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KBQ - The "Maiden Voyage"

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    KBQ - The "Maiden Voyage"

    KBQ TIPS, TRICKS, AND HELP
    Let's use this thread to "Problem Solve" for KBQ newbies and to help some of us old guys like me.

    We can post our very 1st KBQ Smoker experiences, both good AND bad as a help thread.
    I will also post my mistakes and my discoveries here to help those with brand new shiny KBQ's.
    -
    The fact is even after many many smokes, I am still learning...
    Plus ALL of us were newbies with our 1st KBQ smoking Maiden Voyage.
    This could be a way to post help for those with brand new machines and lots of questions.
    -
    Of course, my general KBQ postings and bragging will still go on Ernest's very cool
    KBQ ~ has landed thread.
    Smoke On!
    Last edited by BBQ_Bill; March 30, 2019, 11:07 AM.

    #2
    My first beef ribs were a bit dry.
    I got into Aaron Franklin's book, and he said to spritz fairly often and then much more near the end of the smoke.
    That DEFINITELY helped and the second batch were way better.
    -
    I also added a 1" deep cookie sheet type tray in the very bottom, which I filled with water.
    It ran out of water fairly quickly, so each time I spritzed, I added more water to this tray.
    -
    These were beef ribs, and I have not done pork ribs... YET
    Last edited by BBQ_Bill; September 10, 2017, 09:50 AM. Reason: Added for clarity as to the type of ribs I smoked

    Comment


      #3
      My first was ribs too. Came out great, but it was a lot quicker cook than I expected. No water, no spritz, but they way they are is the way I like them.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	20170219_184649.jpg Views:	1 Size:	2.26 MB ID:	377911

      Comment


      • BBQ_Bill
        BBQ_Bill commented
        Editing a comment
        Pork ribs, YUMMY looking!
        Never done them, beef many times now.

      • EdF
        EdF commented
        Editing a comment
        That would explain the different results and necessary treatment! At 4 hours or so, temp around 230-235F, baby backs are an easy cook.
        Last edited by EdF; September 10, 2017, 10:27 AM.

      • BBQ_Bill
        BBQ_Bill commented
        Editing a comment
        Gotcha, these beef ribs go for a few more hours until tender.

      #4
      There was also a question regarding how full to keep the firebox.
      I keep mine full enough to where the lid will still fit.
      -
      Once every 20 to 30 minutes, I add more wood and prod at the coals to make sure the holes have at least one inch of hot coals over them.
      With Pecan, which do not coal as well, I sometimes have to actually OPEN the holes in the tray to get the smoke, fire and air to pass through.
      The "Roar" comes back, and in looking through the KBQ "view port", when I can see the inverted flames on both sides coming down, I know all is well.

      Comment


      • EdF
        EdF commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah, I overfilled on my second cook. Don't do that anymore.

      • lostclusters
        lostclusters commented
        Editing a comment
        I under filled on first cook, and some on second. Now I use just a little less than Bill describes.

      #5
      My maiden voyage can be found here at post No. 12.

