Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Got Chicken?

Well, as predicted, I tackled a couple of Beer Can Chickens and some chicken thighs Monday. This was my first multi-meat cook on the WSM so I was a little anxious. All in all, things went pretty well. Here is a breakdown of the prep and cook.

For BCC#1, I River City Rubs chicken rub. I did not have any beer or apple juice to put in the can so I used some pineapple juice.

For BCC#2, I used Dr. BBQ’s Big Time BBQ Rub. This is my “go to” rub right now. I have used it on ribs, chicken and put in my baked beans. Basically I have put it on everything except a Tylenol and that might not be too bad either. Anyway, I put some Italian dressing and Moore’s sauce in the can for this one (remember, no beer or apple juice?)

The thighs were divided up and soaked overnight in different marinades. I put a couple in some homemade teriyaki sauce – these were for Mrs. Smokey. Then I threw a couple in some Soakin’ Sauce. I picked up this sauce in Helen, GA a while back but had not used it yet. No time like the present. The last three thighs, I put in a mixture I got from River City Rub. It consisted of part Italian dressing, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. I think I like this one.

I fired up 2 chimneys of Kingsford and foiled the water pan but did not use water. I was shooting for a temp of 325-350 for this cook. I cooked each BCC on the bottom grate, then threw the thighs on the top afterwards. The first BCC took a little over an hour and a half at a grate temp of 325. After putting on the second chicken, the temp never got above 300-325 even with all three vents at 100%. This one took a little over 2 hours. I then put in another lit chimney of Kingsford and removed the water pan. The temp shot up to 375-400 and the thighs cooked in less than an hour. I cooked them 20 down, 20 up and sauce for 20.

Here are my observations from my cooking log:

- BCC#1 had little effect from pineapple juice substitute. Skin was a little better this time. Very juicy and had a great smoke flavor.
- BCC#2 was also juicy and smoke flavored. Breast meat on both was very white while the darker meat had a reddish color from the smoke.
- Thighs were a little better this time. The skin did not shrink up as much as the quarters did. This is most likely due to the quarters being brined and the thighs being marinated.
- Thighs appeared to be charred a little on the bottom. Next time will move them around between step 2 and 3 to keep even browning.
- Basting sauce was a hit. Great combo – this time the honey did not overpower the sauce. Sweet and sticky. The rub also helped. Experimenting with Sweet Baby Rays, honey dry mustard and some bbq rub.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I had the opportunity to attend my first official KCBS competition last Saturday in Decatur, AL. I also had my wife and youngest son along with me for the ride. The event was held at Ferris Rhodes Park on the banks of the Tennessee River. I got a little turned around with my directions but when we got near the Holiday Inn I could smell the smoke and knew we were close.

Once inside, I was immediately and eternally “hooked” on competition BBQ. About 50-60 teams were competing for the top prize. There was a strong family atmosphere in the air and the event had lots of stuff for kids and other visitors to take advantage of when you were not walking around the competition grounds.

I was able to meet some of the best pit masters and BBQ'ers on the circuit. These folks are very approachable. I was able to get pretty close to them while they were preparing their entry boxes. This allowed me to watch and learn. I tried not to disturb them but did return a "hello" or "how are you" when they sent one my way. I was content to save my socializing and questions for after turn-in time. I most enjoyed watching Myron Mixon of "Jacks Old South" BBQ team. This guy is a master when it comes to BBQ. I was also fortunate to be able to meet Bobbie and Lee McWright of "Music City Pig Pals". These folks talked to us like they had known us for years.

The competitors were not allowed to sell their food. However, this did not keep them from placing their “extras” on a plate or in some foil and setting it near their site. I believe they called it SAMPLES! Hats off to Blindog’s Outlaw BBQ Gang for a mighty tasty rib (or two…).

Of all the things I saw at my first contest, there were several things I did not see. I did not see any selfishness on the part of the competitors. Although there was alcohol consumption I did not see any behavior that required me to steer my child in another direction. The two things I expected to see, but didn’t, were flies and thermometers. I did not see the first fly and do not remember seeing anything even closely resembling a thermometer. Go figure.

Here are the winners from Decatur:

Chicken - Neighbors Brewin' and Quein
Ribs - Bar-B-Quau
Pork - J-Mack Cookers
Brisket - Bar-B-Quau
Sauce - Mealtime BBQ

Grand Champion was - congrats to Bad Byron and all the gang.

Reserve GC was Team Top Chick - I think Ron has a keeper on his hands (and they're from Alabama, too).

Click here for a list of the top ten in each catagory as posted on the BBQ Forum

Gonna do some beer can chickens and possibly some thighs next week. Stay tuned!

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Do you know Jack?

Here is a final list of teams drawn to compete in the 2005 Jack Daniels Invitational in Lynchburg, TN. The contest is scheduled for October 21-22. This list was origionally posted on the KCBS website.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

First Contest

NO, I AM NOT COMPETING...YET. I am, however, attending my first BBQ competition this weekend in Decatur, AL. Several of the top teams will be competing in this contest and I just cannot wait to get in "amongst" them.

