I purchased my grill in December and finally got around to using it Sunday afternoon. I have been cooking sous vide and using a cast iron pan lately, but the smoke has been terrible.
For or my first time grilling, I decided on baked potatoes, steaks and asparagus. Started the fire with a twisted paper towel wetted with vegetable oil.
The fire got hotter than intended, and stayed hotter than intended. I started with the potatoes and let them cook for nearly an hour above the heat deflector. Then I added the raw steaks, and eventually the asparagus that were prepared with some oil and seasoning.
I was prepared for disaster but everything came out delicious. I forgot to open up the vents for the sear, but as I said, the grill was hot.
Yesterday I smoked my first brisket with the Joe. I've smoked briskets before in my Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES henceforth) and they were phenomenal. This one turned out with great taste, but I know I could have done a lot better in terms of texture. The bark was nice and crispy which I loved, but it came out a little tough. I've identified several differences in the process I followed on the MES, but I always want to learn from the best so I welcome all input - suggestions, constructive criticism, etc.
MES vs Joe:
Flat and Fat Cap on MES vs just the Flat on the Joe (I don't think the briskets I smoked on the MES were full briskets - they weighed in from 7 to 10 lbs, and the one I smoked yesterday on the Joe was just over 5)
Drip Pan filled with water (coffee, actually) in MES vs no added moisture on Joe
Texas Crutch after 4 hours on MES vs all grill time on Joe
Brushed with Mop Sauce pretty frequently on MES vs untouched on Joe
Wood chips on MES vs wood chunks on Joe (doubt this contributed, but wanted to capture it)
Internal Temp 195 on MES vs 200 on Joe
5-6 hours on MES vs 7-8 on Joe
Those are the differences I can recall. The MES produced a much more tender brisket, but the bark wasn't crispy at all, and borderline soggy in some places. This makes sense given the drip pan, the aluminum foil and the basting. My hope is that I can somehow obtain that perfect bark and a more tender bite.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/nc2f33hb5wdw45b/Photo May 13%2C 21 34 51.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ygztvqmf8fr4s4e/Photo May 15%2C 20 42 37.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/f98piayfayfiwet/Photo May 18%2C 13 28 57.jpg?dl=0
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https://www.dropbox.com/s/eqbr19g9eu1jtoo/Photo May 18%2C 21 31 20.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/e1wp3bqz77rhqcz/Photo May 18%2C 21 33 01.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5klzyxjqpfnnipm/Photo May 18%2C 22 23 57.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/hcqylt8z02fgpcb/Photo May 18%2C 22 26 31.jpg?dl=0
After see posts on this site, watching countless YouTube videos and hours upon hours of nervous research I decided to buy a pork belly and give bacon a try on my Big Joe. Like others have commented I found the pink salt was not as easy to find as I assumed, so I bought some off Amazon. I bought a 10-lb pork belly from Costco, found an easy recipe on line and started my adventure! I followed the recipe below as a template:
I used dark brown sugar because that's what I had and I used pure Vermont Maple Syrup instead of honey. I used cayenne pepper on half of the belly and none on the other just because I forgot to put it in my first batch of the curing paste.
I had to cut the pork belly in half because I was using 1-gallon ziploc bags and this resulted in two different flavors to my bacon. The first one without the cayenne pepper finished curing in 9 days. Based on the hours of research I guessed at it being done because it was pretty stiff compared to when it first started. The second bag with the cayenne pepper leaked much of the liquid and didn't seem ready. So when I removed the first belly I drained the second bag, made another batch of the curing paste and started the process again.
The first batch of bacon I rinsed thoroughly, dried with paper towels and placed on a drying rack in the fridge for a day unwrapped and uncovered. The next day I smoked it for about 3 hours keeping the temperature between 200-240 and cooking until the internal temp was 150. I used 2 small chunks of apple wood for the smoke.
Since I don't have a meat slicer I was "forced" to buy a Dalstrong Gladiator Series Ham Knife which was heavily recommended throughout this site. I did my best to keep the strips as thin as possible and even.
The family loved the bacon and I was happy with the result as well. Now the second half of the pork belly finished up about 4 days later and I followed the same smoking process except I add 2 chunks of cherry wood and 2 chunks of apple wood. I didn't think the first round of bacon was smoky enough so I doubled the amount of wood.
This was noticeably better than the first round! I tasted smoke this time and it wasn't overpowering. The flavors of this bacon were much more pronounced that the first round and while I know the added wood made a difference, I wonder if re-doing the curing process half the way through made any difference.
Regardless, I enjoyed the whole preparation and cooking of the bacon and will do this from now on! It wasn't nearly as difficult as I had thought and though the second batch was better both were fantastic! As good or better than anything I've ever bought from the store. My family all claim it's better than anything we've ever bought, but I guess I'm a little more critical of my cooking than they are.