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***Official Grilling and Smoking Thread***

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10 hours ago, Ron Swanson said:

I bought mine with a package of 400 pounds of pellets.  Still working my way through those.  They are Ultimate Blend from Rec Tec.  I'll probably stick with them as long as they are priced reasonably.  Great smoke flavor and they burn real clean.  There is a store here in town that sells a bunch of different varieties as well.

What are your thoughts on that smokey flavor being more about the pellets than the grill?  Wondering if they are just better pellets :oldunsure: Nothing stopping me from coming for a visit to NSB to load up on pellets from time to time, but I'm not sure there are any places around here selling them.  I'll have to be more observant.  

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1 hour ago, The Commish said:

What are your thoughts on that smokey flavor being more about the pellets than the grill?  Wondering if they are just better pellets :oldunsure: Nothing stopping me from coming for a visit to NSB to load up on pellets from time to time, but I'm not sure there are any places around here selling them.  I'll have to be more observant.  

I don't really have a frame of reference for that.  All I know is that with the Rec-Tec 700 and their Ultimate pellets I get great smoky flavor that is more consistent than my stick burner. My wife claims it is much better smoke flavor. I'm not willing to go that far but it is more consistent. I haven't used any other pellets or pellet grills to judge. I wouldn't worry about having to get pellets locally. There are a ton of different options online. Most brands ship.  Amazon is loaded with choices. Most all of them cost about $1 per pound and 1 pound of a good pellet gives you roughly 1 hour of cooking time.  Cheaper than just about any other form of fuel by way of efficiency.

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I will say that I think one of the reasons the Rec-Tec puts out such good smoke flavor is that it has an "Extreme Smoke" setting that holds temp at 180 very consistently and puts out a lot of clean smoke.  I thought it was a gimmick but it actually works quite well.  I start almost every smoke with 30-60 minutes at that setting and then ramp up. The Andouille I pictured above I did almost the whole way at 180 until then end when I need to speed up the process to go catch a flight.  They were on for 2.5 hours at 180 and then 30 minutes at 225.

Edited by Ron Swanson

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12 hours ago, The Commish said:

Where do you get pellets for it?  Would any wood pellets work or do they have to be specific ones?

I have been using CookinPellets Perfect Mix (Hickory, Cherry, Apple and Maple), get a 40lb bag for 40 on Amazon. These also burn clean.

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1 hour ago, The Commish said:

What are your thoughts on that smokey flavor being more about the pellets than the grill?  Wondering if they are just better pellets :oldunsure: Nothing stopping me from coming for a visit to NSB to load up on pellets from time to time, but I'm not sure there are any places around here selling them.  I'll have to be more observant.  

It's a lot of this and a bit of what Ron said. If you have a low smoke setting or high smoke setting those will typically be sub 200 and put out more smoke. However, the pellets make a huge difference. I've tried a few different Lumberjack pellets, Traeger, CookinPellets and one other that I can't recall. So far I think CookinPellets work the best for me.

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18 minutes ago, Ron Swanson said:

I don't really have a frame of reference for that.  All I know is that with the Rec-Tec 700 and their Ultimate pellets I get great smoky flavor that is more consistent than my stick burner. My wife claims it is much better smoke flavor. I'm not willing to go that far but it is more consistent. I haven't used any other pellets or pellet grills to judge. I wouldn't worry about having to get pellets locally. There are a ton of different options online. Most brands ship.  Amazon is loaded with choices. Most all of them cost about $1 per pound and 1 pound of a good pellet gives you roughly 1 hour of cooking time.  Cheaper than just about any other form of fuel by way of efficiency.

:thumbup:

How do you like it as a grill?  To me, there is very little better than a isteak, chicken breast, you name it cooked with an italian profile and that hint of "wood fired" smoke flavor.

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5 minutes ago, Hawks64 said:

It's a lot of this and a bit of what Ron said. If you have a low smoke setting or high smoke setting those will typically be sub 200 and put out more smoke. However, the pellets make a huge difference. I've tried a few different Lumberjack pellets, Traeger, CookinPellets and one other that I can't recall. So far I think CookinPellets work the best for me.

