Barbecuing & Grilling

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by SFACRKnight, Jun 7, 2020.

  1. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,803) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    So who snakes, grills, 9r barbecues out there in BA land? What's your set up, and what are your favorite things to que?

    I run a pit barrel cooker, a Weber smokey mountain, and in a pinch use my propane grill. I enjoy chicken and briskets, but smoke burgers cheese and all sorts of crap. I love it, and grill every weekend.
  2. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,109) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Have a circa 2000 Kamado* (I believe that particular company eventually went bankrupt but not before they started putting out an inferior product) with the rough red finish - good thing that I decided the tiled units were both kinda ugly and more money than I wanted to spend. I think it's about the same size as the then standard Big Green Egg.

    I came close to going with a Weber Smokey Mountain but spent the extra bucks 'cause I liked the idea that the Kamado could do both "low and slow" smoking AND with the door and vent opened, get to +500° for quick char-grilling of steaks, etc.

    Along the way I picked second-hand items like a Weber kettle (which I pretty much use these days exclusive as a place to start my lump charcoal chimney for safety reasons, carrying it to the K when it's ready), a propane "Cajun Cooker" type burner for when I'm doing stuff like a big batch of fresh-cut fries or steaming some lobsters.

    When a friend of mine was transferred to Missouri he gave me his big Weber 3-burner w/side burner mostly as a joke, since one of our long-time "debates" was cooking with lump charcoal vs. propane. I'd rather a bit more work and time than the "convenience" of propane that's counting on the burning grease for "flavor" rather than real wood smoke. But, gotta admit I do like it for quick cooking of burgers or chicken wings/legs/thighs and have even "souped" it up with nice cast iron grills, etc.

    Oh, wait, I also have an old Japanese "Kamado"* I picked up at a flea market for, I think, about $50 from a seller who had no idea what it even was - dark green with an sorta enamel finish. (Some woman came along as I was actually paying for and started outbidding me - "What the fuck, man. We had a deal!" The guy did honor it.) Did some restoration work on it - painting the steel door and hinges, etc., but never have yet found the need to put it into service. Pretty sure part of the problem is that they weren't meant for high heat, so... why bother? (And it doesn't take up all that much room in my garage, especially once it gets covered up with other stuff...)

    * Have not kept up with the "industry" at all but I do know there are now numerous manufacturers of small "k" kamados, so that the term is now generic. At the time I purchased mine, there was pretty much just Kamado and Big Green Egg.
    #2 jesskidden, Jun 19, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  3. MrOH

    MrOH Meyvn (1,334) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    I'm going to keep an eye on this thread. New homeowner over the winter, and haven't had a yard since I left home over 20 years ago. COVID19 restrictions have kept us from doing much of the purchasing for the house that we were planning on (most of the house is still unfurnished), but some sort of grilling system was in the plans from the get-go.

    I'm thinking that a kamado-style system will best suit our needs. I'm used to restaurant grills that I can get excellent marks on, and every time I've ever dealt with a friend's grill, I've always wondered what the point is. You don't get the heat necessary to get a good char without burning. Seems like I can achieve what I would be looking for with a kamado, as well as being able to do some low and slow smoking for Lexington style BBQ (what I grew up with, and still my favorite). I also like that it seems like most of the Big Green Egg accessories would probably work for other kamado units.
  4. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (380) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    My outdoor fire cookers include a 5-burner propane grill, a 22” Weber Kettle, a New Braunfels offset smoker, and an expanded metal grate for the campfire. Used to have one of those Brinkmann torpedo shaped smokers with a water pan. It was okay but it didn’t draw just right, seems like the fire would start cooling down before the briquettes were used up.
    Also have a Big Easy but have only used it once and don't feel qualified to rate it yet.

    When there’s not enough time for the Weber or for the offset smoker I fire up the gas grill and have had decent results getting smoke flavor with a smoker box. They’re available in cast iron and stainless steel. The stainless seems to work better. I’m a zone-cooker and the gas grill makes that part simple.
    That said, it’s hard to beat a fire that uses wood products as fuel.

