When we think barbecue the beverage of choice that usually comes to mind is beer. An old saying at GrillBillies is that “one of the B’s in BBQ” must stand for beer. Yes, that beverage we can always find a reason to consume while sitting next to our smoker or grill. It’s natural and it’s American!! So why are we talking about wine?
Well, with the surge in popularization of barbecue the “wineos” have entered the arena. Like craft beer showing up at a barbecue so is the same with wine. The art of turning out great “Q” is no longer left to the beer drinking “die-hards” that built their own smokers and brave the elements whether it be sub zero or scorching hot. The enthusiasm for great barbecue is covered by all walks of life and therefore many enjoy a good bottle of wine with their barbecue.
Selecting the right wine can be as important as selecting the right sauce or seasoning to complement your “Q” of the day. Whether you are grilling or smoking pork, chicken, brisket or fish no one single wine is a “go to” that will do the job best. There are many factors that will effect the best selection beside just the meat. Are the seasoning or sauce spicy, sweet, tart? Are we cooking in blazing heat or like we are at the North Pole? Oh, and the palettes of the guest but we can’t deal with that because there will always be a difference of opinion and we know what opinions are like! We will stick with the basic rules, but with that being said rules are meant to broken, so drink what you like.
Here is cryptic look at the GrillBillies selections that we feel works best with various types of barbecue and conditions (Oh, we practice what we preach).
Chardonnay*, Chenin Blac, White Burgundy
Cabernet, Malbec, Zinfandel, Barolo, Meritage, Amarone*, Ripasso*
Bordeaux, Cabernet*, Barolo*, Amarone, Ripasso
Chardonnay, White Burgundy, Merlot, Pinot Noir*, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Rose
White Burgundy*, Chardonnay
Riesling, Pinot Gris, Vouvray*, Prosecco, Cava
Spicy Seasonings or Sauces-
Zinfadel*, Syrah, Malbec
Grilled Vegetables, Shrimp, Shell Fish-
Sauvignon Blanc (Fume Blanc)
Summer Heat (all purpose)-
Cool Dry Rose
Winter Cold ( all purpose)-
Cabernet, Zinfandel, Malbec——Shine????
If possible, place the roaster in an area where it is somewhat protected from the wind. Also away from anything flammable.
Coat the cooking grate with spray cooking oil.
Remove the cooking grate from the roaster and place the pig on it.
Optional-inject the butts and hams with a mixture of apple juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic salt or as we do, Pro grade Butcher Pork Injection.
Lightly rub the skin of the pig with vegetable oil.
Wrap tinfoil on the feet, snout and ears.
Remove the roaster drip pan.
Fill pig roaster with 3/4 lb. of charcoal per lb. of pig spread evenly across the length of the roaster.
If you have a gas roaster preheat to 300 degrees.
If you have a gas roaster with a charcoal insert, place about 8# of charcoal in each trough, light and you can add a couple of small chunks of wood for smoke.
Bring the roaster up to 300 degrees.
Light each end of the laid out coals (do not light everything).
If you have a few pieces of wood (6”x6”) put them just in front of the lit coals.
Replace the drip pan and close the lid.
Fully open the top and side vents.
Allow approximately 45-60 mins. for the roaster temp. to reach 300.
Ideally when the roaster reaches 300 place the pig and cooking grate on the roaster.
Your temperature is going to drop because of putting on the cold pig.
Don’t worry. Once the pig starts to warm up your temp. will come back up.
Maintain about 300 degrees on the gauge or less. Exceeding 300 runs the risk of a dark pig.
Maintaining temp. will be accomplished by either slightly closing the vents to lower temps and opening to raise temps.
Once adjusted it should stay at 300.
Optional-2 hrs. into the cook take steel or wooden rod about 4’ long and push it through one of the bottom vents on each side of the roaster 2 times. This helps to knock down some of the ash on the coals. Do this periodically.
When the meat temp. reaches at least 185+ (higher like 190+ is OK) by using an instant read thermometer ( not dial ones-they can be off 25 degrees) your ready to remove the pig. Test the temp. both in the hams and butts. If the temps vary bring the lowest temp up to 185+ and don’t worry about the high temp.
You need at least two people to remove the pig.
Place a table close to the roaster. On it have large pieces of tin foil draped over the table so you can envelope it over the pig to keep it hot. Ideally it is best just to leave the pig on the cooking grate. Moving large pig is risky, but if you have to take it off the grate:use a pizza piel, slide it carefully under the trunk of the pig to loosen it from the grate. Check that the feet are not stuck.
