Since April of 2001, when I moved into my current house, I’ve been the proud owner of a Weber gas grill. It’s served me faithfully and I expect to be using it for years to come. But as good as a gas grill is in terms of convenience, it just doesn’t replicate the flavor of charcoal.
I’ve always wanted to do real, hardwood coal smoked barbecue at home, but never had the guts to try it. Oh sure, I have a huge appreciation for the art, I’ve eaten it in its native lands, I’ve attended seminars on it, I’ve talked to a good number of pros on their techniques and such, but Its always been a “someday when I get the chance” sort of thing. I experimented with it a little bit last year on the gas grill and with wood chips, and granted, the results were pretty decent, but no substitute for the real thing.
So last weekend, I took the plunge. I saw a Brinkmann box smoker onsale for $60 at Home Depot, spending another $15 on charcoal and lighter fluid, and dragged it home.
The Brinkmann box smoker in its element.
We’re finally going to have some real ‘Q at home. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
Here’s a full profile shot of the Brinkmann. Its a rather simplistic device, essentially a metal box with two main compartments. One for the meat, and one to hold a water basin and a charcoal bowl.
The Brinkmann uses side vents, 4 in total, that can be adjusted for airflow in order to maintain proper smoking temperature, which is 200-225 degrees. The Brinkmann seems to run fairly consistently at just above 200.
The bottom compartment with the charcoal bowl, which holds about 5lbs at a time. Soaked wood chips or hardwood is used to provide the smoke flavor. For our first round of smoking we used Hickory, but we also have Apple, Cherry and Oak. I had to make a minor modification to the bowl because it was “choking” the airflow, so we had the hardware store drill a bunch of holes in it and now use a small baking sheet at the bottom to catch the ashes that fall through.
The first items we smoked were a simple spice rubbed chicken, some Turkey sausage, and some brined and seasoned chicken breasts.
After four hours of cooking at 200 degrees, we got this. I have to admit this is going to be my preferred way of cooking a chicken from now on, the results were amazing.
Nice and juicy.
Breast meat never tasted so good.
Smoky sausages! These were great sliced up with wraps for the week.
These are low-carb wraps with “confetti” cole slaw, smoked chicken and turkey sausage.
The week afterwards, I decided to get more ambitious — RIBS. These are St. Louis cut ribs Rachel picked up at COSTCO.
Spice rub liberally on both sides.
Put in a plastic bag to marinate overnight.
Smoke for four hours, continuously adding small amount of wood chips and new charcoal as needed to maintain the fire and smoke.
Finish off on the grill for a few minutes.
Ribs, the way they are supposed to be cooked.
BBQ ribs with cole slaw and kale.