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What is the best thing you make? What is the worst? What are you doing to fix it?

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    What is the best thing you make? What is the worst? What are you doing to fix it?

    I thought it would be interesting to find out what you guys are really good at, and hoping you can share what makes it so good, as well as what you haven't quite figured out yet. It seems every BBQ place is really good at one or two meats, but the rest just aren't up to snuff.

    Personally, my best is Pulled Pork, though i'm not sure if I only love it because I make it to my taste, or if it really is good, i've never had some from a place known for it.
    Why it's my best? I think the rub and wood are most of it, I like it pretty smoky. If I had a 'secret', even though I've shared it, it's letting it sit in the cambro for 2 hours before pulling. Next up is the way I pull, a lot of people don't like the fat and gristle that is inevitable with these things, I spend probably 20 minutes pulling by hand to make sure it isn't possible for someone to get a bad bite.

    My worst right now is probably steaks. I never was good at them, I don't have a lot of experience with some of the more rare doneness levels. To correct it I have been working on my reverse sear, and while each is the best i've made, and better than most restaurants by a mile, it isn't at the level I want. The balance of when to start the sear often leaves me slightly overcooking to get the level of sear I want. It is very counter-intuitive, but I am learning that if it gets close to temp, it's ok to let it cook a bit before tackling it again. Compounding the problem is that has been crazy windy on my last few attempts, so it is taking longer to get the sear I want. Hopefully a vortex in coming soon, that should help.
    I also haven't found a good seasoning that I like, though I haven't tried many.

    Look forward to hearing from the rest of you!

    #2
    I have 6 butts and 4 briskets to cook for other people before Christmas. Those 2 and ribs, good to go.

    I'd like to do better with my beef back ribs. Tenderness is not on par with taste and appearance. Pork ribs will spoil ya!!!

    Comment


    • _John_
      _John_ commented
      Editing a comment
      I feel ya, I love the flavor of my beef ribs but it can be a fight to get a bite.

    • cdnichol
      cdnichol commented
      Editing a comment
      Glad i'm not the only one that feels that way about beef rib!

    #3
    I would say my best is pork butt. I really like the consistency that I have been getting over my last few cooks. I trim, inject, brine and wrap in plastic wrap the night before. Then I get up early and throw it on the PBC cold, directly from the fridge. I try to maintain my PBC from 260 to 280. I find that I get a really nice even bark at this temp range. I take it off at 170 and loosely wrap it (with the top of the foil open a bit) with a little bit of apple juice and I put it back on the cooker until its hits 202 F. I like to keep the foil open to better preserve my bark but still get the benefit of plowing through the stall with the crutch. After 202 F is attained, I put it in my cambro and wait at least 2 hours before pulling. I like to then pour the juices over the pulled meat, and mix it all together. I love it!

    I would say that my worst would have to be my sauces and rubs. Part of the reason for this I think is because, I relied on all of the sauces, rubs and marinades that are on the market. I never had to learn how to make my own. Now I feel like I am a very unbalanced cook. I can cook some good BBQ but don't have my own sauces or rubs to boast. I believe to be truly well rounded in the BBQ world this is a must. I just need to do more research and trial and error testing. I also think that knowing how to interpret my results would also be a huge help as well. Knowing what to put into make things more smokey, sweet or hot, or spicy, vinegary, thicker, thinner the list goes on . I also need to learn how to better balance flavors to match what I am looking for in a particular sauce or rub.
    Thats pretty much were I'm at John. I like this idea. Hopefully this sparks some great conversation!!
    SMOKE ON!!!

    Comment


    • FLBuckeye
      FLBuckeye commented
      Editing a comment
      There are a multitude of rubs and sauces here on AR. I have done as MH suggests, follow them exactly, then riff on them. I highly recommend the Memphis Dust rub for pork

    • _John_
      _John_ commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm with you on the change. The rubs don't taste the same before and after the smoke, so I pick a flavor to add and when its all done it tastes like something different...

    #4
    Ribs are easily my best, pork or beef. I've always probed them between the bones for tenderness. They seem to have a great bite very time. I do them with different rubs and sauces, depending on my mood lol. The PBC has upped my game on pork butts and briskets. Chicken has to be my worst. I love the taste of the meat I cook, but I can't ever seem to get the skin to the desired crispness I personally love. I've been reading others poultry cooks on here and am going to try some different techniques next time.

