Complete greenhorn needing advice!

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by mikeb3200, May 4, 2016.

  1. Hello all! I know this has been asked many times before but here goes anyway. I am completely new to smoking other than being a willing taste tester.
    I just got a used Traeger pellet smoker and am ready for some meat! What would everyone say is the best and easiest meat to prepare and smoke? I already have a digital thermometer and pellets,so all I need is the meat and some seasonings. Any help is much appreciated!
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Best and easiest meat to smoke?  It's all good so that takes care of the best part.  Easiest?  Boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  They always come out juicy without any special treatment, even if overcooked.  Plus you don't have to worry about leathery skin because you smoked them at too low a temp. 

    Slap 'em with anything from salt and pepper to any commercial rub, throw them on the smoker anywhere from 250F to 350F, and take them off at 165-175F internal temp.  Depending on the smoker temp you use they should reach the desired IT (internal temp) in about an hour or two.   
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's good advice from NoBoundries.

    Just about any way you feel comfortable cooking chicken will work.

    But as he said  thighs are very forgiving, and it's very hard to mess them up.

  4. IMHO, knowing the exact temp of your smoker is critical to smoking any meat.  If you have a reliable probe and you trust it, my vote is for a pork butt.  

    Lather it with yellow mustard or olive oil and then coat liberally with your favorite rib rub. A 7 lb butt should take around 10-12 hours at 225.  You're looking for an internal temp of 200.
  5. Something i have found to be on easier side and cheap to boot are Country style ribs. which are just pork butt cut into strips. i can get bone in or bone out CSR about 1.49-1.69/# sometimes even 1.29/# if i buy in bulk at Sam's Club. They are very forgiving and if you do them right they can be good meat candy!

    Meat Candy RIblets:

    De-bone  and cut into 1.5 inch pieces.

    Coat in some cheap yellow mustard in an aluminum foil pan.

    Sprinkle on your favorite rib rub or pork rub. ( try Butcher BBQ for some good rubs or Jeff's Rub to support the message boards)

    let sit in the refrigerator over night with the rub.

    then smoke at 275 degrees for 3-4 hours or until the meat about 185 degree IT ( your time and temps could vary)*

    for the last 30 minutes of cooking put on your favorite sweet BBQ sauce with a brush or mop ( i use a vertical mop) and lower your temps to 225 to keep from burning the sauce. (if you scorch the sauce they will come out dark but still taste good)

    For wood flavor i like apple or Cherry on pork or even a hickory mix with apple or cherry.

    Serve with long tooth picks or longer bamboo skewers as an app or put on bread or rice for a meal

    *Don't worry CSR riblets are very forgiving if you cooking them a little more they just get softer 

    Happy Smoking,

    phatbac (Aaron)
    desiredusername likes this.
  6. mike5051

    mike5051 SMF Premier Member

    CSR's are a great choice! Great advise phatbac!

  7. foamheart

    foamheart OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nekkid Chicken...... If you can do a nekkid chicken you'll always impress everyone. Its so easy and you can progress from nekkid chicken to brined or cured or injected, etc. 

    Its simple, wash the whole bird, pat dry inside and out, set back in the reefer overnite uncovered.

    Tomorrow, rub it with a oil. Salt and pepper inside and out,

    Throw it on the smoker

    At 163 IT (internal temp) pull it off, let it set 15 to 30 mins. while get the sides and plates ready. 


    It is always the same on any smoker, and sized bird, if you can make a delicious nekkid chicken you'll be in high demand.

    PS don't use a heavy hand loading the smoke. Light smoke is betst to start. I like pecan but any will work IF you use just a little.

    Have fun and enjoy it!
  8. Trying my hand at a couple of spatchcock chickens. Trying them at 275. Here are the before pictures. As long as i don't completely botch the job I'll post the after pics as well. Wish me luck!
    desiredusername likes this.
  9. mike5051

    mike5051 SMF Premier Member

    Nice looking birds!  Good luck!

  10. Had to turn down the heat because the wife wanted it to pulled off once the in-laws got to the house. Ended up cooking for 3.5 hours at basically 240. IT 167 on both breasts.
    Skin not crispy, but as moist as I could ever hope for.
    Next time I need to find out how to get the rub under the skin. Got some EVOO under skin but not nearly enough rub.
    All in all, I'm happy for my very first smoke.
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
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  11. mike5051

    mike5051 SMF Premier Member

    Great first smoke! [​IMG]   

  12. smokinal

    smokinal Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Excellent job on your first smoke!

    Points for sure!

  13. Made my first attempt at a boneless pork butt. Made the mistake of leaving when I thought it would plateau and left it on about 30 minutes too long, so it was a little dry.
    I used Stubbs Pork rub and added some smoked paprika. Meat had such good flavor that sauce was not needed. It was a 4lb butt and was cooked at 255 for 6 hours. I used apple and hickory pellets. Here is before picture after being on for 20 minutes.

    Here is picture right before I yanked it off the smoker.
    I wrapped it in foil and towel and in a cooler for 2 hours before I cut it and served it.
  14. mike5051

    mike5051 SMF Premier Member

    What was the IT of the butt when you took it off?  It actually may have needed to cook longer.

  15. IT when I pulled it off was 204. It was a fairly small butt.

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