    Most fruit wood or nut wood is good for smoking mammal meat, but my preferences are apple for beef, pork or chicken, wild cherry or pecan for pork (but not for beef or chicken), white alder for light, non-oily fish. Cedar planked salmon is always a treat.

    I’ve never used a Kamado-style cooker and don’t think I’ve ever had anything cooked on one. Folks I know who have (or have used) one rave about them. One thing I’ve heard is that over time, food cooked in/on them takes on a common flavor. It’s as if the firebrick absorbs the smoke or whatever and bounces it back into the next fare....a flavor reverberation. Any of you Kamado-ites notice anything like that?

    Here’s a link that changed the way I approach beef for the grill. Some of it challenges what might be normally be thought of as conventional practice; like when to sear, or how critical (or not) the temperature of the cut is when it goes on the grill.
    It’s a long, but good read.

    Thoughts on pellet grills?

    ETA: Forgot about the 80-qt pot & propane burner for crawfish boils.....yeah cher!
    #4 riptorn, Jun 20, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
  5. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,890) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Wow! It sounds like you are into the science of the art of grillin' and have the implements to turn out some mighty fine dishes. Is my invitation in the mail yet?

    I thought I had moved into advanced grillin' last year by replacing my 1-burner LP grill with a 2-burner infrared grill. I also have a kettle smoker but don't use it much. I occasionally hang around it and pick up the seasoned smokiness that comes from it. :rolling_eyes:
    GreenBayBA, roan22, Amendm and 3 others like this.
  6. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (380) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Wistfully, no doubt. Sounds like you're due for a charcoal run.
    On that, Royal Oak is better (to me) than Kingsford. Lump charcoal burns hotter and quicker, and at least one purist I know says it's the only way to go. He's in the "it sounds cool" :sunglasses: camp and has never mentioned if he makes his own.....but making it yourself is kinda cool.

    I'm definitely not a pit-boss, but over the years/decades have tuned my approach to something that works fairly well for me and mine.
    Favorite commercial seasoning - Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
    Favorite commercial BBQ sauce - Sticky Fingers Memphis Original. (A little on potato salad kicks it!)

    My own dry seasonings/rubs are usually seat o' the pants concoctions from what's available in the pantry.
  7. wspscott

    wspscott Initiate (0) May 25, 2006 Kentucky

    I have a Primo XL (a kamado style grill). Previously I had a Bubba Keg (also kamado style). I love the huge Primo because it is very easy to set up a 2 zone fire and it is large enough that I can have a large part of the grill not directly over the fire, very handy for things like grilled carrots or broccoli that need time but would burn very easy directly over the coals.

    I've cooked all the standards low and slow (pork butts, brisket, ribs) as well as high direct heat (steaks, burgers, chicken,..) but I've never tried cool/cold smoking cheese, maybe next winter.
  8. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,803) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    I looked at a kamado, but wound up doing the pit barrel cooker instead. It can run in the higher smoke temps or be used as a direct fire grill and run in the 400s like the green egg. It is way less expensive, and works for my needs. I can hang 8 racks of ribs at once, or do chicken and ribs together.
  9. MrOH

    MrOH Meyvn (1,334) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Really and truly, I just want to smoke, both hot and cold. Big cast iron pan fan when it comes to getting a sear, and most of the other stuff folks like for a grill I can do in the oven (our oven goes up to 550*F, so I can get nice roasted vegetables by preheating a pyrex casserole dish and then adding), but the old lady likes the idea of grilling and not heating up the house. I work in a kitchen, so the heat doesn't bother me too much, but I see her point.

    I kinda get the whole romance of the ritual part of it, but doing it for a job for over 20 years has kinda removed the romance. All of the work that goes into grilling seems like more than I'd actually would want to do for what would ostensibly be a leisure activity.

