Iowa Smokey D’s at The American Royal Invitational 2012 – BBQ Island – The BBQ Chronicles
Road to the Royal – Season 1 – Episode 2
Road to the Royal – Season 1 – Episode 1
Shelton Steele Talks About Childhood BBQ & Regional BBQ
The first installment of the Road to the Royal.
Cook Time: 10 Hours
Yield: Enough for 20 Sandwiches
- 9 lb pork butt
- Rubs: Bam Bam’s Picks – Plowboys Yardbird with a top layer of Smokin Guns Sweet and Heat
- Injection: Bam Bam’s Picks – Butchers Pork Injection (optional)
- Clover honey
- Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
- Spray Bottle
- Apple Juice
- BBQ Sauce: Bam Bam’s Picks – Blues Hog BBQ Sauce
- Meat Thermometer
- Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees. Pork Butt is pretty hard to mess up. This is a great meat for you novice cooks that are just learning. First thing to do is mix your injection. I like mixing my Butchers injection with Apple Juice, but water is just fine. To Prep the butt just trim some of the fat off of the top so the rubs can stick to the meat. I like to leave most of the fat on the bottom. Place the pork butt in a disposable aluminum foil pan and inject the meat in a grid pattern of one inch cubes. Be careful not to let the needle poke out the side or the bottom, this way the injection stays inside the pork. Once this is done, I cover it up and let it sit in the fridge for up to four hours. I don’t season the meat until right before I put the pork on the smoker. Remove the butt from the fridge, be gentle with the pork so you don’t squeeze out the injection. Pat dry the pork, then season all sides of the pork with the Yardbird, then to add a sweet layer, add the Smokin Guns Sweet and Heat. Now you are ready to place the pork on the cooker.
- Once placed on the smoker, don’t open the lid for a couple of hours. After 2 hours, you can baste the pork with apple juice every 45 minutes or so. Once the bark on the outside of the meat is set, I like using Harry Soo’s scratch test. Meaning, once the bark doesn’t just scratch off with your fingers, it is now time to wrap. If you want to be a little more scientific, I like to wrap at 160-164 degrees internal temperature. Pull the pork off and place it inside a large double layered sheet of heavy duty foil. I like to add about ¼ cup of apple juice, some more rub, and a few ounces of clover honey. Seal tight and put it back on the smoker. After a few hours, start checking the internal temp of the meat. I usually pull mine between 195 and 200 degrees. More importantly, make sure your thermometer slides through the different parts of the pork butt with ease, if there is still some resistance, leave it on the smoker until done.
- Once you are finished, break the seal on the foil and place your pork in a cambro or cooler for an hour if possible. While the meat is resting, heat up your bbq sauce on the stove. Pull the pork out of the cooler and pull it. I personally like to add some sauce to the pulled pork, although it is not necessary. Serve and enjoy.
- 2 racks of Pork spare ribs
- Rubs: Bam Bam’s Picks – Plowboys Yardbird, with a top layer of Smoking Guns Sweet and Heat.
- Heavy duty aluminum foil
- Clover honey
- Parkay butter
- Brown sugar
- BBQ Sauce: Bam Bam’s Picks – It’s gotta be Blues Hog Original.
- Spray Bottle
- Apple Juice
- Wood chunks or pellets: Bam Bam’s Picks – Apple wood and pecan wood
- Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees. Now it’s time to prep your spares. Start by trimming your spare ribs however you like to. If you want a St Louis cut, find the tallest bone and from that point, cut a straight line all the way across the rib. You will be left with a nice rectangle St Louis cut spare rib, the leftover top piece is what’s called the rib tips. Don’t throw away the tips! Cook them! I like to trim some of the fat off the top. Then flip them over and with a butter knife, get under the membrane and pull up a corner. Grab the corner with a paper towel and pull the membrane off.
- Now you are ready to season your ribs. To retain moisture in the rib hold off on seasoning them until 30 minutes before you are ready to place them on your cooker. Apply both of your rubs to the top side and sides of your spare rib, let them sit out for ten minutes, you will notice your rib sweating , this process allows the rubs to penetrate the meat. After ten minutes flip the rib and repeat. Now you are ready to place the ribs on your smoker.
