Monday, December 17, 2018

Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe Easy and Fast How To UDS

Smoked Beef Brisket UDS Recipe
The other day I was tooling around our local grocery meat counter and I saw a small sectioned Beef Brisket Flat.  Immediately, I thought about the smells and tastes of Brisket.  I've had brisket in many forms but never in a one or two version fashion.  And it's not so much the fact that the meal was made for one or two but that there was a process that allowed someone to make it easily.  So, I set out to chronicle my steps in making this mouthwatering Brisket treat.  The process is relatively easy but does require time.  Brisket in some ways is similar to Tri-Tip but requires even more time in the cooking process to make the meat tender.  Follow along as I walk you through my process.  I'm also including the ingredients and the listing of spices and rubs that I used as well as the wood and charcoal. Let's get started.

Let's discuss the idea of time.  As a general means this brisket process will take about 8 hours.  We say 8 because first off you'll be cleaning and seasoning the meat.  Following those steps you'll need to rest the meat for a period of time.  Thereafter you'll be cooking the meat which is in this case smoking the meat so you'll need a minimum of 5 hours.  The total number of hours is over 8 but in the case of a quick process you can get the job done in less time just don't expect completely buttery results in which case you'll be fine. 

First off in the process I purchased a 3 pound flat of Beef Brisket.  Brisket as you may know is a specific cut of Beef from the lower chest and breast area of beef or veal.  There are a series of what are considered primal cuts in which the meat is typically separated from the structure of an animal during the butchering process.  Some of the primal cuts are the loin, rib, chuck segments, ham or the round.  And because of the location in which brisket is derived the meat is also called a working section of the animal where the superficial and deep pectoral muscles reside.  Since cows and venison don't have collar bones then this brisket section typically supports the bulk of the weight of the animal as it stands or moves.  To make a long story shorter this meat segment is quite tough and requires the right process of cooking in order to make the meat tender.  

Now with a clear understanding of the meat in hand let's move our process along.  Having purchased the flat section realizing that a full brisket has two primary segments, the flat and the point.  As a point of reference the point is typically where burnt ends are made.  The meat is cooked then sliced away and joined with a liquid in a container and further cooked until tender.  

As for the flat this section must be prepared to make the most of it.  Let's start by cleaning the meat thoroughly, and we're just going to do this with some warm not too hot water.  Remove any grit or excess segments left over from the butchering process.  It's also a good idea to note the direction of the grain of the meat.  This will set a mental image for you as to where you will be cutting once the smoking is completed and the meat is covered with bark and seasoning.  

Take a paper towel and pat the meat completely dry.  Place the meat in a container and hold at room temperature.  Now, I've decided that I'm not going to flavor the meat through injection so I'm simply going to prep the meat through a dry rub that will create a nice crust to help preserve the flavors in the meat.  I'll need two things to create the flavor level I'm seeking.  I'll need a combination of salts and peppers as well I'll need some sugars and herbs to layer over the meat to create the finished taste.  

I'll be starting with our Jake's Famous brand Santa Maria Dry Rub. 3 Tablespoons.  Why this rub?  This rub contains ample amounts of Kosher salt, Coarse ground Black Pepper and Granulated Garlic.  In the barbecue world this combination is known as SPG but for our purposes we'll just focus on the fact that we're using Salt, Pepper and Garlic in combination with Parsley, and hints of Onion and Mustard spices.  We use this combination of Salt, Pepper, and Garlic because it will draw some moisture out of the meat as well as leave behind a nice familiar layer of savory Garlic and Pepper.  We'll let the combination of salts and peppers rest on the meat for about and hour.  

Following the hour of resting you'll notice some of the liquid has been pulled out of the meat.  Not to worry this is supposed to happen with the combination of spices and herbs we used.  So, let's build some flavor next.  We'll want to layer on some sugars and herbs to supplement the salts and peppers and I believe the best way to do that is through the use of our Tri Tip Steak and Rib Rub, 3 Tablespoons.  This is a refined steak and rib rub that does quadruple duty as a brisket rub, chicken rub and fish rub.  The combinations of the purest brown sugar, garlic, Smoked Salt, additional Black Pepper combined with herbs of tarragon and oregano fully bolstered by onion, mustard, rich, smoky Paprika are quintessential in building the right levels of flavor for our brisket. 

With the brisket fully coated it's time to rest the meat and allow the flavors to combine and build. Place the meat in a sealed container and place within your refrigerator.  The meat must be in the standard section of the fridge as it does not require overt cooling or freezing.   And since I purchased the meat at mid day it's too late for me to get my smoker going considering the number of hours needed to complete the process.  So, let's spend the time on the materials needed for the next days barbecue.  We'll need at least a 1/2 full bag of charcoal as well as a 1/3 bag full of lump charcoal hickory version preferably.  I'll be using my UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker) in addition I'll have a set of remote thermometer gauges which I'll use to accurately reflect the temperature within the grill as well as the temperature of the brisket. 

I will also be using wood smoke to build the flavors of the brisket.  I'll be using about 15 ounces of Red Oak Wood.  This will be placed in the charcoal basket in the form of 4 or 5 chunks and cut segments.  Place the wood around the basket so as the charcoal burns from center to outside as the wood is consumed along with the charcoal driving wood smoke upward. 

Arrange the charcoal briquettes around the outer edge of the basket.  Place the hickory lump charcoal in the center portion of the basket surrounded by the charcoal briquettes.  I'll be using some starter lighting cubes so I won't need any harsh chemical starters that may affect the final taste of the meat.  Position the smoker away from any wood sources like trees, wood planks, paper or sides of houses.  Now seal up the unit until it's time to use it on the next morning. 

One thing I like to do before the next morning is consider the last thing first.  This may seem odd but what it means is let's consider when we want to be eating this brisket.  Ultimately calculating time in this way will determine the best and most appropriate time for starting the grill.  So, let's think about this. I'd like to be eating somewhere around 4 or 5 PM.  I know I will rest the brisket for a minimum 2 hour period which puts me back around 2 PM.  I will have wrapped the brisket with a steaming liquid and allowed the meat to steam on the smoker for 2 hours at least.  So, with the steaming time and preparation time that moves me back to 11:30 AM.  My Brisket is approximately 3 pounds so I'll need to smoke the meat until it reaches as least 162 degrees before I consider the wrapping process.  So, this smoking process may take up to 2-1/2 hours as I will be seeking a smoking temperature of about 225 to 250 degrees on average.  Now working backward from 11:30 AM for 2-1/2 hours puts us at around 9 AM.  Last but not least is the amount of time it will take to get my charcoal up to temperature.  I would expect that my smoker will take about 30 minutes to regulate the temperature so overall and considering the fact that I filled the charcoal the night before I'll need to start the fire around 8:15 or 8:30 AM. 

