Memorial day is once again upon us and most folks that I know try to cook outdoors on holidays especially on this holiday and especially if the weather is nice. It is an excellent time to show off your grill skills as well as your expertise on the smoker. Maybe it's not so much "showing off" as it is just using it as another great opportunity to be able to cook something outdoors in the smoker which is a lot more fun that cooking indoors in my way of looking at it.
Some of my favorite Memorial day foods are, of course, burgers and hotdogs and then there's ribs, brisket, chicken and a whole assortment of sausage links, boudin and even smoked bologna if you are in the oklahoma area.
There is no possible way I can write a newsletter that will cover all of this but I do want to point out a few past newsletters and articles that have been written on these subjects and I also want to try and give a few last minute tips to help some of you have a much better end result while cooking for family and friends.
This is just a collage of tips and how-to information that I think you will find very useful as you prepare for your cooking on this Memorial day holiday. If you have further questions, allow me to recommend the smoking meat forum where you can usually get an answer to your question within mere minutes.
Be sure to have my recipes on hand for Memorial day cooking ..
And now.. let me give you a few quick tips to help ensure that your Memorial day cooking is a huge success!
Burgers and Hotdogs
I guess one of the main things that lots of folks do on holidays is hamburgers and hotdogs and while this is normally fare for the grill, I often do these in the smoker and trust me when I say that it adds a lot to the meat to spend a little time with some smoke. The last burger/dog party that I hosted had folks asking for take-home bags.. they were amazed at the wonderful smoky flavors on the burgers and even the hotdogs.
Place burger and/or hotdogs on the smoker grate, sprinkle my rub on the burgers or just some salt/pepper for added flavor. Keep the smoke going the entire time if you are not using a wood fired smoker.
Note: Hamburgers and hotdogs will take about 1 hour in the smoker at 225-240 degrees.
These can also be done on the grill as usual.. with smoke. Turn the grill down just a little lower than what you'd normally cook them and if it's charcoal, just throw on some wood chips or put a foil chip packet on top of the coals for some good smoke flavor.
If it's a gas grill, you can lay a foil chip packet just over one of the burners and get some good smoking action. Turn that burner on high until the packet starts smoking then you can turn it down a little to keep it smoking without catching fire.
Here's how to make those foil chip packets:
Just a note: these chip packets can be used anytime you grill and/or they can be placed on top of the charcoal in your charcoal smoker to keep the smoke going. Make several ahead of time so they can easily be replaced as needed.
How to Grill a Perfect Burger
Place burgers on grill with medium high heat. Once you see the juices start puddling on top of the meat they are ready to flip over. Flip and cook an additional. 2-3 minutes for best results.
Once you flip them consider using my rub recipe generously on the top of the burger. The rub melts into the beef juices and creates a wonderful flavor that is second to none on the burgers. If you don't use my rub, be sure to salt and pepper both sides really well as they cook.
Smoking Pork Ribs
Ribs are not difficult regardless of whether you use baby backs or spares. The key is to remove the membrane, use a good rub for flavor, and let them smoke cook until they are as tender as you like them.
On spare ribs you will want to remove the flap of meat that runs along the bone side of the ribs
Remove the Membrane:
Apply my rub recipe to the ribs in a layer that is just thick enough so that you can no longer see the ribs. If you like, you can apply a thin layer of yellow mustard first to help the rub to stick or you can use some cooking oil like canola or even olive oil if you don't want to use the mustard. This can be done the night before or right before you place them in the smoker and is really up to you.
Smoke cook the ribs for 6 to 7 hours at 225-240 degrees or until the ribs get as tender as you like them.
I usually lift them up by one end with tongs and when they bend about 90 degrees and almost break in half, they are done. It's that or just take a bite and see if they are tender enough.. that's always a good option;-)
And finally, here's a video that I did a year or two ago that will walk you through the entire process:
3-2-1 Method for Spare Ribs
If you like the ribs to be "fall off the bone" tender then see my article here.
I wrote a really good brisket smoking article on this back in July 2009 and I don't think I can really do better than what I've already done in that newsletter write up.. be sure to give that a read if you are wanting to do brisket as it covers everything you need to know about smoking brisket and is chock full of great brisket smoking tips
Here is an article that I wrote back in 2010 that shows you how to smoke whole chickens, chicken quarters and even boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Definitely worth a read if you are looking to smoke up some chicken this holiday.
Note: almost all poultry is best if it is brined first. Be sure to read my page on brining meat if you are doing chicken or turkey as this can play a huge part in making sure the chicken or turkey is juicy and tender.
Smoking Brats and Sausages
I don't want to go into a lot of detail on brats, sausages and boudin except to say that these make excellent treats and are really great for holiday get togethers and events.
My one word of caution is to not overcook brats.. they should be smoked at 230 degrees for about 2 hours and that is plenty. Any more than that and they will become tough and not as good as they could have been.
Some sausages can handle a little overcooking.. not the brats.
Boudin is amazingly good smoked.. about 2-3 hours at 230 degrees and some good mesquite, pecan, oak or hickory and you are good to go.
Here is an article about smoked boudin
Folks.. I never stop amazing myself at how good my rib rub recipe and sauce recipe is on various kinds of meat.
Whether it is ribs, brisket, pork shoulder or even something simple like chicken or chops, every time I use my rub and sauce I am blown away by the flavor all over AGAIN!
I always think to myself, "I sure hope everyone can try this.. it is too good to go through life never having experienced this!"
I am not being dramatic.. just try it and you will join the ranks of those who know if I'm lying then I'm dying! This stuff is Fan-flavor-tastic and you need it in a bad-bad way;-)
Here is a few testimonies from other folks who decided to go for it and are glad that they did. Be sure to send my your testimony once you try it and realize that you have just tasted of HEAVEN.
I would like to Thank You for the Rib Rub Recipe, I made this for my family and the results were unanimous, everyone said that the ribs were the BEST they ever tasted, and the meat was very tender and moist. I haven't tried the BBQ sauce recipe yet, but I will in the near future. ~ Jerome
Jeff, You truly are the man. Bought your rib rub and your sakes alive sauce and love them both. Keep up the good work helping people like me learn to cook good BBQ with smoke. ~ Matt
Jeff, I was smoking a Boston butt Saturday night for dinner Sunday and decided to try your bbq sauce. I have to say this is hands down the best sauce I've ever had and I've tried a lot of them. Its very easy to make, inexpensive and taste excellent. I will be using this recipe for a long time. ~ Doug
Love your newsletter each month. LOVE you BBQ sauce and rub even better!!!! ~ Kawal
I cooked some burgers on the grill the other night and put your rub on liberally on both sides. Man, those were the best burgers I ever cooked. My wife loved them. The recipes are great. Well worth the money charged. Thanks. ~ Gordon
You deserve the very best and is is completely within your grasp! Only $18.95 and worth every penny. Not only do you get the best rub and sauce recipe available, you are supporting this website and helping to make sure the bills get paid so we can keep on doing what we do to teach thousands and thousands of people across the world the art of smoking meat.
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Until next time.. keep smoking and God Bless.