Memorial Day 2007 – Special Edition

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Hello friends and welcome to the May 2007 edition of the Smoking Meat Newsletter. With Memorial Day upon us, I wanted to do something special as many of you prepare for one of the largest meat smoking days of the year.. only rivaled by Labor Day and July 4th.

In celebration of this great event, I have pulled some questions out of the proverbial mailbag and will answer these right here in the newsletter for all to benefit from.

All of these are excellent questions and definitely deserve an answer befitting a grand champion smoker even if you are not quite there yet.

Having said that.. I will do my best to do justice to each of the questions.

First.. an announcement:

 

New eBook – Free for the Taking

I have put together a new eBook that you may find helpful if you are new to smoking meat.. it is simply called, "How to Smoke Meat". Feel free to download this eBook here if you so desire. Please do not send me an email telling me that this is basic and that you already knew all of that stuff (I do get emails like that sometimes). It is basic but is perfect for someone who wants to know which smoker is best, how to make a smoke pouch, how to use a charcoal chimney, how to use a brinkmann water smoker (ECB), and much more.

Download Now

 

Memorial Day 2007

With Memorial Day upon us, I wanted to do something special as many of you prepare for one of the largest meat smoking days of the year.. only rivaled by Labor Day and July 4th.

In celebration of this great event, I have pulled some questions out of the proverbial mailbag and will answer these right here in the newsletter for all to benefit from.

All of these are excellent questions and definitely deserve an answer befitting a grand champion smoker even if you are not quite there yet.

Having said that.. I will do my best to do justice to each of these questions.

With no further adieu.. let us get started!

 

A question sent in by Anita..

I purchased my husband a propane smoker from Costco, and he can't seem to get much smoke to be produced. Cutting down the coffee can (your idea), won't fit in the space, so we tried making a holder out of aluminum foil, putting in wet chips, but still not much smoke was produced. Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks !

Anita,

I am not sure what type of holder you made however I would have to say that some type of pouch made from aluminum foil with some holes poked in the top and laid right directly over the flame should produce some really good smoking action in just about any smoker.

On that same note, I would not grade my success on how much smoke you see since great smoking is done to where the smoke is extremely faint and all but invisible.

Rather judge according to flavor.. does it taste smokey enough?

You might even try adding one handful of soaked chips with one handful of unsoaked chips into the pouch since the soaked chips will have to release some of that water before they begin to do much smoking.

Soaking chips helps them to not catch on fire as easily but in my opinion it sometimes works more against you than in your favor and I have opted the method of adding in some dry with the wet to more or less allow some smoking while the wet chips. This will lower the chances of catching fire for a bit while still producing some smoke for great flavor.

Get the pouch as close to the flame as possible and have several on hand to change out with once they stop smoking.

I have some instructions on making a smoking pouch in my new eBook located at http://www.smoking-meat.com/how-to-smoke-meat.pdf and is free for the taking.

 

This question was sent in by Bryan..

With baby back ribs I have ripped off the membrane but there seems be be another one, is there one or did I not get the whole thing?

Bryan,

Great question! You are correct in that there is another membrane that lies directly below the top membrane. The top membrane serves no purpose for us other than to keep the smoke from properly penetrating the surface. The bottom membrane, however, does serve a purpose in that it holds the bones together.

Having said this.. remove the outer membrane if you so choose but leave the inner membrane to help hold the structure of the rib slab together while it is prepared and smoked.

You will see this same configuration on most any rib that you choose to smoke and the same rule applies to spare ribs as well as the beef ribs

 

A Question from Barbara..

Hi – when you smoke ribs, how long is necessary for the meat to be cooked. Ate smoked ribs, but meat was very red near and around the bone (a little normal?)

Barbara,

I highly recommend a good meat thermometer since temperature is the ultimate test of doneness in meat.

Pork is actually safe to eat at 160 degrees but may still be pink due to the reaction of the smoke on the color pigments within the meat. In the smoking world this is called the "smoke ring".

Color is never a safe indicator of when meat is done and should never be used to indicate such.

If the meat is slightly pink on the outside and about 1/4 inch into the meat then it is most likely the smoke ring. However, if you are seeing red where the meat touches the bone then it is most certainly not ready to eat and should be cooked fully to 160 degrees before consuming.

I recommend a Digital Probe Meat Thermometer which will allow you to have real-time monitoring of the temperature of whatever you are smoking/cooking.

I have a great selection of these at the Smoking Meat Strore if you care to take a gander at them.

Most of the basic models are in the 16 dollar range however, you can pay a little more if you want some extra bells and whistles like remote capability or dual probes.

The Smoking Meat Store is located at http://astore.amazon.com/smokingmeat-20 and has links in the upper left corner to the various categories.

I have a table of times and temperatures located at http://www.wyntk.us/food/smoking-times-and-temperatures.shtml which will tell you the proper temperature for various meats in order to ensure they are not only safe to eat but also tender.

 

Here is a question from Kerry,

Jeff,
I'm going to experience my virgin smoking attempt on Saturday, May 19th. I've chosen 3 a sirloin roast, turkey breast & wild boar ham. All 3 are around 5 pounds each. Do I need to apply rub more than one time? I wasn't sure if it is necessary during the smoking process.

Kerry,

Sounds like you have quite a feast planned..

The best way to apply rub is about 12-24 hours prior to when you want to start cooking them. You may also put it on right before it goes into the smoker with great results as well. (I do this quite often actually).

You do not need to add rub again however you will want to do some basting during the smoking process for increased flavor and to ensure that the meat does not dry out.

Many folks, including myself, like to use apple juice from a spray bottle to simply spritz the meat every hour or so while it cooks in the smoker.

About 30 minutes prior to finishing you may also baste with a good finishing sauce if you so desire.

 

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About Jeff Phillips

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

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