Hello smoking meat friends and welcome to the July Edition of the smoking meat newsletter! I have been on Ocracoke Island for the past week or so and was so happy to meet the islanders, eat the food, hear the stories and spend some time on the sandy beaches getting some much needed sun and relaxation.

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I had a great time looking at all the shops, hunting for seashells, chasing ghost crabs and slowing down to the pace of the island which is much slower than what I am used to. It was refreshing and my family had an absolute blast.

If you ever go.. be sure to eat at Howard's Pub and don't forget to bring your bicycles or you can rent them fairly reasonable.

Enough about my vacation.. let's get right into the newsletter which will feature some of your questions answered by yours truly;-)


Questions and Answers About Smoking Meat

Bark on Apple Wood

Q: Say…quick question for you. I get my apple wood already aged right from the orchard. Do I need to strip the bark off before using it in the smoker?

They give me the branches they trim off and they're  in the 2-3 inch thick range. I've usually stripped off the bark, which obviously is a time consuming, tedious job. Is it really necessary? There are no bugs, fungus, rot or any other nasties. I've made some killer Turkey's and Hams on the smoker using their wood.

Thanks much!

A: I get this question a lot and while it mostly personal preference, I do not remove the bark from wood unless it gives me a reason to do so. Rot, fungus, bugs, mold are all good reason to remove the bark. Bark that is clean and free of the things mentioned or anything similar can be left as is and used in the smoker for good flavor.


How to Reheat Pulled Pork

Q: Love your rub recipe. made pulled pork from a shoulder.  What is the best way to re-warm the meat for later meals?

A: I am glad you like the rub recipe;-) For rewarming smoked meat, I prefer to heat it slowly in low heat inside of a closed container.

Reheat at temperatures between 225 and 275 for best results. The amount of time it takes will depend on how much you are reheating, whether it is just cold or if it is frozen, and the temperature you decide to use.

Sometimes reheating will cause meat to dry out so you may need to add a cup of broth or other liquid to the pan to add back in some moisture.

I always do all of my slicing, chopping, pulling, etc. while it is warm right from the smoker and before it is placed in the fridge or freezer.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to catch some of the juices while it smokes, these can be saved and added back into the meat when you get ready to reheat.

I like to use the disposable aluminum pans covered in foil for reheating leftovers.


Brisket: Fat Cap Up or Down?

Q: Jeff, I read your email and thanks for keeping us informed each month. My question is, which is better for the brisket, fat cap up or down???

A: It seems that everyone does this a little bit different.. some leave the fat cap up to allow it to baste the meat as it melts. Some folks leave the fat cap down to act as a protective barrier from the rising heat.

Personally, I use a combination of both. I tend to leave it fat cap up for the first several hours then flip it over every 1.5 to 2 hours basting with butter or a butter mixture or other marinade each time. I feel that this gives me the best of both worlds and always produces a tasty hunk of meat.

My personal butter marinade consists of a cup of water, 1 stick of melted butter and 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning. This is microwaved for a few seconds each time I get ready to use it to make the sure the butter is melted and mixed well.

About an hour before it is finished I start brushing on my very own barbecue sauce which adds a nice sheen to the meat and some extra flavor.


Smoking Multiple Meats

Q: Can i cook more than one type of meat on different racks in the smoker?  I have an upright smoker with 2 racks and i was wondering if i can cook ribs on one rack and brisket on the other?

A: Absolutely! You can cook more than one of an item or you can mix and match. You do need to know that everything may not get done at the same time. For instance, brisket will take much longer than ribs in most cases so I would place the ribs on top and the brisket on the bottom rack.


Best Wood for Pork Butt

Q: What is the best wood to use on pork butt?

A: My personal favorite wood for pork butt would have to be pecan or mesquite although I have a wide variety of woods that I enjoy.


Recipe for Smoked Meatloaf

Q: Do you have a recipe for smoked meat loaf?

A: I have my very own recipe for smoked meatloaf at https://www.smoking-meat.com//meat-loaf-recipe


How Often to Add Wood to Smoker

Q: How often did you have to add wood chips/chunks?

A: I add more chunks or chips when I can no longer see smoke. This can be from every 30 minutes to every hour or two depending on what type of smoker you have.

The meat generally has enough smoke flavor after about half of the total cook time. Chicken requires about 4 hours so you would only need to add chips/chunks for about 2 hours. After that, the chicken can cook with just heat from the coals. For a pork shoulder that requires 16 hours of cooking you would add wood for about 6 to 8 hours.


Removing Membrane from Ribs

Q: I was advised to take the membrane off the back of baby backs before I smoke them. Should I?  People brag about my ribs with the membrane on.  So, what to do?

