Teach me how to smoke

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Shorts, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. Shorts

    Shorts TGT Addict TGT Supporter

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    Mar 28, 2008
    Texas
    I like to BBQ and lately more and more I find myself wanting to grill everything in sight. I'm wanting to build me a project too while I work on my bubble gum, err, welding skills.

    I've been thinking of a nice (the goal anyway) pit for my regular grillin' (steaks, fajitas, ribs, chicken). Right now I'm using the typical $50 charcoal round gril and it's wobbly, chincy and will die by next summer.

    I like to make jerky and I do that with my plug in dehydrator. I think like anyone I'd love to have this super-duper awesome grill that would cook a cow if it roamed in there. But it's just us two here and I gotta be realistic :tongueout:


    Anyway, I been wanting to try my hand at smoking some jerky. What do I need to know? What kind of pit design should I consider. I would like to try to build something myself. I've been needing a reason to get myself a welder.

    Ok I'm rambling now but throw me your ideas and what's worked for you. I'll be headed to CC this month and I'm finally going to bring home a load of mesquite. Dad was up here last week and he was eager to get me stocked up. I'm thrilled to say the least but my mind is going crazy with the possibilities.
     


  2. TxEMTP69

    TxEMTP69 TGT Addict TGT Supporter

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    Rockport
    now you got me wanting a pit that'll fit a liberated bovine in it
     
  3. TexasRedneck

    TexasRedneck 1911 Nut Lifetime Member

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    Jan 23, 2009
    New Braunfels, TX
    Take a look at these pics...

    http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/ind...ndID=428355987&albumID=568324&imageID=2258648

    http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/ind...ndID=428355987&albumID=583922&imageID=2350332

    I might add that it's been painted since those pics were taken - that was VERY early on in the project!

    Thought I had some better pics - I'll get some and post 'em later - but what you're glimpsing is a pit I designed an' built w/the help of other HOG (Harley Owners Group) members at our dealership here in New Braunfels last year. It's 1/2" wall, 36" diameter steel, with an 8' cooking box, a 4' smoker an' a 30" diameter fire box (1/2" thick"). Weight of that puppy is a tad over 5,000 lbs - an' it's on 8" square tubing box frame sunk 36" into the ground with 1,000 lbs of concrete on each side. It's likely a *tad* longer than what yer lookin' ta build...<G> My small pit in the back yard is 30" diameter x 6' long, with a 18" firebox. You'll want 2 things - a MIG welder an' a plasma cutter. The small pit was built with a standard stick welder an' torch - the big one with the plasma an' MIG. I'll never use a stick welder again unless I HAVE to! The main thing is, this stuff is like a gun safe - buy BIGGER than ya think yer gonna need. My MIG welder is a 235 amp rated - 220 vac supply. The plasma is rated for up to 3/4" plate, and also 220 vac supply. The plasma cuts 1/2" plate like it's hot butter, an' runs a bead on it like you wouldn't believe.

    Just remember - smokin' is generally all about slow cookin' over low heat - the lower the better. I just tossed a shoulder clod on the pit about 3 hours ago - it'll stay on there until about 1 tomorrow afternoon. When it comes off, it'll be juicy an' thoroughly smoked, and so tender that you literally can pull it apart with your fingers. For jerky, I prefer to use sirloin steak - it's leaner, an' holds together really well. You can hang it - but I simply lay it on the grill, an' barely let it get heat - just lots of smoke for 6-12 hours.
     
  4. HarleyMechanix

    HarleyMechanix Member

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    Some really fine meat has come from that pit. I usually "sample" some whenever i get the chance for uhm......quality control.
     
  5. TexasRedneck

    TexasRedneck 1911 Nut Lifetime Member

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    ....an' he ain't too picky 'bout how much its' been cooked, neither! ;)
     
  6. Greg_TX

    Greg_TX Well-Known

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    I just bought a Weber Smokey Mountain and have been very happy with it.

    Or, you could get one of these:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. cowboy45

    cowboy45 Active Member

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    If you are talking about smoking versus grilling, stay away from the mesquite. Weber, Oklahoma Joes, New Braunfels smokers make good pits. Good website is www.thesmokering.com. Practice,practice,practice.

    "If it can't be smoked, it aint worth eatin.":texas:
    I am still a noob at smoking, I've only been at it about 25 yrs.
    Good luck and have fun.
     
  8. TexasRedneck

    TexasRedneck 1911 Nut Lifetime Member

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    New Braunfels, TX
    Actually, I LIKE a bit of mesquite mixed in. But my primary smokin' wood is pecan or peach. Apple is killer as well - but peach or pecan is more readily available around here. Almost any of the fruit tree woods are outstandin' ta smoke with, IMO.
     
  9. cowboy45

    cowboy45 Active Member

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    A little mesquite is great, but,it can be a little strong if youre not used to it. Pecan rules if you can get it. I mainly use oak because I can readily source it. I have been researching ways to make my own lump charcoal. I used to be able to buy natural lump mesquite, not quite as strong. May be one of my winter projects.
     
  10. MadMo44Mag

    MadMo44Mag TGT Addict

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    Ft.Worth
    Slow smoking to dehydrate meat is expensive.
    After about 1 - 1 1/2 hours the meat has adsorbed all the smoke it can. Remember the meat is thin -1/4 too 1/3 in thick on average.
    Use the grill you have now. Slice meat and marinade as you see fit. I use Claude's fajita marinade and then add fresh cracked black pepper right before placing on the grill.
    So build wood fire on one side. Allow to burn down to coils. Add wet chunks of wood. I suggest 1/3 oak, 1/3 hickey and 1/3 pecan. Lay strips of meat on far side. Maintain heat of 125 - 150 max with good air flow. You want heavy smoke and low heat.
    Remember you not cooking the meat just COLD SMOKING.
    In an hour or so remove to your dehydrator and finish.
    I have done it this way for years and it comes out GREAT.
     

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