- Once your smoker hits 250 degrees, place the ribs on the smoker for two hours. For the first hour, DO NOT open your cooker. This gives the rubs time to set. After the first hour, spray the ribs with apple juice every fifteen to twenty minutes. This helps with moisture, color, and adds another light level of flavor. Once you hit 2 hours, pull your ribs off. Its now time to foil. Lay out the sheets of heavy duty foil. On the foil itself, sprinkle your rubs, a small handful of brown sugar, a few ounces of Parkay Butter, and honey. Lay the ribs meat side down on top of the foil mixture. Repeat the same process on the backside of the rib and seal the foil. Place the ribs back on the cooker meat side down for an additional 2 hours.
- Remove the ribs from the foil and check for doneness. I like to use a toothpick to poke the meat between the bones. If it slides through with ease, the ribs are done. If there is still some resistance, wrap the ribs back up and put them back on your cooker for another 15 minutes, then check them again, repeat this process until the ribs are done. Now that your ribs are done. Take them off the cooker, break the seal of the foil and let them rest. If you forget to break the seal, the ribs will continue to steam and overcook inside the foil. Heat up your Blues Hog BBQ Sauce on the stove. Pull the ribs from the foil and baste them with the Blues Hog. Now it’s time to cut and serve! Enjoy!
Perfect smoked chicken with bite through skin. Prep Time: 30 Minutes Cook Time: 2 Hours Yield: 8 Servings
- 8 Skin on chicken thighs
- Rub: Bam Bam’s Pick – Butchers BBQ Honey Rub
- Sauce: Bam Bam’s Pick – Butchers BBQ Sweet Sauce
- Stick of unsalted butter
- Tin Foil
- Disposable aluminum pan
- Spray bottle with apple juice
- Pigtail food flipper
- Wood chunks or pellets: Bam Bam’s Pick – Apple
- Preheat smoker to 275. Now its time to trim. Just trim some of the excess skin and fat off the thighs until you are left with fairly organized rectangles. I like to place them in disposable aluminum pans. It does not matter what size pan you use, just make sure that the chicken thighs fit flat into the pan. Don’t try to squeeze to many in. At the bottom of the pan place about a ½ TBS of Butter where each chicken thigh will sit. Now place your chicken thighs into the pan skin side down and season the backside (exposed) of the thighs with your rub. Now cover the pan with foil and place in your cooker for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken (leave covered) and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Now with your pig tail flipper, pull the thighs and season with your rub. Now place the thighs skin side up directly on the smoker. Add ONE large chunk of apple wood to your coals, if you use pellets or on offset just do what you are doing ;). Chicken can EASILY become over smoked, so when in doubt, use less! Leave the thighs on the smoker for 45 minutes.
- While your thighs are cooking, heat up your sauce. I like to thin my sauce for chicken, I generally will cut in some apple juice, and butter but you don’t have to. Once the 45 minutes passes, take your hot pot of sauce and your Pigtail Food Flipper out to the smoker and one by one with your flipper, dunk each thigh into the sauce and place back on the smoker. This is the pretty way to do it. No finger smudges or messes. Allow the sauce to caramelize on the chicken thighs for about ten minutes. Now pull the chicken thighs, serve and enjoy!