The overall efficiency in this process is knowing beforehand how much time will be required to complete all the tasks then working efficiently within those time-frames to get things done. 

Next day.  It's now 7 AM I'm up and ready to get the smoker going.  I've checked my brisket and it looks very good.  I've checked the charcoal combination and it looks very good as well.  One other thing to focus on is the external temperature, is it sunny or cold or rainy.  If rainy, cold or moist temperatures these will slow down the smoking process extending the time by at least 30 minutes. 

Now it's 8 AM and with everything ready let's go ahead and start the charcoal basket.  With the starter lit and charcoal combination slowly starting let's go ahead and remove the brisket from the fridge and allow it to rest on the kitchen counter while the charcoal is starting.  The resting process will bring the meat to room temperature which can reduce the amount of heat and time required to cook the brisket. 

One thing on the lighting of charcoal.  I am reminded that I often use a Chimney Starter to get my charcoal going.  I could of course use this but by doing so I'm forcing a lot of heat into the smoker all at one point.  Our object here is to smoke the meat for a considerable time-frame which will help tenderize the brisket.  So, for this purpose I will use my Chimney Starter at some other time. 

Make sure the vent door is wide open which will allow maximum oxygen to the charcoals as they burn. Also ensure that the top of the smoker is off for at least 15 minutes as the charcoal gets started.  After 15 minutes place the grill plate in the smoker followed by the addition of a heat probe.  Place the smoker lid on the unit and begin taking note of the temperature as the smoker settles into it's standard smoking range.  As the temperature notches upward closer to the 225-250 degree range begin adjusting the vent door to about 1/2 closed.  This will further moderate the temperature and will ensure that our readings are accurate.  It's now 8:20 AM let's confirm that our temperature is at the right level and that the wood is burning evenly.  If all is right it's time to get the meat on the grill. 

Insert your second probe sensor into the brisket about 1/2 way into the meat.  Key point we will be inserting the probe on the top of the meat with the fat side on the bottom. If you do not have a heat diversion plate on your smoker you can set the brisket to the outer side of the grate so as not to sear the meat while it's being smoked.  Place the meat on the smoker fat side in contact with the grill plate.  Confirm the position of the meat, connect the sensors and place the lid on the grill. Now comes the monitoring process.  This stage is focused mainly on ensuring that the temperature remains level within the range. 

Note the initial temperature of the brisket, remember we are looking for a temperature of about 162 degrees within the center of the meat.  It's a good idea to do a temperature check about every 15-20 minutes.  If you have an alarm setting on your remote thermometer set the gauge for the 162 degrees then go about your business. 

Prior to reaching the 162 degree temperature we will be preparing a steam bath for the smoked brisket.  Pull two large sheets of aluminum foil enough to completely wrap the meat with about 5 inches left over on each side.  Place one sheet lengthwise and the other at 90 degrees underneath the top sheet.  Set aside 1/2 cup of beef broth and about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.  These will be used to steam the meat and add just a slight sweetness to the overall taste. 

At 162 degrees remove the brisket and place it on the top sheet.  Fold the foil inward on the sides and the ends then pour in 1 tablespoon of brown sugar per lengthwise side next to the brisket.  Follow that with 1/4 cup of beef broth per side.  Fold over the foil to catch the liquids.  Fold over the 2nd piece of foil to seal in the first piece and the liquids.  Return the sealed brisket to the grill.  Now pierce the foil with the temperature probe and again place it as close to center of the meat as possible without pushing through the meat.  Place the lid back on the smoker and note the temperature of the heat from the smoker as well as the temperature of the meat. 

One thing that can and does happen is the uneven burning of charcoal in the basket.  You may notice a dip in the overall temperature of the smoker.  If your smoker drops below 210 degrees you will need to add some charcoal briquettes to keep the heat up.  Note, place the charcoal in areas where you see red zones this means that charcoal is avidly being burned and by adding your units this will shorten the time toward keeping the heat at the right level.  As an option this is where the use of the Chimney Starter is desired.  In the starter place 10 charcoal cubes.  Light the cubes and allow them to burn for at least 10 minutes.  Once burned you can carefully remove the grill grate with the brisket wrap on it and pour the charcoal near the center of the basket.  If you have flip grates on your grill turn the grates and pour the charcoal into the basket.  Be careful not to get burned.  There's a lot of heat from the starter and embers will move upward with the flow of air so keep an eye on things and wear heavy protective gloves. 

Now our final smoking temperature of the meat is 200 degrees.  Early in the process you would have reset your remote gauge to accept the new temperature reading.  After the reading is reached remove the brisket in foil and place in a metal serving tray.  Cover the tray with a large towel enough to full cover.  Place the tray and towel on a rack in your oven with the oven off or in a large cooler.  Keep in mind the tray will need to remain undisturbed for 2 hours before even thinking about serving.  If you need your oven during that two hour period try to find some other location in which the tray can be sealed undisturbed. 

After the 2 hour resting period remove the brisket from the foil and place it on a cutting board.  Use a large serrated knife and first find the direction of the meat grain pattern.  Cut slices approximately 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch across the grain and layer out.  Note how the fat at the bottom has rendered into the meat.  You can leave the fat on or remove it depending on what you or your guests desire. 

Beef Brisket Slices

Collect the liquids into a container with a lid.  When cooled the fat will solidify near the top of the liquid.  Remove the fat from the liquid and hold aside as an amazing au jus pour over.  To reuse just microwave about 20 or 30 seconds then pour over the meat. 

The results of your Smoked Brisket should be awesome.  The meat should be tender and extremely pliable.  Those are the signs that the brisket was cooked at the right temperature and that the seasonings used did their jobs.  In addition the meat will have a savory, subtle peppery finish that complements the smoked brisket and is just wonderful.

We hope you've enjoyed how we explained making a 3 pound brisket using a UDS.  Often times it's hard to keep up with all the items and ingredients used in the process so I've captured that list below.  Be sure to checkout our vast array of amazing products and use code: Barbecue10 for an immediate 10% savings on all items on our Jake's Famous Foods. website.

