just could not get over the mental hurdle of plunking down a stack of greenbacks for a smoker that would leave me unable to buy meat for such a nice smoker (I exaggerate).

So…in the process of scouting out a possible replacement smoker, I was checking out the stock at our local Lowe’s store. A very nice new Char Griller offset firebox smoker caught my eye in the $299 price range. Nice. Very nice. Metal was much thicker than the cheapo and the cooking area was nearly double the size.

The grill of my dreams…well, kind of.

It was almost love at first sight. Almost.

Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a wink. I did. Off to the side sat a flirty little number that looked very much like the coveted Big Green Egg of my dreams. I strolled up nonchalantly and said in a deep manly voice. “Is your Dad an astronaut? Because someone took the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes.” I fumbled as I reached for her price tag, thinking she was very much out of my league and expecting very bad news. Then, BOOM, a cascade of fireworks. My eyes could not believe what I was seeing. $299. Holy cow. This had the earmarks of a long, lasting relationship. (OK, that’s enough of the creepy old man stuff.)

So…after a bit of research (mainly from John Setzer).  He has a number of videos and blogs devoted to the Char Griller Akorn. I also sought out other feedback, but mostly after my mind was made up. Not long after, I brought her home to meet the family.

Her maiden voyage…after a quick 400 degree heat-up to cure the grate, was two slabs of pork spare ribs and two chickens. I wasn’t sure it was all going to fit, but it did due to the warming basket, which can double as a second tier cooking basket during low-and-slow smoking.

I would have to conclude that overall, the results were very good.

The maiden voyage of the Char Griller Akorn Kooker. Chicken and pork spare ribs.

And judging by the reactions of the consumers of the first yield off the iron grate kamado, this could turn into a great decision. I am so pleased that I have exited the offset firebox highway for a turn down the road toward kamado-style cooking.  And my Charcoal Chucker brothers have led me down that path. the only difference is that I will continue to truck down the road in a triple layer steel and porcelain smoker instead of a ceramic one.  But since I learned how to drive with an offset firebox smoker, I feel like I am riding in style. But you know that if I could find a 1965 white over red, four speed Chevy pickup today, and if I could afford it, I would add some of those fancy chrome wheels to go with it.

Bacon Bomb

Just what the doctor didn’t order!!!!!

My  friend turned me on to this and use it as an appetizer  because a little  goes a long way .  Creativity is a plus!!!  follow the steps in the video and fill it with what ever you wish and enjoy!!!!  Cook indirect at about 300 degrees.  Take the Bacon Bomb off when the internal temp reaches 160 degrees and let it rest.  You can slice and serve & enjoy!!

 

Brisket & Pork Butts with coffee, cocoa paste

I made a paste with 3 tablespoon instant expresso, 1/2 cup Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 3 cloves garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon fresh cracked tri-color black pepper, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon cumin seed toasted & ground, 1 tablespoon coriander seed toasted & ground, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, apple juice or cider or as needed.  Place the paste on a full brisket and place in fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.  Layer the top of the brisket with bacon and fire up your grill for indirect cooking/smoking.

Try the same paste on pork butts which means you may need to double or triple the paste.

Place the meat in a 250 to 275 degree smoker for 5 hours while it’s smoking baste brisket & pork with this moping sauce which has 1 beer, 12 oz of apple cider, 1 can of beef stock, 1 cup Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce to taste,  kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste.  If you’re cooking this much meat you might need to double or triple the moping sauce as well.

Once the internal temp gets to 170 degrees place the brisket in a foil pan with some moping sauce and the same goes for the pork butts. Cover the both of them with foil and lower the temp of the smoker to 225 to 250 degrees for 3 to 4 more hours or until the internal temp of the meat gets to 190 degrees.

Now, I know some of you are saying that I’m cheating, cooking them this way but  it works great, saves time & fuel and think about it after the first 5 hours how much smoke is really going to penetrate the meat after the burnt ends & bark have been established.

Tips:

If the meat is getting too dark during the 1st 5 hours cover the top of the meat with a layer foil.

Always let your meat rest in this case for at least 20 minutes before cutting.

Apple & pecan works well as well as hickory & oak.

The bacon may start to over cook after the 1st or 2nd hour feel free to remove it and use it in your sauce or beans.

You won’t be sorry you cooked them this way your guests will love it.  Enjoy & keep your grill on!!!

Buyer Beware!!!

I know we all want to save some money but remember you get what you paid for……

There’s a a home improvement store out there that is selling ceramic grills at a very good price but the warranty is only 1 year and you might not be able to get service or parts after the year is up.  The the grills in question are the Big Red Kamado Kooker & the Avocado.   The Avocado is a Big Green Egg look a like, it comes with a stand, side tables, double stack grate, and a plate setter.

The Big Red Kamado Kooker looks like the Kamado Joe red in color.  Joe also comes in black.  All of these grills will cook the same but as for the cheaper grills you get what you pay for no service and only a 1 year warranty, buyer beware…..

Low & slow baby backs

Remove the membrane on the backside.  Coat the ribs with mustard as the binder add your BBQ rub.  If you have the time let them sit overnight if not set up your grill for indirect cooking let the grill get to 225 degrees place ribs on the rack and slow cook.  I make a moppin sauce and mop every 2 hrs.  After 4 hours place ribs in a foil pan with some moppin sauce and cover with foil.  Check after an hour you may want them to go a little longer until fork tender.  Take the ribs out of the pan and char them on the grill add your BBQ sauce or add the moppin sauce and BBQ rub place on the grill if you want Memphis style dry ribs.
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