Before doing any cooking you should season the smoker
Lightly spray the interior of the cooking box with vegetable oil.
Light a charcoal fire in the fire box. The best tool for this is a charcoal chimney starter. If you don’t have one, start the coals with paper and/or kindling. DO NOT USE ANY LIGHTER FLUID AND NEVER ADD ANY LIGHTER FLUID AT ANYTIME. This can foul the smoker and cause serious injury.
With the cooking box empty, allow the fire to burn at 225 degrees or higher for about two hours. You only have to do this once. Thereafter you can go right to cooking.
Before putting any meat in the smoker, light the fire in the fire box.
For smoking, bring the temperature up to between 225 and 250 degrees.
Do not put the meat in the smoker until your temperature stabilizes.
The cooking box will be hotter near the fire box than by the chimney. Bigger pieces of meat such as butts and brisket put at the cooler end.
Once you have constant temps, add your meat.
Typical meats for smoking are ribs (both spares and baby backs), pork butts (also known as Boston butts), brisket, sausage, keilbasa, whole chickens and turkeys, pigs, beef ribs, pork loins etc. You can cook multiple cuts and kinds of meats at the same.
Typical grilling meats are those that cook fast such as steaks, chicken parts, burgers dogs, fish, chops etc. (We recommend that you buy your meats at the supermarket to get the best price).
Depending on the meat, it can take for example: ribs-3 to 5 hours (baby backs cook faster), pork butts-7 to 10 hours, brisket-10 to 12 hours.
We suggest cooking with charcoal. Charcoal will add some smoke but for additional smoke you can add a chunk of hardwood such as hickory, oak, apple etc. or moist wood chips. NEVER add soft woods like pine.
The most accurate way to tell if your meat is ready is with a meat thermometer.
Brisket and pork butts-cook to about 200 degrees internal temperature.
Turkeys and chicken to about 180. Stick the probe between the body and the thigh without hitting a bone or if there’s a pop up in the breast use that as an indicator.
Ribs are done when you see “pull back from the tip of the bone and if you can easily tear the meat in between the bones.
We recommend you wrap pork butts, brisket and ribs in double tin foil part way through the cook and put back in the smoker to finish cooking. For the ribs and the butts we add about 4 tablespoons of honey and two tablespoons of brown sugar and then wrap them.
Wrap as follows:
Ribs at about the 1 ½ hours mark, pork butts and brisket when the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. This helps to keep the meat from drying out. The foil will not interfere with smoking since meat will stop accepting smoke after 140 degrees.
Make sure you season your meats with your favorite seasonings prior to cooking and if you have an injector, inject the briskets and butts. You can inject a mixture of pork bouillon and seasoning for the butts and beef bouillon and seasoning for the brisket.
The beauty of BBQ is each smoker will cook differently. The more you cook the better you will get to know your smoker (kinda like your car). As with any grill weather, temperature, humidity and wind will effect the cook. If you any questions, no matter how simple you may think they are, just call us and we will be glad to help out. We want your BBQ experience to be a successful one.
Lard Have Mercy
Congatulations on your purchase.
Before you attempt to cook, your cooker should be seasoned.
The seasoning process allows you to “play” with the vents and learn how to regulate the smoker’s temperature.”
Remove the cooking grate(s) and drip pan.
Wash the cooking grate(s) with soap and water and leave out of the cooker.
With a cloth and light cooking oil, rub the underside of the lid, inside of the cooking chamber and the sides of the fire chamber.
On our TS and BX Series you do not have to season the inside of the firebox.
Without reinstalling the cooking grates, start a small fire with charcoal and bring the temperature up to 275 to 300 degrees and hold the temp for 1 ½ hours.
For our TS Series:
In addition to the above, after performing the seasoning process and the firebox is still warm, rub a light coat of cooking oil on the exterior of the firebox. This will help prolong the life of the paint job on the firebox though over time due to the intense heat you will have to lightly sand and repaint the firebox with a high heat paint.
Break In or Seasoning
Adjust the unit so it is slightly nose down.
Place a container under the grease valve.
Open the valve.
Clean cooking racks with dish soap and hot water to remove any cutting oils and debris from manufacturing.
Check the inside of the cooking chamber for any debris and if necessary rinse.
Spray the interior of the cooking chamber and racks with a light coat of cooking oil.
Load the firebox with charcoal, light and allow temp. to come up to approximately 275 degrees and maintain this temp. for about 1 to1.5 hours.
Keep firebox side and chimney vents wide open.
Adjust firebox vents to regulate temp. (opening increases and closing decreases).
Keep the chimney vent wide open at all times. Never close during a cook.
Now you are ready to cook.
If starting from “scratch”, fill the firebox with 20 to 2 5 lbs. of charcoal.
Light the coals either with a torch or a couple of hot chimney coals.