Smoking List:

3 Pound Brisket
Paper Towels
Jake's Santa Maria Dry Rub
Jake's Tri Tip Steak and Rib Rub
UDS Ugly Drum Smoker
1/2 bag of charcoal briquettes
1/3 bag of Hickory Lump charcoal
15 Ounces Red Oak Smoking Wood
Lighter cubes
Aluminum Foil
Beef Broth
Brown Sugar
Remote Sensing Temperature Gauge and Probes
Heavy Gloves
Chimney Starter
Metal tray
Cutting Board
Serrated cutting blade
Container for Au Jus storage
8 Hours minimum for preparation and smoking

I've enjoyed my 55 gallon drum grill.  I've enjoyed it so much so that I've commissioned an additional grill.  This grill is a vertically standing UDS Ugly Drum Smoker unit that I used to make this wonderful brisket.  In this unit the charcoal is lit and the heat rising along with smoke from wood chunks delivers an enormously flavorful result.  To get an idea of what I've actually done see the picture below. 

Red Top UDS Ugly Drum Smoker and BBQ Grill

Happy Barbecue...

Monday, November 5, 2018

Instant Pot BBQ Rib Recipe And Why You Should Make It

Instant pot bbq ribs recipe

When the weather changes and cooking and grilling tend to move more indoors never fear that you can't have your favorite homemade ribs.  In fact, with our Instant Pot Ribs (IPR) Recipe you can have those famous homemade barbecue ribs anytime you want.  With our post and recipe, you'll be able to get the job done and enjoy those savory or sweet homemade barbecue ribs at your leisure.  Follow along with us as we take you through the process.

It's always a good idea to get some foundation in place before you build your recipe house.  So, let get to some understanding about what an Instant Pot is and what it isn't.

Instant Pot is the process of using pressure the make and cook food products.  The actual history of Instant Pot or pressurized cooking goes like this.

The pressure cooking method of cooking in a sealed vessel not permitting steam to escape below a preset pressure.  Because the boiling point of water increases as the pressure increases, the pressure built up inside the cooker allows the liquid in the cooking pot to rise to a higher temperature before boiling.

The pressure cooker was invented by Denis Papin, a French physicist, in 1679.  However, it only became a household cooking appliance during World War II when the people realized how much fuel they could save due to much shorter cooking time and the ability to cook cheaper cuts of meat easily.  Pressure cooking is often used to simulate the effects of long braising or simmering in shorter periods of time.

Modern-day Pressure Cookers or Instant Pots are technological marvels in their ability to have time and temperature settings in multiple modes.  These units are larger and with multiple inner containers for myriad uses.  Instant Pot Cookers can perform the duties of Pressure Cooker, Slow Timed Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Cake Batter Maker, Egg Timed Cooker, Sauté for meats and vegetables, Steamer, Warmer as well as general Sterilizer.

instant pot barbecue ribs
Instant Pot Barbecue Ribs

Now that we know about Instant Pots how exactly do you operate one? We know that cooking food using water or liquid in a sealed vessel produces steam which causes pressure.  The containment vessel is specifically designed to withstand the internal pressures created by the increase in steam.  The cooker works by trapping the steam produced with the final results being an increase in internal pressure and temperature.  After the steam and pressure contain the ingredients forcing the flavors that would normally escape remaining in foods the trapped steam is then allowed to be released slowly so that the vessel can be opened safely.

How do you use an Instant Pot to make Ribs? Similar to that of a barbecue grill the actual cooking process is about time and temperature.  With a barbecue grill, there is usually a third component that comes into play and that can most often be the use of wood smoke in the cooking process.  And since an Instant Pot is capable of producing heat and a period of time in a controlled fashion then the meat can be cooked similar to that of a barbecue grill.  There is, of course, one exception.  Simply put an Instant Pot focuses on the use of steam or moisture to do its job.  Contrary to that a barbecue grill uses heat to drive out moisture and in the exchange process that heat when slowly applied for extended works to break down the collagen, fibers, tissues, and fats which in turn makes the meat tender.

instant pot example unit
Instant Pot  Pressure Cooker Unit

An Instant Pot may make the meat appear somewhat soggy depending on the period in which the meat is cooked.  There are ways to offset this additional moisture but requires the addition of a secondary appliance.  That appliance is the use of your inside oven or stove.  Typically in the case of meats where an externally somewhat dry surface has required the stove or oven is turned to a high range for a short period of time and the meat is broiled to achieve the desired dryness.

In our Instant Pot IPR recipe, we will make use of both the Instant Pot and your oven.  We'll also make use of foil and a container to aid in controlling the cleanup process.  Let's get started making those ribs.

As with all rib recipes, one first wants to make sure they have all the necessary ingredients and appliances to get the job done.  You'll need your Instant Pot, Oven, Barbecue Sauce, Dry Rub, and Foil.  We'll provide a recipe for a quick barbecue sauce but for those who plan ahead and want a great gluten-free barbecue sauce we offer our Jake's Really Good Mild BBQ sauce.  If you like the process of creating and adjusting recipes then just follow our quick recipe below.

Southern Style Smoky BBQ Sauce


2 Quarts White Vinegar
2 Cups Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (As an Option 2 Cups White Sugar)
1-1/2 Cups Ketchup
½ Cup Worcestershire Sauce
¼ Cup Hot Sauce
¼ Cup Salt
¼ Cup Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke

What about smoke in this IPR?

It's common knowledge that Pressure Pots or Instant cookers do not impart smoke flavor into ribs.  However, we can induce smoke in one of the simplest ways possible.  There are a number of liquid smoke products on the market now which make the introduction process simple.  Add approximately 1/2 Teaspoon as the smoke flavor is highly concentrated.  This amount of smoke flavor when mixed with recipes that contain no or small amounts of smoke will thoroughly infuse the contents with smoke flavor.  Be careful not to overdo the smoke as the meal may become bitter.

Note, it is not a requirement that you add liquid smoke.  Many people prefer the natural taste of the meat without smoke so just prepare the recipe as normal and never think about adding smoke.

Blend the ingredients until smooth.  Place in a cooking pot and cook on medium high for 20 minutes until the sauce begins to boil.  Once boiling reduces the heat to simmer and stir for 5 additional minutes.  After simmer removes from heat and lets rest for 30 minutes while the flavors mature and meld.

Instant pot sample unit with ribs inside
Instant Pot Ribs Inside Unit

Ribs should be selected on the basis of appearance in that the ribs are not gray or dark in color.  Typically ribs should look reddish or somewhat off red in color depending on whether the ribs are cut at the butcher counter or have been thawed after being packed in a frozen state.