    Pit barrel may be the way to go for a happy medium. Pretty sure I can engineer something or other to cold smoke.
    GreenBayBA, wspscott, Amendm and 2 others like this.
  10. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (380) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    GreenBayBA likes this.
  11. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,803) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    My wife picked up the prefabbed PBC for me two fathers days ago. I didnt like it at first, its hotter than my Weber smokey mountain, but I have since fallen in love. At my altitude it's hard to keep dialed in low, but as a hot smoker it's awesome. I can do half chickens in 2 hours, ribs as well. If I want a pork butt I can opt for the WSM, but have contemplated modifying my PBC to accept a water tray. I'm pretty handy, and can fab pretty well. I dont trust used 55 gal drums. The chemicals arent worth the risk.
  12. WunderLlama

    WunderLlama Poo-Bah (2,710) Dec 27, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    My backyard set up consists of the following :

    1) Blackstone pizza oven- flamethrower with a rotating turntable that makes awesome pizzas. Made three today for lunch , great product and they will be bringing gen 2 to the market in the next year

    2) blackstone 28” griddle - Flat top that is perfect for burgers , steaks, stir fry , eggs, bacon, pancakes . This thing is awesome

    3) Lifesmart - 15” kamado - latest addition to my menagerie . Lump charcoal which adds flavor to steaks , hot dogs, shish kebab and steaks

    4) Lifesmart - 1160 smoker . Awesome product. Made pork ribs last weekend with apple and hickory wood pellets . Two probes, dial in the temperature, baste hourly. Simple to use and makes great food

    5) Weber grill- direct connect to the natural gas line. Easy to pop some burgers or dogs on the grill
  13. Amendm

    Amendm Champion (881) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    Nothing beats a burger grilled over charcoal flames. The right amount, just turning gray with the grill at the right height allows the flames to dance just below the meat.

    GreenBayBA, rozzom, TongoRad and 2 others like this.
  14. flat_lander

    flat_lander Crusader (758) May 11, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    I used a Chargriller barrel smoker with the sidecar for years. Typically with a mix of oak and charcoal. With 3 kids 7 and under though, using it was a commitment that was getting harder and harder.

    When the stay at home order happened, I got bored pretty quick and started looking around back in April as I had considered a pellet grill for over a year or so. Once I saw they were on a major sale and could get it shipped for free, I pulled the trigger on the Camp Chef SmokePro SG24. Been incredibly happy with it and it's versatility. Made an array of things from ribs, pork butt, burgers, sausage, jerky, and even frozen pizzas. Its ability to do jerky is amazing. They're customer service has been stellar too.

    I sold the barrel smoker locally as I really didn't want 4 grills. I've got a decent Weber gas grill that I'm probably going to part ways with and get the sear box attachment for the pellet grill instead. Then I'll be down to the Camp Chef and my old trusty Weber charcoal kettle grill. It's my grandpa's and I'll keep it until the bottom drops out on it. There's a few recipes that just need charcoal IMO.
  15. semibaked

    semibaked Zealot (579) Mar 27, 2007 Illinois

    That Jerky was !
    flat_lander likes this.
  16. flat_lander

    flat_lander Crusader (758) May 11, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Gonna have to make it again soon...
    semibaked likes this.
  17. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,803) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    @riptorn the PBC in action. We did poppers, brats, and smores over the course of the evening. I was looking at that link, the PBC is cheaper than a new barrel, the kit linked, and powder coating. I think mine was on sale for $250.
  18. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (380) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Yep, there's the PBC in action, and the water dish, but no dog :astonished:

    I hadn't seen one or heard of one until you started this thread. Looks interesting. If yours is the 18.5" and not the 14", $250 sounds like a very good deal (like $100 off retail). Have you done a turkey in it?
    I have an old pressure tank from a water well, at least 1/16" stock. Been wondering how I could re-purpose it, and this gives me some food for thought.
  19. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,803) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    So far I've done brisket, tri tip, ribs both pork and beef, chicken, brats and bone in prime rib. No Turkey yet, but it's on the radar. Probably need to spatchcock a big bird.
    Edit, Franklin's bbq has some blueprints for repurposing tanks as smokers.
    TongoRad likes this.
  20. WunderLlama