Thanks :hifive: 

I am assuming that all the pellet grills can handle any of the different brands of pellets by now, correct?

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4 minutes ago, The Commish said:

Thanks :hifive: 

I am assuming that all the pellet grills can handle any of the different brands of pellets by now, correct?

Yep, they are all the same in my experience.

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15 minutes ago, The Commish said:

:thumbup:

How do you like it as a grill?  To me, there is very little better than a isteak, chicken breast, you name it cooked with an italian profile and that hint of "wood fired" smoke flavor.

I've never used it that way.  I normally sous vide my steaks and sear them on an infrared grill burner on my NG grill.  I never cook chicken breast (wife hates them).  I have used the sear plates and cooked burgers on it and it did OK, but I really like to cook my burgers up at 700 degrees hot and fast so I prefer my NG grill for that.  The pellet maxes out at about 500. I have grilled shrimp and chicken thighs/legs on it and they turned out great with that slightly smoky wood oven flavor.

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2 hours ago, Hawks64 said:

It's a lot of this and a bit of what Ron said. If you have a low smoke setting or high smoke setting those will typically be sub 200 and put out more smoke. However, the pellets make a huge difference. I've tried a few different Lumberjack pellets, Traeger, CookinPellets and one other that I can't recall. So far I think CookinPellets work the best for me.

I hear these are the best, but I haven't tried them yet. Once my current supply gets low I'm going to order a few different kinds off Amazon. 

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I've owned the Traeger, Camp Chef and Green Mountain pellet cookers. All of them do great smoke. The only people that say they don't put off enough smoke are the people that don't own a pellet cooker. 

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1 hour ago, Softballguy said:

I hear these are the best, but I haven't tried them yet. Once my current supply gets low I'm going to order a few different kinds off Amazon. 

Had some issues where a few bags didn't burn really clean with high ash output so I switched to CookinPellets. I did really like the smoke from the LumberJack though.

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@Ron Swanson I am headed to work 11-5pm today and we are cooking a 5 lb Bone In Rib Roast on our traeger.  My wife will be the one putting in on the Traeger.  What temp and how long would you think to cook it?  We like it cooked to about Medium or just a bit over medium.  We will let it rest afterwards as well. 

 

My plan is 250, we are in a cooler environment, so i am thinking 3-4 hours with temp checking at the 3 hour mark.  Pull it off in the 135-140 range and let it rest up to our desired temp.

 

thanks

 

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8 minutes ago, Inhiding said:

@Ron Swanson I am headed to work 11-5pm today and we are cooking a 5 lb Bone In Rib Roast on our traeger.  My wife will be the one putting in on the Traeger.  What temp and how long would you think to cook it?  We like it cooked to about Medium or just a bit over medium.  We will let it rest afterwards as well. 

 

My plan is 250, we are in a cooler environment, so i am thinking 3-4 hours with temp checking at the 3 hour mark.  Pull it off in the 135-140 range and let it rest up to our desired temp.

 

thanks

 

I think you're about on target.  30 minutes per pound to get it to 120 is about normal but you want to go a little higher than that to medium/medium well so add a bit more time. I might recommend that you pull it about 10 degrees from finished and char it over very high heat (direct charcoal, super hot cast iron, etc.). I prefer charring it afterwards since raw meat takes smoke better.  I think charring it first limits the smoke penetration.  If you're using cast iron, heat it up in the oven first as hot as the oven will go, then put it over your Hottest burner while searing.  Welder's gloves come in handy here and don't forget the crank up your exhaust hood and open a window!

If you have time and the Traeger has the setting you may want to start the smoke much lower for the first hour to produce more smoke...like 180-225 and then ramp to 250.

