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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Holy Smokes!

Howdy, folks. Long time no post! Hope it has been a good new year for you so far.
On NYE day my husband Rob and I broke out our new Smoker. It is a Brinkman Charcoal Gourmet Smoker. It was the first time that we attempted to smoke. Well, we went for the gusto, and did a 5 lb brisket, 2 racks of baby backs and a 2 lb side of salmon. I also threw some chicken sausage on there as well.
NYE day was a chilly day, with a little wind. The recommendation for the smoker is to start with 10 lbs of charcoal. We apparently didn't start with enough charcoal, because we had trouble getting the temperature up. Which brings us to the first flaw in the smoker. It doesn't have a temperature gauge, rather a guage that says: Warm, Ideal, Hot. Well, the pointer was hovering in between the A and the R in Warm when we decided to put in a thermometer. It read 150, which is too low. Meanwhile, we had all the meat on there already. There was a ton of smoke, that wasn't the problem; the heat was just too low.
Rob put on more coals, which then got the temperature up to high. The pointer on the gauge moved to the I in Ideal and the temperature read 270, which is too high, bringing us to the second flaw in the smoker - the Ideal setting on the guage really isn't Ideal, or at least it wasn't in this situation - it was too high. Well, we managed to get the temp down a bit to 230 and went from there.
I had read that if you are smoking in the range of 200-230, that a good rule of thumb is an hour to an hour and a half per pound of meat for cooking time. Our temperatutre seemed to be all over the map, and so, I didn't quite know how to time it. The brisket was a bit overdone. I mean, it was edible, but not as tender as I would have liked it to be. The ribs, while a bit charred, were awesome, with the meat falling off the bone. The salmon was amazing as well. The chicken sausage were not good, kind of like hockey pucks.
Take aways from our first time would be the following: rely on the thermometer and not the gauge on the smoker, start with more charcoal, and let the temperature settle out before putting the meat on to smoke, check for doneness sooner. I'd also change the rub I used a bit, as it was not salty enough, and was a bit flat. I'd also brine the salmon first, which is something I read up on too late to do it for this first round of smoking.
Looking forward to my next go round....


At 6:35 AM, Blogger mike said...

looking for an invite for the next presentation!!


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