Thereafter the ribs must be thoroughly cleaned and any grit or excess bone chips removed.  The white and sometimes silver membrane should be removed although it is not absolutely necessary.  The membranes removal aids in the absorption of seasoning and steam in the cooking process.  Remove the membrane at room temperature with a paper towel and butter knife used to get under the membrane.

Season the ribs using either our more than suitable Tri-Tip, Steak and Rib Natural Dry Rub or for a little more spiciness use our California Chipotle Rub or utilize one of your own dry rubs recipes.  We've also added a quick dry rub recipe you can make at home with some basic ingredients.  See the dry rub recipe below:

Dry Rub Brown Sugar Sweet and Spicy Recipe
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Apply the dry rub after the ribs have been cleaned.  Allow the dry rub the marinate the ribs for a minimum of 1 hour.  If you can marinate the ribs for a longer period up to 12 hours that works better in imparting the flavors of the rub to the meat.

Once the meat is marinated position your Instant Pot in a well-ventilated area or under a stove hood so that wafting aromas and heat can be vented out of the cooking space.

Pour the barbecue into the container of the Instant Pot.  Arrange the seasoned ribs inside the container in a circular fashion.  Set the Instant Pot to High with the timer set for 20 minutes.  Close and seal the lid and begin cooking.

After 10 minutes into the Instant Pot cooking cycle set your oven to the broiler setting and turn on. It will take approximately 10 minutes for the broiler to achieve the full heat level.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker ribs and salad
Instant Pot Ribs Sample with Salad

Once the ribs have reached their 20-minute cycle carefully release the heat from the Instant Pot.  Remove the lid and with tongs carefully remove the ribs onto a foil-lined tray.    Collect the BBQ sauce in the bottom of the Instant Pot container.  Coat the ribs with the collected sauce mix to your desired thickness.  Quickly move the tray into the oven and allow the ribs to broil under heat for 5 minutes.  Remove the ribs and coat again with the barbecue sauce.  Replace the ribs in the oven and broil for an additional 5 minutes.  Then remove the ribs and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

After resting slice and serve.

If you want different Rub Recipe options I've added three more below:

Culinary Rib Rub Recipe
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic

Citrus Style Tri Tip, Dry Rub Recipe
  • 4 teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Orange Peel
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 

Homemade Cajun Rib Rub Recipe
  • 8 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne
  • 6 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons garlic ground
  • 3 tablespoons onion ground
  • 6 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 4 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons dried thyme

We enjoy the use of our Instant Pot and along with our many barbecue grills we find that as the weather changes we are never limited by external conditions in deciding what and when we eat.  Try our Instant Pot IPR and BBQ Sauce Recipe today. Also Real Food Dietitians and Kylee Cooks both do a really good job at providing instant pot recipes.

Also, as always we pride ourselves on making some pretty good products.  For those who've never had them here's your chance to get them along with a pretty sweet discount.  Travel to our website at Jake's Famous Foods and use code: Barbecue10 to take 10% off your first order.  Use the code at Checkout.

One last thing....after you're done with your ribs it would be great to have a tasty dessert. I've included my Smoked Peach Sweet Potato Cobber Recipe for your viewing.

Thanks for reading and Happy Barbecue!


Friday, November 2, 2018

What Does Barbecue Sauce Actually Do? And why should You use it or even care?

BBQ Sauce recipe
BBQ Sauce Recipe

I was working on one of my recipes the other day when a customer asked me a couple of unique questions related to barbecue sauce.  They've been buying the product for a number of years but never really questioned why our BBQ sauce or any other company's barbecue sauce was considered the perfect accompaniment or main driver for their barbecue ribs or barbecue chicken.  So they thought they would ask the seemingly somewhat innocent question "What does barbecue sauce actually do?  And why should we use it or even care?

Well, you can imagine my surprise especially from a customer that had been buying our bbq sauce for about three years now.  After the interaction, I thought I wonder how many other people have the same or similar questions?  And do they actually know what they're buying or are their purchases related to word of mouth or simple focuses on taste?  I thought I would delve deeper than the normal surface level review so this post is set out to specifically answer the question on barbecue sauce and the myriad reasons for using it.

First, let's start with some common terms for barbecue sauce.  I think many people are aware of where the term barbecue is derived.  If not, the terms go like this, to roast or broil on a rack or revolving spit over or before a source of heat (such as hot coals).  Further, a large animal (such as a steer) roasted whole or split over an open fire or a fire in a pit.  Barbecue at its origins is derived from the word "Barbacoa" in which "Barbecue" is the English word adaptation.  Further, Barbacoa is from the Taino Native American tribe of the Caribbean and Florida regions which employed the methods of open pit roasting worked to completely cook meats for a sustained period of time.

When we employ the derived term "Barbecue" and combine that with the evolution of the process over many years it was determined by trial or by the process that certain liquids could extend the shelf life of aging meats all while improving the actual flavor of the meats.  Without the advent of salt and pepper of meats, the end result would be pretty boring.

The first uses of barbecue sauce appeared in the early 17th century by English and French settlers through the application of mustard sauces to enhance the flavors of their meats.  True commercialization of BBQ sauce did not take place until sometime near or not long after the creation of ketchup around 1909.

But what does barbecue sauce actually do?  Barbecue sauce through its combination of mixed ingredients acts in many cases to improve the quality of meats.  The barbecue sauce was never meant to take over the taste of meat just ask the person that spends 12 plus hours making a brisket with just a hint of smoke.  The last thing someone who has slaved over so long wants to see is their efforts quenched by a nondescript barbecue sauce.  But don't let that get in the way of your path to discovery.  BBQ Sauce depending on the ingredient listing will actually act as a marinade prior to the grilling or slow cooking process.  So, for those who hold great negative opinions about the sauce must consider its actual value in that all meats are not created equal and certainly not butter soft after grilling.

Should you use barbecue sauce?  I say, why not, especially if you feel that the meat you've chosen is not as superior as you'd like it to be.  But if you've had the chance to get your lips around some really superior seasoned and grill meats then skip the added dressing and focus on the results of the grill masters effort.