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On 1/22/2020 at 5:44 AM, Ron Swanson said:

I don't really have a frame of reference for that.  All I know is that with the Rec-Tec 700 and their Ultimate pellets I get great smoky flavor that is more consistent than my stick burner. My wife claims it is much better smoke flavor. I'm not willing to go that far but it is more consistent. I haven't used any other pellets or pellet grills to judge. I wouldn't worry about having to get pellets locally. There are a ton of different options online. Most brands ship.  Amazon is loaded with choices. Most all of them cost about $1 per pound and 1 pound of a good pellet gives you roughly 1 hour of cooking time.  Cheaper than just about any other form of fuel by way of efficiency.

I found a local dealer who sells me 40lb bags of Smoke Ring BBQ Pellets for between $20 and $25.

https://www.smokeringbbqpellets.com/

Just make sure they are 100% the wood they claim to be and without filler wood. 

Other brands tend to get ashy from what I read prior to deciding on these.

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I think one of the best meat bargains other than pork butt are chicken thighs.  I like to pick them up on sale cheap, dry brine and smoke them.  I then pull the meat off the bone and skin, chop it and package it in 1# packages for the freezer.  It's great to have it on hand for a quick salad, hash, or any number of dishes. Throw it in the sous vide to reheat and its ready. And as a bonus, make stock out of the bones!

Brined and On - Smoked at 180 for an hour, ramped to 225, then 250. About three hours to get to 180.

Finished

Chopped and Packaged

 

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Ok, so question that is probably only relevant to Florida but with these pellet grills, what happens when the power goes out?  I assume these augers are driven by motors that can't be powered by battery so I assume you have to plug them in.  What happens when there is no power?

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47 minutes ago, The Commish said:

Ok, so question that is probably only relevant to Florida but with these pellet grills, what happens when the power goes out?  I assume these augers are driven by motors that can't be powered by battery so I assume you have to plug them in.  What happens when there is no power?

Pellet grills don't work when the power goes out. Pick up a used weber off Craigslist for when that happens. 

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22 hours ago, Ron Swanson said:

I think one of the best meat bargains other than pork butt are chicken thighs.  I like to pick them up on sale cheap, dry brine and smoke them.  I then pull the meat off the bone and skin, chop it and package it in 1# packages for the freezer.  It's great to have it on hand for a quick salad, hash, or any number of dishes. Throw it in the sous vide to reheat and its ready. And as a bonus, make stock out of the bones!

Brined and On - Smoked at 180 for an hour, ramped to 225, then 250. About three hours to get to 180.

Finished

Chopped and Packaged

 

Those look good. Do you do anything to dry out the skin before you smoke them? I know people who put them on a rack in the fridge for 24 hours but with a toddler I don’t have the room. 

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17 minutes ago, Capella said:

Those look good. Do you do anything to dry out the skin before you smoke them? I know people who put them on a rack in the fridge for 24 hours but with a toddler I don’t have the room. 

I've heard of people putting a light dusting of corn starch on wings to make them crispy on the smoker with positive results.

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40 minutes ago, Capella said:

Those look good. Do you do anything to dry out the skin before you smoke them? I know people who put them on a rack in the fridge for 24 hours but with a toddler I don’t have the room. 

Toddler in fridge sounds like bad idea. 

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25 minutes ago, greedygoat said:

I've heard of people putting a light dusting of corn starch on wings to make them crispy on the smoker with positive results.

I was thinking the same thing... I wonder what thighs would be like with some corn starch on them.

I just tried this on Sunday with wings... kind of modeled what Malcolm Reed did a few months ago in his corn starch vs  just rub side by side video. My results were mixed. The wings definitely had that restaurant style wing coating, which I prefer, but the corn starch didn't fully cook through. So many of the wings had a slightly weird texture and somewhat disappointing flavor. But they were cooked perfectly and had a great smoke flavor. I'm going to try again on Sunday and slightly overcook the wings to fully cook the corn starch. We'll see.

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3 hours ago, Capella said:

Those look good. Do you do anything to dry out the skin before you smoke them? I know people who put them on a rack in the fridge for 24 hours but with a toddler I don’t have the room. 

No, but when I dry brine the thighs I peel back the skins and salt the meat directly.  Then I replace the skin for smoking.  When I pull and chop the meat I do not include the skin.  I still get plenty of great smoke flavor and the skin stops the meat from drying out. I'll sometimes throw a little skin in when I make broth to give it some smoky flavor.

