Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ohio BBQ

A trip to visit family in Ohio was the perfect excuse to get some meat smoking done. A big pile of protien always brings the family together, so my brother and I decided on a wide menu. In addition to the requisite brisket we tried a pork shoulder, baby back ribs, various cuts of chicken, venison roasts and sausage.

My sister's hungry gaze.

My brother has a barrel smoker with a detached firebox and a big pile of cherry wood. I got into town after midnight on a Friday night, so he got things started on his own. Leaves on the ground and smoke in the air greeted me as I drove up to check on the brisket at 9:30.

We quickly got some chicken and sausage on for lunch. I'm now convinced that chicken thighs are the best option for smoking. With plenty of fat, the thighs stayed moist while taking on plenty of smokey flavor. They would have been perfect if I hadn't overseasoned them.

In the evening it was time to start pulling the pork. After a rub of vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, salt and pepper along with 8 hours of smoking, this pork came apart with ease. The only downside was that too much fat had been trimmed off by the butcher, so it was bit dry, but very flavorful. The smallish shoulder allowed for plenty of surface area for a good crust to meat mixture in the final product.

Smoked chicken breasts were also good, but are just so hard to keep moist. Those in the crowd not favoring beef, were happy they were included.

These baby back ribs had plenty of meat left on the bone and a thin layer of fat. After slow smoking the fat had rendered perfectly and the meat was tender and moist. The flavor from the brown sugar rub created a nice crust on the meat. The venison roasts got a layer of bacon over them while smoking since they have almost no fat. This gamey meat was tamed by the smoke, but like the chicken, dryness was an issue. The flavor was better than expected by everyone in the crowd familiar with venison.

Of course the brisket was really why my brother got a fire going at 6:30. Slicing into it, I could tell that it needed a little more time on the smoker, and a little longer time resting. We took it off the fire an hour before serving, then wrapped it in foil and placed it in a cooler. The residual heat continued to cook it slowly, but didn't really allow it to rest. Precious juice spilled out with every slice, but we all ate it immediately so it wasn't allowed to dry out. The slices had a good smoke ring with plenty of thick black crust. Each bite was moist, but the flat could have been a little more tender. The point was the better portion with very well rendered fat within the meat. It wasn't the best brisket I've had, but it ranks right up there. It just goes to show how much has to go right to get this most challenging of meats smoked perfectly. No matter the final product, an excuse to be outside drinking High Life all day is good enough for me. the fine smoked meat was just a good way to end it.

- BBQ Snob

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Could you tell it was smoked with Cherry wood?

Describe the differnce (say from Pecan or Oak) if you could.



Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.