    Great conversation starter John

    Comment


    • _John_
      _John_ commented
      Editing a comment
      Interested in your beef ribs, do you do anything different that your pork ribs to get the tenderness?
      Doing a turkey actually picked chicken up from being my worst, rub under the skin, let it dry in the fridge unwrapped overnight, rub all over with oil right before hanging. Cook at 325+ and the skin really tightens and almost fries with the oil on there.

    • Deuce
      Deuce commented
      Editing a comment
      I really don't do anything differently for my beef ribs except for rubs for flavor profile. As far as tenderness I get my PBC to run about 280 which is where it seems to want to run most cooks anyway. I'll probe between the bones after 2 hours just to check and they still have a little resistance. I let them go about 30 minutes more usually and my probe slips right through with no resistance. Now this is with beef back ribs which is what I cook. These we prefer to eat as a dry rib.
      Thanks for the tip on the chicken skin, I'm going to go that route next chicken cook.

    #5
    Ribs and Chicken are my best.... hands down.

    A year before I joined up here, I had a horrible experience cooking a brisket. It basically came out in-eatable. I have not coooked one since, I do want to try again and have read everything I can get my hands on from AR. Almost ready!

    Comment


    • _John_
      _John_ commented
      Editing a comment
      Brisket is my Moby Dick. Between taste, tenderness, and visuals I can only seem to manage 2 out of 3, and I can't tell which 2 it will be. This is a step up from my former 1 of 3.

    • Spinaker
      Spinaker commented
      Editing a comment
      Brisket is a close second for me behind pulled pork. I love making the Briz

    #6
    My worst? Brisket, as I don't get much chance to do it.Before joining our group,it was a puzzle. Now, I know what to do, so hopefully, next time will be better. Best? Steaks, as I have spent many years as a chef and have cooked thousands of steaks, chops, etc. As far as "q" is concerned, my best is chicken and pork, as they are pretty forgiving.

    Comment


    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      Brisket is so expensive I think it'd be tough for most folks to get a lot of practice on them. Jerod gets them in TX for around $2.98/lb last I heard, but many of us from the more central and eastern states are finding the $8-9/lb range for brisket. What do you get yours for up in AK?

    • Strat50
      Strat50 commented
      Editing a comment
      Brisket can go from about$6.50 (crap)to$10.00 or more. That's retail prices such as Costco. I think I'll start getting my favorite cuts through work again. The restaurant I work for is a CAB place, so availability of good stuff for better prices is there. There is an embryonic local meat industry that is gaining steam, but I don't always have time to explore them, as we are designing a house and developing the property accordingly. We live about 57 miles from Anchorage, so I don't always have time to shop there either.There are several good butchers there, such as Mr. Prime Beef (good outfit).

    #7
    The best thing I do is prime rib, but I don't do it outdoors because Mrs Mosca doesn't like the smoky taste on the beef roast. So I don't think that counts.

    The best thing I do outdoors is ribs, but I just asked Mrs Mosca and she says chicken. What makes either of them so good is a little hard to explain... I can taste them as they're cooking. I can just tell what's happening as it happens. I know what the seasonings are going to be like, and I know when they are tender, and when they would go over the edge. I know when the skin on the chicken is juuuuuust right, at the same time the meat is juuuuust done. I know when it's too much smoke. I know... I dunno. I just know them. I could say the same about burgers, country style spare ribs, steaks (reverse sear for the win!)... but ribs for me, and chicken for Mrs Mosca.

    The worst thing I do, other than flat out one-time failures, is pork butt. But that's more a function of not really having a schedule that allows practicing long cooks: a normal day at work is 11 hours, and I rarely have two days off in a row. It's just impractical to cook the doggone things enough times to get good at it. I'd rather just buy a few pounds of pulled pork to go when I'm at a good bbq stand.

    I have a theory: A home cook perfects maybe 5-10 things that he/she does really well, and that's pretty much it, for the rest of his/her life. You might read a recipe somewhere, in a magazine or on a website, and try it, and like it, but invariably you make what you know how to make, and what you like. I was a bachelor for many years, and didn't get married until I was in my mid 30s. So I learned guy stuff: Spaghetti sauce. Chili. Tex-Mex. BBQ and grilling. and some stuff my mom taught me, like hearty polish soups, pot roasts, potato salads and skillet fried chicken. Because I love to eat, I got pretty good at them. What I don't do is bake. Not because I don't love baked goods, that's not it at all, it's because if I baked, I'd be as big as an apartment building instead of as big as a house.

