smoked meats

Spareribs, Baby Backs, Pork Shoulder, Chicken Thighs, Mac’n’Cheese, Oh My!

I finally had the chance to smoke again on Tuesday. It was heavenly.

I received my Thermapen Mk4 from Thermoworks on Monday. I’m still undecided about it. I’ll write more about it in a future post.

I smoked two racks of spareribs, two racks of baby back ribs, a 4.5 lb. pork shoulder, bologna, chicken thighs, mac and cheese, corn on the cob and cabbage.

A couple of the pictures aren’t great, but I never claimed to be a professional photographer!

Uncle Yammy’s Memphis style chicken & rib seasoning was sprinkled liberally on all the racks of ribs except for one, which I used the KC Masterpiece habanero rub… dry rub that could have also doubled as a sauce if I would have mixed it with beer. I’m not much of a sauce guy, so I used it as a dry rub by default. It was OK… I’ll give it another shot. It tasted like the Lays barbecue potato chips, something I crave every now and again, and reminds me of summer school from my elementary school days.

Tony Chachere’s Creole was sprinkled on the bologna. So good. Don’t write off smoked bologna until you’ve tried it. It’s fantastic.

Garlic Jalapeno by Weber on the chicken thighs. I’m just about out of my favorite — Garlic Habanero — so I went with the jalapeno option. I may have slightly overcooked them, but they were still juicy and flavorful, so it wasn’t the biggest deal in the world.

I used Caribeque Honey Heat on the pork shoulder. I love that stuff. I ordered some Calypso Kick seasoning from Caribeque the other day, and I can’t wait to hot’n’fast smoke some wings seasoned with it on my Weber Smokey Mountain.

Nothing but salt and pepper on the corn on the cob (not pictured). It was a favorite.

I added butter and Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning to the cabbage.

The mac and cheese was pretty good, though that needs some experimentation in the future. I only left it in the smoker for a little over an hour.

It was a successful smoke, albeit I’m still learning the ins and outs of the Weber Smokey Mountain. It ate up my Royal Oak charcoal (briquettes) pretty quickly, but the guys over at TVWBB (The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board) said that I didn’t use enough charcoal to fill the ring completely, and to try a different variation of the Minion Method. Their points were noted.

I used applewood for this smoke.


Baby Back Ribs (And More) On My Brand New Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker!

I was born in eastern Tennessee and raised in southwest Virginia. I’m a mountain boy! So it is fitting that I am now cooking with a smoker called the “Weber Smokey Mountain”. This is a huge upgrade over my previous smoker, where I had to constantly babysit the temperatures all day. I’m also now going to be a Weber fan for life, because their customer service is out of this world fantastic. The lid is kinda “out of round” where I have to force it down onto the top of the smoker, and Weber is supposed to send me a new one, free of charge. Can’t beat that kind of customer service.

I watched game one of the Warriors/Cavs NBA Finals last Thursday night, went to bed past 12 and woke up at 4:30 Friday morning because I was so damn excited to smoke some meats on this thing. Whenever I smoke, I like to stuff the smoker full of food. I smoked a bacon-wrapped pork loin, two racks of baby back ribs, a family pack of chicken thighs, some chicken drums and bologna. I didn’t take pictures of the thighs, drums or bologna, but I’ll try to (particularly with the awesome smoked bologna) next time.

But I was most excited about the ribs. I didn’t foil them. Just used a dry rub (Uncle Yammy’s Memphis style chicken & rib seasoning). I spritzed them with a cranberry-apple juice I had (didn’t have any apple juice) a few times during the cook. The small rack came off about four hours in. The larger rack took about six hours! I didn’t want them fall-off-the-bone tender; I like a little bit of a bite and pull to my ribs, and they came out pretty great!

I used apple wood from my apple tree I pruned back in late February along with two little chunks of hickory. Yeah… I used the factory Weber temperature thermometer. Everybody says it’s crappy and that it’s “between 30-50 degrees off”, but it will have to do for now. Everything came out great. Dana loved it at first bite (the ribs).

A couple of people on the fans of WSM Facebook page kept advising me not to do a pork loin first since it was supposed to run hot in the beginning, but I wanted to play around with it, with a shorter cook before doing a pork shoulder. It came out perfect; juicy as all get out. I was going to pull it at 145-150 but according to my thermometer it got to 159, which is when I pulled it. I coated it with a thin layer of mayo and seasoning before I wrapped the bacon to, I guess, “protect it” and give it an extra layer of fat and flavor.

I still haven’t even installed the side handles, because I was too excited to get my first cook underway!

Baby back ribs! The one on top was near its completion. The bigger one took about two more hours to smoke!

Bacon wrapped pork loin. I used McCormick Molasses Bacon seasoning on it before wrapping it up in bacon. I also coated it with mayo before doing any of that to add a shield of protection from the fat since it’s a lean meat.

The finished bacon wrapped pork loin!

One rack of baby back ribs out!

Check out that smoke ring! Call me a braggart, but I nailed it!

The Inauguration of Sparky’s Smoke

My girlfriend’s family gave me their old, offset vertical Brinkmann Trailmaster smoker in December. They usually cook for a decent sized group and they moved off to a horizontal smoker where more can fit without having to cut and separate (like a big beef brisket). I appreciate that they were/are so generous, because I can’t get enough of the flavor of smoked food. Here’s what I smoked in December: a 5 and a half pound Boston Butt (pork shoulder), an itty bitty brisket (just to try) that was about a pound, smoked bacon wrapped cheese stuffed jalapeno peppers and chicken drumsticks. Also, not pictured, but I smoked a chuck roast for my family a couple days after Christmas along with some potatoes. Here’s some pictures from the first batch: