5 Fantastic ways to screw up your next barbeque

5 ways to screw up your next barbeque

9 Ways to Screw up your next Barbeque : Part 1 Buying Cheap Supplies

Yes, that meat is a dollar less per pound.  Yes, that grill is quite a bit cheaper, and so is the charcoal and other supplies, but typically you exchange quality for those discounts.

Purchase shrewdly. Look for deals and watch for sales, but try to get high quality because the taste of your barbequed foods will depend on it. 

Avoid low quality grills

Often times, cheaper grills will be rusted out within three years. Grills that are not stainless inside and out do not last very long at all, especially if exposed to the elements year round.  And it simply is not practical to keep the grill covered.   For one thing, you cannot cover a boiling hot grill with that flimsy plastic cover that come with some grills because the grill is too hot after using it.  Few people remember or care enough to go back outside after three or four hours and try to maneuver that body glove onto the grill. 

Next time you are driving through a subdivision, just look at everybody's grill -- 90% of them will be completely exposed.  This is one of the reasons that the cheaper quality grills disintegrate so fast.  Typically, the cheaper grills do not use stainless interior parts, which is just as important as the exterior of the grill because of the temperature and chemical changes that stress the internal parts.  I would argue that the interior of the grill is even more important.  Too many grills have gone the way of kitchen appliances : they are basically the same cheap quality but with lipstick.  Manufacturers know that consumers make their purchasing decisions based largely on 'bling' and sex appeal.  That shiny stainless refrigerator, microwave, or dishwasher may cost $500 to $1000 more, but if you look closely you will realize that the only 'stainless' part of it is the front panel (most of which are not true stainless steel anymore, but rather a silver colored composite).  The sides and rear of that refrigerator, along with the interior, are all (you guessed it...) plastic.

When shopping for grills, look for deals on models that offer true stainless steel grill grates and burners, as these part are usually the first to go.  Also, make sure that the handle is heat absorbent (including the hardware with which the handle is attached! -- I've burnt my hand on those 500 degree screws sticking out plenty of times). 

Finding good quality BBQ meats

Cheaper meat produces seem like a great deal, especially with today's meat costs where it is often cheaper to go out to eat than it is to go to the grocery store to buy the same ingredients as you would get at that downtown restaurant which is offering the two for one special tonight, or the restaurant that incessantly emails you coupons.  But be careful of grocery store meat sales; often those meats are on their way downhill, or they are of considerably lesser quality. 

That's not to say that you can't find super duper deals at the store, just be sure to find them on the higher quality meats if you plan to impress anybody (including yourself!) at your next barbeque.  Try to find meat cuts that offer consistent fat ribboning throughout, and make sure the meat is actually of a good color quality. 

Look at the expiration dates (or, as today's marketers label it: "best by" date or "use by" date).  Many times the same group of meats in the 'on sale' section will have products that expire the next day right along side the meats that are good for another three or four days, so be sure to dig or reach far into the back of the grocery store refrigerator.  Most butchers will bring the new meats out on large trays and rotate the older meats toward the front and put the fresh stuff underneath or in the back in order to rotate their stock effectively.  There is nothing illegal about reaching for the good stuff, especially if the price per pound is all the same.

Summertime Smoked Ribs & Cheesy Potatoes

Hey all, this is a scrumptious recipe for an age-old classic: meat and potatoes. Except, we are going to modernize this stand-by combination by smoking the meat and cheesing the taters. Are you with me?


1 rack Saint Louis style spare ribs
1 bottle of mustard
1 cup of brown sugar
3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
salt, pepper, paprika

4 to 6 potatoes, peeled
1/3 brick of Velveeta Cheese
1/2 onion, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon garlic

Wood chunks or twigs
Smoker or gas grill
Aluminum foil

Start gas grill or charcoal in your smoker.

Wash ribs, coat heavily with mustard.

Microwave brown sugar, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika for about 30 seconds to soften together.

Sprinkle/spread mixture over both sides of ribs. Work in and mix with mustard with your hands. Place ribs on grill, preferably on a double layer of foil so they do not get torched to death.

Lower grill/smoker to low setting, add wood chunks or twigs, close to flames but not touching. Cook ribs about 2 hours prior to adding potatoes. If you are slow smoking, then adjust times to suit.

[Observe safety instructions for your grill or smoker. Aka: don't do anything stupid. Make sure you are cooking on concrete and away from any structure (namely, your house!)]


Cut up potatoes. Microwave potatoes for 4 minutes to soften just a bit. You will finish cooking on grill.

Cut Velveeta into chunks as well. If you do not have Velveeta, just use some shredded or block cheese.

Cut up onion

Place 3 layers of foil on counter. Fill foil with potatoes, cheese, and onions. Season. Wrap into a pouch.

Place pouch of potatoes onto grill, not over direct heat. Punch large holes in top of pouch.


Cook until both ribs and potatoes are done.


Move food around and re-fuel grill as needed based on how smoky you want your food.

Open pouch of potatoes for last 20 minutes of cooking.

Flip pouch of potatoes often, as they will tend to burn.

Skewer You All -- My Take On Smoking Ribs

Hey guys, I appreciate all the feedback, both positive and negative. I don't even really mind the folks who are just trying to leave their link. There have been a lot of surprisingly critical comments about how long I put the ribs in the oven, so I just wanted to put a little note up.

The entire timing process of smoking ribs depends a lot on how many racks you are smoking at once. This is not so important in the smoker as it is in the oven phase, where the amount of heat absorbed by the food depends on the quantity of food. I smoked four to six racks at once and so that is why I must slow cook them in the oven for that long... if you smoke only one or two racks then yes, please reduce accordingly.

Also, there have been comments about the whole idea of using an oven to finish off the ribs. Again, this is only one way of doing it and is handy for winter time and busy people or folks that cannot just sit outside all day and night. I realize that ovens are not available at smoking competitions... this blog is not aimed at competitive barbecuers (although they might learn a thing or two), it is aimed at the novice smoker who just wants to know how to smoke ribs in a simple way, a way that does not involve a folding chair and a case of beer.

And by the way, smoking ribs in foil on the grill makes no sense in my mind: you are not getting any more smoke into the meat, you are simply just slow cooking them (just like my way) but instead of nice, evenly applied heat from an oven, you are providing uneven heat (which is why you will see professional smokers constantly checking their foiled ribs...because they have no clue if they are done yet or not!).

Easy Smoked Ribs

This is an easy but basic recipe to make real smoked ribs. I have cut out all the complicated procedures and refined it down to just the core process. You can add your own flare to it as you see fit. Don’t get me wrong, these ribs taste wonderful and would be well suited for any occasion.

1 or 2 racks of spare pork ribs.