Carefully lifting the head and the butt and also trying to support the trunk move the pig onto the other surface.
You can also leave the pig on the grate for serving.
Double wrap the pig with heavy duty tinfoil.
Cover the pig with a blanket.
Allow to rest at least 1 hr. or so.
The pig will stay hot for at least 3 hrs. and warm for several.
Garnish with greens and cut up fruit of varying colors.
Rule of thumb:
1 hr. of cooking time for every 10 lbs. of pig.
Add another 1.5 to 2.0 hrs.to the cook time in case the cook is taking longer and also to give the meat time to rest.
Plan 3/4lb. of charcoal for every LB. of pig. Again on larger pigs you may need less per lb.
Lard Have Mercy
Spatchcocking, another term for butterflying, is basically cutting the backbone out of a chicken or turkey splitting it in half and placing on the grill skin side up.
Spatchcocking takes a piece of meat that is configured like a football and brings it down to a more symmetrical size providing a more even cook across the entire bird. It also makes crisping the entire skin easier, provides more surface area for seasoning and lessens the cook time.
Spatchcocking is simple and here’s how it works:
Lay the bird breast side down on a cutting board.
Cut on both sides of the spine and remove it.
Spread the two halves apart.
Turn the bird over placing your hands over the breast bone and push down hard, like giving CPR.
Season both sides, place on the grill or smoker and that’s it.
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.
The method of getting the maximum amount of smoke into meat is to put the meat on the smoker cold.
The colder the meat, the better (not frozen).
Right out of the refrigerator or cooler is when the meat will take the most smoke.
As the internal temperature of the meat increases, the meat will take less smoke.
When the internal temperature reaches 140 to 150, the meat will not take on any more smoke.
Between 40 and 70 degrees, the meat accepts the most smoke.
From 70 to 140, it takes much less smoke.
Above 150 you are just generating heat, regardless of whether you are continuing to cook with wood.
So the best method is to get your meat on the smoker cold.
The science behind this will only bore you, so here is a simplistic discussion.
First of all, you do not need smoke to get a smoke ring.
You need the presence of nitric oxide (NO) and carbon monoxide (CO), which are byproducts of combustion.
Also, you need the presence of myoglobin also known as myowater, the liquid that is always in the meat package, which is often thought to be blood.
Myowater is in all meat and can make up 75% of its weight.
In the very early stages of the cook NO and CO will react with the myowater at the very surface of the meat and will enter the meat, changing the myowater to pink.
In its original state, myowater is purplish.
When the surface temperature of the meat reaches 170 degrees, NO and CO will stop reacting with the meat’s myowater, thus the end of the smoke ring.
For large cuts of meat like briskets and pork butts, it is important to remove the fat cap or otherwise the fat cap will quickly reach 170 degrees and NO and CO will not reach the meat.
Another idea is to start the cooking temperature lower, such as at 225 for about 1 ½ hours to allow NO and CO to enter the meat deeply before the surface reaches 170 degrees, then increase the temperature to 275 or so for the remainder of the cook.
St. Louis Cut or Baby Back Ribs
Vegetable Oil (exclude if the ribs are sweating).
- NOTE-WE VARY SEASONINGS WITH EVERY CLASS. CLASS STUDENTS USE THE SEASONING & SAUCE COMBOS FROM THE CLASS.
Honey or Agave
Parkay Liquid Margarine
Cooking temperature 250 to 275.
Approximate cooking time: 4 to 5 hours for St. Louis, 3 to 3.5 hours for Baby Backs
Start the ribs one to two hours before you expect to serve
Remove the membrane from the backside of the slab.
This is best accomplished by taking a knife and just slide it under the membrane to lift a piece that can be grab by your fingers. Use a paper towel to hold onto the membrane.
Remove any excess fat from the front and back.
(Remove the riblet if you have spare ribs.)
Rub vegetable oil on the entire slab (this helps to “glue” your rub to the meat).
Apply a light coat of the a medium layers of Smoking Guns Hot followed by Meat Church Honey Hog a 3rd layer of Cimarron Doc Sweet Rib Rub
Start your fire and stabilize the temperature at 250 to 275.
Add a few chunks of hickory, oak or apple to the charcoal (no soft woods!). On a gas grill Hickory pellets or chips (read this article for gas grilling). You can use smoke generators such as GrillKickers, BBQr’s Pellet Pot and Amazing Pellet Tube.
Wait for the wood to catch fire (see our article on “Good Smoke Bad Smoke”).
Place the ribs in the cooker right from the fridge or cooler with the bone side down.