    WunderLlama Poo-Bah (2,710) Dec 27, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Smoked a 4lb pork butt today over apple and hickory . Shredded and chilling in the fridge now. Will heat it up on the blackstone got the 4th. Happy Independence Day !
    SFACRKnight, MrOH and PapaGoose03 like this.
  21. WunderLlama

    WunderLlama Poo-Bah (2,710) Dec 27, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I could have cried...the ceramic dish holding the smoked butt slid off the tray and shattered. Had to pitch the whole preparation because of the shards


    Today’s preparation is a pork loin and St. Louis baby back ribs

    obligatory smoke ring Instead of beer lacings image

    [​IMG]served with homemade Carolina vinegar bbq sauce
  22. flat_lander

    flat_lander Crusader (758) May 11, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    This is just my worst nightmare. I was wrapping a brisket in paper on the morning of the 4th after it ran all night. I was positive I was going to drop it on the ground. Rest of your food looks killer.

    Any recommendations for meat smoking/smoker forums? I'd like to possibly get connected to a group that goes as deep down that rabbit hole as people do about beer here.

    @Duncan83 I'll tag you here as you may be interested in this thread!
    SFACRKnight, Duncan83 and MrOH like this.
  23. Beerbadger55

    Beerbadger55 Initiate (102) Aug 29, 2017 Wisconsin

    I’d recommend as a great forum and resource for smoking and bbq. Lots of good people there.

    I use a 22” WSM and also have a 22” weber kettle. I had a Traeger pellet smoker as well but got rid of it last year as I prefer the food off of the WSM.
    SFACRKnight and flat_lander like this.
  24. miniditka77

    miniditka77 Aspirant (238) May 21, 2015 Illinois

    This might be a little late, but I have an Akorn Kamado grill, and it's like 90-95% as good as a ceramic kamado at a fraction of the price. The only real negative to it is that it can be more difficult than a dedicated smoker for doing a long smoke (like 8-12 hours). It's super annoying to add fuel to the grill if it starts to run out.
    SFACRKnight, flat_lander and MrOH like this.
  25. MrOH

    MrOH Meyvn (1,334) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Thanks! Still haven't purchased anything, since it seems like it'll be next year before we have anyone over, and maybe I'll get a deal when stores are looking to clear inventory over the winter.

    Personally, I don't think you actually absorb smoke after 4 hours, the rest of the time is cooking over low heat, and unless you're doing a whole hog or ox or whatever, the meat should be about done by then, especially if using a semi-closed vessel that will retain some moisture. Residual heat will take care of the rest, while it rests. I like some texture to meat.

    Cold smoking, however, that is an art...
    miniditka77 likes this.
  26. WunderLlama

    WunderLlama Poo-Bah (2,710) Dec 27, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I am a member of the blackstone groups on Facebook . They have a recipe group that goes down the rabbit hole. Not to middle earth but I do find some good recipes and tips there.
  27. MrOH

    MrOH Meyvn (1,334) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Made some awesome pulled pork over the weekend in my dutch oven. Rubbed a chunk of Boston Butt with salt, sugar, smoked paprika, and chipotle powder. Allowed to cure in the fridge on a rack for two days, then seared in the dutch oven on both sides on the stovetop, added a sliced onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, put on the lid and let it go for 4 hours at 250 in the oven. Removed all the onions and jus, pureed with some cider vinegar, hot sauce, and ketchup, and added to the pork. Turned out about as well as any BBQ I could buy around here. Not as great as I would like it, but more than one way to skin that cat!
  28. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,803) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Most guys who get into bark and what not sell their traegers. While easy to use. The end product leaves so much to be desired. It is essentially an outdoor oven.
    riptorn likes this.
  29. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,803) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Lamb kabobs with Penzys Turkish seasoning and fire roasted eggplant. I picked up some Brazilian steakhouse type skewers and can fit a diced up roast on one. Trying some al pastor tonight!
  30. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (380) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Independence Day 2020 low country boil. It's not barbecued or grilled but it was outside, if that counts. Also had okra and peppers (similar to serrano, can't remember the name), both marinated in soy sauce and semi-grilled/roasted in foil over the burner flame.

