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Grill or Smoker

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Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 1:45 pm
gsabino raw
raw

Posts: 2
Well, I am from Jersey too and it seems like this board might be a good place ot get some feedback. I have an older Meco grill that is starting to seem too small. I want to try more barbecue, but I don't know if I should just get a bigger grill and use it to barbecue, or to get a smoker. Heres the problem: My family only likes the BabyBacks. I cooked them on the grill in two hours with a mop every 15 minutes (the recipe is on the Weber site) and they loved it. When I tried cooking them low and slow over 4-5 hours, they found it too "fatty". The same with the country style ribs. My question: Do BabyBacks generally do better on a grill? I also get the impression that chicken also seems to come out better when cooked above 300, rather than "low and slow". Hope this makes sense to you folks. Thanks for any feedback.

Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 1:52 pm
BigDaddy medium
medium

Posts: 106
Location: California, Northern
I'm sure someone here will give you way better advise on the Rib topic, that I could, so I'll leave them to that.

But, Some of the best Chicken I've had is recently when I did them on my Char-Griller. Cooked it indirect (side firebox) between 225-250... was awsome. Chicken does well low and slow. I also did some chicken over direct heat last weekend at a party... it also came out with great flavor, but not as juicey. You can see the pics of these under the topick "Grad Party was a Sucsess".
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Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 3:08 pm
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
Chicken is very good BBQ'd low and slow. As long as you make sure it reaches a temperature of 160 to 170 it will be fine. If you are using smoke it may look a little pink. This will be your smoke ring and not the chicken being raw. Some people mistake the smoke ring for raw chicken.
I did country style ribs this past weekend. Had them on at 250 for about 5 hours, Very tender and no more fat than usual. In fact I had leftovers so I brought them in to work and got rave reviews. I painted them with a honey mustard glaze first then applied a brown sugar rub. Fantastic taste.

RichD

Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 3:21 pm
Guest

My advise on the grill, I have a brinkman horizontal smoker that can be used to grill direct or indirect, or smoke, I think it's the best of all worlds.

I've had it about 2 monthes and have used it almost every weekend. I've smoked most everything, but did grill some burgers and dogs too. I've done two whole chickens, one was the best I have ever did, and one I was disappointed with. I think I know what I did different.
I've done about 6 racks of ribs at different times, and most have been good. I haven't done baby backs though. But with the spare ribs, low for about 4-5 hours and mop them every hour. That's what i did and they've been pretty good.

Still working out the bugs in my new hobby.

Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 4:24 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
Welcome to the board gsabino.

I don't get to cook ribs a often as I'd like too. When ribs are cooked low-n-slow there is an easy way to tell when they are done. The meat will shrink back from the end of the bone and leave about a half inch of the bones sticking out. The shrinkage is due to the fat breaking down and is a good thing. Also when you attempt to lift on the end of one bone it will easily pull away from the meat.

There are too many factors to say whether 4 or 5 hours would have been enough (winds, cooker design, cooking temperature, number of times cooker was opened, outside air temps, etc.). So instead of time as a determining factor, consult the bones to see if they’re done.

I’ve done many, many chickens at 255* and cooked them until they are 170* internally. The skin will not be crisp unless you raise the heat at the end but the meat is wonderfully tender, juicy, and full of flavor! At 180* the meat is very soft, and anything higher than that it would be too mushy.

Hope this helps.
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Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 4:50 pm
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
Bob I have to disagree on the skin not being crispy. I smoke mine at 250 and always get a crisp skin. I use a good rub. Maybe the difference is my smoker which is a horizontal/offset. No water pan, only dry heat.

RichD

Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 5:17 pm
Wolfpackbbq well done
well done

Posts: 2621
Location: Valley Springs, CA
gsabino,

I agree with the guest if you are looking for a one que fits all. A offset smoker is the best way to go. If you get a couple extra bellypans, you can direct grill in the cooking chamber or use it for indirect. Some of the nicer gas ques are nice since they have a place for putting wood chips for smoking, and the heat regulation is superb.