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2 hours ago, Nigel said:

Toddler in fridge sounds like bad idea. 

LOL Man, phrasing is so important. 

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20 hours ago, Nigel said:
21 hours ago, Capella said:

Those look good. Do you do anything to dry out the skin before you smoke them? I know people who put them on a rack in the fridge for 24 hours but with a toddler I don’t have the room. 

Toddler in fridge sounds like bad idea. 

:lmao: 

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22 hours ago, TheFanatic said:

Pellet grills don't work when the power goes out. Pick up a used weber off Craigslist for when that happens. 

Thanks....I have solar plugs I could plug it into if necessary, also have a generator.  It's just now, it'll be another thing I need to account for if we ever lose power from hurricanes etc.  Not a big deal.  I was going to see if I could replace both my gas grill and smoker with one of these things, but it might be best just to hold on to the smoker.  

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27 minutes ago, The Commish said:

Thanks....I have solar plugs I could plug it into if necessary, also have a generator.  It's just now, it'll be another thing I need to account for if we ever lose power from hurricanes etc.  Not a big deal.  I was going to see if I could replace both my gas grill and smoker with one of these things, but it might be best just to hold on to the smoker.  

I have one of those batteries that can be plugged into a solar panel. It has a standard outlet so I can plug mine in should the power go out. 

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2 minutes ago, TheFanatic said:

I have one of those batteries that can be plugged into a solar panel. It has a standard outlet so I can plug mine in should the power go out. 

Is it big enough to power the grill?  Mine are plugs directly wired into my solar panels on my house. 

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Smoking a brisket and a shoulder for the Superbowl.  Can someone point me to a favorite BBQ sauce so I can try something new?

I like and have been making this one for years off of a paper printout of an old post on Weber Virtual Bullet:

Quote

No. 5 Sauce

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon rub

Opional but v. good: 1/4 cup meat drippings
(whats left in the foil after the rest)

Simmer to marry the flavors and thicken as desired.

I'm also going to try Aaron Franklin's from his Masterclass:

Quote

AARON’S BBQ SAUCE

2 tbsp fat (beef tallow, vegetable oil, lard, or bacon fat)
1/3 large yellow or white onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups organic or all-natural ketchup (see note) 1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1.Heat a saucepan over medium heat, then add the fat. Once the fat has coated the pan and begins to shimmer, add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 6–8 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook over medium heat until the onion has started to brown and the garlic has started turning crisp, about 3 minutes more.

2. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring frequently until the sugar melts and starts to form a glaze, about 2–3 minutes.

3. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, ketchup, paprika, mustard, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3–5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly, then add the Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 1 more minute.

4. Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend at high speed until the sauce is smooth and takes on an or- ange hue, approximately 1 minute. Be careful, as hot liquids are liable to splatter in a blender. Pulse once or twice before proceeding to a full blend. Transfer to a heat-resistant container and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in a refrigerator for up to 1 month.

NOTE: Aaron prefers to use organic or all-natural ketchup that isn’t made with high-fructose corn syrup, as the lower sugar content makes the sauce less likely to burn in the smoker.

 

Edited by Lehigh98

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45 minutes ago, The Commish said:

Is it big enough to power the grill?  Mine are plugs directly wired into my solar panels on my house. 

For a couple hours it should. I have 2 of them. 

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1 hour ago, The Commish said:

Is it big enough to power the grill?  Mine are plugs directly wired into my solar panels on my house. 

They only draw 5 amps at startup and then another 1.5 continuous.

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1 hour ago, Lehigh98 said:

Smoking a brisket and a shoulder for the Superbowl.  Can someone point me to a favorite BBQ sauce so I can try something new?

