07 March 2008

Number Thirty-Four in Neufeld's Methods to Annoy Your Neighbors:

Sit outside four times a week pouring sweet smelling smoke out of your grill/smoker, to the point that their paint starts to yellow on that side of their house. Kidding!

No, but seriously, I feel I have graduated from BBQ U. And my diploma is a grill that doesn't suck. Below is my new grill:

It is a Weber 22.5" One-Touch Gold, a classic kettle grill with a nice green enamel coating for corrosion resistance. It has the "Gold" model amenities, including a hinged grill grate for adding coals and wood to the fire, and a useful aluminum ash pan on the base of the grill.

I also bought what is an essential accessory: the Smokenator 1000. This is an ingenious bit of bent sheet metal that acts as a baffle to isolate the coals in the side of your Weber, which allows for easy heat control for long, efficient smoking periods. Works very well! Still takes a bit of tending, but I enjoy the tending part anyway. You can see it in the grill below, along with a pork butt about 2/3 done, on its way to becoming pulled pork sandwiches.

Tonight I'm going to do a good long smoke of some hot Italian sausages. Something about the zip of spicy Italian sausage goes great with wood smoke; it is a major ingredient in my smoked meatloaf recipe.

I think it may be lunchtime, I'm getting rather peckish.


matt said...

Smoked Italian sausages? Not enough flavor in those things already?

I kid...but how often do you smoke? Seems to me the hardest thing about it is just finding the sheer amount of time it takes to successfully smoke meat.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

The time is kind of part of the enjoyment factor. Depending on what it is you are smoking it can take a great long time (minimum 4 hours for ribs, 7-8 hours for brisket, typically). For really long smokes like that I'm usually in and out and I check on it every hour. I've stopped doing that on weeknights, its insane to try and do that after work (waiting until 12:30 for dinner is not feasible when you work the next day). But if its just a couple hours I like to grab a good book (Wodehouse, almost without exception), sit outside, and enjoy the evening air, preferably with a pint of the local homebrew. I guess its more about "making time" than "finding time", its a very nice way to destress after work and rest the mind.

Italian sausages...can't remember how long I smoked them last time, but I think 2-3 hours should suffice. You can stick a meat thermometer in the end and test it, or just use the "poke test" to get a feel for doneness. And the smoke really does add something to it...a lot of barbeque places do italian sausage, and I think that's where I developed the taste for smoking them. I used to parboil them in beer and then grill them, then I started to smoke them for an hour and then move them over the fire to blacken them and finish cooking them, but last time I cooked them entirely with indirect heat and smoke and they came out great.

Did burgers over a charcoal wood with cherry wood chunks mixed in last night. Not "smoking" as such, but lots of smoke nonetheless and they came out pretty good. Like I've heard before, the cherry wood smoke does indeed colour the meat very red. They looked like another kind of meat or something.

I will have to do a brisket over the weekend and take pictures of the smoke ring.

matt said...

There's nothing quite like a well-smoked brisket. And I will have to try to smoke Italian sausage sometime. I can only assume that you're using Mendolia's Italian sauges, as all else are abomination.

The cherry wood experiment sounds interesting...I don't believe I've ever had anything cooked over it.

So, off topic, but not quite...have you been to Ruchi's?

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Ummm I like Mendolias but honestly I've not seen a huge difference between them, Scimecas, the other local one whose name eludes me, and even on occasion the generic ones from Johnsonville or Hyvee. I could probably tell if I fried them and ate them sans sauce, but usually this is not the case.

Cherry wood is not particularly unique in flavor, mind you...honestly its like most other fruit woods, pecan, apple, etc. They have very similar characteristics, if they are not indistinguishable. Hickory is similar but still different...it is my main wood for just about everything. Mesquite is too strong for anything but direct grilling or smoking a Texas-style brisket. Very sharp, but nice with the hearty flavour of beef brisket.

And no, haven't been to Ruchi's. With restaurant funds somewhat restricted we've been limiting ourselves to known favorites...Rheinland, Jack Stack, Thai Place, McCoys, pretty much. And not too often. I'll give Indian food a second chance someday, though.

matt said...

Ah, well then, I'll consider you an outcast from now on.

That being said, infidel, the lunch buffet at Ruchi's as far too good to describe. It's the only place my coworker from India will go to get Indian food, and I understand why. It is a bit pricey - $10 for the lunch buffet, so I don't do it that often myself, but the vast variety of high quality dishes you get to sample justifies a pilgrimage at some point.

I'd meet you up there for lunch sometime if you could make it all the way from Raytown to 435 and Metcalf.