Observations for the new folks

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by bama bbq, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. I see a lot of new folks around and would like to add a few simple observations in no particular order that may help our new friends.  This is not to sound preachy, just helpful observations.  Most of my posts have this theme in there somewhere.  Feel free to add others as you see fit.

    1. You will get conflicting advice from people on TV, in cookbooks, on the internet, etc.  BBQing is a craft, and craftsmen often have differing opinions on the best way to do things.

    2. Your own common sense is probably pretty good. Trust it. You'll find what works for you over a short time as you become a craftsman.

    3. It's actually fairly difficult to ruin BBQ, so don't worry about it too much.  If craftsmen over hundreds of years have done it, you can, too.

    4. BBQ cooking temp is a range.  Control your pit temp but really, anywhere plus or minus 25* is fine.  Don't chase temps.  Close enough is good enough.

    5. Have patience. Give it the time it needs to cook without you watching, mopping, spritzing, etc every five minutes.

    6. There are a bazillion gadgets and gizmos on the market.  Though they're fun to play with, very few are actually required to produce great BBQ.  A long lasting, clean burning fire and good technique is more important than expensive equipment.  Famous Dave started by cooking in a trash can.

    7. Cook easy stuff first.  Try other's recipes before modifying them until you gain confidence.  Then feel free to experiment based on principles you've learned.

    8. Backyard BBQ for your friends and family is not competition "one bite" BBQ.  You would not want a whole meal of competition BBQ.  Careful which recipe you use that you saw on Pitmasters.

    9. Have fun.  Relax.  It's just cooking.  It's not suppose to be stressful.

    10.  Cook to your family and friends preferences.  If they like fall off the bone ribs, cook them that way. If they like what you cook, you'll be asked to cook more.
  2. jwsdad

    jwsdad Newbie

  3. i totaly agree !!!
  4. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well said!
  5. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Dead on with your comments. Just thinking how some of it happens. When someone mentions brisket my mind goes to my electric smoker. It is done quite differently on a reverse flow smoker but I have a one track mind at times.
  6. This is the one i struggle with the most. I find myself so eager to chase a new method or recipe, I forget that my best results have often come from starting with something that works and tweaking something small.
  7. mrmoomer

    mrmoomer Fire Starter

    Couldn't have said it better. Stress free always. I smoke for fun and to go with my other hobby BEER !
  8. mrmoomer

    mrmoomer Fire Starter

    Even if your smoking now, if you have some good cooking experience wether its bbq or oven, then your already off to a good start. Its just a different temp and cooking time.
  9. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    After a few years over the smoker of your choice you will suddenly have the same epiphany that a lot of us have had.

      WE make smoking so much harder than it needs to be.

    Unless you are selling or cooking for judges, Cook what you and your family like.

    It isn't a sin to use a crutch. Instead of pulling 16 hr all nighters , Now i may smoke 6-8 hrs and finish in an oven.

    I may smoke in foil pans . may do a high temp smoke to shorten cooking times. etc etc.
  10. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Love the wisdom.  I'm no competitor.  I'm an eater, and I love to eat delicious food.  The reason I love cooking, BBQ'ing, grillin' and smokin' is that there's so much room for creativity, trial and error.  It may not be perfect but it all tastes good.

    Baking and candy making on the other hand require more exacting tolerances.  I generally leave the baking to others with a few exceptions; sweet potato pie, an occasional lemon jello cake, and cookies when I get a hankering.    
  11. beeflover

    beeflover Smoke Blower

    Finish in an oven?!?! Shame on you
    thatcho likes this.
  12. Great post man  [​IMG]    I'm a firm believer in #9!!!  I have run into a few people however that should not apply #2 in ANY situation!  [​IMG]
    thatcho and newsmokeguy like this.
  13. radsmoke74

    radsmoke74 Fire Starter

    Excellent advise. I love being creative with food but the most satisfaction comes from getting the wow factor people eating the Q. I love the challenge of making great BBQ. The post here were spot on to making that happen great advice.
  14. Excellent observations! Whether it's a hobby, competition or a job, if you don't let yourself have fun doing it you'll be miserable and eventually give up.
  15. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Excellent, the KISS Rule in ten easy lessons.
  16. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    Great post! 

    My very fist smoke I did two butts and a brisket for my ham radio groups field day event and I was a bundle of nerves!  I ran out of time on the butts and had to finish them in the oven at 350° and several of the guys commented it was the best brisket and pulled pork they ever had anywhere!
  17. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Very well Said!!!!

    Kat [​IMG]
  18. Great post Bama BBQ...we all try to over think our smoking craft. One other suggestion i would have for beginners is keep a smoking journal. Writing down recipes...temps...cook times and anything else you observe during your smoke can really make it easier to duplicate your successful smokes. I don't know how many times i have tweaked a recipe...didn't write it down and wish i would have. [​IMG]     
  19. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Also, (some can't seem to get this one)

     While having a beer or mixed drink or two while smoking is ok .Having a case or a fifth usually ends up in disaster.

    If you have never done an all nighter w/ your smoker . Don't try to set it an forget it the first time. Stay up w/ the smoker until you know how long it will go by itself. Many have said, i laid down to get a 1 hr nap and woke up many hours later to a cold smoker and meat that had to be trashed.
  20. postie

    postie Newbie

    Hello All: It is said that the 1st.step, is to admit addiction, so I am a SMOKER. I live in Ajax, Ontario,Canada and have just purchased a Masterbuilt 2 door propane smoker. Being a newbie, I may have declared too much about my addiction but I have been reading blogs and have a few friends that also are smokers so after about 2 years of this I finally decided to stop reading and start doing.I do have a question about salt. Most rubs and/or marinates contain a large amount of salt, due to doctors advice, I must eliminate this from my diet. Salt is used to enhance the flavor but is there any thing else that will pull the other spices together? I have heard that some places will inject papaya juice to break down the muscle but this will make the meat tender but not enhance the flavor.


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