I like and have been making this one for years off of a paper printout of an old post on Weber Virtual Bullet:

I'm also going to try Aaron Franklin's from his Masterclass:

 

I am firmly anti-sauce on brisket.  That's just a crime against humanity.  But, if you're putting some pulled pork on a sandwich roll with pickles and onions, I can get behind adding some sauce. With that said, I've made a few in my day and the most popular is always Louie Mueller's (by a landslide) followed by Aaron Franklin's espresso sauce.  If I'm going to use sauce I prefer a hotter tomato based sauce like Stubb's or Rudy's spicy. But i know I'm out on an island with this opinion so I make the crowd pleaser or serve no suace.

Here's the crowd pleaser:

1 quart (32 ounces) catsup
3 quarts water
2 onions the size of baseballs, cut up fine (use 1 if they are the size of softballs)
2 beef bullion cubes
2 tablespoons salt, or to taste
1 cup black pepper, or to taste

In large pan, combine all ingredients, going gently with salt and pepper first.

Bring to boil over high heat and boil vigorously 40 minutes. Reduce heat to low, tast and correct seasonings, and let simmer 40 minutes longer. At end, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil again. Then it's done. Bottle in clean bottle or jars and store in refrigerator. Makes about two quarts.

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On 1/28/2020 at 5:48 PM, Ron Swanson said:

No, but when I dry brine the thighs I peel back the skins and salt the meat directly.  Then I replace the skin for smoking.  When I pull and chop the meat I do not include the skin.  I still get plenty of great smoke flavor and the skin stops the meat from drying out. I'll sometimes throw a little skin in when I make broth to give it some smoky flavor.

Listen to @Ron Swanson

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Making burnt ends, KC style for "The Big Game".  Need ideas for SF themed food (not necessarily smoked).   Anybody have ideas?  Thinking Sourdough and clam chowder but not sure how well that will go with BBQ

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4 hours ago, Godsbrother said:

Making burnt ends, KC style for "The Big Game".  Need ideas for SF themed food (not necessarily smoked).   Anybody have ideas?  Thinking Sourdough and clam chowder but not sure how well that will go with BBQ

Grilled oysters if you can get a fresh sack.

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Found this the other day while cleaning out a drawer in the bar. No idea where I got it but I think I'm going to frame it as a bar decoration. Seems to be from 1971.

Crazy Cracker!

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@Ron Swanson, Kosher salt, black pepper and a 7 lb brisket flat going on the smoker at 4am.  Smoke for 3-4 hours then another 3-4 at 225*F until done.  Beef ribs will go on during the last hour of brisket smoke.  Goal is to pull off the smoker 1:30-2pm, wrap and put in cooler until game time (3;30ish).  After brisket and ribs come off then it will be time for the bacon wrapped shrimps...  We have some apple bourbon baked beans in the works with pulled pork.  I am confident that we will be well fed. 

 

Does the timing of the brisket sound ok to you?  I last did one on 4th of July and hit it with 3 hours of smoke at 180, then 5 hours at 225 while we were at the park.  Came back and it was perfectly done, but our time frame wasn't as important then as it will be Sunday.  I'd like to hear your thoughts. 

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2 minutes ago, Inhiding said:

@Ron Swanson, Kosher salt, black pepper and a 7 lb brisket flat going on the smoker at 4am.  Smoke for 3-4 hours then another 3-4 at 225*F until done.  Beef ribs will go on during the last hour of brisket smoke.  Goal is to pull off the smoker 1:30-2pm, wrap and put in cooler until game time (3;30ish).  After brisket and ribs come off then it will be time for the bacon wrapped shrimps...  We have some apple bourbon baked beans in the works with pulled pork.  I am confident that we will be well fed. 

 

Does the timing of the brisket sound ok to you?  I last did one on 4th of July and hit it with 3 hours of smoke at 180, then 5 hours at 225 while we were at the park.  Came back and it was perfectly done, but our time frame wasn't as important then as it will be Sunday.  I'd like to hear your thoughts. 

That sounds about right.  if its Prime grade it may finish faster.  Just be sure to pull it when your temp probes goes through it like butter in all areas.  Much better for it to finish early as you can wrap in unwaxed butcher paper and then stuff it in  a cooler full of beach towels and hold it for several hours. I prefer unwaxed butcher paper to foil or plastic wrap because the bark will breathe a little more and retain a little crunch. It will still be good if you use the other options but the bark will be a little mushier.