Aluminum foil

Small pieces of wood or sticks for smoking

A charcoal grill or smoker

Charcoal and lighter
Prepare charcoal grill as usual, placing a pile of briquettes to one side in a pyramid and then dousing with charcoal lighter. Wait a few seconds and light. Close lid and wait for coals to turn gray.
When fire is ready, spread coals and put wood pieces all around, directly on top of the coals. Be careful not to burn yourself.
Place ribs on grill grates as far from heat source as possible. If your grill is too small, place a metal cake pan of water down first, cover it with hole punched foil, and then place the ribs on top of the foil.

Close lid and cut off most of the ventilation, leaving just enough for the coals to smolder. After a bit, you should see the smoke from the wood starting to escape.

Slow Cooker Ribs
Feed more wood to the coals as needed. Again, use caution. I use a long kitchen tongs to place wood.
Smoke the ribs in this way for three hours. Remove ribs to cookie sheet, take indoors and let cool.

Wrap ribs in aluminum foil. I recommend that you double wrap them. Refrigerate.
The ribs will last for another day or two if you wish to cook them later. When you are ready, place the ribs into the oven and cook on low (around 250 degrees) for three to four hours. Keep the foil on them and keep them on the cookie sheet as you cook them. UPDATE: the longer you cook them, the more tender they will be but be careful not to overcook them or else they will be too mushy.

They are now ready to eat! Unwrap ribs slowly by the sink. Watch out for the steam. It is best to open one end of the foil and let the juices run out into the sink. Hold racks with hot pads. Place on meat board, cut and serve with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Side item recommendations include, baked beans, french bread, corn on the cob and a nice cool Greek salad.

Smoked Ribs : Oven

Hey we all hate oven ribs so let's get started on learning how to cook them!  Let's assume that it is the dead of winter and smoking ribs outdoors is impossible because it has snowed at least seventeen feet and we are blocked in.  Otherwise, you should smoke ribs outside because indoor oven ribs just don't cut it.  Even if you can partially smoke the ribs either in your smoker or on a novice gas grill, then that is better than the oven because the ribs oven version leaves virtually zero smoky taste.  What you will end up with are mediocre ribs, but with a good enough barbecue sauce you can let it pass.

First step for Ribs: Oven Version

You will need 1 or 2 racks of fresh pork ribs.  Wash ribs in cold water. Do no use soap.  I have to say these things.  Pat dry with clean paper towels.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Peel the membrane off of the underside of the ribs racks.  The easiest way to do this is to get it started in one corner using a fork or a corn on the cob holder.  Once you get the membrane starting to peel, dry your hands and use a towel or paper towel to get a good grip on it and pull it the rest of the way.

Second step for Ribs: Oven Version

Sprinkle ribs with dry rub.  I have a good dry rub recipe on this site.  Most of these recipes that you can get off of the internet are pretty much the same.  Oh, I can hear the roars of all 'secret' dry rub folks -- trust me, look at the ingredients.. they are strikingly similar.  Anyway sprinkle both sides of each rack of ribs with the dry rub.  Don't use as much as you do when you cooking smoked ribs because unlike smoking them, the dry rub won't cook off as much when in the oven. 

Third step for Ribs: Oven Version

Oven cooked barbecue ribs
Refrigerate the ribs while the oven is preheating.  Use another pan or foil or a grate that goes in the inside of a pan so that the juices can release to the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 45 minutes.   Remove from oven and let cool in refrigerator on hot pads.   Keep oven on.
Re-sprinkle rib rubs.  Place each rack of ribs on a large sheet of good foil, pour barbecue sauce over and then wrap them tightly.  Return to a pan and bake them for another hour.

There it is, short and sweet.

Keys to Smoked Ribs

The Best Tools For Great Smoked Ribs

Smoked Ribs Tips
When it’s time to set up outdoors and begin to grill or smoke food for the summer, you’ll want to be prepared with the best tools around. Smoked ribs require special attention to acquire that subtle savory flavor that only masters can achieve. Without the right tools – from equipment to seasoning – you’ll never be fully satisfied with the outcome of your spare ribs, feeling that something is missing every time. Here are some things to always have on hand when deciding it’s time for smoking ribs and enjoying a backyard barbecue. 

  1. Mustard – Yellow mustard is a necessary part of creating the most flavorful rack of ribs around. While this is not actually necessarily part of the seasoning or rub you use, it will help to assure the ribs absorb the flavorful spices you use. Some people will opt for a mustard-based rub, skipping the step of basting the meat with mustard first. However, this is not required. You can use any yellow mustard and don’t need fancy namebrands, since the flavor will cook off in the smoking process anyway. However, the mustard will allow the meat to open up to the seasoning you add afterward, whether a sauce based seasoning or a powdered rub. It will also help the rub to stick to the meat so that it can better infuse throughout the membranes of the meat.

  1. Smoker – This is the best way to get a rack of ribs carefully smoked. A smoker will hold in the smoke from the cooking and allow it to permeate the meat as you slow roast the meat in the 200-degree temperature that is best to maintain for tender, juicy spare ribs. However, if you don’t have access to a smoker, you may be able to achieve the same results from a kettle charcoal grill. Either way, you need a basin in which to build up a smoky heat so that your ribs will come out with the woodsy, smoky flavor afforded by a smoker.

  1. Wood chips – Depending on your flavor preference, you have several options for wood chips to use when smoking ribs. Mesquite is a popular choice, especially in the south or when used with southern recipes that involve a spicy rub. However, there are other popular scents that can create a unique recipe for your pork ribs as well. Hickory is another fine choice, giving a more woodsy and less spicy tang to the meat. For some, blending woods can create a fantastic recipe, and you can use a mixture of mesquite, hickory, and oak chips to give your spare ribs the perfect flavor.

  1. Patience and a thermometer – Cooking your smoked ribs can require a great deal of patience. You can expect the ribs to be thoroughly cooked and tender after about four hours. However, the longer you wait, the more tender and juicy they will be, and the more flavor they will have picked up from the rub and the smoke. Also, having a thermometer is necessary to maintain the optimum temperature while your meat is smoking. You want to keep the smoker at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit for best results, as this will cook the meat slowly and allow it to absorb all the flavors with which it’s been prepared.

With these tools in hand, you can rest assured anyone who tries your smoked ribs will be hounding you for the recipe, looking for your trade secrets. If you want to continue to win them over, though, don’t share your information with just anyone! Be sure to keep it to yourself so that you can have the best pork ribs in the neighborhood for years to come!

Bacon Smoked Ribs

Bacon Smoked Ribs
If you enjoy smoked ribs but are looking for something different, then you will find this recipe to be a nice alternative to the normal smoked ribs recipes out there because it gives you a whole new flavor to your barbecue, but it does so without the shock value of some of these wilder combinations such as the citrus items plus barbecued ribs. 

