And so it begins.. (BBQ season that is!)
(Ok, this is a little freakish - I just had dejavu of declaring BBQ season has arrived, so thought I would go back and check whether BBQ season has started earlier than last year, and found that last years BBQ article was the exact same date! 18th April..)
There is likely going to be a bit of a shift in focus here on the blog for a bit. There are two reasons for this:
- I have just splurged and bought myself a smoker (a Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker to be precise)
- I have entered two food based competitions at the end of July: A chilli cook off and my very first attempt at competitive BBQ! Both very exciting, and I think competitive BBQ is probably something on my bucket list (if I had one), so really glad to be able to tick that off (although expecting to get hooked on it, to be honest). Also, I have only once made a legitimately serious chilli, and that wasn't that sophisticated, so there could be a lot of chilli eating between now and then..
Sunday was the first forecast dry day since I put the smoker together, so gave it a whirl. It was only my wife and I eating, but didn't want to have it smoking all day for just meat for two, so I went with feather blade beef joint and a few pork ribs.
As it was my first try, I was just getting a feel for it and didn't want to have too many variables to consider for the experiment - so I just banged them in with a few handfuls of smoking chips and tried to keep the temperature at around 110 degrees centigrade (it varied hour to hour by about +/-10 degrees).
I was aware that ribs generally take shorter than feather blade, but didn't want to disrupt the temperature by opening too frequently (opening can apparently add around 20 mins to overall cooking time) so just left them all in for around 7 hours.
The ribs had quite a bark on them, but were still very soft and moist inside (relatively high fat content on ribs), they were ok but a little too salty with the rub. I used the same rub on the beef and that tasted very nice - it is somewhat disturbing seeing the meat look quite sooo charred (with normal associations of BBQ & charred crust = ruined), but I have discovered that the "bark" is actually very tasty and an integral part of traditional BBQ (apparently with beef brisket and pulled pork, the bark is the most in demand part).
I don't have the ingredients I used to make my dry-rub to hand, so I will post those up later.