Monday, July 18, 2005

How to make great BBQ at home

After spending one year in KC and getting absolutely hooked on BBQ, I have been dissappointed by New England's offerings. So now I make my own, and slowly I'm getting better. Here are some tips:

1) Get an upright electric H20 smoker. They cost $60 at Home Depot. Yes, I know these are not "authentic" compared to, say, offset charcoal-fired smoke pits, but they are so easy to use it ends up making the difference between making BBQ and not making BBQ. They are also *much* cheaper to operate as they run on handfuls of wood instead of pounds and pounds of charcoal.

2) Use *lump* hardwood instead of chips. Soak the lumps for 2 hours and then place them *on* the heating element itself. Next to the heating element is not good enough, it has to be sitting directly on it to produce the smoke levels you want.

3) Put your meat on the *top* most grill. The lower grill does not get enough smoke.

4) Pour a *small* quantity of hot water in the water bowl. You want the water to add moisture and convey heat to the meat for the first 75% of the cooking time, but after that you want a drier, smokier heat to produce a better crust. The small amount of water does its job and then evaporates away, meaning you don't need to mess with the smoker 75% of the way through.

5) Don't bother putting more exotic liquids in the water bowl. I don't think they do a damn thing.

6) If you are in a rush, smoke the meat for 2-3 hours, then wrap it in foil and put it in a 300 degree oven with a digital thermometer in it until it hits your required temp. Let it rest for ~20 minutes. It will taste good and smokey, but you will be done 5 hours earlier.


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