    Comment


    • Spinaker
      Spinaker commented
      Editing a comment
      haha you and me both brother. (6'6" 350) But all of this BBQ ain't helpin' either. Its good to laugh again.

    #8
    Brisket - both my best and my worst. 2 out of 10 have been great and 2 have been way too dry. I need to do them more often and, more importantly, getting consistency in my starting product. Flats, whole packers, 5 pounds to 13, so much variance. I'm doing a 13 lb whole packer next weekend. This will be only the second on the kettle (the others were all on my GOSM). I think I'll stick with the Smokenator, but I'll have to look at the size:space ratio. I've gotten much better with temperature control and I know that will have a major effect.

    Comment


    • Spinaker
      Spinaker commented
      Editing a comment
      Trust in Meathead, get the highest grade possible for brisket. You can't fake prime in brisket, even with injections, nothing beats those extra whips of white gold running through the meat. In MHO.

    #9
    Great post, confessing to what I am bad at is good for my personal bbq development.

    I think I got pork butts, chicken, various game meat and fish pretty well covered. That's a lot, I realize, but there are just as many things I need to practice. Overall I fail the cuts that are "in between" when it comes to tenderness (think tenderloin) and marbling (think boston butt). Examples failures are: beef ribs (to tough for me, at least compared to my pork ribs), beef short plate, beef roll.

    Comment


      #10
      For my tastes and my wife & kids', my best is ribs, pork butt, chicken, steaks and pulled beef. I think I've got them down pretty well. I've been using Meathead's techniques and advice for years as well as good ol' experience with my cookers, to pretty much nail them. The Mavericks are a HUGE lifesaver when it comes to getting perfect meat down pat. I also do mean & juicy burgers and turkey burgers.

      What I need to work on though isn't so much a type of meat or a certain cut, but the timing. It seems no matter when I start my fire, we don't eat until 730pm, which is an hour later than I usually shoot for. Cooking with logs in the winter can be tough and even if I start things early somehow the magical dinner hour seems to be 7+. Case in point, 2 nights ago I did 6 good sized burgers reverse seared. They took 1:45 from start to eat. They were taken to avg temp of 155, so still juicy & delightful. But geeze, burgers are supposed to be a quick dinner item. My kids are young yet, so their bedtime avgs 8:30, and I don't like eating at 7:30 because of this.

      To recitfy this, I am working on cooking at much higher temps so things progress a little quicker. 225 on a stickburner is just too low if you ask me. I am working on more like 275-300 for many things from here forward.

      Comment


      • _John_
        _John_ commented
        Editing a comment
        I see that PBC getting to you eventually My kids bedtime is early too, and I would rather have leftovers than deal with a hungry sleepy 2 year old. Have you got your method for pulled beef laid out anywhere? Sounds really good but i've never tried it.

      • Beefchop
        Beefchop commented
        Editing a comment
        I'd love to hear about how you manage long cooks on your Yoder. This is one of the things holding me back from getting one. With a WSM, I can load it up with charcoal and leave it alone for those large cuts of meat like pork butt that call for extended cook times. It's pretty much set and forget, which is handy when you want or need to get some sleep or have chores to do during the day.

      • Huskee
        Huskee commented
        Editing a comment
        @Beefchop, it's mostly just stoking a bonfire. Every 30-60 min add a stick or two. No big deal. I really enjoy that kind of thing which is what drew me to an offset.

        The biggest thing is to make sure you have a good base fire, glowing coals. It takes at least an hour, usually 1.5 to get my base logs to that point before I add meat. Once it's blistering hot in the firebox w/ coals and embers, you're good to go with just adding a stick here & there. If a person were to try to cook too early before there's an adequate fire they'd have lots of trouble keeping good smoke and good temps.

      #11
      I have to say i'm really great with Ribs (Fall of the Bone or Clean Bite), Brisket, Pork Shoulder (Pulled), Chuck Roast (Pulled), Chicken Wings.

      Things I need to improve is consistency with Beef Ribs and Whole or Split Chicken... For Beef Ribs it's the tenderness and for Chicken it's the skin and moisture. I do use a Maverick for chicken but the final product just isn't exactly what I like or am looking for. For me I love to smoke chicken wings at 325 to 350 degrees and the skin is spot on like I wish it was for a whole or split chicken. I eat beef ribs maybe two or three times a year which is probably why I haven't nailed it down yet compared to the other meats.

