Well, you asked for it. Here, Smoky answers the most commonly asked questions. He is direct, honest and offers an insight into the time proven techniques to preparing great barbecue that is unavailable elsewhere. If you are unable to locate the exact answer you are seeking, feel free to contact him directly and ask!
He returns all questions . . . . . . .
Topic: Associations and Grills . . . . From: Tom,
Subject: Re: Birmingham Associations and types of grills
I've spent some time on your internet site the past couple of days and love it. I have spent some time trying to do smoking on my Weber kettle, have had OK success, but want to take the dive in to a real smoker.
1) Do you know of any bbq associations in the Birmingham area?
2) How about the Brinkman/Hondo/Blackdiamond smaller smokers? In looking at them, I don't know if they would hold a whole turkey.
Once again, great site, great info....keep up the good work.
1. There are enough good cookers around that Birmingham ought to have a barbeque group. Why don't you talk to the food editor at the B'ham News and suggest that she run a little blurb on it and see what kind of response it gets. If Jo Ellen O'Hara is still there, tell her Smoky sent you.
2. Smaller is not better in barbecuing. Unlash your cash and get a grill that will take the limits off your talents. Oklahoma Joe's and CharBroil's CHARCOAL cookers are less than 3 Bills and a lot more entertaining than a 27" TV set. You can broil, roast, barbecue, smoke and steam. Otherwise, with Birmingham's history of steel working, there must be at least 138 guys making grills out of 55 gal drums and almost giving them away.
3. Make sure that that turkey is 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh before you gobble him.
On the rare occasions when I use them, I prefer gas grills with left and right burners. This allow much more flexibility. For instance if the grill encloses enough volume, you can roast a chicken, duck or prime rib on one side with the flame on the other. And, with supreme ingenuity and masterful technique, you can approximate the conditions for barbecuing.
The grill should be well constructed, stable and allow easy access for removing the drippings. Accumulated drippings are a serious fire hazard. The gas bottle should be removable so that, in an emergency, the shut off valve is a safe distance from the grill.
I recommend lava rocks to absorb btus and then give them up as required. One company makes a rock which gives off a smoke flavor. (Hickory Specialties) They work over a finite period.
In the final analysis, a gas grill is an outdoor gas broiler and one with a lid is an outdoor oven. You can bake bread or cakes. They are clean and convenient. However, take no less time than a charcoal grill to reach the proper conditions for cooking anything but burgers or weinies.
On the other hand, you can never really barbecue. If that is okay with you go for it. Look at all the brands available (and garage sales) before you buy. Cast aluminum for the body is a plus. They do not rust when you convert the grill to a flower pot holder after you have discovered that you want to use charcoal or wood. You can also take out the gas burners and, with installation of a fire grate, make a useable charcoal grill.
Best approach is to think about what you plan to cook, how and how much. Time spent on research and planning now will please you immeasurably later.
Get started. Start cooking even if you make a mistake. I have learned a lot that way.