"Where there's smoke, there's MEAT!"

The amazing Harry Soo, one of the modern era’s great pitmasters makes the point in one of his many youtube videos, that barbecue is “about the pitmaster and not the pit.” In other words if you know your pit and you master the discipline your equipment imposes on you, then you have a better than even chance of turning out some mighty fine Q, regardless of what you are cooking on.

It’s easy to get caught up in the gear world. I used to obsess over pit design and I still spend a lot of time examining various pits, concepts for pit, websites for pits…and the beat goes on. But what I have learned over the years comports very much with Harry’s quote above.

KEEPIN’ THE FIRE IN THE ZONE

Lately I’ve enjoyed making some tweaks to the set up of my 26 year old Hasty Bake. The idea is to make adjustments that will allow me cook with as close an approximation to an offset smoker as I can within the constraints of the Legacy unit which I have cooked on so long that it’s like a member of the family.

So: First order of business was to develop the “faux offset fire box.” I lowered the ash catcher to the bottom of the unit, then put two vertical firebricks in  so the charcoal tray could rest on it. Then I dropped the charcoal tray down and stacked more fire brick to make the offset firebox. Using the heat shield that comes with the unit for the top of the “faux fire box” completed the set up.

Fair disclosure: I’ve been using variations on this theme for years, but of late and for no known reason, it has become an obsession to make it as effective as possible. Maybe that’s where I’m channeling the Zen of Harry. In any event, it’s been a great experiment and I think it’s working well.

Next order of business, the Test Fire. Objective: Get a handle on the charcoal quantities needed to get the pit to the desired temperature, and measure the intervals at which additions of coal and wood (apple and hickory for pork, oak and/or pecan for beef; my two cents here, worth what you paid for it.) This went on for many hours.

IT WORKS!

SO NOW COMES THE COOK! To complicate and/or make it all the more interesting, I decided to do a very subtle taste test. One rack – the smaller of the two pictured – is Compart Duroc; and the other Berkshire. What I want to get a handle on here is the relative value of Compart Duroc (retails in San Antonio for about $14/pound. That was $44 for ONE RACK! IF I’m doing this again, I’m ordering direct, online), to Berkshire fromWiatrek’s Meat Market at about $10 for a rack. Still pricey, but hey…it’s R&D and that makes it okay!

THE VERDICT: Both the Compart Duroc and Berkshire are top shelf. That said, the vote of the tasters favored the Compart Duroc. It was felt that the CDs were more flavorful and more tender. I hated to agree with this judgement because I had hopes that the less expensive pork would prevail.

Alas, it was not to be. The Compart Duroc has a sweet, rich character that cannot be denied.

In conclusion, while I make no claim to being a pitmaster, I hopefully took some small steps in that direction with this and some other of my recent cooks. The mastery of the above described set up will take a bit of time and no doubt a bunch of blogposts, and I look forward to reporting back to y’all on what brings in the way of experience and enlightenment as it pertains to the Zen of the ‘Que.

All in all it was a great couple of days of experiment, learning, cooking and eating! No doubt there will be a rematch in the not too distant future. A hearty shout out to Harry Soo for the inspiration to dig into this.
In the meantime: All the best to all y’all.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s MEAT!”
– Clarence “Porkchop” Dupree

When Gates Ol’ Kentuck Bar-B-Q opened in Kansas City in 1946, there wasn’t as yet, a “Kansas City style” of barbecue. Gates and Arthur Bryant’s were templates for what would become that style and seed the growth of what today is recognized as one of the definitive regional profiles of barbecue in the US.
https://gatesbbq.com/history/

All the best to all y’all.
“Where there smoke, there’s MEAT!”
– Clarence “Porkchop” Dupree

First_Gates_Barbecue_restaurant__20110518220302_640_480

Take some prime New York Strips, season them with Dupree’s Texas Brisket Bark and let
them sit overnight. Build a good solid fire (I used charcoal and pecan), and smoke the steaks at 225, turning every ten minutes until they reach 115.

Remove the steaks from the grill and rest them while you bring the fire up to a high, searing temp, then return the steaks to the grill and sear two minutes per side.

Remove steaks from the grill and rest. Slice and enjoy Edible Perfection!

 

Took yesterday off to blend a new rub and try it out on a brisket.
Best idea I had all week!
All the best to all y’all. “Where there’s smoke, there’s MEAT!”
– Clarence “Porkchop” Dupree

HERE’S TO THE KANSAS CITY BARON OF BARBECUE, PAUL KIRK!

This book has been a staple in my collection since it came out over twenty years ago. HINT: Page 148-149  for a pork basted you will keep coming back to.

Gitchyse’f a back porch, cold beer and fine afternoon to while away while the smoke rises slowly and the music is might fine and well… see what happens!

All the best to all y’all. “Where there’s smoke, there’s MEAT!”
– Clarence “Porkchop” Cupree

Well, it’s been a long, GREAT day, of smokin’ up these three racks of baby backs. Put the rub on yesterday, got the fire going about 11 this mornin’, and well, as you see, they came out just as near perfect as this Porkchop can can get ’em! IMG_0605.JPGBeen working on the rub recipe for about three months, and I think we’re gonna call this
one. We’re gonna be repeating this one a bunch.

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A couple of tweaks to my process really help this along:

  • Got an industrial scale so I can measure out my ingredients in grams. I highly recommend this to any of y’all who are ins search of a truly repeatable swing.
  • Increased my blending time and let the final blend sit, covered, overnight. Then added corrections the following day.

These two changes to my blending really seemed to help.

I want give a big shout out to the Baron Of Barbecue, Paul Kirk. His rib baste has been a go to for us for goin’ on twenty years, and it is SO MIGHT FINE! If I were going to open a restaurant of do any kind of commercial ‘que, this would be a staple. Gracias, Paul.

These are what I call “Destination Ribs.” One rack is going to a friend of mine who can’t get out much, but who LOVE barbecue. Another is going to a professor and transplant to Texas who has taken a shine to the Porkchop’s barbecue. Her two sons are coming into town next week from back East, and I thought the least ole ‘Chop could do is feed ’em some real deal South Téjas ribs. So, Doc: This rack’s for you!

Last rack? Well, a man’s gotta eat, so these are stayin’ put. Though not for long.

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Had a great day of smokin’ and I hope y’all did, too. Christmas is comin’ and all and I just feel fortunate everyday that I can light another fire.

All the best to all y’all/. “Where there’s smoke, there’MEAT!” – Clarence “Porkchop” Dupree