Will try to get some pics while there. The wife and youngest son will be with me so it sould be a great trip.

Good luck to everyone competing. See you there.

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Help with chicken

O.K. all you experienced WSM'ers out there, help a brother out. What did I do wrong? I smoked some chicken quarters earlier this week. I brined them overnight then dried them out in the fridge before putting on the cooker. I was very pleased with the overall taste and flavor of the chicken. My problem was with the appearance. Not sure what went wrong.

Here is what I did:
* started with 1 lit chimney poured over 1 unlit with hickory chunks.
* placed skin side up in center of top grate for +/- 1.5 hours. Grate temp never got above 300.
* at 45 minutes, the skin had a nice color but was starting to separate from the meat. Pic #1
* at 1.5 hours, the chicken was up to temp but the skin had almost rolled off the top. Pic #2

As I said, other than the appearance, the chicken was wonderful. It had a great smokey taste without being overpowering. Excellent color and texture once you got past the skin. I also mixed up some 5:1 KC Masterpiece/Honey and used it as a dipping sauce. MIGHTY TASTEY!!

Send me your ideas on what I should do to help the appearance of my chicken. Post a comment or send me an email.

Smoke 'em if you got em.

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Help Hurricane Victims, Please

The American Red Cross

Sorry that I have not gotten to this sooner. I have been busy the last few days helping our agency (Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency) get housing ready for 1000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees that will be coming to our area in the next few days. They will be housed in a former barracks area on the now closed Ft. McClellan. Work crews have been going all week getting the place ready.

Do what you can to help these people. Click on the banner below to donate to the American Red Cross. Let's show the world how much Americans (especially the BBQ community) can do when it is our own that is hurting.

Thanks in advance,

Ole Smokey

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Labor of Love...

St. Louis Style Spareribs and BBQ Beans

Monday, I took advantage of a holiday and smoked some ribs. Pretty tasty if I say so myself. Here is the 411.

What I used:
* 2 - racks of St. Louis style spareribs (2.7# and 2.9#).
* Dr. BBQ’s Big Time BBQ rub
* Dr. BBQ's BBQ Beans
*3 medium chunks of Mesquite smoking wood
*Kingsford Charcoal

Filled charcoal ring a little over half full with unlit charcoal. Placed 3 chunks of Mesquite wood (the only wood I had left), then covered to the rim of the charcoal ring with more unlit Kingsford. Poured 1-lit chimney of charcoal on top of this and assembled WSM.

Cooking summary:
1203 - Placed meat on smoker at 240°F bone side up. Let stand for 2.5 hours.
1433 - At 2.5 hours, flipped to bone side down and let stand another 1.5 hours.
1603 - At 4 hours into the cook, checked for doneness. Basically done and time to apply sauce for next 15 minutes.
1608- Apply sauce and spritz.
1613 - Same as above
1618 - Ready to serve. Total cook time of 4 hours 15 minutes.

Picture links:
Here is a pic of the ribs ready for the smoker.
Here is a shot of the new Nu-Temp at work.
Here are the ribs after the first 2.25 hours. Looking good in the neighborhood!
After 4 hours, 15 minutes, here is what they looked like.
Here is another look at the finished product.


1.Do not put anything to cook into the smoking chamber until it is up to temp. I put beans in when I assembled smoker and the temp could not get above 213°F. Took them out and put them in the oven. Temp rose to 240°F with no problem.

2. After putting ribs on the grate, the temp spiked to 268°F. I was supposed to wait until 30 mins into the cook before touching vents but I backed all 3 down to about 50%. Temp held at 250°F steady the rest of the first 2.5-hour cycle.

3. At 2.5 hours the ribs looked almost done; pulling away from the bone on two racks. Flipped bone side up and spritzed with apple juice and took 1 pic. Will check again in 90 minutes. Grate temp dropped to 147 but quickly rose back into the 240-250 ranges within 5 minutes.

4. Think twice next time about the amount of unlit charcoal in bottom. Can probably get by with just ½ chamber to ¾ chamber of coals with wood. This might account for the cruising temp of 250°F instead of 225°F.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

First Smoke on WSM

Well, I finally had a chance to take the new WSM on her maiden smoke voyage. It was delivered late Monday afternoon but due to winds from Hurricane Katrina I was not able to use it Tuesday. I wanted the first smoke to be something easy but tasty. I decided to try a recipe for chicken thighs that I saw posted on the Virtual Weber Bullet board. Brad Morrell of Baby Got Rack posted the recipe.

Everything went very well and to say that I am impressed with this unit is an understatement. This thing is super. I cannot wait to fire it up again over the Labor Day holiday. Probably will so some St. Louis spareribs that are sitting in the freezer. Here are some pics from the cook.

First Smoke

Ready to go

20 minutes in

40 minutes in

77 minutes and done

Close-up pic (blurry)

Keep ‘em smoking.

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