BBQ is a great. Being outside with a fire, smelling that distinctive burning smell will make you remember your best meal from another party. Naturally I was drawn to the cooking shows and specifically the BBQ contest. Huge tanks cooking even bigger cuts of meat for hours on end. The time commitment has to add to the flavor, the anticipation builds as you resist the temptation to open the lid to early. The finished product is unmatched by other quicker means of cooking. I was fortunate enough to be gifted a small smoker and i have been putting it to good use. Below is a collection of what i have been able to cook up so far.
Step 1: Find a Smoker ASAP
Find one, Buy one, Build one. They are a great investment it is surprisingly easy to use. Mine is an electric smoker which is great for smaller places. It still takes charcoal but that is kept heated by a heating element. This type of smoker is easy to control the temperature which is key. There is also a pan to hold water so the whole container stays the right humidity. I found Kingsford charcoal that has bits of apple wood mixed in. Experiment with as many bricks and chips you can
Step 2: Mix and Match Your Own Rub
I try to buy one random spice every couple trips to the market. After a short while you will have a whole kitchen full of flavors. Spices last forever, are reasonably cheap, and really take the meal to the next step. Find the chili powder, onion powder, steak seasoning, pepper, paprika and what else you can find and mix them together. If you dont love a flavor add less, if you want to highlight one flavor add more. clear an area in your cooking space and pour the rub everywhere. pat the rub down to stick it to your meat. This will give great color and flavor to your meal. If you do it right you can get that crunchy outside with the soft slow cooked inside. There are a few pictures of chicken thighs before and after.
Step 3: Low and Slow
When i think smoker, I think of a large slab of pork. Ribs work great in the smoker and they are fairly cheap compared to other meats. I attached some photos of beautiful racks of ribs. I usually cook them at 225-245 degrees for anywhere from 4-6 hours. I have done them dry with just rub and also with my own BBQ sauce. I personally like them dry and then ill add sauce after. Sometimes I will shred the pork and eat it different ways through out the week. Eggs and rib omelet or BBQ pulled pork taco are great options.
Step 4: Experiment and Enjoy
The journey is the reward. Put effort into planning and developing this meal and you will feel rewarded at the end. Try different spices, add honey and cinnamon. Create your own sauce, pretend you are cooking another cultures food just like they would. Find random meat Markets and ask the owner for a special cut. I found some turkey legs in the store and instantly though of smoking them. I want to do jerky next and one day build my own smoker. Have fun, make cooking a hobby and you will be happier.