Many like the taste of two extremes of the taste buds being combined, but for others it just ruins the ribs.  In this bacon smoked ribs recipe, we get to combine one pork product with another similar pork product and so the two tastes tend to compliment one another pretty well without going over the top.  And, let's face the facts here: it's bacon.  You cannot go wrong with bacon anything.  You could make bacon scented trash bags and people would buy them. (All you aspiring inventors out there can take that idea for free, just pay shipping and handling).

For this smoked ribs recipe, you will need a couple pounds of good quality thick sliced bacon, along with two or three racks of pork spare ribs.  For the ribs you can use your choice of traditional St. Louis style or baby back ribs if you prefer.  If you do decide to use baby back ribs, just make sure that you decrease the smoking and cooking time to accommodate the smaller cut of rib.  Remember to buy fresh, quality cuts of ribs.  Look for well trimmed slabs and that will save you a lot of time.  Avoid the vacuum packed versions because those are usually much older and have preservatives in them.  I find that my local grocer is the best source for ribs. 

The first step is to remove the membrane that is on the bottom of each slab of ribs.  You can use a fork or your hands.  Keep washing and drying your hands as you do this because it allows you to grip the membrane easier. 

Once you have removed the membranes, turn the racks of ribs bottom side up so that you can see the bones clearly.  Cut each rib off of the rack so that you have individual ribs.  Try to leave an even amount of mean to the left and right side of each rib bone so that they won't fall apart while smoking. 

Do not coat the spare ribs with mustard.  Sprinkle your normal rib rub onto the ribs prior to attaching the bacon.  Here you can find some good tips on coming up with your own rib rub recipe.

Now comes the tricky part.  Wrap a piece or two of thick bacon around each rib and secure with cooking string or toothpicks.  Think of wrapping ribbon around a flag pole. Secure each rib at the ends if possible because you don't want toothpics or string being gnawed off with the ribs.  It may take more than one piece of bacon, depending on the size of the bacon strips and the size of your ribs.   If you do have to use more than one piece of bacon, then mark that rib with a toothpick on the end so you remember to remove it after the smoking process.

Now you can smoke the ribs normally.   Start with charcoal to get your fire going.  Add wood whenever the charcoal turns gray.   Place the ribs as far from the heat as possible.  You can look at the many other rib smoking recipes on this site for tips on this.  After smoking the ribs for several hours (4 to 5), remove from the smoker and place on a cookie sheet.  Cover tightly with foil and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the smoke to cure into the meat and to allow the bacon to set up around the rib. 

Now slow cook in the oven at 250 for 3 more hours.  Leave the foil on the cookie sheet.  It's a tedious process guys but it's a great tasting rib.  Enjoy.

The Best Baby Back Ribs

The Best Baby Back Ribs

It’s that time again, time to clean out the smoker so you can throw in a rack of ribs and enjoy a backyard cookout.  Maybe you’ve even volunteered for a group camping trip and decided to take along some baby back ribs to feed the bunch.  Of course, you’ll want your smoked ribs to be award-winning quality, with a unique, savory taste and fall-off-the-bone tenderness.  How can you guarantee that you’ll produce the best baby back ribs everyone who tries them has ever tasted?   

The perfect recipe and excellent technique when smoking ribs will guarantee and experience your critics aren’t likely to forget.  To start with, you need to be sure your rack of pork ribs is clean and ready to go.  Start by rinsing them, then removing the membrane from the back, using a knife to peel it off, starting from the edge of a bone at one end.  This will allow for more flavor to seep into the meat from the seasoning and smoke you use.  Then, rinse the rack of ribs again and pat them dry with paper towels so that you have a clean, fresh rack that is ready for further preparation.  Before adding your seasoning and cooking, let the spare ribs sit out for a few hours, allowing them to warm to room temperature.  The meat will be more porous and absorp more flavor at room temperature than if it is cold from the refrigerator or frozen.

Check out your options for wood chips to throw in the smoker.  Hickory and mesquite will offer a thick, heady woodsy taste with a strong, spicy bite to it.  Oak is a more mild option and can actually be smoked longer without overwhelming the flavor of your seasoning with too much smoke.  You can add a hint of apple wood, pecan, or other such fruity varieties to help bring out a sweeter taste to the ribs.  Whatever wood chips you choose, the idea is to keep them from burning and rather let them smolder and smoke.  To accomplish this, you’ll want to protect them, either with a smoker box or a foil pouch into which you’ve made several small holes.  Be sure to soak the wood chips in advance for one to two hours, and once heated, keep the smoker’s temperature around 200 degrees.  

When you are preparing your baby back ribs, first coat them in a thin layer of yellow mustard.  Don’t worry if you are not a fan of that flavor; the taste will disappear with the smoke.  However, this will help to open up the meat even more and let the powdered rub soak into it for a flavor that runs through and through.  Then, determine the ingredients of your chosen rub based on the type of results you want.  For a sweeter taste, use ingredients like brown sugar, paprika, and garlic powder.  For something greener and more aromatic, try oregano and basil.  If you want a spicy set of baby back ribs, use cayenne, ground chipotle, onion powder, and chili powder, with just a hint of garlic powder.

Perfect tenderness for your smoked ribs can be achieved with four or more hours spent in the smoker.  With stronger, smokier woods like hickory and mesquite, you want to be sure not to overcook the ribs, as they will become tough and bitter in taste.  With other, more mild woods, you have more leeway and can achieve greater tenderness with a little extra time spent in the smoker.  Either way, you are sure to create an impressive rack of pork ribs to share with the community and become a legend in your own right!

Choosing Wood Chips for Smoked Ribs

Choosing Wood Chips for Smoked Ribs

When summer rolls around, it’s time to clean out the barbecue grill and the smoker so you can start cooking out on a daily basis. Nothing says summertime like a backyard barbecue, and one of the favorite eats at thee events are smoked ribs. If you’ve never smoked your own ribs, you definitely need to try it. However, you may be wondering how to choose the type of wood chips you want to use for smoking ribs. After all, each unique wood type has its own scent and flavor to offer your delectable treats. How do you know which one is appropriate for your taste? The answer is by no means simple, since it rests on your own personal preference, as well as the seasoning you’re going to be using on your pork ribs.  

In most cases, people smoking ribs choose to use hickory, mesquite, oak, or a combination thereof. Each of these has its own benefits and rewards, and you’ll want to remember that they should be untreated. You want to avoid treated woods because you don’t want the chemicals in your smoker, and you probably won’t want to use pine, poison oak, oleander, or cedar, since these are not good woods for smoking and adding flavor to your baby back ribs. Also stay away from green woods – they do not make for good flavor, either. Stick with the time-tested and approved woods that all barbecue experts trust.

You’ll also want to prepare whatever wood you decide on properly. You don’t want the wood to go up in flames, only to smolder and smoke, so you should soak your wood chips for one to two hours in advance of smoking ribs. Then, you’ll want to put the wood chips in a protected location. If you have a smoker box, this is perfect. If not, secure your wood chips in a foil pouch and poke several small holes in it to allow the heat to enter and escape without burning the wood. Be aware that you can use too much wood, and you can have too much smoke, so don’t go overboard when it comes to loading up the smoker. 

