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Old 03-29-2011, 04:10 PM   #11
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The wood is the essence of smoking. You can use charcoal and hardwood charcoal will give better results, but true BBQ flavor comes from wood smoke. You can get decent results if you use chips or chunks, but nothing will taste as good as cooking with wood logs or sticks.

As you can guess, this kind of cooking takes time. Probably more than you want to involve yourself in for just a slab or two of ribs.

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Old 03-29-2011, 04:58 PM   #12
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You can use a charcoal fire and put wood chips or chunks on the charcoal to generate smoke. Soak the wood chips for 30 minutes so they don't go up in flames.

For ribs you want to maintain a temperature of about 225 F for about three hours. You may have to keep adding charcoal and wood chips to maintain that temperature and smoke for the whole time.

If you're going to sauce the ribs, do so for the last 20-30 minutes or so.
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:29 PM   #13
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Thanks guys!

This is all brand new to me, so i'm very much just learning as I go. I have watched some videos on youtube, and I picked up a bag of "All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal" and also a bag of "Jack Daniels Wood Smoking Chips".

I am very interested in using real wood in the future, I can imagine that it would make the world of difference.

I am noticing that this may be more challenging for me since I don't have any sort of temperature gage on my grill. We will just have to see how it goes...
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:58 PM   #14
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For a temperature gauge, I use a meat thermometer that I stick in the hole for the rotiseree rod. Try not to get it too close the the heat source and it should give you a ball park estimate, anyway.
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:17 PM   #15
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Beginner Chef,

Basically, you have a BBQ cooker that apparently doubles as a charcoal grill (the smaller chamber on the left hand side, known as a firebox). Essentially, you can grill in the smoker box, or BBQ in the other chambers to the right. There is a difference, however, between BBQing and grilling.

Grilling is the act of cooking food on a grid over direct heat. Grilling lends itself to cuts of meat and fish that cook rather quickly, and are fairly thin, though there are exceptions. You wouldn't want, for example, to grill a chuck roast as the high heat (commercial grills are run at 700 degrees and up; home models less than that but still mighty hot) will coagulate the proteins so quickly that they will toughen or "seize," leaving you with very tough cut to try to eat. Steaks, fish steaks and whole fish, chicken parts (breast, thigh, etc.), lamb chops, pork chops and tenderloins cut into medallions all do well on a grill, as do vegetables and pizzas.

BBQing is a different matter. Essentially, it involves taking a relatively tough cut of meat (think brisket, ribs, pork shoulder and fresh hams, etc.), marinating in an acidic/salty marinade or dry rubbing it with a salty/sweet dry rub overnight, then cooking it "low and slow" in the cooker. What I mean by this is your fire goes in the firebox, and your items to be BBQ'd go in the cooking chambers. Temperatures are generally between 175 to 250 degrees, as the low heat helps break down the collagen in the meat into gelatin, making it tender. Higher temperatures to coagulate the proteins too fast, resulting in tough meat. And BBQing, real BBQing can take hours - the recipe I use for brisket is a 14 hour affair, but worth every minute.

As for cooking fuel, pellets, wood chunks, lump charcoal, wood logs and even propane can be used. Most home BBQers have access to charcoal, wood chunks and propane; some have access to logs (you don't have to keep restocking the firebox as often). Some use a mixture of charcoal and wood, others don't. I use wood when I BBQ as it delivers the smoke flavor we so love.

There are any number of books and online sources to guide you. Steven Raichlen's books are great, as are the ones by Chris Schlesinger. John Willingham wrote a great book which was my introduction to real BBQ, and I highly recommend it. Do a google search on BBQ, and you'll get thousands of hits.

Hope this helps,

Alan
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:18 PM   #16
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You can also just use an oven thermometer on the grill surface where you put the ribs.
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:18 PM   #17
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As for a temperature gauge, you can purchase one online (I've actually seen them in Home Depot), drill a hole in the lid of one of your smoker boxes, and simply bolt it in.

Alan
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Old 03-30-2011, 08:56 PM   #18
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:18 PM   #19
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BAH!! darn 20 min edit limit!!


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Old 03-31-2011, 12:22 AM   #20
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Alton Brown

BTW, I am a graduate of the same school Alton Brown graduated from - The New England Culinary Institute, in Montpelier, VT.
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