Smoking Meat

Picked up a new BBQ pit a few weeks ago. This one is a pellet grill. I wanted something I could use during the week since my propane grill went out years ago. This one is also a lot smaller than my offset smoker, so it’s cheaper to run if I just want to smoke enough for our immediate family.

This one is the Pit Boss 820Pro that Lowe’s sells.

So far I’ve used it for pork ribs (first cook, came out ok… needed more practice), hot dogs, Boudin, chicken wings, and chicken leg quarters. I’ll be doing the Thanksgiving turkey on it next week.

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We have one of those! Works great. I think we’re on the third bag of pellets in it.

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Jealous! I have had some brisket out of a friends Treager and it was amazing. That pellet deal seems to be ideal for long smoking.

I get awful tempted everytime I see the pellet smokers but figure if the green egg can’t smoke it long enough I likely don’t want to try the cook. I would however love to get a cold smoker so I can do things like jerky, salmon and cheeses.

I can hold 225 for about 30 hours on the Egg if I build the fire right and don’t peek too often ; )

I have a larger offset that’s really stable. Once it’s up and running, I only have to feed it about a log an hour to maintain 250 or so. Anything colder than 250 and the fire flames out on it, though. It will hold 36lbs of brisket, but it costs me $20 or so if I’m doing an all-day smoke. It’s not cost effective if you’re only smoking 1 brisket or one pork shoulder. It also takes almost an hour to get up and running before you can put the meat on.

The pellet grill only takes about 30 minutes. The 20lb bag of pellets is only ~$15 and I have yet to burn through an entire bag. I’ll have to wait until after I do a brisket or pulled pork to fully tell how the smoke is going to do.

I did cedar plank salmon on it last night. I ran the grill at 400 degrees and the fish came out perfect.

This is the first thing I’ve used that had the simplicity of a propane grill but the taste of wood-fired. I never got in to using a charcoal grill because I didn’t like the amount of cleanup it took after you used it.

Here’s a screenshot of the cook of the leg quarters from Sunday. One of my fears is that the controller goes out in the middle of a cook. I hook up the FireBoard to alert me if the pit temperatures go out of my set values. I also use it to alert me when the meat hits certain temperatures. For the leg quarters, I ran the pit on the ‘smoke’ setting until the meat temperature hit 125. Then I bumped up the pit temp to 350 so that the skin could crispy up.

Back in the day I would have done the leg quarters on the smoker and then finished them off upside down on the propane grill to do the same thing.

I don’t have the patience or more importantly will power for that sort of thing…yet. Sous vide and then a quick toss on the sear grill is my speed, but it has nothing on properly smoked meat.

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With all your working from home, you could easily do BBQ.

I enjoy running my pit on the days I work from home. I get up and get the fire going before I start my day. Put the meat on right before one of my meetings. Then I use the remote probe to tell me when I need to go do something to the pit. Pull the meat off in time for dinner.

The pellet grill will make that even easier because I won’t have to go add wood to the fire every hour or so. Fill the hopper up at the start and it will run all day.

As long as where you’re working isn’t down wind of the smoker, you should be fine. Otherwise, the smell of the meat cooking mid-day will make your stomach start grumbling.

Knowing I have that kind of meal waiting…boy…that takes will power. I am always looking for an excuse to take a break, BBQ and a Bud Light might just be too much to deny. AHAHA

That’s the nice thing about smoking BBQ… If you pull the meat early, it’s not as good. No one likes a chewy brisket. Knowing this helps keep you from trying to pull it early. Trust me… pull one brisket before it’s done and you kick yourself for weeks about it. Then you remember that “one time” every time you smoke one after that.

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I might have to get into it then. My neighbor promised some smoked cheese, that might push me over the edge. MPSmoker?

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Only if you want a rotisserie :slight_smile:

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Are we still talking about BBQ?

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I got a cheapo electric smoker to get my feet wet before getting all serious. I think it was just over $100 on sale. I love the simplicity. Just set it and thats it, no fuss. It has a tray for wood chips and maybe it’s not quite the level that the pros get, but for me I can’t tell the difference.

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Get a smoker Ryan; you won’t regret it. I have a 22" Weber kettle which I love, but for a true “set it and forget it” scenario while you work, you cannot go wrong with a Traeger pellet grill.

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We have an electric smoker as well. I use that for smoking, the grill for grilling.

Electric is a way to go if you’re lazy like me and can’t legally have any fire on your balcony. If you have your own back yard or no such restriction, an automated auger fed pellet smoker (like Traeger) is a lot better IMO albeit a lot more expensive than a cheap electric + a smoke generator. Without the latter, it’s still not hands-off as you have to drop wood chips onto the pan every half an hour or so. I’m way too lazy for that :stuck_out_tongue:

Cheap Masterbuilt smoker + “cold” smoker aka smoke generator + some ventilation tubing

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The result

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The best meat to smoke is Brisket. I don’t have any pictures of it though :frowning:

Smoked cheese was interesting but not something I liked enough to fuss with the second time. Soft cheeses like cheddar didn’t work at all. Asiago was better but still meh. Probably didn’t get the process right or something.

EDIT: One thing I learned from first attempts is to keep a log. It will help to tune the process for next time.

Here are some example entries to get an idea of how long you have to be patient for :slight_smile:

  • 4lb pulled pork. Fat down. Rack: 2. Start: 22:00, End: 10:25. Internal temp: 192F Smoke: 3h hickory. Top vent: open. Smokiness: ok, Bark: thick. Box temp: 225F

  • 7lb trimmed brisket. Fat down. Rack: 2. Start: 21:00. End: 11:00 Internal temp: 207F Smoke: full cold smoker box of hickory (?4-5h). 1.5h rest in cooler. Box temp: 240F Tad dry. Smokiness: bit low, Rub: ok. Bark: medium

  • cheese. 6h smoke only. Apple. Top vent: 1/2 Rack: 1. Smokiness: Sharp cheddar - too much, Asiago - strong, colby jack - too much, Extra sharp cheddar - strong

  • 7.5lb brisket. Fat up Rack: 1. Box temp: 240F. Box of hickory (6h?) Start: 23:30 End: 11:40 Internal temp: 205F

  • 12 lb brisket + pork butt. Fat up. CSK box hickory. Temp: 235F Start: 21:35 Pork end: 9:40 Brisket end: 13:15

  • Salmon Temp 1h - off (smoke only), 1h - 120F, 2.5h - 150F, 30min - 175F, Internal temp: 138F

  • Salmon + Snapper. Temp 1h - off, 1h - 120F, 2.5h - 150F, 30min - 175F, 15min - 175F (salmon only) Internal temp: 138F

Standard warning goes here: Eating undercooked food may increase your risk of food borne illnesses.

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uggggg! Can’t stand salmon, actually seafood in general. Seemed like everybody and their brother was smoking salmon in AK.

I’d suggest just diving into the deep end and building your lowrider plasma table, cutting up some 1/4" plate, and building an insulated gravity fed smoker! Or even better a full blown stick burner!

Oh, and don’t forget an awesome DIY temperature controller.