      Comment


      #6
      It was "Beginners Luck" with my VERY 1st KBQ smoke.
      Smoked two full sized packer beef briskets.
      They were absolutely the VERY best briskets smoked on my 1st KBQ back late in 2016, and were deemed as number one in flavor, bark texture, and moistness by the "eaters".
      Those two held 1st place in all areas for a LONG and quite frustrating time.
      -
      I looked for those old photos, but did not find them
      -
      Here below are some of my 1st KBQ mistakes and the solutions that made things better for me:
      1) In my experiences, I feel that I get the best bark with the lid on.
      To each his/her own, and others do quite well with the lid off, but I like the results I get with it on.
      2) I always cook with the bottom poppet fully open.
      Ernest does the same and explained that this is your main source of heat and smoke... I totally agree.
      3) The "Roar" that you get from the firebox during the draw when the air smoke and heat are all going through the holes in coal tray is a GOOD thing.
      (Listen for your KBQ to "Roar" during draws)
      4) Also, as mentioned earlier, you can actually see the inverted flames coming down through the coal tray, especially at night.
      Both sides should have good solid flame during draws.
      5) I use binder clips to hold the poppets in the positions that I like to use.
      6) It is good to check the poppet positions right after adding wood, as they are easily bumped open by wood adds.
      7) Keep the edges of the door clean with a hot wet cotton cloth as dried spritz and errant meat liquids can dry and harden making the door tough to open and close.
      8) After each cook, use a toothbrush and compressed air to clean the spring and bulb that is under the draw fan on the control box.
      If you cannot see the bulb inside the spring due to ash/soot, the cooking chamber temperature will most likely begin to have odd on/off temperatures.
      9) The back of the KBQ, near the manifold is a bit hotter as well as the very bottom.
      I keep meats closer to the door side of the racks and add a full sized water pan/barrier in the bottom.
      Fatty brisket points should go towards the back of the cooking chamber.
      If you don't use a barrier water pan in the bottom, make sure you smoke briskets with the fat side down, especially on the lower rack.
      If you go with the fat side up, you may experience very hard and dehydrated meat on the bottoms on the flats.
      I had several that the knife would not easily cut through until I contacted Bill K. and he told me to go with the fat side down.
      10) It is my opinion and experience that moving and spritzing will help guard against moisture loss on long smokes as well.
      11) I WAS smoking 4 full packer briskets at one time in my 1st KBQ. It was just too much, and I had to rotate and hawk temperatures to get even cooking. I decided to limit my smokes to three full packers per machine, which works well for me.
      12) Bark forms nicely on a moist surface, but cannot form on a surface that gets TOO much moisture as in constant dripping from above.
      The idea of putting the brisket fat trimmings on the very top rack to "baste" the meat did not do well for me as the top brisket had VERY weak bark.
      This is also true that bark cannot form in puddles of liquid on the top surface.
      Tip the briskets or meats a bit to remove puddles of oil and spritz.
      Stagger them so they do not continually drip on each other to help prevent "bald" spots in your bark.
      -
      Here below you can see a Point sitting over a Flat. The constant dripping of the Point onto the flat prevents the top of the Flat from getting "barky".

      Click image for larger version  Name:	Point Over Flat.jpg Views:	1 Size:	159.2 KB ID:	378102
      Last edited by BBQ_Bill; September 10, 2017, 07:59 PM. Reason: Added more info

      Comment


        #7
        Sept 9, 2017 - My Maiden Voyage

        Who I am: Amateur smoker - everything I've learned is from AmazingRibs.com over the last 3 years. This is my first smoker and I own one grill a 15 year old Weber Genesis C - still works great, just won't be "smoking" with it ever again.
        What I smoked in my maiden voyage: 2 racks of pork ribs - slather of mustard to keep the rub on the meat. Spicy rub I found somewhere on the web
        Wood: Post Oak - 1/2 splits (3"x6") from Fruita Wood. (Too small and too frequently needing replacement IMHO)
        My KBQ's Nickname: R2-BQ (it does look like a robot)
        Mod: BBQ_Bill's handles - don't know what I would do without them. Helps in moving the KBQ from place to place and obviously for propping door open.