Now, the matter comes down to determining which of these woods is most appropriate for your particular recipe. If you like a sweet, bacon tinted flavor to your smoked ribs, you may want to try hickory wood chips. This is a typical choice in southern grilling, and the scent and taste produced can be quite strong. Because this particular type of wood can produce a great deal of smoke, you’ll want to be particularly careful of how much wood you use and for how long you let your spare ribs smoke.

If you are looking for a slightly mellower flavor with a little less smoke, you can try oak. With this wood, you’ll produce less smoke, so there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, you will probably have to be smoking ribs a little longer to get the flavor really enhanced. At the same time, because the wood is so mellow, you are less likely to overcook them and make them dry and bitter.

Mesquite is the quintessential wood chip of the southwest, offering a spicy, smoky flavor that can’t be beat. It has an earthy tint to it as well and tends to be even stronger than hickory. Therefore, it is incredibly important that you pay attention to the amount of wood used.

If you can’t decide, combined the woods and see what you come up with. This will help to create your own unique recipe that everyone will love.

Spare Ribs – Recipes to Savor

Spare Ribs – Recipes to Savor

Have you tried to season your spare ribs over and over again to slow cook them in your smoker, only to be dissatisfied with the outcome? If so, perhaps you’ve missed out on a couple of secret tips or ingredients that guarantee you a savory set of smoked ribs. Maybe it’s just that you need an idea of a recipe for a fantastic rub that you can build from to create your own unique recipe. Start with something simple, and build from there. Here are some starters. 

What sort of flavors do you prefer? Do you like rich spices and herbs, perhaps leafy green flavor, hot and spicy tastes, or even sweet indulgences? There are recipes catering to each of these desired styles of pork ribs, and taking the time to look over these may awaken your creative juices, as well as the juicy flavor of your next barbecue. Each type of recipe should also be paired with a particular type of wood chips to achieve the best results.    

If you are looking for a sweet and juicy set of spare ribs, you’ll want to base your rub off dark brown sugar. This is the base for many barbecue sauces and can really make the other spices you include succulently sweet. Try starting with a cup of brown sugar and adding a tablespoon each of salt, ground black pepper, and ground white pepper. Combine this with paprika – typically ½ to ¾ of a cup – and a teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder. Blend it all together, and you have a perfectly sweet flavor. Couple this with a small amount of hickory chips, a larger quantity of oak, and a hint of applewood, and you’re going to become a legend.

If you would rather awaken the tongue with something spicy-hot, your spare ribs could handle a chipotle-based rub. Start with three to four dried chipotle peppers (these are simply roasted jalapenos), depending on the degree of warmth and spiciness you are trying to achieve. Add two tablespoons each of black pepper, dried oregano, cilantro leaves, cumin, onion powder, and a teaspoon of dry orange peel. Drop in a single bay leaf and a pinch of salt. If you have a spice mill, use it to grind all the ingredients together; otherwise, mix in a blender. When it is a fine powder, rub it into your spare ribs and cook for four to five hours over hickory or mesquite wood. Don’t overcook, or the pork ribs will turn out dry.

For something a little less spicy but without that strong sweet flavor permeating the meat, try a Memphis rib rub for your smoked ribs. This recipe actually uses paprika as its base, starting with about four teaspoons of the spice. From there, you’ll want to add two teaspoons each of salt, onion powder, fresh ground black pepper, and garlic powder. To kick it up a notch without really heating up the blend, you can add ½ to one teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Combine with yellow mustard and baste the rack of ribs. The flavor of the mustard will cook out, allowing the other spices to settle into the spare ribs for a mouthful of flavor. Oak will lend a slightly smoky flavor to the meat without overwhelming the taste. You may also try some pecan wood to give it a slightly sweet hint of flavor without taking it to the level of a set of sweet smoked ribs.

With these recipe options, you’re sure to create legendary spare ribs that you can enjoy again and again, never worrying that your recipe will be disappointing in the end, when you’ve spent so much time in preparation!

Flavorful Ribs – Different Basting Recipes

Do you cook out several times a season and want to try some various recipes for your smoked ribs?  There are a number of ways to add variety and unique flavor to your pork ribs, including changing up the type of wood chips you use and adding or removing ingredients to your rib rub.  There are recipes that add a spicy heat to your pork ribs, as well as those that add sweet, fruity flavor.  What’s your preference?  Do you want to try them all?  Here are some different ways to spice up the variety in your smoked ribs recipes.

Chipotle – Chipotle seasoning is basically created from roasted jalapenos that have been ground into a powdered spice form.  By roasting the peppers, a different sort of spicy flavor is extracted from them, one that almost adds the same woodsy flavor that the wood chips themselves do.  If you want to try a southwest style, spicy type of baste for smoking ribs, be sure to add a little chipotle to the mix.  Try a cup of chili powder, two tablespoons cayenne, two tablespoons of chipotle powder, two tablespoons of ground black pepper, four tablespoons of garlic powder, and salt to taste.  Blended together and rubbed into your baby back ribs after first basting with yellow mustard, this concoction is sure to make your nose run and your forehead sweat just a little, even if it’s not triple digit heat outside.

If you are less inclined to enjoy a spicy meal, you can try something a little more standard for your spare ribs.  Sticking with more herbs and fewer hot spices can build a different type of flavor base for your recipe.  Things like oregano and cilantro can give your ribs almost a fancy, designer taste.  Try three tablespoons of ground black pepper, two tablespoons dried oregano, one tablespoon of dried cilantro leaves, one bay leaf, one teaspoon cumin, one teaspoon onion powder, and one teaspoon of ground orange peel.  Grind all these ingredients together in a blender or, if you have one, a spice mill, until it is a fine powder.  Again, use only after coating your pork ribs with yellow mustard, which will help to enhance the flavor of the spices.

Maybe you like a sweeter flavor to your spare ribs than is offered by either of these options.  In that case, start with oak wood chips rather than mesquite or hickory, which will add a deep, smoky richness to your ribs.  Oak is more mellow and won’t overwhelm the original sweetness of the meat.  Also add something like pecan or applewood to the mix, which will enhance the fruity sweetness of your recipe.  Then, use a rub that contains brown sugar.  For example, combine ½ cup brown sugar, four tablespoons paprika, one tablespoon black pepper, one tablespoon salt, one tablespoon of mild chili powder, one tablespoon of garlic powder, and one tablespoon of onion powder.  Try blending this all into the yellow mustard, then basting your meat with it.  You’ll find the ribs come out tender, juicy, and sweet.

