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: Woods and temps in New Braunfels . . . . From: Fred,
Subject: Re: Regulating Temperatures
H E L P !
I have a couple questions that I hope you can help me with.
1. About fruit wood for smoking (or any other wood for that matter) - leave the bark on or take it off?
2. I have a New Brunfells smoker and I'm not happy with the results. I purchased the optional thermometer but I don't feel as if it is giving me an accurate reading. The meat seems to get over smoked but does not cook I'm talking hours over the recipe times and during warm weather. I am regulating the temperature by limiting the amount of intake air as well as the size of the opening on the exhaust stack (New Brunfells recommendation). To keep the temperature up I have had to keep the stack about 95% closed. The air intake vents are about 85% closed. If I open the stack, the wood blazes away no matter how much I close off the intake vents. I usually keep a base of briquettes and add wood to it. I have been using apple, cherry and hickory wood and the briquettes in the blue, white & red bag. Help!
Thanks in advance and keep up the good work with the newsletter and web page.
If New Braunfels says to regulate the temperature by playing with the exhaust they are typical of folk who build grills and don't know how to use them. May be why we get such lame brained designs.
Never, never close down the exhaust while you are cooking. It results in incomplete combustion, lots of soot and phenols (creosote) on the meat. If you read the FAQs and According to Smoky, you will find that I never recommend cooking in flames and only rarely and in special circumstances in the smoke of smoldering wood.
Go get a commercial grade bi-metal thermometer and check the temperature of the exhaust air. The temperature at the meat will be about 10* higher.
You are going to have to start with a lot more charcoal and wood to build a greater mass of coals before you put the meat on. Start with about 5 lbs of good charcoal and twice the volume of wood. When the woods burn to embers, close the grill check the exhaust flow. Shut down the intake until you achieve the proper temperature for whatever type of cooking you plan to do. Then throw on the meat.
If you are slow cooking as in barbecuing, you will need an auxillary fire pit to burn down additional wood and charcoal before putting it into the grill.
Your selection of woods is excellent, but you need to burn them down before cooking over them.
Now, go on out there, fire up the grill, pop a cap and relax and have some fun,