        11:45 - start fire in chimney with BGE Lump Charcoal. After 15 minutes, pour this into Charcoal into the KBQ firebox. Since KBQ is in different location in my yard from Weber grill, I put two inverted (flat side facing up) grill grates on top of the KBQ firebox and start the chimney on top of the grill grates. After 20 minutes, I fold the grill grates in half and tilt the loose charcoal down into the KBQ firebox. Flip over the chimney in the KBQ firebox and I'm off...
        12:10 - Fruita wood delivery in my driveway. Excellent timing. Need to find local wood source to avoid close calls like this in the future!
        12:45 - internal temperature of the KBQ is 180 and I think it's a good time to add the ribs
        12:45 - 4:30 - I burn through 20 lbs of the Fruita Wood 1/2 splits I'm tending the KBQ every 15-20 minutes. I'm completely mystified by how the temperature is regulated by the fans only. Seems like the temperature remains between 218 and 250 (only a short period at this high temp). I find myself moving the temperature knob every hour or so - just small tweaks. My temp knob has temperatures on it, not the "1 - 10" that I've seen here in the Pit.
        4:30 - pork ribs reach internal temperature of 190 and I pull them. I have not spritzed at all nor is there a water pan in the smoker. Cut into the ribs immediately and notice dryness, but also the largest brightest pink smoke ring I've EVER seen (yes I've been to Franklin / other great BBQ). I sample a fatty piece and it's a 10 out of 10, just wish the whole rack was like that.


        General Feedback on my first cook:

        PROS
        • Fun! Probably the most fun I've had since the first time I followed Meatheads Pork Rib smoking tips for my gas grill.
        • While ribs were dry, they were still incredibly flavorful. Wife says they are the best ribs I've ever made (out of dozen or so tries)
        • Can't wait to try other things - chicken, turkey, shoulder, butt, brisket, etc.
        • If you like to futz with things, you'll always have something to do with the KBQ. I kept setting reminders on my phone to go out every 15 minutes and there was always something to do. In future cooks, I'll spritz every so often.
        • Reduced cooking time - saved 2 hours from my normal gas grill "smoke."
        • Incredibly easy assembly. Putting the legs on was the only time I needed help from anyone. You spend sometime in the cookbox - maybe 10 minutes total to get the legs on.
        • While smoking, pork ribs did not experience a stall or I simply wasn't paying attention to notice one.

        CONS
        • First hour was VERY smoky - maybe the charcoal? Wife Acceptance Factor at an all time low as KBQ looks a bit like "PigPen," the Peanuts character who always had a cloud of dirt around him. Instead of dirt, the KBQ has a huge cloud of smoke around it. Most of the smoke from the top of the fire box, but plenty of smoke coming out of the front of the "control box" from the fans - I wasn't expecting that, but it just makes sense that the smoke that flows through the cookbox needs a place to exit.
        • wood needs to be optimal size. This is a big "duh" as KBQ and the Pit has clued me into this, but when I'm having to tend so frequently as the wood that I've purchased is too small, I realize that this moves this smoker far away from the SIFI world. You're not only having to tend this smoker, you need to curate the wood selection to feed it.
        • Racks in KBQ don't slide in/out perfectly - so pulling racks out and pushing them back in can jam a little bit. Not a big deal with pork ribs, but with a heavy brisket on a rack, I wonder if this is magnified.
        • KBQ looks well-worn after its first use. If you're a neat freak, you'll want to clean the exterior of everything after each cook.
        • Stressful - with my WAF very low, I felt some buyers remorse for this whole KBQ adventure. Luckily, the payoff was significant with the fun I had and the high quality food.
        • KBQ is low to the ground. I've seen some mods in the Pit and expect in time to address this directly with my KBQ. I was all too often using the ground as my "countertop" for tools / thermometer, etc.



        SUMMARY: Happy with my purchase! Excited to see the KBQ evolve - it's an incredible smoker!


        Click image for larger version  Name:	image_47009.jpg Views:	1 Size:	1.67 MB ID:	378141Click image for larger version  Name:	image_47010.jpg Views:	1 Size:	1.80 MB ID:	378142Click image for larger version  Name:	image_47011.jpg Views:	1 Size:	2.33 MB ID:	378143Click image for larger version  Name:	image_46912.jpg Views:	2 Size:	2.24 MB ID:	378144Click image for larger version  Name:	image_47012.jpg Views:	1 Size:	2.66 MB ID:	378145
        Last edited by kmuoio; September 10, 2017, 03:32 PM.