For a spicy sweet blend, try adding both paprika and cayenne to your rub.  Four teaspoons of paprika, two teaspoons of salt, two teaspoons of onion powder, two teaspoons ground black pepper, and one teaspoon cayenne can go a long way in making a unique sweet but spicy set of smoked ribs.  Whatever recipe you choose, you can always make a change to it and make it your own, adjusting and experimenting to find exactly what you like while also keeping your diners on their toes!

Smoking Ribs for the Neighborhood Barbecue

Smoking Ribs for the Neighborhood Barbecue

Summertime is just around the corner again, and you’re getting ready for all the outdoor parties you’ll be a part of through the season – the neighborhood cookout, Fourth of July gatherings, and more. That means you’ll want to work up the perfect recipes to use out on your grill and smoker. Perhaps one of the best traditional foods for any big barbecue is smoked ribs, and if you go for pork ribs, you are sure to create a savory, delightful dish to share with your friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else who happens to pop by. There is a secret to creating the best smoked ribs, and you’ll want to consider how to cook them to get the most flavor and most tender meat possible.

First, know that more smoke is better. The flavor in smoking ribs comes from – you guessed it – the smoke you use while cooking the ribs outdoors. Whether you use a regular gas grill or a smoker, you can create a fantastic recipe simply by using a great deal of smoke. Either way, you want to choose your wood chips to infuse the ribs with a woodsy, smoky flavor. Mesquite is a great choice for such a recipe and tastes great with pork ribs. This traditional choice will certainly please anyone who attends the event in question, and you may find yourself running out of food early on.

When smoking ribs, you want to make sure you use the optimum temperature and take plenty of time with them. Smoked ribs are all about slow cooking, as this adds to the meat picking up the smoky flavor and coming out so tender it falls off the bone. The temperature should be kept somewhere around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’ll have to have some patience when it comes to getting them done, as there is a lot of time to hurry up and wait for the perfect ribs. You’ll want to take at least four hours to smoke a full rack of ribs. However, if you aren’t in a hurry, you can get more taste and softer meat with a longer time spent in the smoker.

Another way to assure your smoked ribs are as savory as they can be is to prepare them properly prior to actually cooking them. Don’t start cooking them straight from the refrigerator or freezer. First, thaw the rack, then allow it to come up to room temperature for best results. Once they’ve warmed slightly to this temperature, be sure to rinse them in cool water and remove the membrane from the back. This will allow the seasoning and smoke to soak in deeper and more efficiently to the ribs themselves. Removing the membrane can be accomplished by laying the rack with the meat side down and peeling the membrane, using a knife and starting in one corner by a bone.

Once this is done, rinse the rack of ribs one more time and pat them dry so that you can begin the basting process. To make sure your ribs absorb the most flavor from your seasoning, brush yellow mustard over the entire rack, resting assured that this will leave no remaining flavor once the smoked ribs are finished. Then, add your rub, baste, or seasoning as you prefer. Start the smoker up prior to adding the ribs so that you have the optimum temperature from the start.

When smoking ribs, always practice safety precautions, using aprons and mitts, as well as tongs and other tools to avoid burns. Keep children away from your smoker, and test the ribs carefully every once in awhile to assure they don’t burn.

How to Make Tender Smoked Ribs

How to Make Tender Smoked Ribs

Creating the perfectly tender smoked ribs is a challenge all grilling and outdoor cooking connoisseurs face, and many are never quite satisfied with their creations, always feeling they could have gotten their pork ribs just a little more tender or a tad bit more flavorful. If you are looking for a way to kick your recipe up a notch, take a look at these tips and see if any of them are missing from your smoking regimen. You might be surprised how simple it is to make a tiny change and find complete satisfaction in your next set of smoked ribs.

First, consider the time and temperature of your smoker. How warm are you keeping the enclosure while smoking ribs? The basic recommendation is to maintain a temperature of around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This is optimum for tender, juicy spare ribs. However, if you keep the heat just slightly lower – no more than 5-10 degrees under this – you may actually be able to get the meat just a tiny bit more tender. Of course, in order for this to work, you’ll also have to cook the ribs for longer. No matter what type of wood chips you use for your smoked ribs, you’ll want to cook them for at least four hours. This will make them tender and juicy, as well; however, if you can work six hours out of them with the lower temperature and not risk overwhelming them with too much smoke or overcooking them, this will create fall-off-the-bone smoked ribs.

Another considerations when smoking ribs is the rub that you use. Are you using a wet baste or a dry rub for flavoring your pork ribs? If you are using a moist baste, make sure to coat all sides of the ribs generously, since you don’t want them to dry out in the heat and smoke with which they’ll be inundated. If you are using a dry rub, be sure to baste the entire rack of ribs with yellow mustard prior to applying your spices. This accomplishes several things. First, it helps the spices stick to the smoking ribs better. It also helps to open up the meat to absorb the flavor of the spices. In addition, it tenderizes the meat even further for juicy, flavorful, soft ribs.

Prior to applying your spices, you’ll want to treat your pork ribs properly. Doing so will aid in creating the most tender ribs you can imagine. Start by rinsing the entire rack of ribs off with cold water. Then, make sure to remove the membrane from the back of the pork ribs. This membrane toughens the meat and also acts as an obstacle to absorption of smoke and spices. Once the membrane is off, rinse the ribs again, then pat dry with paper towels. Now that they are ready to go, one final step will assure you that the ribs won’t end up too tough: let them rise to room temperature prior to cooking. Cold or frozen meat doesn’t retain natural juices when cooked as well as warmer meats.

Within these tips, you are sure to find something new to try to add just a little extra something to your next set of smoked ribs. If you’ve left out more than one of these steps in the past, don’t go overboard and try everything at once. Take it one step at a time, testing out each solution to see how much closer you get to the perfect set of ribs. Of course, that’s just another excuse to enjoy your smoker and eat your favorite summer food over and over again this season!

Basting Smoked Ribs for Great Taste

baste ribs recipes
Do you find that, when you are smoking ribs, the flavor never quite reaches the tender meat inside and tends to simply cling to the outside of the meat? Maybe you’ve tried various recipes for your bastings and rubs but can’t seem to get the ribs to absorb the taste all the way through. At times, you may even find that your smoked ribs don’t retain a great deal of the smoky taste you’d like them to pick up from the hours spent slow roasting in the smoker. How can you remedy this situation so that your ribs retain all the flavor you’ve put into them and also absorb that distinct flavor throughout the entire piece of meat rather than just on the surface?

One of the number one secrets of professional smokers is the use of a very simple element when smoking ribs. This element can be used by itself prior to adding rubs and seasoning, or it can be blended into the rub so that you only have a single step in preparing the meat with the baste. Either way, yellow mustard is the key to creating the perfectly flavorful ribs.