I would be a little more concerned about the beef ribs.  Are these full plate short rib, cut short rib, or back rib?

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Smoked some gruyere and white cheddar today (Smoker at 180, coldbox slowly ramped up to 100 then pulled) for a cheese and sausage plate for the big game. Also "pre-smoked"(180 for an hour, 225 for an hour), vacuum sealed, and plunge cooled some dry brined chicken wings.  That way I can just fry them in batches on Sunday and serve them crisp while using the smoker for ribs.

Cheese Before

Cheese After

Wings Done

Plunge Cooled

Packaged

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7 hours ago, Ron Swanson said:

 

That sounds about right.  if its Prime grade it may finish faster.  Just be sure to pull it when your temp probes goes through it like butter in all areas.  Much better for it to finish early as you can wrap in unwaxed butcher paper and then stuff it in  a cooler full of beach towels and hold it for several hours. I prefer unwaxed butcher paper to foil or plastic wrap because the bark will breathe a little more and retain a little crunch. It will still be good if you use the other options but the bark will be a little mushier.

I would be a little more concerned about the beef ribs.  Are these full plate short rib, cut short rib, or back rib?

Not sure what they are.  They came from the college ag program store.  They are a full butcher shop but they just labeled the package as beef rib.  I'll shoot a pic of them and see what you think.  They carry Iberico pork as well.  they raise them on site and feed them acorn.

 

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12 hours ago, The Commish said:

@Ron Swanson So, I think you have me sold on the rec tec....are there accessories that are "must have"?

I think the competition cart is great, but mostly because it raises the smoker up another inch or so. It is short IMO.  I like the coldbox a lot but I know others don't.  It isn't as well built as the rest of the smoker and has no real temp control but I find it very valuable for cheese and longer smoked fish like Kings for dip. I use the front shelf all the time.  Didn't think I would. Not a huge fan of the grill grates, but I don't use the RecTec as a high heat grill.

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12 hours ago, The Commish said:

@Ron Swanson So, I think you have me sold on the rec tec....are there accessories that are "must have"?

you're going to love it!  I dont have a rec tec, it was between that and the mak 1 i went with the mak but rec tec is solid!  And pellet smokers are soo much easier.  I would buy a cheap wsm for when there is no power as well.  But yea, enjoy! 

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Big day today prepping for the SB. Gotta smoke a 15 pound brisket and 4 racks of ribs. Excited. 

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2 minutes ago, Capella said:

Big day today prepping for the SB. Gotta smoke a 15 pound brisket and 4 racks of ribs. Excited. 

nice.  Im gonna do 4 racks as well.  And something else havent decided yet.  Will see what i find at the supermarket. 

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5 minutes ago, PinkydaPimp said:

you're going to love it!  I dont have a rec tec, it was between that and the mak 1 i went with the mak but rec tec is solid!  And pellet smokers are soo much easier.  I would buy a cheap wsm for when there is no power as well.  But yea, enjoy! 

Once people use them they love them.  My brother and two brother in laws all went out and bought them as soon as they saw mine and ate some food off it.  I've been smoking food for years on stick burners and kamados and they've always raved about my Q but never had any desire to learn how to cook it.  Too much work. They saw how easy it is with the RecTec and they all smoke stuff frequently now. It's kinda cool to get texts from them with questions or their successes.

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15 hours ago, Ron Swanson said:

Smoked some gruyere and white cheddar today (Smoker at 180, coldbox slowly ramped up to 100 then pulled) for a cheese and sausage plate for the big game. Also "pre-smoked"(180 for an hour, 225 for an hour), vacuum sealed, and plunge cooled some dry brined chicken wings.  That way I can just fry them in batches on Sunday and serve them crisp while using the smoker for ribs.

Cheese Before

Cheese After

Wings Done

Plunge Cooled

Packaged

Those wings are gonna be magical. Need to give this a try sometime. :thumbup:

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