Close the lid and leave it closed.
Smoking of the ribs will take place in the very early stages of cooking.
At 2 hours, remove the ribs or when you get a nice mahogany color, place on two sheets of heavy duty foil, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of apple juice, light coat of Tiger Sauce, a coat of Parkay and 2 tablespoons of honey or agave on top. Note: at this point you have the option to put them in the oven to finish cooking if you want to save propane or charcoal.
Wrap the ribs in the foil and put back on the cooker.
At 3.5 hours (for St. Louis, 2.5 hrs. for Baby Backs), check the thinner racks of ribs for tenderness (each will cook at a different rate). If there’s “pull back” from the bone and check the temperature in the middle of the rib. St. Louis cut will be done around 206 to 208 degrees (also bend into a sideways “L” when picked up with tongs). remove the ribs, open the foil and apply a 50/50 coat of Blues Hog Original BBQ Sauce and Tennessee Red to the topside and place back on the smoker uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes to set the sauce. After the sauce is set you have a choice to slice them up and serve or close up the foil and place the ribs in a cooler to keep warm.
Fill the air space in the cooler with newspaper so the ribs retain heat.
If you are cooking multiple ribs (and cooking at different rates) keep taking ribs off as they are done and place in the cooler.
Sitting in the cooler will make the ribs nice and tender and will return juices to the meat.
The ribs will stay hot for a long time while in the cooler.
Indirect cooking or offset smoking such as on our PR, TS, SQ units, Kamado Grills and Gas Grills (click here for smoking on a gas grill)
- 1 whole brisket (point and flat) 10 to 15 lbs.
- Butcher Prime Injection
- Vegetable oil
- Seasonings Listed Below
- Parkay Margarine (Sqeezable)
Cooking temperature 250 to 275.
Approximate cooking time 8 to 10 hours.
- If you can do the following the night before the better:
- Remove the “fat cap” leaving virtually no fat on the brisket.
- At the thinnest edge of the flat cut a small chunk off cutting across the grain this way you know which angle to cut when the brisket is done.
- Mix Butcher Prime Injection in accordance with the label and inject fat cap side about every square inch ( in a grid pattern) going into the meat ¾ of the thickness and inject on the way out (mix the injection 24 hours ahead if possible for better results and keep agitated when injecting).
- Rub vegetable oil on the entire brisket. This helps to “glue” your rub to the meat.
- Rub the meat with your favorite rub. We like to layer our seasonings on brisket and enjoy a 1st layer of Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper topped with Smoking Guns Hot and Meat Church Holy Cow. Another option is Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper topped with Lotta Bull’s Red Dirt.
- Wrap the brisket in loosely in foil or in a foil pan and place back in the fridge fat cap up.
- Light a charcoal fire and stabilize the temperature at 225 to 250 (this lower temp allows for the heat that will be generated when you put the on).
- Add a few chunks of hickory or blend of pecan and cherry to the charcoal (no soft woods!)
- Take the brisket out of the fridge or the cooler and place on the smoker or grill COLD (see our article on smoking).
- Place the brisket with the fat cap up.
- Place a digital thermometer probe in the thickest part of the flat (it is wise to also measure the cooking grate temp for greater accuracy).
- Close the lid and leave it closed.
- Smoking of the brisket will take place in the very early stages of the cooking process (1 ½ to 2 hours).
- When the brisket reaches an internal temp of 160 degrees take it off and place it on two layers of tin foil.
- Squirt liquid Parkay Margarine on top of the brisket.
- Wrap the brisket up in the two layers of tin foil and put back in the cooker.
- Place the probe back into the meat.
- Note-Don’t freak out if the cook time stalls at around 160 degrees. This is normal.
- Bring the meat temp up to 195.
- Take the temp probe and push it in sideways into the meat in a few places. If it’s done, you should feel very little resistance when pushing the probe.
- If not, continue cooking until tender until the probe passes through the brisket like going through butter. The brisket will be probably done somewhere around 198 to 210.
- Once done, remove the brisket from the smoker or grill and open the two layers of foil and allow the steam to escape for 5 minutes. Once done wrap the brisket in a 3rd piece of foil.
- Wrap the brisket up with beach towels and place in a cooler to rest for two hours if possible.
- Unfoil the meat being careful to retain the juices in the foil. Pour the juices in a bowl. Mix the juice and if needed extend with BBQ sauce such as Eat Barbecue’s The Next Best Thing or Smokey Mountain Smoker’s Original Sauce.
- Slice in the same direction as your cut off (meat across the grain) and if needed lightly sprinkle the slices with the juice mixture.