      Other area's I would like to grow and develop in would be making BBQ rubs more often and to make my own sauces. I'm not of fan of sauces in general and as a loving and awesome parent tried to raise my daughter to enjoy meats with out sauces and not get fooled LOL!

      Prior to this summer steaks weren't always my strong suit... each cook was always inconsistent. Nothing is worst than traveling for work for two to three weeks straight. Flying home and the first stop is the meat market for a nice Rib eye and then you accidentally cook it Well Done : (! Thankfully Grillgrates have been a life saver and all my cooks are spot on to a nice Medium Rare for me and Medium for the mini me! Couldn't be any happier with it!

      Comment


        #12
        I can do ribs, pig or beef, any cut of lamb, in my sleep on WSM or PBC.
        whole packer Brisket, that's another story. I did one last summer, came out PERFECT! Cooked another one a few weeks later and it was HORRIBLE. Moral of the story is don't give me a brisket.
        And I don't cook for a large crowd often enough to justify buying a whole packer for practice. So fixing that is probably way down the road.
        My immediate fix is to cook the point only LOL.
        So my best is beef ribs of any kind including Prime
        My worst Beef brisket, whole packer.

        Comment


        • Ernest
          Ernest commented
          Editing a comment
          salt the night before, rub with Worcestershire sauce and apply a ridiculous amount of freshly ground course black pepper while the cooker is being prepped.
          On the PBC, 275-300 degrees, it takes about 3 - 31/2 hours
          On WSM (225-250) takes about 5 hours, never wrapped on both cookers.

          Make sure your beef ribs are meaty and well marbled, if not you might as well smoke a flat.

        • _John_
          _John_ commented
          Editing a comment
          Got a good set tonight, salted and wrapped and waiting for tomorrow. Do you let yours rest for a long time?

        • Ernest
          Ernest commented
          Editing a comment
          Rest after cooking? No need, unless you're serving a little later

        #13
        John I don't think I'll be a PBC guy any time soon, just not for me. My pulled beef writeup is here. I used a cut called in my store a 'petite roast' which Dr. Mata the meat geek said is actually a "flat iron roast" where the flat iron steak comes from. Infraspinatus I believe. Notice the long striations of marbling, and lots of it- great for pulled beef. Many guys do chuck roasts which can be great too, just can tend to be globby with fat or can be tough. Beef chuck roast is very analagous to pork butt (both are front shoulder). I cooked this in the exact same method as I
        d treat a pork butt. Same cooker temp, same IT, same tight foil wrap & faux cambro hold. Only difference is I used BBBR since it's beef.

        Beef ribs I do the same thing as well. I put a probe in the thicker part of the meat and take it to the 200-ish range. Meathead has a great beef short rib article which has time tables for the different thicknesses, and he discusses doing back ribs at the very bottom of the article. Spare/back ribs might take 3-5 hrs I don't remember exactly, then regardless of beef rib type, wrap tightly and cambro hold for 1-3 hrs. More the better.
        Last edited by Huskee; December 12, 2014, 11:45 AM.

        Comment


        • cdnichol
          cdnichol commented
          Editing a comment
          Maybe the extra 1-3 hours will make the difference for me... Typically I take them off the smoker cover them with foil for maybe 20-30 mins then dig in. But I guess the main reason for that is because of how I can nail my Pork Ribs spot on!

          Thanks for the insight!

        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah give 'em a brisket like treatment. Bark 'em up real good at low & slow then given them that good long rest.

        #14
        I find Brisket to be a challenge but I'm getting closer to the dead ringer, then the next challenge is to get the results correct over and over again. Thanks to this site and the members input I'm moving to the head of the class instead of wondering "What caused That"?

        Comment


          #15
          My best is brisket. I trim and salt over night, rub and inject with Kosmos reserve. Put them back in the fridge and fire the Yoder 640 to 350 and then turn it down to 225. By that time the brisket is back to plenty cool and it goes straight on. I don't even look at it until the AM when I add pellets to make sure I wont run out (I am usually cooking something else like ribs which I put on with the brisket in the AM). That is when I put the temp gauge in. No wrapping, just patience until 200 or till super tender. Then I take them off and wrap/cambro until ready to eat. Slice them after someone says grace and all the other food is out.

          As to the worst, well I am not having great lamb. Not much practice.

          Comment

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