BBQ Sauce on pork
BBQ Sauce on Grilled Pork

Being in the business of BBQ rubs and sauces I've had many people approach me on the concern over calorie counts.  Mostly I believe that people issue the negative comment about a product when they instinctively either don't understand it or effectively don't want it but have a little internal drive to say no when approached in some store demo.  By all means, if you'd rather not have something just say no, don't focus on the negatives when approached.  But for those that are concerned about calorie counts, I offer the following.

A reasonably good barbecue sauce will either use brown sugar or white sugar or honey or some form of Stevia as a primary sugary component.  There are a number of sauces that use corn syrup and the all too familiar hydrogenated corn syrup which in reality are actually the same thing since the Federal Government allows manufacturers the ability to split the quantity of corn syrup used into categories.  To the unlearned, this just appears as two separate products.  But to those in the know, it's a statement calling out loud and clear as to how much of the corn syrup is actually used.  In these cases, a reasonable calorie limit of 60 or 80 can go as high as 240 or 300 calories depending on the actual serving size.  And serving sizes are quoted in grams or tablespoons the average person is all the more confused as to the actual amount contained in the purchase size.

The truth of the actual matter is that the general public may on the off chance attend a barbecue 2 to 4 times over the course of an average summer.  And if you're fortunate you may choose to barbecue between 3 and 5 times over the course of the entire year.  We, unfortunately, do not consider how many times barbecue sauce is consumed in such small quantities as to be of no real concern where combined amounts of sauce are discussed.  I often tell my customers to focus on the event and the time spent with friends and relatives over the considerations of how much sugar or calories are contained in a BBQ sauce.  Of course, if you have a sensitivity to certain levels of sugar or salts then it would be wise to reconsider any use of the product at all.

Further on what a barbecue sauce actually does when used as a tenderizer.  The amount of time necessary to engage its tenderizing effects is strictly related to the number of ingredients contained in the formulation that yields an ability to marinate.  Specifically, things like mango, vinegar, oils, certain herbs, fruits such as berries these things all have marinating properties.  When placed in contact with meats their enzymes act to break down the fibers and tissues of the meat.  Minimum periods of time such as 30 minutes should be employed.

Take for example the marinating of seafood using citrus as the marinade.  The conversion from sushi to marinated fish takes only a short period of time.  And since barbecue sauce may use these ingredients in concert with sugars, salts and spices they may take much longer to perform the desired marinating effect.  We tell our customers to expect a minimum of 1 to 2 hours of marinating before the grilling process should start.  We also know that a customer can marinate a meat overnight for at least 12 to 14 hours without completely breaking down the fibers and tissues of the meat which would ultimately leave the meat in a somewhat soggy state.

What is the best type of barbecue sauce?  The best type of BBQ sauce is driven by the application, the preference or taste profile determines the experience that you want to impart to the meat and the audience to which the end result will be shared.  In certain parts of the United States the audience experiences mustard sauces, while others experience brown sugar and vinegar, and in some other parts of the country, it's considered a blatant sin to even think about the use of barbecue sauce on smoked meats.  Similarly, in Memphis, Tennessee you practically have an entire state split over whether or not barbecued meats should be finished "wet" or "dry".

For those who consider their purchase of a barbecue sauce, it's a good idea to keep an eye on the shelf life.  Overall the Federal Government casts some guidelines for shelf life but the actual shelf life of a product is primarily determined by the attending states Food and Drug Administration.  Barbecue products that have long shelf lives over two years typically have fewer live ingredients like tomatoes, fruits or herbs.  Those with short shelf lives similarly have an abundance of tomatoes, fruits and in some cases vegetables like carrots or live onions.  Short shelf life sauces can be very good, it's just important to be aware that one can't expect a sauce they bought in April to be around in August depending on the contents and the location in which the product was stored.

Is there really such a thing as Keto or Paleo barbecue sauce?  Moreover, why would you want one?  The trend toward Paleo or Keto focused foods has been heating up for years now.  All driven by the greater desire to have what we like to call "having your cake and eating it too" but just with fewer calories or carbohydrates.  A "Keto" or Ketonic diet is a very low-carb diet, which is classified as turning the body into a fat-burning system as more and more carbohydrates are removed.  Alternatively, a "Paleo" or Paleogenic is rich in nuts, fruits and vegetables and focuses on the elimination of grains and legumes "beans" from the diet.  The end result of each of these as related to barbecue sauce is the focus on a product that will act in concert with the specific diet plan.  We feature a barbecue sauce that is gluten-free and legume and wheat free.  This would be considered a key product option for those who are focused on both a Keto and Paleo Centric diet.

home made bbq sauce in glass container
BBQ Sauce Home Made

If your desire is to consider a full-flavored sauce especially in the case of making or using a barbecue sauce for ribs or a BBQ sauce for chicken then one may need to shy away from products that minimize the number of sugars and carbohydrates or limit the amount of fruit-based elements.

In summary and recommendation, Barbecue Sauce actually performs the act of flavoring foods and enhancing foods.  In pre-barbecue cases, BBQ Sauce will act to marinate foods over a minimum period of time in which tissues and fibers are broken down to soften meats.  Key barbecue sauce recipes are primarily determined by region along with specific barbecue types such as ribs, chicken, brisket or other types of meats.

And although some consider barbecue sauce to carry a certain level of calories we believe it's best to focus on the desired end result of the barbecue as opposed to the specific level of sugars or salts.  Keep in mind the average number of times you might consume a product over the course of a year then divide that actual amount over the meal and we believe you will find that total amount to be very small so as to make the consideration actually insignificant.

And with that said, our best selection of barbecue sauces is available on our website along with some excellent products each focused on the marination aspects of barbecue as well as the health and wellness benefits of the sauces.  There are gluten-free products as well as Monosodium Glutamate free products.  A short list of our best products are:

Really Good Mild Barbecue Sauce

Really Nice Medium Hot Barbecue Sauce

Really Hot Barbecue Sauce

Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Memphis Blues Barbecue Sauce

Texas Style Inspired Barbecue Sauce

These sauces along with our dry spice seasonings combine to produce some astonishing results.

We hope you've found this post informational and useful as you continue on the path to perfect barbecue nirvana.