Next to pork ribs, pulled pork is one of the most popular BBQ dishes in the country.
Indirect cooking or offset smoking such as on our Meadow Creek PR, TS, SQ units, Kamado Grills and Gas Grills (click here for smoking on a gas grill)
- 1 Pork butt (also known as Boston butt) 7 to 9 lbs. bone in or out is OK.
- ¼ cup of Apple Juice
- ¼ cup Honey or Agave
- ¼ cup Brown sugar
- Butcher Pork Injection
- Vegetable Oil
- Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper
- Smokin Guns Hot
- Meat Church Honey Hog
- Blues Hog original BBQ Sauce
Cooking temperature between 225 and 275.
Approximate cooking time 7 to 9 hrs.
If you can do the following the night before the better:
- Remove the “fat cap” leaving virtually no fat on the butt.
- Mix the Butcher Pork Injection according to the label and let it sit. Even overnight if possible.
- Inject through the fat cap side penetrating ¾ of the way into the butt and inject on the way out. Inject every inch to inch and a half in a grid pattern. Keep injection agitated.
- Rub vegetable oil on the entire butt. This helps to “glue” your rub to the meat.
- Layer the seasonings in the order above in a medium coat. Do not mix, layer one on top of the other.
- Wrap the butt in foil and place back in the fridge injected side up.
- Start a charcoal bed fire and stabilize temperature at 225 to 275.
- Add a few chunks of apple, pecan, peach or our favorite blend 60% pecan and 40% cherry to the charcoal. For a gas grill use pellets or chips of the same.
- Remove the butt from the fridge or cooler and place on the smoker or grill COLD (see our article on smoking).
- Place the butt in the cooker with the injected side up.
- Place a digital thermometer probe in the thickest part of the butt. It is always wise to also measure the grate temperature with a digital grate thermometer for better accuracy.
- Close the lid and leave it closed.
- Smoking of the butt will take place in the very early stages (first 1 ½ to 2 ours) of the cooking process.
- When the butt reaches 160 degrees take it off and place it on two layers of tin foil.
- Cup the foil around the butt and pour in the apple juice, sprinkle the brown sugar and the honey or agave on the top.
- Wrap the butts up in the two layers of tin foil and put back in the cooker.
- Place the probe back into the meat.
- Side Note-Don’t freak out if the cook time stalls at around 160. This is normal.
- When the butt reaches an internal temp of 190 you need to pay attention.
- Take the temp. probe and push it in sideways into the meat in a few places. If it’s done, the probe should feel like it’s being pushed through soft butter.
- If not, continue cooking for another 20 minutes and check again. Continue this probing until the meat is tender.
- Once done remove the butt from the cooker and wrap in a third layer of foil and put in a small cooler. Fill the open air space with crumbled up newspaper, beach towels etc.
- Let the butt sit in the cooler for a minimum of two hours, longer is better. This process allows the fluids that have gathered in the foil to return to the meat.
- Unfoil the meat being careful to retain the juices in the foil.
- Place the juices in a bowl.
- Now it’s your choice to pull the meat or chop it.
- If pulling, the best tool is a pair of bear claws used for lifting cooked turkeys. If chopping a mezzaluna works well.
- Shred or chop the meat, paying attention to remove any fat.
- After shredding, make a mixture of 1/3 pork juices (in the bowl), 2/3 Blues Hog BBQ Sauce.
- Lightly mix this in with your pulled pork to taste.
Serve on a potato roll along with our signature coleslaw recipe and you will be loved by all!!
“If you look through cookbooks you will find 100’s of ways to cook meatloaf but nothing comes close to cooking a smoked meatloaf on your smoker. Fairly uncomplicated and once prepped it is an easy recipe for the family or guests”.
- 3 lbs. ground beef (80/20)
- ½ medium onion, minced
- ½ medium bell pepper, minced
- 1 small jalapeno pepper
- 6 eggs
- 1 ½ stacks Ritz crackers
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan and Romano cheese mixture
- 1/3 cup of Harley’s Texas Rub
- ¼ cup of Meadow Creek Apple BBQ Sauce
- ½ size aluminum pan
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Spread the mix evenly in the pan.
- Cut 3 slits halfway up each side of the aluminum pan to allow smoke to enter and to let grease escape.
- Cook uncovered for about 2 ½ to 3 hours at 225 degrees.
- Remove from the pit and pour the BBQ sauce on top.
- Put the pan back on the pit for about another 15 to 20 minutes.
- Cook until the internal temp is 170 to 175.