        Comment


        • EdF
          EdF commented
          Editing a comment
          As I said above, I had the "too much fill" problem with my second cook. Basically, it was packing the wood too densely, resulting in the kind of smoke issues you're mentioning. Airflow in the box is important.

        • BBQ_Bill
          BBQ_Bill commented
          Editing a comment
          Hmmm... good point Ed.
          I just let 'er smoke, but will look into this for sure.

        • ComfortablyNumb
          ComfortablyNumb commented
          Editing a comment
          Overfilling also results in overconsumption. Once I get the coal bed I keep only one or two pieces on top. Keep the lid on as well.

        #8
        kmuoio

        I split logs to a width that will fit into the firebox and then saw them to just under 10-1/2" in length.
        I've drawn a line on my Miter Saw at that length to get it right with each cut.
        -
        I too have the rack jamming problem due to pulling them out to spritz, and check temperatures and then pushing them back in, if not straight they will jam.
        With a 15 pound brisket it can be a problem, just gotta relax, and line it up better.
        No good solution to that as of yet...
        -
        For cleanup, I power wash mine, and Easy Off oven cleaner works well from what others have posted.
        -
        For holding utensils and temperature monitors, I purchased a folding table at Amazon that I really like.
        You can see it HERE.
        Last edited by BBQ_Bill; April 25, 2018, 08:53 PM.

        Comment


        • EdF
          EdF commented
          Editing a comment
          I kind of like the upside down 5 Gal bucket somebody else posted. I think I'm using a cooler.

        • ComfortablyNumb
          ComfortablyNumb commented
          Editing a comment
          A five gallon bucket? Who could be that backwood??

        • EdF
          EdF commented
          Editing a comment
          My wife the former construction super?

        #9
        That would work EdF
        To get one on eBay, I found this one HERE.
        It is $34.95 and free shipping.
        As of 24 Sep, it is now $31.45 including shipping.
        -
        UPDATE:
        I bought that table for his reduced price of $27.16 (and free shipping)
        It now sits next to KBQ #2

        NOW, the price is WAY up and a better price can be found at Walmart.
        Last edited by BBQ_Bill; April 25, 2018, 08:58 PM. Reason: Price increased quite a bit!

        Comment


          #10
          kmuoio Check Craigslist for wood. I live in NE Washington state and have access to thousands of acres of fruit orchards. Oak doesn't grow around here, but I can make a trip to the coast (Western Washington) to get some. If it did grow around here I could get a firewood permit and head to the national forest to glean some.
          Last edited by ComfortablyNumb; September 10, 2017, 06:52 PM.

          Comment


          • ComfortablyNumb
            ComfortablyNumb commented
            Editing a comment
            I've yet to see an advertised cord be a true cord. Still has to be less expensive than getting wood in a cardboard box.

          • Uncle Chewy
            Uncle Chewy commented
            Editing a comment
            I've been warned to be careful with orchard wood. Depending on what they use for fertilizer and pesticides and the last time it was applied, you might not want to introduce that into your food chain.

          • ComfortablyNumb
            ComfortablyNumb commented
            Editing a comment
            Uncle Chewy Orchards are pruned late winter/early spring before pesticides are used and previous years pesticides would be well past harvest. Systemic pesticides are not used in food production, so if you have concerns or want to be cautious, remove the bark.

          #11
          Agreed ComfortablyNumb they are wanting to gouge you with their "Face Cord" or whatever...
          This fellow I found on CL sells me a half cord on the money every time for a great price.
          I buy from him and one other that I found a ways up North with Pecan for sale.

          Comment


            #12
            If you slide the rack out of the KBQ, make sure the are parallel with the top of the cooker, this will help to elevate the "jamming' you are seeing when you pull the grates in and out. (I have never spritzed or used a water pan. To much fuss for me.)