In addition to the links above we are including our video on making barbecue sauces.  See below:

Happy barbecuing.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Dry Rub for Ribs Recipe

Dry rub for ribs mix and recipe
Dry Rub for Ribs

What can be better than the aromas of fine barbecued meats sending up wafting smoke to tickle the noses of some of the most discerning palates. Rich, natural flavors all combined to make your particular brand of barbecue the best it could possibly be. We like to say that ribs taste good thinking that the meat itself is the primary actor in this chorus of taste. But in fact the meat is actually the carrier of some of the finest seasonings available to man. Believing and saying that meats taste good is driven directly through the barbecue, and grilling or smoking process. A Dry Rub is defined by Webster as "a mixture of herbs and spices and similar dry ingredients that are rubbed onto the surface of food (most often meat) to add flavor. The dry rub also creates a crust on the surface of food that is grilled or broiled." So, this belief that meats taste good is subject to the combinations that employed in the actual makeup of the dry rub itself. And where a dry rub for ribs is concerned it's the combination of juices, liquids, sinews, powders, granules and spices all combined to deliver one specific taste at one specific point in time.

Taste is somewhat subjective since each of us has a different level of sensation especially where our palates are concerned. But what we know is that each of us technically can discern the difference between sugar, salts, spices, and herbs. And so when we say that a dry rub is "good". What we are in fact complimenting is the expression of those salts or peppers on our palate.

The most basic of dry rub for ribs is the use of salt and pepper. The dictionary defines salt as a savory component that is a white crystalline substance that gives seawater its characteristic taste and is used for seasoning or preserving food. Whereas pepper is defined as being pungent, hot-tasting powder or granules prepared from dried and ground peppercorns, commonly used also to spice food or is reserved as a condiment for the purposes of adding flavor. Each of these elements serves their individual needs however, when added to foods they present themselves and additionally heighten the flavors of that item they are added to.

In the case of dry rubs we focus on the big four, salts and peppers that are combined with additional sugary, and spice laden elements to create flavor as the dry rub is tasted on the palate.

Rib Rubs takes advantage of the very nature of spices, salts and peppers each of these elements presenting them in balance drawing out the natural flavor of the meat. Similar to a musical composition flavors come into focus at key moments during the orchestral equivalent of the chorus of smoke, heat, time, meat makeup and personal desire formulated as degree of hunger.

A rib rub is much like wine with its complexities in that the dry rubs first notes can be determined on the palate first with its individual saltiness, followed by an herb note and complimented with sugars either white or brown and finally a pepper laden note. A good dry rub takes advantage of the science afforded it and seeks to draw out the best flavors of the meat it is presented on. But dry rubs for ribs alone are not enough to improve the flavor of the meat. First one must start with a reasonable cut that is properly trimmed and prepared.

When it comes to smoking meats and the use of dry rubs we look to combinations of salts sugars, peppers and herbs to drive home their place in the symposium. The critical elements are ensuring that the dry rub doesn't conflict with the desired end result of the seasoning blend. A dry rub that is heavily laden in sugar might not be the right fit for wood smoke that is strong in ash or black walnut. The fact that the wood may impart a bitter taste to the food is enough to reconsider the type of wood used. Better woods for sugary laden dry rubs might be cherry or apricot that adds a mild almost hickory note that goes well with poultry and pork.

Dry rubs that are laden in salts and herbs may well benefit from smoking woods like Apple, Almond and Citrus varieties. One wood type that gets very little air time is Grapevine. I've used grapevines a number of times and the smoke that is derived from the bark is almost sweet in flavor aromatic with hints of sweet grapes. A truly awesome wonder wood type for smoking.

But back to our primary topic: What makes a Dry Rub good or great for smoking? The end result is the trigger for finding the right type of wood. Whether you're focus is to smoke steaks, ribs or chops each has its own brand or type of wood that favors smoking. For Steaks it's important to impart an almost earthiness to the meat much like that which is delivered when using Hickory or Red Oak. For ribs one wants to truly taste the pork goodness and only woods like Almond, Peach, Plum, Apple and Red Oak deliver that rich smokiness that matches the sugars, salts, herbs and spices of the dry rub.

dry rub recipes
Dry Rub Styles

When properly paired with wood smoke a dry rub ribs can impart a sense of luxury and extravagance to the meat. We've paired our best dry rubs with some key wood types to help you in your decision making. See our listing below as a guide. In addition we've added some of our best dry rub for ribs recipes. These recipes are easy to make and make use of ingredients that every household has on hand. But let's look at our stock of dry rubs for ribs when combined with key smoking woods that will make your barbecue exceptional.

Santa Barbara Rub (Alder, Apricot, Grapevine, Mesquite, Orange, Pecan)

San Ysidro Rub (Red Oak, Almond, Peach, Grapevine, Mesquite, Pecan, Pear)

Santa Maria Dry Rub (Almond, Peach, Red Oak, Mesquite, Hickory, Lemon)

Memphis Blues Dry Rub (Almond, Peach, Grapevine, Hickory, Cherry, Maple, Grapefruit)

California Chipotle Dry Rub (Peach, Plum, Cherry, Apple, Grapevine, Red Oak, Almond)

California Chicken Dry Rub (Almond, Red Oak, Mesquite, Cherry, Apple, Grapevine, Maple, Mulberry)

Dry Rub for Ribs Recipes:

Homemade Cajun Rib Rub Recipe
  • 8 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne
  • 6 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons garlic ground
  • 3 tablespoons onion ground
  • 6 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 4 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons dried thyme

Santa Maria Basic Rib Rub
  • 3 Tablespoons Granulated Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Coarse Ground Black Pepper

Brown Sugar Sweet and Spicy Rib Rub
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Santa Maria Rib Rub Brown Sugar Recipe
  • 3 Tablespoons Granulated Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Coarse Ground Black Pepper

Ranch Style Rib Rub Recipe
  • 4 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Paprika
  • 2 Teaspoons Dried Orange Peel
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Smoky Rib Rub Recipe
  • 1/4 Cup Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Hickory Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 2 Teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 2 Teaspoons Granulated Garlic
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin

Chicago Style Rib Rub Recipe
  • 4 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

Coriander Tarragon Rib Rub
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander pepper
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric

Greek Style Ribs
  • 3 Lbs of Baby Back Ribs "uncooked"
  • 5 Garlic cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Rind
  • 1/2 Cup Onion
  • 4 Tablespoons Oregano "fresh"
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper - Coarse Ground

Merlot Dry Rub Ribs
  • 8T Light brown sugar
  • 3T Salt
  • 2 T Jake's Tri-Tip Steak and Rib Rub Seasoning
  • 1/2t Ground black pepper
  • 1/2t Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2t Jalapeno seasoning
  • 1/2t Old Bay Seafood seasoning
  • 1/2t Rubbed thyme
  • 2t Onion powder