- One 12 to 16 pound Packer Beef Brisket
- Rub: Bam Bam’s Pick – Three Little Pigs Memphis Style
- Injection: Bam Bam’s Pick – Butchers Prime Injection
- Marinade: Bam Bam’s Pick – Head Country Marinade
- 4 Tbl Better Than Bullion
- 2 Tbl Mustard
- 1/2 Tbl Chili powder
- 3 Tbl Worcestershire Sauce
- Spray bottle with water
- Grease separator
- Meat thermometer
- Heavy duty foil
- Wood Chunks or Pellets: Bam Bam’s Picks – Oak or Hickory
- Make Paste: In a small bowl mix Better than Bullion, Mustard, Chili Powder, and Worcestershire Sauce together. Apply the paste to the whole brisket, this acts as a layer of flavor, as well as a glue for the rub
- Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees. Take your brisket and with a nice sharp knife trim fat cap below to about a ¼ inch. Now trim the fat and and silver skin (if you have the patience) of the top of the Brisket. This allows the rub to adhere to the surface of the brisket which is a must if you want a good bark. Now you are ready to inject. Just mix your Butchers Prime Injection with water and inject the brisket in a grid pattern of one inch cubes. I like to inject across the grain at about a 45 degree angle. Hold your hand above where you are injecting so it does not spray every where. Put your brisket back in the fridge for a couple of hours. Remove the brisket from the fridge, pat dry with paper towels and gently apply the paste over the whole brisket. Now its time to cover the whole brisket with your 3 Little Pigs Memphis Rub! Cover your brisket again and set it back in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- Now you are ready to place to brisket on the smoker. After about 2 hours, spray the brisket with water every 45 minutes or so. Same logic applies to the bark of the brisket as it does with pork. Once the bark has setup and does not scratch away, you are ready to foil. Again, if you need a more specific guide, pull the brisket for foil when the internal temp hits between 160-165 degrees internal temp. In a double layer of heavy duty foil, place your brisket with about a half of a bottle of Head Country Marinade poured over the meat. Seal tightly and place back on the cooker until the internal temp of the brisket reaches 205 degrees. Pull the brisket off of the smoker and separate the point from the flat. Make sure to save all of the au jus!! Just follow the very obvious line of fat that separates the two muscles
- Place the flat into a Cambro or Cooler to rest for an hour or two. Now season the point muscle with Memphis rub and place back on the smoker for a couple of hours to get burnt ends. After a couple of hours pull the point off and trim into cubes. Take to saved juices and pour into the separator, pour the au jus in to a pot and heat it up, set aside for now.
- Now remove your flat from the Cambro/cooler and and cut into pencil thick slices, make sure to cut against the grain, or you will have tougher meat. If you prefer you can cut the fat off the bottom, I prefer to leave it on, it tastes great, and adds moisture to the bite. I don’t like to use sauce on brisket, I like to brush or pour the au jus over the meat. Serve and enjoy!
I get asked quite a bit about how I start my coals and maintain my fire in my WSM’s . It seems that most often, I hear people have problems with over shooting their desired temps. First off, let me dispel a myth. Most WSM owners believe that they own a “water” cooker. BBQ tends to be a man’s game, not always, but mostly. Therefore very few of us take the time to actually read through the manual. If you did, you will find that the water pan in the WSM is a heat sink, not a steamer. It absorbs heat energy in order to help keep the temps from spiking. No matter what you think, you are NOT receiving any moisture or flavor benefit from the water or juice that you fill the pan with. I personally do not ever put water in my WSM’s, but it’s ok if you do. Just remember that it takes energy to heat all of that water, which burns out your charcoal faster. If you use water, heat it up first if you don’t want to waste fuel. Personally I just hate the mess and I have gotten to the point where I don’t need the water to help me with maintaining temps. Hopefully after this, you wont either. Ill touch more on the water pan issue later.
The most common way to start charcoal in the WSM is what is called the minion method. This is where you fire up a chimney full of charcoal, and pour it into the center of your charcoal ring surrounded by fresh coals. I am not a fan of this method. I feel that too much charcoal is lit from top to bottom, making it nearly impossible to not have temp spikes in the beginning of your cook. Also, no matter how hard you try, when you dump lit charcoal on fresh charcoal, a stray lit chunk ALWAYS lands somewhere outside of where you want to start the fire from. This creates an uneven fire, and that will give you issues.
This is how I setup my WSM’s. This method works great whether you use a temp control device such as the BBQ Guru (I use the Guru and love it) or not. I like to plan on about 45 minutes to start my cookers. It only takes about 20 minutes to get to temp but I recommend getting it to temp and maintaining it for 20 minutes just to make sure it has leveled off. I build a large pyramid with my charcoal and light it with a Looftlighter. I light just the tip top of the pyramid. At this point I obviously do not have the middle section of my WSM in place. It is off to the side. After a few minutes, once a decent little amount of coal has fired up, I place the middle section and lid back in place with all vents, top and bottom, wide open.