Note that, if you are looking for yellow mustard, you don’t need to purchase anything fancy. In fact, name brands aren’t necessary, and you don’t even have to purchase something more expensive because you prefer the flavor of one brand over another. In smoking ribs, you will remove all lingering hints of mustard taste anyway, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t even like mustard. This is the secret ingredient to the most flavorful and tender smoked ribs.

basting bbq ribs recipe

Once spare ribs or baby back ribs are rinsed and patted dry, before adding your seasoning, coat the ribs with yellow mustard. This offers several advantages. First, you’ll find that powdered rubs stick to the meat better, which adds more flavor from the start. Also, the mustard opens up the “pores” of the meat, allowing it to absorb the flavor of the seasoning, with the spices permeating the meat and making the taste available throughout the membranes of the ribs, all the way down to the bone. Also, in opening up the meat to more absorption of flavor, you’ll be assured that more of the smoky, woodsy flavor provided by smoking wood chips is absorbed into the meat. By the time your smoked ribs are done hours later, the aroma and taste of the meat will be unparalleled, nd the mustard flavor will be nonexistent so no one will ever know your secret.

You can also consolidate steps by creating a mustard-based rub. By blending your powdered spices into the yellow mustard, you can create a baste that will not only coat the pork ribs in mustard but also incorporate the flavors you desire into that initial baste. This will cut back on the time spent preparing the meat, removing a step from the process. You’ll also find, in some cases, that moistening the ingredients of your rub will make the flavor pop more, meaning it is a brighter, more noticeable taste when the meat is done. basting ribs recipe

Even if you hate the taste of yellow mustard, you will notice that the use of the substance is a genius way to create the perfect smoked ribs. Critics will have to admit that rib recipes using mustard are more tender and more savory, while the taste of mustard remains undetectable in the end. Try it the next time you are smoking ribs, and you’ll immediately see the difference. You’ll never cook smoked ribs without yellow mustard again!

Slow Cooker Ribs

Hey I swore that I would never post a slow cooker ribs recipe on this site but I'm going through a bit of barbecue withdrawal.. well it's winter time now and I cannot make smoked ribs the right way -- outside in my smoker -- especially since there is a burn ban on right now due to the dry conditions, so I am forced to consider alternatives. Okay, that's the bad news. The good news being that I can still eat, and I plan on doing lots of that. Now, I'll tell you right up front, slow cooker ribs are not as good as the slow smoked ribs, but they're better than grilled cheese. So I've tried several versions of slow cooker ribs and most are pretty bad so I was forced to come up with my own that seems to produce a tender rib taste without giving off that 'dishwasher steam' taste that most slow cooked ribs have. You know what I'm talking about.. that disgusting plastic-like, school cafeteria taste. I avoid that when possible and so should you if you ask me.

What You'll Need

Let's start with some good ribs. Choose either baby back ribs or St. Louis style ribs. Country ribs work okay too but be extra careful of bone slivers breaking off into the barbecue sauce if you go that route. Make sure that the ribs you choose are fresh and have several days to go before the 'use by' date arrives. Best not to use frozen ribs but if that is all you have then go for it.

Get a good barbecue rib rub too.

You will also need whatever is your favorite barbecue sauce

Slow Cooker Ribs recipe

Wash and trim the baby back ribs or whatever cut of pork ribs you choose.

Cut ribs into sections with 4 or 5 ribs to each section.

Brush ribs with olive oil on both sides and then coat with your rib rub.

Brown under broiler in oven for 7 to 10 minutes per side. Do not put the ribs too close to the broiler element or else they will smoke too much. Use a large cookie sheet. Remove spare ribs from oven after they are browned on both sides and let stand for several minutes to cool. You may have to do in batches to achieve an even coating.

After the ribs have cooled, double wrap each section in aluminum foil and place ribs in slow cooker and cook on low heat for about 8 hours. Remove ribs and allow them to cool enough so that you can handle them without them breaking apart, usually about 30 minutes or so.

Heat up your barbecue sauce in a small saucepan. Turn the sauce on low so that it does not splash out. The thicker the sauce, the lower you will need to turn the burner on. Keep it stirred so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Serve the ribs with hot barbecue sauce to the side or over the ribs. Enjoy!

Slow Smoked Country Ribs on a Gas Grill

Smoked Country Ribs

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 6 hours
Serves: 5 to 8

Country style ribs can be a nice diversion from the ordinary barbecued ribs recipe. Country style ribs tend to be much more fatty than spare ribs, but they are also tough like baby back ribs or spare ribs. Okay, so how do we get rid of the fatty layers and at the same time make our smoked country ribs nice and tender? Well here is an easy recipe that allows the fat to be slow cooked off and still achieves a nice tender smoky flavor using a two step cooking process: the first is to get the meat smoky and the second is to tenderize it. Enjoy and smile.

Country Style Smoked Ribs


2 packages of country style ribs, fresh. Usually each pack will weigh about two to three pounds.

1 bottle bbq sauce (about 1.5 cups) or try our barbecue sauce.

Rib rub

Charcoal or wood chunks

Disposable metal pan or foil

Gas Grill with a top level grate


Rinse country ribs in cold water. Do not trim fat from ribs.

Brush or spray country ribs with olive oil and sprinkle rib rub on if preferred.

Preheat gas grill to medium low.

Place charcoal or wood chunks on one side of grill, directly onto hot grates. Make a tent over the wood or charcoal with foil or upside down metal pan. Does not have to be perfectly covered.

Place smoker ribs on upper shelf on opposite side of grill. Turn burner under ribs off at this point.

Close grill lid and let smoke for about 2 hours, adding wood or charcoal as necessary.

Bring ribs indoors and put into slow cooker. If you do not have a slow cooker, then you can use a stove top covered pan or use your oven. Place the country ribs into pan or slow cooker and add the barbecue sauce. Make sure that the temperature is set on medium low, about 250 degrees. Slow cook for 4 hours.

Serve with barbecue baked beans and Texas toast.

BBQ Ribs


Barbecue has become one of the worlds favorite foods recently and with good reason: they are fun to make and even more fun to eat! BBQ Ribs offer something for everyone, whether you enjoy spicy barbecue flavors or a more mild and passive taste, you can find satisfaction with mouth watering barbecued ribs.

Developments in barbecue grill technology have allowed year round enjoyment of our favorite barbecue recipes. Now, BBQ grills last longer, have easy lighting systems, and can stand up against the harsh outdoor conditions in almost all parts of the world, making barbecuing an option at all times and in all places.

We are even seeing more and more variations of the barbecue grill itself, now with all different shapes and sizes and styles, which allows people the variety that they want when comes to designing their decks and porches and outdoor kitchens. With these new advancements in technology and lighting systems, it seems more and more people are stepping out of the kitchen and able to enjoy an outdoor barbecue. With that happening, the focus now seems to be the barbecue recipes. Always popular choices are bbq ribs, bbq chicken, and the good 'ol standby: barbecue hamburgers. I love all of these foods, but my favorite (obviously) is barbecued ribs. Of all the various types of BBQ, ribs and similar meats like pork butt or brisket seem to take the longest to prepare but I must say that I love that aspect of it; it is rewarding to work that long and then see how many people enjoy the taste of tender and spicy barbecued ribs. I have a pretty simple method for bbq ribs here.

