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Smokestack Mac

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    Sterling Heights, MI
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    Smoking food and then eating it. Guitar. Video Games. Books.
  • Grill
    Kamado Joe

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  1. I score them down the meat between the bones. I've never had a complaint or felt like I was eating something chewy.
  2. I had the same problem when mine arrived in January. I didn't bother calling Kamado Joe about it until last week. Free replacement caster on the way.
  3. Although it's easy for anonymous readers to point and laugh and call names, the truth is that I recall my first firebox install being a very frustrating 30 minutes or so. Just as I got the ring onto one or two pieces, the next section would make the ring pop off the first one. Round and round I kept going, constantly chasing the sections as they popped out. I think the pieces are deceiving in how they look like they are shaped to fit together perfectly. In reality, mine have uneven gaps and whatnot. I thought at the time that I had just settled for however they fit together, but when the ring was level and D&C rack fit and sat firmly, I figured it had to be right. Your post inspired me to pull mine apart and clean my grill completely with a shop vac. I had the thing cleaned and back together by myself in about 10-15 minutes. I managed to get the rack centered a little better this time and I think that actually improved my airflow a little. Between a cleanout and a switch to an ash basket, my warm-up time dropped from 45-60 minutes to more like 20-30. I'll second that it gets easier.
  4. Looks great! Any trouble getting the stuffing up to temp/cooked without overcooking the meat?
  5. Picanha is always on the grocery list. I just never find it... Looks amazing!
  6. When you say minimum effort, are we talking just prep or total cook effort, meaning the time spent checking long cooks and spritzing and foiling, etc? Depending on how we are defining minimum effort, I cook plenty of stuff that can be prepped in 5-10 minutes while the grill is heating. It makes enough that I can have leftovers for several days=ultimate timesaver the rest of the week. I smoke a lot of my quickie stuff with Jack Daniel's wood chips. My fastest stuff are recipes that I have committed to memory and where I can eyeball the amounts= no time spent measuring. I just grab what I need and line them up on the counter and knock them out. The food hits the grill minutes later. I'll second steak and chicken. I sous vide my steaks and give them a high-temp sear to brown them up. Throw meat in a bag and sous vide for an hour or two at 118F. Take out. Hit with seasoned salt or montreal seasoning. I throw a nice chunk of mesquite or hickory on just before they hit the grate. Tastes and looks just like a steakhouse medium rare after 30-45 seconds per side. Chicken is 325 indirect with some seasoning, maybe a sear to get some color. Prep is minimal= straight from the packaging to the grill grate, season while on the grill if you don't even want to waste the time to grab a tray to lay it out. Ribs take about 2-3 minutes a slab maybe to prep if you just cut the membrane between the bones instead of pulling it off, hit it with some rub, and then walk it to the smoker. I personally don't notice any difference between cut membranes and ones that are pulled off. I smoke meatloaf at least once a month. 80/20 ground beef, 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs, 1 egg per 1-2 lbs, and seasoning (Italian seasonings/combo of garlic and onion powder, parsley, seasoned salt, pepper, oregano. Mix and pack into a loaf pan. 5 minutes tops to prep. I cover it with Sweet Baby Ray's at about 150 degrees internal and let it set for 10-15 minutes on the grill to get up above 160 internal. Total cook time is about 60 minutes for 1.5-2 pounds at 250-275. That same meatloaf formula is my meatball recipe except I sear them over the coals before letting them cook in tomato sauce at around 325. Once the sauce is boiling, I temp and take them to 160. Usually 60 minutes total. Or skip all that and just make plain hamburger patties to smoke at 225-275 to 160 internal. Pork tenderloin- just hit with some seasoned salt or montreal straight out of the vacuum package. I don't trim them. Smoke with Jack Daniel's or apple wood at 275 for 40 minutes or until they are above 150. Pair with a tangy sauce (ketchup and worchestershire with some brown sugar, maybe a little lemon juice in it) or bbq sauce. Or cross-cut that same tenderloin into 1-2 inch pork steaks, sous vide to 145, and sear like a regular steak for 30 seconds a side with some smoke wood. Best "pork chop" you can get.
  7. Hi all, Up until now, any high volume cook (multiple racks of ribs, chickens, pork butts, etc) has been done on a WSM 18.5. I have a big rib cook coming up on 7/3 and 7/4 where I will be doing 4-5, possibly 6 racks for each day. Conventional planning calls for 4 racks for +/-10 people, but I don't like to skimp and leftovers don't go to waste. I also don't care to repack and freeze a single rack and my local butcher counter occasionally sells family pack ribs in 3s (not sure why 2 or 4 isn't a family pack). I've been having a lot of fun with my kamado lately and would rather use it for all grilling this summer to test its capabilities/thin the grill herd eventually (yeah right). I bought extra grates for my D&C system so that I now have 4 half grates=2 full grates plus an extender shelf that sits on top and I also grabbed a 5-slot Weber rib rack just in case and a kick ash basket for my own manliness/satisfaction. I've always done ribs laying down and never had more than 4 in the WSM due to rack space limitations. My planned setup is 2 racks per grate level and one on the extender grate if needed using the 2-2-1 method for baby back ribs. I cook to temp, not time, so I will be checking throughout the cook and adjusting as needed. If that doesn't fit, plan B is the rib rack. Part of me wants to try the rib rack, and part of me doesn't want to change another variable when I'm feeding guests who are used to the WSM results. What is the most ribs you have done at once and how did you fit them? Do you notice a taste or texture difference between ribs laid flat and ribs cooked upright in a rack? Preference? How do you compare kamado ribs to WSM ribs if you've had both? Any difference or preference? Other thoughts?