My trusty Looft Lighter and Good One Lump Charcoal
This is about all I light.
On the flip side, If I am using my beloved BBQ Guru, this where I would button up the whole cooker, close all of the bottom vents, open the top vent, and let the fan and controller bring the cooker to temp. I recommend learning how to use your cooker manually before buying a BBQ Guru or Ique. In my most recent competition, we lost power, then I pulled my temp probe out of my cooker way too hard and snapped it, so I had to finish the cook manually in thirty mile per hour wind. Luckily I knew how to manually run my cookers and had no problems at all.
Now back to manual operation. I usually advise people to shut the back two charcoal vents, and shut the top vent about halfway once they are within about 40 degrees of their desired temp. Your temp will still continue to ramp up, but this will help keep the temps from overshooting. Generally if the weather is good, meaning no wind, I can lock in the cooker around 225 to 250 following these steps. If you want a little more heat, start by opening the top vent all of the way. Then if you need even more heat, open one of the back vents about a ¼ of the way. Remember, nothing about BBQ is fast. If you want to increase temp, then make a small change and wait 10 minutes and repeat if necessary. After a few hours, especially if you use crap Kingsford, that’s right, I said it 😉 Ash will start to build up a bit and you will have to open vents to keep your temps maintained. This is why I strongly advise using a good natural lump charcoal. When I say good, I mean brands like: Good One, Montana, Royal Oak, Chigger Creek, and my personal favorite, Ozark Oak. Sorry about the shameless plugs, but I am big believer in Lump charcoal. Its reusable, produces WAY less ash which in a WSM is imperative, especially for you 18.5 WSM owners, and puts off a better flavor.
If I am shooting for 225, I would button up the vents here.
After 25 minutes, she is humming along right at 225. Lets Cook!!
As you can tell, I am a BIG fan of the WSM! It really is a great cooker, and Weber has some of the best customer service around. I also think it says a lot that some of the best cook teams in the world compete on them, and keep in mind, Weber does not sponsor cook teams, these pro’s buy theirs just like the rest of us. Teams like Slap Yo Daddy BBQ, Sweet Peppers, Rythym n Que, and local AZ young guns Loot n Booty BBQ and us, Bam Bam’s BBQ, all swear by the WSM in competition. That’s it from me, good luck!
TIPS AND TRICKS:
-Every time you open the lid, you add 10 minutes to your cook
-For those of you in cold or windy climates, go to your local Home Depot or Lowes and buy a 10 foot roll of “48 inch Reflectix” this is a super economical way to insulate your cooker and provide a wind barrier. I recommend buying some utility Velcro so you can fully wrap your cooker and keep it in place. One thing to keep in mind, this works especially well for BBQ Guru or Ique users because you can fully wrap the cooker top to bottom without having to worry about suffocating your WSM. For those of you without a BBQ Guru, wrap the Reflectix around the seam between the bottom and middle section of the cooker, so you do not block your vents and suffocate your coals.
-If you don’t use water in your water pan, double wrap the water pan in heavy duty foil for easy cleanup. If you are still having temperature spikes and want to create a heat sink without using water, then buy some ceramic briquettes and place 10-20 of them in the bottom of your water pan and put another layer of foil over them to catch grease.
-Be careful with the lid and middle section of your WSM. Never set the either one on any hard, or abrasive surface such as concrete or asphalt. Not only will you leave a grease ring that wont come out, you will chip away at the porcelain coating which will hurt the seal between the lid and the middle section, or the middle section and the charcoal bowl. Instead, set the lid down on a plastic table or a piece of cardboard. Concerning the middle section. The lid and the charcoal bowl are heavier and much more rigid than the middle section. The lid and charcoal bowl will help the middle section of the WSM hold its shape. If the lid and charcoal bowl are not connected, be careful not to warp the middle section. The middle section is much more flimsy and can warp fairly easy. I have warped mine when traveling to competition. My WSM was too tall if the lid or base was connected, so I had to transport it in 3 pieces. I packed things around the middle section and they shifted en route to the comp and warped the middle section of the cooker. Once that happens, your WSM will run extremely hot and really wont even be useable. Now my warped cooker is my little backyard fire pit