Newb help

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Newb help

Post  Blaq Sun on Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:08 pm

Hi everyone,

Firstly let me sayi have spent a few days reading the forums and there is so much helpful information it feels like my head is going to explode.

I am a total newb at smoking so please bear with me if i ask a stupid question or one that has been asked many times before Smile

OK i have the Pro Q Excel, stainless steel wood box. Cocoshell for fuel (6 x 5kgs) and a selection of hickory, mesquite and jack daniels wood chips and pellets.

I also have to cater for 60 people on saturday!

My plan was to make chicken and either lambor beef depending on what i can find from the butcher.

I would like to do about a dozen beer can chickens and either some short beef ribs or maybe some legs of lamb.

I am still trying to find out if that is even possible!!

My friend who has talked me through a lot of stuff and will help me out abit more but i thought maybe i could ask some of you experts on the best way to cater for 60 people. I have All day friday and saturday to prepare the food and my plan was to smoke everything first and then place on the grill with some sauce to sear and caramelise it.

Oh yeah, i forgot to mention ... i am doing all this in the middle of a forest. Normally i would just marinade the meat and then grill it on a BBQ but this year i thought i would smoke it ... and now i am wondering if i have bitten off more than i can chew.

Also if anyone could point me to any guides dealing with injecting meat that would be appreciated.

Is it possible to even cook that amount of meat in one sitting? I was thinking perhaps i could do the chickens on the first level and the meat above it, then just replace the chickens when they are cooked with fresh ones.

Thanking you in advance.

Q.

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Re: Newb help

Post  Mack on Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:39 am

Wow! You like a challenge Smile
To be honest, if I was catering for 60 on an Excel, I would be cooking Pulled Pork.
Chickens take around 3.5 hours to smoke at 240 F and you can probably do 8 at a time (4 on each level), so the biggest challenge is going to be keeping them hot. Beer can chickens on a smoker are a waste of beer, as you can't get the cans hot enough to infuse the meat from the inside.
Beef is a good option, depending on the cut (short ribs will take up too much space) so I would look at topside roasts. Lamb is also a great option.

Injecting meat is fairly simple, fill the syringe with juice and pump it into the meat.

Let us know how you get on.
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Re: Newb help

Post  Blaq Sun on Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:05 pm

Hi Mack,

Thanks for the advice Smile Pork is not an option since i wont touch it (for religous reasons). So instead i have bought some chicken pieces and hope to have a 6 - 7 kgs piece of brisket. I have a 12 hour cook time avilable to me ... more if i really need it but i figured that 4 hours to do all the chicken and then 8 hours for the brisket ... does that seem about right?

The chicken pieces are all leg & thigh and will be sprayed down with aplle juice and JD then a dry rub applied to it.

The brisket will be getting a pretty hardcore marinade for a day in lime, coriander, garlic and smoked sea salt.

After which i hope to inject it during cooking ... going to read up more on the injecting process as i want to ensure it stays as moist as possible.

Again any advice is always welcome ... thankfully a friend of mine is really helping me out with advice on the whole process (even though his original advice was to pay someone else to do it ... lol).

Many Thanks,

Q.

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Re: Newb help

Post  Mack on Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:51 pm

Brisket may not work in the time frame you have... if it's an American cut, a flat, it can take up to 18 hours to do. Chicken pieces will take between 60-90 mins.
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Re: Newb help

Post  Blaq Sun on Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:01 pm

Heh, i really dont make it easy on myself do i? Smile

Would it be easier if cut the brisket into 2 smaller pieces?

I was thinking that i could smoke the chicken in advance and then grill closer to eating time.

That way i could have much longer with just the brisket being smoked on its own.

Also someone suggested filling the water pan with baby new potatos ... would that be a bad idea? Has anyone ever done this before?

Thanks again,

Q.
PS Am i right in thinking i inject just before i place the brisket in the smoker?

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Re: Newb help

Post  Mack on Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:47 am

Cutting the Brisket in 2 won't make too much diff to the cooking time. You can inject 2 hours before the food is going on to the smoker.
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Re: Newb help

Post  Blaq Sun on Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:46 pm

Thanks for all the help and advice, will let you know how it goes Smile

Q.

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Re: Newb help

Post  Blaq Sun on Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:33 pm

Thanks for all your help, the weekend went very well (a bit too well in fact).

Had 60 pieces of chicken thigh with leg attached, sprayed down with a mix of apple juice and JD. Then my own rub and left overnight. Got started late due to too many issues with other stuff but got the Pro Q fired up and laid the chicken in on both levels ... have to double up on some of the pieces and tried to ensure that the pieces had as little contact as possible with each other.

Used mesquite wood pellets and left the pan empty. With the vents open i managed to get up to about 230 degrees F and maintain a steady heat. With that much chicken and being in the middle of a forest it took about 3 - 4 hours before the chicken was ready to come out. It was perfect and the meat was moist and almost falling off the bone, the skin was crispy and almost all the pieces were cooked to perfection. Next time i think i will buy an extra stacker to increase my ability to cook a larger volume of food.

Was interesting to see how quickly the wood pellets finished giving out smoke and had to add new pellets at least twice in that period.

The chicken was then taken out and the brisket went in. Due to a slight miscalculation i went over the 250 degrees F that i was aiming for and ended up at about 310 degrees F!

Shutting the lower vents and getting rid of the extra heat helped a bit but then my thermometer decided to die (10 Salter jobbie from Argos). Now i was flying blind and using pure instinct to cook, which worked out well for me.

The brisket itself had been sprayed down with the apple and JD mix and then a different rub to the one on the chicken applied. I also injected it with coke with some of the rub mixed in. This was then left for a day and a half and when it went in to the smoker i had the water pan empty and was using hickory wood chunks that i had soaked previously directly on the cocoshell.

At about 2 hours in i thought that the surface of the brisket looked a bit dry and unsure what to do i stabbed it with my marinade injector and sucked out what was pretty much blood. So after injecting it back in i wrapped the whole thing in foil, slathered it with bbq marinade/sauce and put it back in the smoker.

After a total of 8 hours of cooking time the brisket came out. The chicken had been put on the grill and a mop applied to it to reheat and sear the outside so it caramelised.

All in all i am told it was a total success ... so much so that i didnt actually get to eat any!!

I had to drop someone off at the train station just as dinner was starting ... by the time i got back just over an hour after, not only was the brisket gone but so was the chicken. Apparently everyone had come back for seconds and thirds! I had been worried about the taste and moistness but everyone told me it had been superb and that the brisket had been especially moist!

So thank you for all your help Ian, i really appreciate it and now i am moving on to somethign a little more easy ... cooking for myself and my family for a while and learnign more about the fine art of smoking.

Wish i had some pix but the b*stards ate it all before i could get any pix! LOLOL

If anyone would like to know what rubs i used then i can let you know but i am sure you are all more experienced than i am so probably have far more recipes Smile

Thanks once again ... now to see if i can justify the cost for a new ET-73 Wink

Q.

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