A: I do it because I just always have. I have gotten used to it being gone.

Having said that.. If folks love your ribs and you like them then why change anything?

Some folks say the membrane should be removed to allow more smoke to the meat, others say the membrane holds in the moisture and makes the ribs juicier and more tender if you leave it on.. you be the judge.

It would not hurt to take the membrane off of one rack the next time you smoke some and see if you think it makes a difference. If not then continue as you are. If it makes a huge difference for the better then maybe you can implement that into your process.

The cool thing about smoking meat and cooking outdoors is that there are very few if any rules. If you and your family and friends like it then that is all that really matters;-)


Where to Find Archived Newsletters

Q: Jeff First I really like your rub and sauce recipe, it has been a hit many times for family and friends. My son must have the ribs for his birthday he is nuts about them. Second I deleted your latest news letter on brisket how to can you resend it to me please.

A: I am really happy that you love the recipes;-) All of the newsletters are archived here


Smoking with Green Wood

Q: Can you smoke meat with green wood?

A: I recommend using only aged wood for smoke cooking. Keep freshly cut wood in the dry and up of of the ground for about 6 months to age/dry the wood properly. Using green wood will result in creosote building up on the walls of your smoker and on the meat causing a very bad taste. I have heard tell that some professionals use green wood but I do not use it and I highly recommend against it.


My Famous Recipes – Make Them Yours!!

If you want to buy the store variety then by all means do so but if you want to wow your family with the best rub and sauce you have ever tasted then you can do that with my very own rub and sauce.
I offer the recipes that allow you to make this right in your own kitchen and you will find the kids as well as other family members trying to sneak bites of it right out of the pan!

It is that good!

Here are a few emails I just received from some very happy customers:


I have played with different rubs from various places, but your Rub and sauce kick butt no since looking any more this is it!!!!!


Thank you for the great advice and for your rub and sauce recipe.  It's the best among the thousands that are out there!  My guests always say it's the best barbeque they've ever had.


I purchased your rub and sauce recipe a month ago. I have tried almost every brand on the market, nothing comes close to this! It is good on anything. I can't keep from eating it while it is simmering on the stove!




Jeff just wanted to say thanks….I made 4 slabs of baby backs today with the rub recipe and they were to "DIE FOR" I never even added a drop of sauce to them they were that good.. One of these days I'll make the sauce recipe and I could only guess that it to will be just as good …… Thanks Again for all the tips of the trade


You deserve the very best and is is completely within your grasp! Only $18.95 and worth every penny.

Note: If you do not receive a download email within minutes of ordering, please shoot me an email letting me know and I will send the file to you as an attachment in an email.

Order Recipes


Some Helpful Links

Smoking Ribs – /smoking-ribs

3-2-1 Ribs – /smoked-rib-recipe

Smoking Chicken – /smoking-chicken

Smoking Meatloaf – https://www.smoking-meat.com//meat-loaf-recipe

Smoked Pork Shoulder – /pork-shoulder-recipe


  1. thad August 23, 2014 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    I can't seem to get enough smoke flavor in my Boston butts

    • Jeff Phillips August 24, 2014 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      What type of smoker do you have and what type of wood have you been using?

      • thad August 24, 2014 at 10:39 pm - Reply

        Stick grill smoker I use pecan and white oak

      • thad August 26, 2014 at 1:47 am - Reply

        I have a charcoal grill smoker I use pecan and white oak wood but can't seem to get a good smoke flavor

  2. Jimmy March 3, 2013 at 9:29 am - Reply

    I know this sounds stupid, but I would like to have a thermometer, that I could put in my smoker, that would ring or ding or make a noise if the temp. in the smoker gets below a certain degree. On some days I have a hard time regulating the temp. I have a Landmann, Smokie Moutain series gas smoker, it does a great job. The reason I want one of these is so I can hear it and adjust the temp, without have to keep going and checking. Do they make such a thermometer that you know of. I have your Smoking Meats book, and I also have Smoking with Myron Mixon. I know Myron is suppose to be a champ. smoker, but I read you book, and follow your directions a lot more than his. This is a new hobbie for me and I love it.

    • Jeff Phillips March 3, 2013 at 10:11 am - Reply

      Check out the Maverick ET-732 which is a remote thermometer with the sender staying with the smoker and the receiver stays with you up to a 300 foot range. You can set a low and high alarm so that it notifies you if the smoker or the meat goes above or below your settings. It has dual probes which monitor the food and the smoker. Check it out at https://www.smoking-meat.com/mavericket732.

      I have 2 of these now and I have had no problems with them.

      Keep the probes clean and away from water for long probe life. Use a antibacterial wipe to clean them off when you are finished using them and never run them under water to wash or rinse them off.

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