But I've also learned quite a bit about barbecue ribs and barbecue in general since I started this site, and among the most surprising things is all the different foods that creative people are starting to grill over a barbecue grill or wood smoker. Nothing is sacred any more.

Here are some strange things that people are now starting to put on their BBQ : Bananas, Apples, Mushrooms, Mangos, Pizza dough (huh?), Fruits, Pies, Cakes, Candy, and Sandwiches, just to name a few. It seems that the possibilities are endless but nothing fascinate the truly religious bbq chef more than the limitless bounds when it comes to food preparation on the bbq grill.

So get outside, everyone, and try some new ways to BBQ and I think that you will enjoy yourself and have a bit of fun.

How to Smoke Ribs - Controlling Air Flow

No two barbecues are the same. Some turn out well while others seem to fizzle out. It's baffling to me how I can repeat the exact same process when smoking ribs and yet, get different results each time. So, I decided to start a little discussion about maintaining the airflow, air temperature and meat temperature throughout the meat smoking process. Please add your comments below; we would be happy to hear from you all.

If any of you have tried to make smoked ribs or smoked brisket before by following a recipe or online advice then you know that sometimes it simply does not turn out well. Having a decent thermometer is a good start, but even that is not enough. Professional meat smokers all develop a 'feel' for smoking and barbecue in general. They learn how to tell when that right moment is to flip, foil, mop, or remove the ribs from the smoker. Yes, we have tools such as thermometers, recipes, clocks, etc that help us determine when those exact moments are, but no tool can be substituted for experience.

One of the keys to smoking meat is understanding airflow. Airflow determines the overall temperature of the fire, the path that the smoke travels, the intensity of the smoke, the temperature of the meat, everything. As you know, lowering the air intake will dampen the fire and reduce the overall airflow generated, and opening the intake door will increase the hotness of the fire, the amount of smoke usually, and the temperatures of both the firebox and the cooking section.

In many smoked ribs guides and forums, they tell you to make sure that you maintain a minimun temperature in order to assure food safety. This only applies to smoked ribs that are cooked entirely by the smoking process. You will find that all of the recipes on my site are divided into two cooking sections: one is the smoking process that takes place in the smoker or on the grill while the other is the actual end cooking process that assure the meat is done. The final cooking stage takes place indoors in the oven or slow cooker, where temperatures are higher and more safe. This way, you can use air flow to limit the temperature and the amount of heat penetrating the ribs.

Beer Glazed Smoked Baby Back Ribs

Another great brine that is seldom used but that has an outstanding flavor is beer. Few people actually want to waste a good six pack of beer on smoked ribs but I say just buy an extra case and then you are 18 ahead. Here is a quick recipe for the beer smoked ribs.

You will need:
  • a couple racks of spare ribs or baby back ribs
  • a six pack of beer
  • seasonings
  • wood chips or chunks for smoking
  • a gas grill or your smoker
  • foil
  • an understanding family
Get your standard spare ribs or baby back ribs and do the usual trimming if desired; I don't trim mine as I have never noticed a difference. Peel the under-layer off if you prefer though. Put the ribs on a large cookie sheet or in an extra large cake pan and pour 2 cans of beer over them. Do not season them just yet as the liquid from the beer will just wash it off. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Do not soak too long because you will have a mess on your hands. Rotate once about half way through.

Remove ribs from beer brine and season however you wish. A brown sugar, garlic, sea salt, cayenne, and heavy pepper dry rub works well with these. Few people have the seasoning mace but if you have it use some sparingly. Rub the seasoning on liberally. That does not mean with tax money, it means rub a lot of it on.

Fire up your grill or smoker, see my other posts for how to to use your gas grill as a smoker. Read your manual to make sure it is safe first. (Okay, I realize nobody will read their manual, or even knows which trash can they threw it in, but I say that because it seems like something smart to say; just don't blow yourself up).

Beer Glaze Sauce:
  • 2 Cans of beer
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1/2 cup steak sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • seasonings that you prefer
Glaze preparation: This one is easy-- just mix all the ingredients together in a small metal pan or cup. Keep the sauce between the smoking ribs or smoked brisket and the fire. The heat from the fire will keep the sauce warm while at the same time the evaporation of the glaze should keep the ribs nice and moist. Baste the smoking ribs several times during the meat smoking process.

Smoke the ribs for about three to five hours, turning occasionally. Keep feeding plenty of new wood chips so that you can see the smoke billowing out constantly and keep basting every 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to place your bbq ribs as far from the actual heat source as possible because you don't want to pulverize the ribs.

Bring ribs inside and allow to cool for 10 to 20 minutes. Next, you will need to double wrap them in aluminum foil. Slather them generously with remaining glaze prior to closing up the foil. Put on cookie sheet and slow cook in oven on 225 degrees for 2 to 3 hours. For the last 20 minutes of cooking, turn on the broiler and open the foil packets. The purpose of this step is to make sure that the glaze gets emblazoned onto the smoked ribs. Be sure that the they are positioned somewhere around the middle rack area of the oven.

Serve with smoked bbq baked beans, corn on the cob, and a nice cool salad and of course, the remaining cans of beer.

Barbecue Chicken Recipe

This is by far the best barbecue chicken recipe that we have ever tasted. It is fairly easy to do and most of all, it is fun. And the taste it gives off is a nice smoky woodsy chicken taste.. very satisfying. Now, a lot of traditional meat smokers will prefer to use whole chickens and you can certainly do that if you want. Be sure to increase your cooking times though. I have found that using a cut up chicken works much better for me because I like a stronger smoked meat taste, and the smoke can sink into the cut up chicken more thoroughly than it can with a whole chicken.

A note about using barbecue sauce on your smoked chicken--> Guys, this one is a toss-up. Yes, I love the seared on barbecue taste but I also love that great pure grill flavor; so it is truly up to you. If you do use barbecue sauce with your grilled chicken, be sure to let it blacken a bit on both sides (not too much, just in spots) because you don't want runny sauce ruining your whole barbecue chicken recipe.

Here is the barbecue chicken recipe basic version:












In a large mixing bowl, pour the Italian dressing in along with the lime juice. Add 3 teaspoons of pepper, 2 teaspoons of salt, and about 2 tablespoons of garlic powder. Add in 1 tablespoon of the red pepper flakes. If you have a large freezer bag to marinate the chicken in then use that; otherwise, you'll just have to use the mixing bowl.

Skin the chicken if you prefer and put it in the marinade mixture. Seal tightly and put in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, start your barbecue charcoal grill with the charcoal just as normal. While you are waiting for the coals to turn gray, go ahead and soak the wood chips in water.