            For the wood. Most places will sell wood, have it cut to Face cord lengths. That is 16" per log. This is who you want to contact. Fruta wood is a great supplier for small amounts of wood. But for stick burgers, it is not practical. As you said, Get a local supplier. Or cut it yourself, I do. If not, know what your buying. Look at the wood grain and bark to make sure your getting what you pay for. Check out this site for more info on woods and what to look for when buying. If you cut those 16" logs in half they fit perfectly in the KBQ. Get a miter saw and use that to chop the logs in half, then split them with a hatchet or axe. I found that this makes short work of making all the wood for the KBQ fit. You can also get one of these, that I think a few people here use. (I had questions about quality so I passed on this option)

            Another thing to remember, is that if you are seeing white smoke out of the exhaust or induction fans, then your fire is not clean enough. Make sure your coal bed is established and is able to clean the smoke. Also make sure your top poppet is not open, this will bring unfiltered smoke into the cook chamber. The smoke should be almost totally clear or a little bit thin blue. I rarely see smoke coming out of my KBQ, other than out of the firebox.

            Oven cleaner will clean your KBQ up like new.

            Soon you will see all of the. possibilities with the KBQ. You can do sooo much on it. Make sure to browse this thread as well for many great ideas, tips and tricks.

            Comment


              #13
              Maiden Voyage Part Deux: Pulled Pork

              What I smoked: 8 lb Pork Shoulder - slather of mustard to keep the rub on the meat. Meatheads "Memphis Dust" rub
              Wood: Oak - locally purchased and sized with a miter saw, hand axe, etc.

              I'm using much larger wood chunks but am finding it hard not to choke out the fire. My last time around - no difficulty at all and fire was roaring the entire time. I'm thinking that I should stagger a brick size piece with a smaller piece. Any thoughts on this? Do I need to stagger or is there a way to make multiple brick size pieces work?

              Having to rebuild the fire mid-smoke was a bit of a challenge, but I've had to do it twice now. (I posted a picture of my restarting the fire) Any tips? Do I remove the meat from the smoker if the fire goes completely out? OK to throw a chunk of charcoal in when restarting the fire? Thanks in advance for the guidance!

              Kevin
              Attached Files

              Comment


              • lostclusters
                lostclusters commented
                Editing a comment
                Yes, way too small and way not enough wood. You need a much lager coal bed too.

              • kmuoio
                kmuoio commented
                Editing a comment
                To be clear guys -- this was the wood I used after the fire went completely out - I couldn't just drop a log where there were no coals.

              • KBQ
                KBQ commented
                Editing a comment
                Kevin, keep a bag of lump handy. If you get behind on your fire, add 4" of lump and then wood on top of that to recover.

              #14
              BTW, careful with that axe, Eugene. You could cut off a finger!!
              Last edited by ComfortablyNumb; November 21, 2017, 12:07 PM. Reason: Fix broken link

              Comment


              • BBQ_Bill
                BBQ_Bill commented
                Editing a comment
                Long enough for the link to not work anymore

              • ComfortablyNumb
                ComfortablyNumb commented
                Editing a comment
                BBQ_Bill fixed it (I hope)

              • ComfortablyNumb
                ComfortablyNumb commented
                Editing a comment
                DSiewert Surprisingly it isn't the first opportunity I've used it. I seem to find ways to work Floyd references in. I imagine one of these days I will again. ;-)

              #15
              I had a similar problem with my second cook - I just stacked them too tightly together, and didn't give the fire enough oxygen for the flame to get to the upper pieces. Looser stacking took care of it, and slower feeding, making sure that the pieces lower in the fire were well-ignited. I had to redo the chimney once too. No problem.

              Comment


              • kmuoio
                kmuoio commented
                Editing a comment
                When you say "redo the chimney" - you added a chimney for of lump back into the KBQ firebox - did you keep the meat in the cook box? Thanks!
                Last edited by kmuoio; September 26, 2017, 07:29 PM.

              • EdF
                EdF commented
                Editing a comment
                Yeah, but made sure the fan was off. That would be the fan that sucks smoke and potentially ash. Turning the thermostat all the way down temporarily gets that done.

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