I have never had a problem with babybacks being fatty after slow cooking. I have found that ribs can have a varying amount of fat. I used to buy ribs from a higher end store and the were lean. Almost to lean, they would almost dry out while cooking. Then I switched to costco ribs and they are moist (not fatty) and tasty everytime. The great thing about BBQ is everybody has different and you experiment until you find the receipe and cooking method for you.
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Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 5:24 pm
ThrRoff well done
well done

Posts: 999
Location: Washington, DC

Gsabino,

Welcome to the Board. It is a very nice place to hang out and learn something about grilling and smoking. And that difference, the difference between grilling and smoking, seems to be the just of your question. “Do BabyBacks generally do better on a grill?”
Grilling baby backs over a high heat grill will result in a different taste than smoking them low and slow. Which is better can only be determined on a Saturday afternoon with large quantities cooked both ways and lots of adult beverages. My wife and I do like grill ribs better than smoked. The way I do them they get a little crunchy and do seem to have less fat.

I will agree with the other here. Chicken can be either smoked low and slow or grilled quickly over a high heat. The Board here and Steven’s books have numerous great recipes for grilled or smoked chicken.
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Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 5:55 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
RichD you're right. I have a habit of filling the water pan when smoking. Maybe I'll give if a try dry next time to experience the difference. Thanks for catching that.
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Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 6:01 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3046
Location: Atlanta-GA
You can solve your dilemma by getting one unit that does both, Grilling and Smoking. I also have a Char-Griller and I sometimes use it as a grill and sometimes as a smoker. It does a fantastic job in either function. As far as cooking ribs low and slow, the idea here is to cook them long enough until all the fat melts away. This method would leave the meat very tender and moist. Maybe you did not let them go long enough last time, or maybe the temp of the smoker was not as accurate. Give them another chance, and you’ll never go back to grilling them. As far as the chicken, I’ve always had better results cooking them low and slow. The meat comes out moister and the smoke flavor is incredible. You won’t have a crispy skin cooking them this way, but no one eats the skin nowadays. There is always a need for a grill, you can’t always use a smoker, and that’s why it’s wise to have a unit that can do both.
Good luck and welcome to the board.
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Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 6:15 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3046
Location: Atlanta-GA
RichD,
Using honey mustard on the ribs is a great idea. I never thought of doing that, but it makes a lot of sense. I have used regular mustard on the ribs and then applied the rub it does yield good results. You know you can save yourself some money by making your own honey mustard. Just mix some corn syrup with regular prepared mustard and you’ll have the same results. That’s what most companies do; they just add a little honey so they can claim it as “Honey Mustard”. I’ll have to try the ribs soon.
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Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 8:33 pm
gsabino raw
raw

Posts: 2
Wow! Great response! Thanks to all for their input. So, what is the general consenus on the best dual purpose grill/smoker. Is the Weber Bullett up to it?

Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 10:48 pm
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
This is the recipe I use for honey mustard.
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar

Mix it together well in bowl and paint on with a pastry brush. Then apply the rub throw the ribs in the smoker and cook away.

I still don't get why you all aren't getting crispy skin on your chicken though. Your Chargriller is similar to my Silver Smoker and I get crispy skin all the time. I don't think I do anything different. I season with a rub, put the chicken in the smoker, let it cook about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to set the rub then mop if I'm using one every 30 to 60 minutes until I'm done. If I'm using a BBQ sauce I glaze the chicken twice in the last 30 minutes of cooking. Average temps are 250. Always have crispy skin.

The weber bullet is a nice smoker, but I don't think it is set up to act as a grill also. I am not too faniliar with it, but I believe the bullet design itself is meant for smoking.
A smoker of the horizontal type with an offset firebox will give you the best of both worlds. You can BBQ by building your fire in the firebox and smoking in the main body. You can grill in the firebox or for larger crowds you can grill in the main body. There are several good units of this type. Chargriller, Charbroil/New Braunfels and Brinkmann are just a few of the manufacturers out there that make horizontal/offsets.

Enjoy the mustard slather!

RichD

Post Fri Jun 18, 2004 5:23 am
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3046
Location: Atlanta-GA
Thanks for the recipe RichD.
I was referring to smoked chicken in general. Usually smoked chicken is often mopped with a liquid, and depending on the type of smoker, you may or may not have a water pan. As you know a moist environment will cause the skin not to crisp up. I have no problem getting the skin crispy in my Car-Griller (see the pix). For someone just starting to learn their new smoker, and smoking chicken in general, they may not be able to achieve crispy skin right away (without sacrificing moister).
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Post Fri Jun 18, 2004 8:42 am
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
Gotcha. NIce pics.

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