When the coals are ready, spread them out on the bottom of your grill as normal. Put several new briquettes of charcoal on top and also a couple scoops of the wood chips, making sure to shake as much water off as possible before putting them into the fire so that you do not douse your fire. Obviously, don't burn yourself.

Place the grate directly over the fire but not too low. Brush the grate with oil. Do not use cooking spray as this will blow you up, and possibly your neighbor's dog. Immediately put the chicken on and then choke all air off of the fire to stifle the flare ups. You can save the marinade if you wish as it makes a fine barbecue sauce base or a great basting sauce.

Once the fire has died down a bit, open a tiny hole for air to pass in, just enough to keep the fire smoldering without burning too high. Chicken burns real easy, especially if the skin is still on, so be careful here. Better to have a slow fire and have it take longer to cook than to have a ruined barbecue chicken meal.

Barbecued chicken takes longer to cook than a lot of meats so be patient. Also, place the thicker pieces over the hottest part of the fire, and the wings to the outside. Add more wood chips and charcoal as necessary. Turn several times during the cooking process; move the positions of the chicken pieces to help ensure even cooking. Wait until chicken no longer sticks to grill grates before turning the first time.

When barbecuing chicken is nearly done (juices will run clear on piercing), slather a generous amount of barbecue sauce on each side and sear it on both sides until it is not longer runny and it shows several black spots. Serve barbecue chicken recipe warm and with additional barbecue sauce on the side if your prefer.

How to Smoke Brisket

How to Smoke a Brisket

Smoking a brisket can be a little more tricky than smoking ribs simply because it is typically a much tougher cut of meat and is hard to get tenderized. Smoked ribs are difficult as well, but will usually cooperate in time. But if you want to smoke a brisket you will need not only time but also a few of these tips that will ensure that your next barbecue night will be a three pound gain for all involved.

But smoking brisket is similar to smoking ribs in that you have to care about what you are doing. There really is not much more to cooking good foods than that; and it is especially true of smoked barbecue because it also takes so much patience.

Prepare the Smoked Brisket

Rinse the brisket in cool water. Use paper towels to pat dry. Coat the entire brisket with mustard, making sure to get both sides.

Do not trim the fat layer off of the underside of the brisket. Season the brisket generously with your favorite barbecue rub. If you do not have a rub handy then just use whatever combination of spices that you do have. Some good choices are salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, chili seasoning, etc. Cover after you have seasoned and put in fridge until fire or smoker grill is ready.

Building the Fire for Smoked Brisket

This really depends on what type of grill you are going to use. I have a plain old barrel smoker with a firebox mounted to one side. If you have a smoker, then just start your fire the normal way - I prefer charcoal as a starter because it lights easy and is cheap. I switch to wood once the meat is on.

If you have a charcoal grill, then you will want to build the fire off to one side. I like to place a large sheet of aluminum foil down first. I put the coals inside the foil and then fold the side in the middle of the grill straight up toward the top of the grill. Here you just need to build a simple wall that will prevent the brisket from being cooked too fast. The more heat that you can diffuse the better. I even like to fold the foil flap a bit back over the coals (once they get going) so that I have more room on the grill grates. Make sure that enough air can still get to the fire and also be sure to leave yourself an opening so that you can feed wood chips or wood chunks into it. Use the foil flap as an air regulator. It helps to punch holes in it. It also helps to have the fire elevated so that air can get under it. Most grills have that bottom grate that allows that airflow, but if you do not have it, just use a couple of bricks or rocks or an old pan. An old colander works great because it is elevated plus it already has holes in it. Uh, make sure it is the metal kind.

If you do not have wood chips or wood chunks for your barbecue brisket then try to find sticks from around your yard, even twigs are better than just plain charcoal. Do not use treated wood due to the chemicals. Do not use sticks with diseased bark. Start your fire and wait for the coals to turn a bit gray. If you are smoking brisket or smoking ribs, then you do not have to wait until they are completely gray because we are only wanting the fire in order to light the wood.

Make sure your grill grates are clean. I like to heat them over the fire with the lid down for a few minutes -- burns all that bacteria right off -- before I scrape it. And then I just use a couple pair of tongs to situate back to where it goes. If I get in a pinch, I will just get the vice-grips out of the glove compartment. Whatever works, eh?

Smoking Brisket

Put the wood onto the fire before putting the grates or meat on. Put the meat on fire, positioning it so that the thick portion of the smoked brisket is further away from the fire than the thin part. This will help achieve an evenly smoked brisket.

You may want to re-season the brisket at this point before it crusts over; much of the initial seasoning usually falls off during handling and from being on the pan. Put the side that was face down on the pan face up on the grill and re-season it. Do not worry about which side it is -- fat side or meat side makes no difference. You will be turning it halfway through the smoking process anyway.

[Many people argue over this layer of fat and whether it should face up or down. Some say 'up' so that the heat can slowly melt it during the smoking process and therefore constantly baste the smoking brisket. This is just crazy thinking. First of all, If you are doing it properly then the fire should not be hot enough to melt fat that is one to two feet away from it. Secondly, we don't baste with grease. If you want to baste, just put a can of water in the grill somewhere and let the evaporation do it. They also claim by putting the fat side down that you are inhibiting the smoke from rising up through the meat. This, too, is crazy -- the smoke is completely surrounding the meat chamber. I tend to favor those that say put the fat side face down, simply because the grease will melt a little and it acts as a natural lubricant on the grill grates so that you brisket won't stick when you turn it.]

Don't forget to add the wood BEFORE the meat. Close the lid or dampers almost completely, leaving just a sliver of an opening in and out. Peek through the opening to see if the fire is burning too high and if it is then choke it off a bit more by clamping the lid or dampers even tighter. You don't want to see orange flames, you want a smolder. Don't deny the fire air for too long, though or else it will be lost.

Smoke the brisket for about four hours, adding wood as needed. Turn and smoke for another two hours or so, depending on how large the brisket is. Re-season and baste as desired. This will take less time if you are using a charcoal grill because the smoked brisket will be exposed to more heat (it is closer to it). If it begins to cook too quickly, wrap the underside in foil. Also, putting a line of bricks right on top of the grill grates and then putting the brisket on the bricks works really good too; the bricks diffuse much of the heat and you can just baste them instead (works sort of like a sauna).

Next, completely wrap the brisket in foil -- use plenty. Cook for another four hours. For this phase the smoke does not matter since the brisket is covered so you can also use your indoor oven or a slow cooker. Cook on low for about four to five hours. During the last hour, open foil and pour in bottle of barbecue sauce and then leave foil undone. Since this does take a long time your can divide the steps into two or three days if you want. Just be sure to wrap the brisket (or cover it in a pan) and refrigerate if keeping overnight. When done, serve warm.

Enjoy your Barbecue Smoked Brisket.

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