  8. I had something similar last week with a pork butt that I did. 4.95 pounds done in just under 6 hours. The grill kept wanting to drift up and finally stabilized at around 260-270 for most of the cook. Wrapped at 145. Hit 150 10-15 minutes later. I thought I dodged/powered through the stall. Hit 161 and wouldn't budge more than a degree in the next hour. I opened the vents and let the grill drift up to 315. We were eating good about two hours later. Managed to go from 160-170 and then 170 to 200 in about an hour each. It practically melted in your mouth. I will enthusiastically agree that 275 makes for great bbq with less time. These might be fighting words, but I'll even go as far as saying that 225 is overrated as the gold standard temp... There's so many variables in a cook that I have never had a meal where I could tell whether or not it cooked at 225. Forgive me if I am just being a dumb Northerner. I know not what I say...
  9. I've had a Classic II since January and I also had a similar problem the first few times that I tried to do a higher temperature cook, I stalled and couldn't get above 350ish. Fuel is one part of the equation. Remember that fuel+oxygen+spark= fire. You may have enough fuel in the pit, but not enough of it burning at once. You may also need to play with vents more than you are. Before my KJ, I had a Weber kettle and an Akorn jr. Both could get hot on fairly small amounts of fuel and one lighter cube. Briquettes tend to burn uniform and ash over completely. Lump doesn't. The Akorn jr was a blast furnace (700 degrees or more. Thermometer stopped at 700) on half a chimney of lump and one lighter cube. The KJ takes 2-3 cubes in a full pit of lump or a full glowing chimney to get up to temp this decade. Sometimes I use a blow torch to get a few spots lit at the same time. Even with the top vent slid all the way open and an electronic pit fan on the bottom vent, it struggles to get above 450 without more lit coal. Ceramic makes for a massive heat sink that takes a long time to get up to temp compared to anything else. Whereas I could fire up my Akorn jr and be cooking in 15-20 minutes, I rarely have my KJ up to any cooking temp in under 30-45 minutes. I also found that leaving the lid open and the bottom vent wide open for the first 10 minutes or so helped boost temps quicker. For me, lighting more charcoal at once fixed the max temp problem, but it still takes a while to heat up without overshooting target temp.
  10. Hi SA, Sorry about the wall of text. I'll start by seconding what others have said as far as time and temp guidelines being sometimes very rough estimates. Frankly, I don't think you did anything egregiously wrong for the maiden voyage other than be too faithful to the method you read about. I too find that the 2-2-1 method is still overkill for baby back 90% of the time. As far as what went wrong here (just based on picture and text and my own experience)- 1. As you found out, 212 degrees internal is way over temp for ribs. I usually pull them off around 200 internal. I would said they were done 30-60 minutes earlier= takes us right back to the problem with 2-2-1 timing. Maybe the thickest baby back rack from a cold fridge and a grill holding a perfect 225 will take the full 5 hours. Most won't. I've modified it to more like 2- 1.5- .5 or 1.5-1-1, keeping the smoke time as the longest leg. I usually just wing it with target meat temps during the same 3-leg cook. I barely even lift the lid for the first hour or two other than to spritz or mop with apple juice once or twice. I try to stay under 250 and keep a thin blue smoke until I hit 150-160 internal- very rarely happens outside 1.5-2.5 hours. You can tell by whether or not the fat has started to split. You'll see fresh cracks in the rub with juice coming out. Then wrap in foil, rerub, pour some apple juice in the foil, and return to grill until ribs hit 185-190. Foil helps power through the stall by using moisture in the foil from meat or liquids added to steam it. Grill temp during wrap really doesn't matter as much. A higher temp will speed up your cook and the foil will keep them moist. But too high (above 350) and you start burning sugars in both the meat and the rub. Smoke no longer matters either. Meat stops taking smoke around 150-160. Once the ribs hit 185-190, unwrap, sprinkle with rub again/hit them with sauce, and let them go to 200. You can smoke again lightly during this last leg if you sauce. Only the sauce is going to pick up smoke. Pull from grill at 200. They should have some noticeable pullback where the meat has shrunk and exposed the bones. They should also bend substantially or split if you hold them with tongs in the middle or halfway from one end. Very unusual for them not to turn out great this way. Once in a while, I get a weird rack that doesn't cooperate and either dries out or never gets real tender. Just luck of the draw sometimes. 2. Is it possible the thermometer was touching a bone? I'm not seeing a ton of pullback for that kind of temp. Maybe it's just the angle of the photo. Honestly, I don't even know if they would have come off in one piece at that temp. I would expect them to be practically shredded just getting onto the platter. 3. You said half was dry. Was it the thinner end? How was the other half? Which part of the ribs did you stick the thermometer? Was the charcoal evenly lit in the bowl or did you have a hot spot on one side? 4. Deflector plates are a must for low and slow and I'm glad that you used them, but how about a water pan? I know I'm on the wrong forum for this sort of blasphemy, but I learned on a Weber Smokey Mountain and water in the pan made a huge difference in cook quality as far as dry meat. It also helps keep temps nice and stable. Moisture helps smoke adhere to the meat. 5. What kind of rub or sauce did you use and when did it go on? I'm seeing what looks like large amounts of char on the both racks, more than I would expect for a low and slow. Was there lots of sugar in either? You said 250-280 temp, but did it ever get out of control for a few minutes? Flare-ups? Dman's pic is basically what color mine look like every time just before sauce goes on. You want that nice deep red-brown mahogany look. I hope this helps.
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