Keep vents wide open and doors closed on the cooking chamber.
How fast the smoker will get to temp is dependent on ambient temperature, barometric pressure, wind etc.
Remember, you are heating up a tremendous amount of steel.
Once you reach your desired temperature (225 to 275) place your meat on the racks.
Place one or two logs on the fire.
Use only hard woods such as pecan, oak, hickory, cherry, peach and apple.
They must be dry and seasoned.
Once you achieve a light blue smoke put on the meat.
The section close to the firebox will be hotter than the sections to the front.
We usually tend to but the larger cuts of meats like brisket and butts towards the front and smaller cuts like ribs, chicken, sausage towards the back.
You will know if there’s a problem if you have black or dark smoke coming out of the chimney.
Ideal smoke color is light blue/white (at this point you can continue with all wood or a combo of wood and charcoal as we do).
Regulate your temperature with the side vents on the firebox.
If your heat gets too high and you are having trouble lowering it, simply prop open the cooking doors and if it’s way hot open the firebox door about an inch or two. This will allow things to cool down.
If you want guidelines on cooking various meats, check out our recipes.
Note: Do not get discourage if your first cook doesn’t turn out exactly as expected. After a few cooks you will understand the mechanics of your smoker and also you will develop your own techniques to turning out some of the best BBQ. Best to start with things like ribs and pork butts.
Remember, you can always call us with any questions.
Good luck and may the Lard be with you!
To cook the perfect piece of meat is one thing, but to enhance the flavor of the meat is another.
The barbecue pros will create a flavor profile by a process called “layering”.
Layering simple means combining 2 to 3 off the shelf seasonings that complement each other.
Do not mix them together but layer them over each other.
A basic layering works as follows:
1st layer (White) a seasoning heavy in salt. Salt brings out the flavor in the meat and helps with retaining some moisture.
2nd (Red) a seasoning with a little cayenne or chili but not over powering. Just a slight “kick”.
3rd layer (Brown) a seasoning high in brown or white sugar. It balances the kick and gives great color.
Example L to R: White, Red, Brown
So think white, red, brown when coming up with a profile.
Not all seasonings will work well together.
It requires experimenting, and also figuring out what your own flavor profile is.
At GrillBillies, we experiment with the seasonings we sell to create flavor profiles we like.
Click here to see the combinations we use or rummage through your spice rack and start experimenting.
Layering two or three seasonings that complement each other is a powerful, easy and inexpensive way to up the results of your barbecuing cooking. The process is to identify off the shelf seasoning that have some synergy when “layered” one on top of the other. By doing so you are sensitizing all areas of the tongue providing an outstanding and amazing flavor profile. One seasoning can only be one dimensional. Two can quadruple the flavor profile. Three matched perfectly can make for an outstanding flavor profile that will “up” your BBQ experience dramatically without changing anything else.
Take for example the “Holy Grail” combination listed in our seasoning combination page. Applying the Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper provides a nice base coat on the meat. Topped with Smokin Guns Hot we get a slight “kick”. When finished off with the sweetness of Meadow Creek’s Black Pepper Rub we offset the heat and provide a nice top surface for carmelization. Once you have achieved a few recipes it will become easier to distinguish which seasonings work and which don’t. For example, we have found that the “fruity” seasonings such as Peach or Pecan Rubs can be “in your face sweet”. To cut this sweetness but still achieve the pleasant taste of these rubs we just layer a half part of Chipotle Rub which takes the edge off the sweetness and calms things down.
Layering your seasonings is a great way of taking some of the seasonings that are sitting unused in your cabinet or those that you may not be “shot in the head” about and getting some utility out of them.
“Difference between a great one and an OK one”
Hamburgers appear to “reign supreme” when it comes to outdoor cooking. We may eat 10 million hotdogs per year but the average American eats 150 hamburgers per year for a total of 50 billion per year. Everybody cooks them and therefore there doesn’t seem to be much forethought as to what they’re comprised of or how they
We tell customers that when it comes to brisket, butts, ribs etc. half the battle of getting good results is the quality of the meat. Low quality meat low quality results. It is the same with hamburger meat.
To understand the quality issue is to understand what you are buying. There is hamburger meat and there is ground beef. The USDA allows processors of hamburger meat to add fat. Fat is not allowed to be added to ground beef. With that being said, you may elect to purchase the ground beef over the hamburger meat but remember you still need a certain amount of fat to make a good burger.
We recommend the following, avoid either if you can. With either one you never know what part of the cow you are buying, how old it was, was the meat frozen etc. Remember, the USDA does not inspect meat unless it travels over State lines. Some States have State inspectors but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee high quality meat. You can be getting anything from the head to the a-s. Most butchers have scruples and will grind up better parts of the cow than a processor so they are your best friend when it comes to getting good quality meats.