    Edited to add: found the name of the peppers.....Shishito and was wrong about the process (they were prepped by someone else). Cooked in skillet until blistered and popped. Put in foil with a soy/honey and Everything Bagel seasoning glaze, then over the flame.

    #30 riptorn, Jul 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  31. HD-High-ground

    HD-High-ground Initiate (0) Jul 11, 2020 Pennsylvania

    WoooEEEEE , I Guarantee that this some Good Eatn!!!
    riptorn likes this.
  32. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (380) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I conducted the boil (yes, it was a symphony :rolling_eyes:). The guy whose place it was at reserved a fair amount of the liquor and used some of it later in place of water to make a risotto-like concoction. Kernels from the cobs, sausage, shrimp, onion, potatoes, etc.....the only thing that wasn't from the pot was the rice. It was awesome!
    I'm a big fan of using something other than plain water when making rice.
  33. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (7,170) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Then I would say it's not 90% as good as a ceramic Kamado at retaining heat.

    I got the original Kamado Joe "Classic" model at a discount since they are pushing the newer versions 2 and 3. I've been able to smoke for 8 hours at 225 without having to add any more charcoal or wood, and without even filling the firebox completely full.

    I got a pizza stone for it and it makes killer pizza since you can open up the vents and get it up to 650 degrees no problem.
    rozzom and MrOH like this.
  34. miniditka77

    miniditka77 Aspirant (238) May 21, 2015 Illinois

    Heat retention is zero problem with the Akorn. In fact, if I'm cooking in the summer, in order to keep it at 225-250, I have to close the vents so far that killing the fire becomes a concern.
    #34 miniditka77, Jul 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
  35. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (426) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I grill year - round, even during snowstorms (really!!)
    While I agree that charcoal is the best tasting, you really can't beat the convenience of a gas grill.
    So I have a Weber Spirit 2 for everyday, a Weber 22 charcoal for special occasions, a couple mini-grills, one for tailgating, one that I more or less inherited (should get rid of that one...)
    plus a couple smokers - a cheap WSM knockoff that does the trick, plus a Brinkmann Trailmaster (since Brinkmann is out of business, I've seen the same thing sold as Oklahoma Joe) offset. Nice heavy gauge steel construction. I used some high-heat silicone to seal up crevices and joints when I assembled it, and coated the firebox with high-heat paint. Those plus I keep it in the basement (yay for walkouts!) it looks pretty close to the day I bought it.
    My brother has a Traeger pellet smoker, and last year when they were on sale for half-off, I was sorely tempted. It would be much easier to do the long smokes, like pork shoulders and briskets that way - set it and forget it, rather than running down every couple hours to restoke the fire.
    Or wrap it up and put in a cooler overnight and finish the next morning.
    riptorn and SFACRKnight like this.
  36. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,803) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Fresh trout stuffed with lemon slices, fresh dill, and butter wrapped in bacon and smoking.. .
  37. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,803) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Another one bites the dust
  38. flat_lander

    flat_lander Crusader (758) May 11, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Looks fantastic. Please provide a finished, uneaten product pic please! Also, did you catch those rainbows or store bought?
    SFACRKnight and riptorn like this.
  39. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Devotee (497) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Man, this is my kind of thread. Have a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES), Green Mountain Grill (GMG) Davey Crockett, Blackstone Charcoal/Griddle Combo, and a Char Broil grill.

    I love to cook just about anything. Will post the next cook(s) I do. Just smoked a pork butt on the MES yesterday, which came out great.

    A few of my favorite things are smash burgers and cheesesteaks on the Blackstone and brisket in the smoker.
    SFACRKnight and riptorn like this.
  40. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,803) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Store bought and I didnt get a post smoke intact picture. Next time!
    flat_lander and riptorn like this.