Rosie's Rib Rub Recipe
  • 4-5 cans of Beer (regular not light beer)
  • 3 Cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt (table salt can be used if Sea Salt is not available)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 Pot large enough to cover the ribs with water
  • 6 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • ½ Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper

Sesame Rib Rub Recipe
  • 1 Rack of Baby Back Ribs
  • 1 Tbs Garlic Salt
  • 1 Tbs Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbs Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbs Soy Sauce (Light or Regular)
  • 2 Tbs Sugar
  • 2 Tbs Chile Oil
  • 1 Tbs Cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Cup of Jake's Original BBQ Sauce

Each of these dry rubs are designed to impart just the right amount of flavor at just the right time. But the real test is in the results you will receive.

recipe mix for dry rub
Dry Rub recipe mix

Last but not least is the mental imagery that one receives when you try out your very favorite dry rub for ribs. I often tell people that barbecue is about memory and a form of that muscle memory for the palate and the brain. Most people will gravitate to experiences they had when they were young children especially where barbecue is concerned. Each of us is trying to bring back our most favorite experience and that absolutely awesome, burger, steak, ribs, chops or whatever that item might be. We at Jake's Famous understand that mental focus and our products are designed with that key element in mind. We are constantly working to get your mind and thoughts back to happier experiences be it without Famous barbecue sauces, our amazing dry rubs or our award winning condiments.

The real key to what makes a dry rub for ribs good or great is the memory it holds for the user. We believe that you will enjoy making memories with each and every one of our products.


Jake's Famous Foods

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Lock, Stock and One Smoking Barrel......

55 gallon smoker drum
Jake's Ugly Drum Smoker
Whether it's warming up with the blooming of flowers, the tweeting of birds and the obvious hints of sunny days ahead or it's rain and snow with cooler days in the forecast, it's always a good time to barbecue.  And as predictable as these signs are, so are the signs of barbecue season.  But wait, there’s a new old wave that’s coming through the season.  And that wave is the rise of the UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker), or plainly enough smoking in barrels with removable tops.  Now Jake’s relatives have been smoking meats for generations and we’ve been building smokers for the better part of 40 years but recently we decided to make an exceptional Ugly Drum Smoker that we consider to be the "Creme de La Creme" of barrel smokers. While all that’s good and fine what’s been missing for most is the practical uses of these UDS units. 

Many can tell you how to build an ugly Drum Smoker or what to expect and even where to buy the parts but there just seems to be a shortage of easy to use, convenient recipes and instructions for cooking.  So, to get you on your way I’ve included one of our easiest smoking recipes, smoked barbecue ribs.  In this recipe I take you from the front door to the back porch and ultimately to the table with these step by step instructions.  Keep in mind smoking meats is wonderful but takes time and planning.  One should begin the planning process at least a day in advance of the smoking to get things perfect.  When the smoking begins try to dedicate at least 6 hours to the entire process.  While you’re not standing around staring at the barrel for 6 hours, you are in fact monitoring the process for that period of time.  So, let’s get started. 

Smoking Jake’s Famous Barbecue Ribs:
There are many ways to smoke ribs making them succulent, sweet tasty and full with a natural smoky flavor. This method uses a water smoker which not only delivers the richness of smoke but adds additional juiciness to the ribs through the use of water.  The process cleans up nicely and the results are fantastic. Because we are using a UDS we will focus on the use of charcoal and the components necessary to make that work. If you have a smoker with a heat element or gas system you can still achieve the smokiness that you desire. Most of these steps translate directly to your preferred method. 

Preparatory steps:
-Assumptions:  We’re going to assume that you’ll either be smoking the ribs on a Saturday or Sunday.  That would mean that either on Friday or Saturday you’re going to have all the necessary materials at your disposal to ensure that things go well on the DoS (Day of Smoke).  In addition to the UDS we’re going to assume that you have some way of hanging meat in suspension over the charcoal as it’s cooking either by hooks or by some other hanging method.  We’ll also assume that you’re going to be eating your meal on the DoS in the afternoon of either day.


1 UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker)
1 Standard Bag of Regular or Non-Matchlight® Charcoal**
1 Rack of Ribs (at least 13 bones in a standard rack)
1 pan/dish to carry at least 1 Quart of Water
4 Tablespoons of Jake’s Tri-Tip Steak and Rib Rub (Natural Dry Rub)
4 Tablespoons of Standard Yellow Table Mustard
2 Cups of Wood Chips (Hickory, Alder, Cherry whatever you prefer)
1 Roll of Foil Wrap Aluminum
1 Chimney Fire starter

Rib Rubs
Seasoning pork or beef ribs beforehand enhances the flavor when the ribs are finally cooked.  The best Dry Rub Rib mixture will allow the meat to marinate evenly throughout the ribs.  Since Jake’s makes and sells it very own pure, natural seasoning that is rich with flavor and full of battle tested ingredient to improve the quality of your barbecue, our Tri-Tip Steak and Rib Rub is an easy choice for us.  But if you don’t have a dry rub there are a couple of ways we can remedy this.  One, you can simply go to our website  for the best selections of dry rub and generous amounts of bbq recipes.  By going to our site you get access to some amazing products that improve the end results of your process.  Get access to the best products at and order your dry rub using code: 1707200910 at checkout which will give you a 10% discount.  Or you can go to our website at and search for a copy of one of our open source recipes for dry rubs that we have available free for any site visitor.  Just type in “dry rub recipe” in the search box and you’ll be taken to the web page listing the recipes.

Continuing on with dry rubs we've added a video review done by "Bad Beast Barbecue" in which he reviews our Tri-Tip Steak and Rib Rub along with our premium version slightly spicy but savory Chipotle Dry Rub on smoked ribs.  We hope you enjoy.

Before applying the dry rub you’ll need to clean your ribs.  Take the ribs if they’re pork and simply use a paper towel and your fingers to remove as much of the white membrane on the backside of the ribs.  This membrane barrier when removed allows you to deliver more flavors from the dry rub directly to the meat. After cleaning pat the ribs dry with a paper towel to remove any excess water moisture.  Lay down a long piece of aluminum foil enough to wrap the ribs in when completed.  Following the foil lay the ribs on top of the foil.  Coat the rib with the yellow mustard on both sides of the meat.  If you used your hands to coat the meat you must thoroughly clean your hands to prepare for the next step.  Follow the mustard with the dry rub coating both sides thoroughly.  When done coating cover the ribs with the foil wrap.  Seal as much of the ribs as possible with the wrap.  Now, take the ribs and place them in your refrigerator where they will rest overnight.  The combination of dry rub and mustard will help tenderize the meat and make it juicier when cooked. 

