Saturday, January 26, 2008

Smoke Wood Poll (#1?) The Results!

Well, I saw the polling feature that the folks at Blogger added to the tool set, and thought I'd pop up a poll. Thought it would also be a very UNscientific way to gauge the traffic to this oh-so-popular blog.

A few thoughts before you hear the drum roll and get the exciting results...
I just put out there this poll that asked "Smoke Wood - soak it, or keep it dry?". I think I set it up for 3 months. And about 1 month into it I came to understand a critical flaw in the poll. I should have specified that I was asking about smoke wood that is added to smokers when using charcoal.

There are a lot (most?) of barbequers out there that just use wood for their fuel, and also get their smoke that way. They are not adding chunks or chips to their fire usually. And they certainly are not going to soak this wood before using it!

So the question was posed too broadly. Hence the "#1" in the post title. I may re-run this poll and be more specific.

Or not. I've also learned from forum friends at CBBQA that, in general, folks tend to soak wood chips, but not wood chunks. The chips would just burn off to quickly otherwise. But the chunks can hold their own.

So for now, that will be my charcoal and smoke wood plan.

OK - so if you are still interested after all of that, here are the results.

Soak the wood - 35% of the votes.
Keep it dry - 64% of the votes.

Where is that last remaining 1%? I have no idea. Ask Blogger.

Link Tips - Jan 26 2008

I thought that every so often I'd post a little about some links that I've been visiting recently. There is SO much BBQ information out there on the web that it is hard to find it all. And not all of it is worth your time. So these are a few that I've visited recently that I found something of interest on. This might all be old stuff to many of you, but I'm still pretty green and looking to learn. Hope you find some of these interesting and/or useful. - Pulled Pork: The Meat:
I know that pulled pork is one of the BBQ basics. But I have yet to do one. This will be my next big cook (but first it has to stop raining and I need to have some free time!). This is a fairly basic info page, but it covers everything. There are multiple links to continue on through the process from meat to sandwich.

Playing with Fire and Smoke - Smoking Woods:
I know, there are a lot of sites out there with information on different types of woods that can be used for smoking. Well, this is one of them. Short, simple, and some good basic information.

Playing with Fire and Smoke - Buckboard Bacon:
This is something that I do want to try one of these days - bacon. Yum! This page has some good info and some tasty photos.

Kingfish BBQ - The Water Pan Myth:
This URL worked yesterday, but not today, so hopefully the site comes back up. I've been hearing for sometime about using sand in your water pan in a vertical smoker. But I had yet to here WHY. So I did a quick Google search and this was the first page that came up, and it quickly laid out the reasoning. I'm going to try the sand in the pan on my next cook!

OK - that's it for now. More to come I am sure!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Babeque Wood link

Ran across this page that discusses various woods used for BBQ and has a nice table detailing the flavor of the wood and what meats it is most typically used for. Not a complete list, but covers the most common ones from what I see there.

Take a look here.

I don't agree with his notes on the age of wood - I think it needs to age at least six months. One month is probably still too green. And it can be older, just not toooooo old.

The 2008 SAVEUR 100

Why yes, 2008 has just begun, but that hasn't kept the fine folks over at Saveur magazine from coming out with their Top 100 list for the year. This article never really explains what it is the Top 100 of. I will guess it's the Top 100 food related things. Generic enough for ya? =)

None the less, I'm posting about it here because of the number one slot...

1 Most Beloved National Pastime
The frenzied grilling, the enormous barrel smokers, the piles of tender ribs—is it any wonder that COMPETITION BARBECUE is our favorite sport? Pluck, hubris, and good humor are on display in equal measure at these open-to-the-public, juried events, as backyard hobbyists, brandishing team names like Partners in Swine and Dr. Porkenstein, vie for glory against barbecue-circuit legends like Paul Kirk, of Manhattan's RUB restaurant. We're not alone in our predilections: over the past five years, the number of official barbecue contests around the country has grown from about 200 to more than 600, says Carolyn Wells, cofounder of the Kansas City Barbeque Society, competitive barbecue's main governing body, which sets contest guidelines and trains and accredits judges (there are now more than 8,000 of them). The best part about the sport: the fans are as generously compensated as the players. Attendees get to eat to their hearts' content and bond with fellow 'cue fanatics amid a haze of fragrant wood smoke.

To see what the other 99 items on the list are, please take a look here.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Waiting on the Rain

Northern California got pounded by a storm today. Here in the San Diego area we are supposed to get a small storm with just a little rain tonight, and the big daddy hitting Saturday AM and going all day. I've heard a wide range of rain amount forecasts. Supposedly we could expect up to 5 inches in one day here in Escondido. We can certain use the water in the region - but that's a lot for a single day - especially after the wildfires in October.

But, more to the point of this post. I'm sitting here on the porch in front of the grill with a pretty big chunk of rib eye cooking away. Tossed a small piece of Oak on the grill just for a little smoke. But we tend to like this big ole steaks with a nice salt coating, let to sit for about 20 monutes - then grilled up. Yum. The salt is just right on these bigger cuts. Melts in your mouth.

No rain yet. I'll be headed in soon to feed the wife and I. Then it's waiting time on the rain. I'm sure if this rain comes as expected we are going to loose the driveway again. Fun stuff...

Well, that was tasty! Too small, but very tender and good. Still no rain...

Pork Butt? What's Pork Butt??

Well, it's not the butt of the pig as you might expect from the name.

This page is actually very informative:

It has a good explanation of the cut, and lots of info on preparation too.

I've been craving pulled pork, so I think I'll try my first pork butt here soon.
HogWild BBQ has also been an informative blog that I've run across: - Hog says that his pulled pork, when vacuum sealed and frozen, holds up really well. That's good for me because I always end up with way too much food - and I hate to waste it. I've got to work on finding folks to feed when I do large pieces of meat. Then again - if it freezes well, that can mean a nice lunch for me for some time!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Must-Have Instant Read Thermometer

The Thermapen by ThermoWorks. This is the tool to have when cooking.

No, they aren't cheap. But if the popularity of these guys on the various BBQ forums is any indication, and the positive review by folks like Alton Brown - then this is the tool to have to check the doneness of your meats.

Lots of colors to choose from. "Free" carrying case when you buy multiple Thermapens at once, etc.

Check them out here.

I've decided I'm worth it and I'm buying myself one with my holiday bonus from work.
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