Next Day DoS: 
Since you’ll need at least 6 hours of smoke time it’s a good idea to get the grill ready by 9 AM.  We’ll assume that you’ll have all the items and ingredients you need and that you’ll light the fire at 9 AM.  First position your UDS so that you will be upwind from the unit.  Remember it will be smoking most of the day so ensuring that you’re not in the smokes’ cross hairs will run favorably in your direction especially if you have a few sensitive family members or a testy neighbor. 

Remove the charcoal basket from the UDS and fill with Regular Non- Matchlight®  charcoal.  Place the basket back into the UDS and ensure that the vents which provide air to the unit are all the way open. Take a handful of smoke chips and place them onto the charcoal.  Also, take the soaked chips and split them into two piles. Do not discard the water from the chips as we will use this later in the process.  Take each pile and wrap them in aluminum foil.  Tear a hole in the foil to allow smoke to rise from the foil.  Take the packets and place on the outer edges of the charcoal.  Take enough of the charcoal left to fill the Chimney fire starter.  Take a couple of strips of newspaper and ball them up.  After balling or wading them up place them under the starter.  The starter should be placed on a stone or metal surface.  Remember this unit will get hot, ensure that it is not placed anywhere that kids or adults may accidentally come in contact with the unit.  Also, ensure that the unit is not placed in doors when starting or on any surface that might catch fire.

These steps are critical to your health and safety, do not take them lightly.   Once the fire starter is placed take either a match, lighter or barbecue lighter and light the paper underneath the chimney starter.  Within moments you’ll see the smoke from the burning paper rise up through the charcoal.  The intense heat of the flame against the bottom charcoals fed by the open vents of the starter will allow the charcoal to begin burning and will ultimately act to start the fire on the surrounding charcoals. 

**Charcoal: Note, we recommend using non-matchlight® charcoal.  This use will allow the charcoal to burn naturally.  If you use matchlight® or similar then all the charcoal will light as one unit which converts your smoker from a smoker to a grill.  Since we’re attempting to smoke and not grill this would be detrimental to our process.  Now, you can use a few matchlight® briquettes at the bottom of the chimney starter if you’re having trouble getting the fire started.  Beyond, using matchlight® in the chimney starter I would hold it aside for the days in which you intend to grill and not smoke.

Once the Chimney starter is going let it burn for at least 10 minutes.  The objective is to get about half or more the charcoals lighted without having them burn white all the way.  This will help start the fire in the charcoal basket when transferred.  After the charcoals have reached their desired burn level use a heat protective glove or towel around the handle of the chimney to pick the unit up and dump the charcoals onto the charcoal basket.  When dumping the charcoals keep in mind there may be sparks for the charcoal or embers which may float around.  Be aware of the wind,  temperature and the area in which you are transferring the coals so as not to send sparks onto dry grass or brush.  Dump the coals over the center of the charcoal basket.  While the charcoals settle they will come in contact with the existing charcoals which will catch fire and begin to smolder.  As the heat builds you will begin to see smoke rise from the wood chip packets.  

Once the packets are smoking take a metal container or bowl and fill it with the water from the chips that were soaked.  Place the metal container on top of the charcoals directly in the center.  Make sure the container is level and keep in mind as the charcoals burn they will reduce in size causing the dish to change position.  Don’t let the dish shift too much because it may spill causing the water to cover the bottom on the smoker. If the water comes in contact with the smoker it may put your fire out.  A good way to determine something is wrong is by monitoring the temperature gauge.  If there is a dramatic drop in temperature then you know something is wrong and the smoker will need attendance. 

Options for water smoking include wine, juices or even beer. No matter the liquid or liquid combination you choose to smoke with, first soak your wood chips in this liquid. Depending on the flavor you want, you can vary the type of chips used. Alder, Mesquite, hickory and red oak are four of the most popular. Soak the wood chips for no less that 1 hour.  After soaking the chips, use the same liquid which will be poured in the water pan and used for the smoking process.

Once the charcoal is set remove your ribs from their foil and insert the hooks to hang the meat.  Transfer the meat to the smoker and hang.  Place the lid on the unit carefully and monitor the temperature.  A good smoking temperature is 200 degrees.  A great smoking temperature is closer to 225 degrees.  The best way to manage the amount of heat is through the movement of the air vent.  Adjusting the vent either open or close will deliver more or less air to the burning charcoals.  More air equals faster burn and of course less air means slower burn and longer cooking.  If you are cooking pork always be aware of the temperatures necessary to full cook the meat.  The temperature must be high enough to move the meat out of the known danger range to kill bacteria and allow the meat to cook.  If the meat stays in the danger range too long one can get sick or ill.  Having your smoker at 225-250 degrees will ensure that bacteria and illness never become a problem. 

It is a good idea to take at least one additional cup of smoking chips and have them soaked and ready for use.  After every 2 hours you should check on the water in the dish and also the wood chips.  If you need more water carefully pour more into the container without spilling or turning it over.  If you need more chips simply take a small handful and sprinkle them over the burning charcoals.  You may not need more charcoals but if you see them burning awful fast do two things, first, close the vent door to deprive the smoker of air which will slow the burn process, second, prepare more charcoal by filling the chimney starter.  Once the charcoal reaches its desired temperature fill the charcoal basket as necessary.  When filling the basket watch for charcoal dust spray as the charcoals land on the ones beneath.  If you have a large enough access door fill the basket from the access door. 

Monitor the temperature and allow the smoke to perform its magic.  Once the meat is cooked and rested add barbecue sauce after removing the ribs from the smoking process.

Slice the meat accordingly and plate with condiments, salsa, garlic bread and other items. 

Things to Avoid
Things to avoid are smoking on windy days or in areas where the smoke will drift causing irritation to neighbors or family members.  

One key issue that can't be repeated enough is heat management.  Keep the doors closed unless absolutely necessary.  Remember, open doors mean heat loss which means longer cooking periods which can also make meat tough.  Manage heat to improve the overall end result. 

If you follow all these steps your ribs should turn our perfectly, just remove, cut, and serve.

Happy Barbecuing!


How to Clean Pork BBQ Ribs

Clean ribs is a primary requirement prior to barbecue.  But before you add dry rubs, marinades and seasoning, we'll need to spend some t...