Tips and Tricks

PITMASTER IQ120 Product Review

Product Review: IQ 120

Manufacturer: PitmasterIQ.com

Description:
Automatic Temperature and food temperature monitor for Charcoal Smokers (Weber Kettle, Weber Smokey Mountain models, Big Green Egg Smokers, Drum Smokers, etc.).

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Overview

This review will focus on the product features of the IQ120. The IQ120 is successor of the IQ110, which we reviewed here: http://www.bbqrevolution.com/pitmaster-iq-110-review/ . If you are not familiar with the IQ110, please read the review prior to continuing with this one.

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Developing the “Perfect Recipe”

Developing the “Perfect Recipe” – A New Year’s Resolution, Perhaps?

There is a lot to be said for those folks out there that have their own recipes, particularly those that have enough recipes to open a top notch restaurant.  How did they get to the point where they had their perfect recipe?  I’m no master chef but it is easy enough to realize that first and foremost, one must document the makings of their perfect dish, rub, cocktail or dessert.

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One Way to Make a Smoker Run Crappy

It was shortly after we had installed our Rock’s Barbecue Stoker system to the Lil’ Chub and we couldn’t have been any more proud that our pit ran even better than before. On initial tests and practice cooks the pit ran flawlessly. To no fault of the Stoker, this time was different. 

Each year prior to the beginning of the competition season we would typically cook for friends and family to make a few extra bucks. We would provide them with some vacuum packaged meats in trade for a donation for the team. It became known to the team as the “Big Cook.” This year was our 4th year in a row of the “Big Cook” and as you can imagine, each year more and more friends were asking if they could make a donation to the team. Obviously, this meant more meat needed to be cooked.

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THE DIFFERENT GRADES OF BRISKET- Overview and Thoughts

The Beef Pyramid

Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef

 

Brisket is a tough meat to master for many competition and backyard cooks. You may or may not have noticed that brisket can have different grades from the USDA.  Below are the grades you may run into and a quick course in the differences.

Select Grade: This is the second lowest grade of brisket I have seen available. There are lower grades such as standard, cutter, etc.  These cuts contain the least amount of fat and will be firmer. Do not use these in competitions if you can avoid it. These are usually seen in grocery stores.

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Perfectly Cooked Competition Ribs

Ryan just sent me this picture and I couldn’t help but post it…..

No recipe to go with this one (no worries, you can find some here: http://www.bbqrevolution.com/category/compribs/) …but you can get a good look at a perfectly cooked set of ribs here….they won Hot Grill on Grill Action some big $$$ at Sokol this year.  Look at them bones!!

Popularity: 1% [?]

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BBQ Meat Yields, Weight Calculations and Servings

Hello all!

I was performing some searches online to find the finished cook weight of an average whole chicken and it became very frustrating when I couldn’t find ANYTHING!

I have a general idea – but wanted other opinions.  After no luck, I decided to cook 6 birds and get the average.  With that – I decided it would be valuable to post a general overview of all the meats we’ve cooked, provide their finished yield and our estimate tools for serving a party, catering an event or otherwise.

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55 gallon drum smoker project

 
Last summer, I decided to undertake a project to convert a 55 gallon drum into a smoker. After researching many plans, I landed on a set of plans that called for the use of firebricks, mortar, diffusion plates, 22″ grates, door, knobs, magnets, casters, lots of cutting, drilling, welding, etc. Yep, I choose the most complicated plans I could find. While there were some advantages to this plan, the time, money, effort, and a few other cons outweigh the advantages. Below are some pics, followed by a pro vs con list, and a few ideas I have on a new design.  I lost about 1/2 the pics when I lost hard drive last year, but did find a few to give you an idea of finished product.

Construction overview:

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How to Butterfly a Chicken

Nothing beats a smoked whole chicken, really! I make them quite often and they serve many purposes. Mostly I like to smoke the chicken and then pull the meat similar to how one would pull pork for sandwiches. It’s a delicious and more nutritious way to enjoy the same style of sandwich.

The best part is the leftovers can be used for anything from smoked chicken enchiladas to smoked chicken lasagna… you name it.

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BBQ Competition – Don’t forget the Checklist!!!

Even after years of competition, we still follow a very rigid inventory process the night before we head out to a contest. There are so many things you need to bring and it’s very easy to forget something.   What we have tried to do, is package up our gear in the same methodical way every time we load up and tear down for each contest…this way we know where everything “should” be.

If it isn’t in it’s proper place – we’ll begin looking around and if it can’t be found – we need to replace the item.

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Rock’s BBQ Stoker Addition

5/25/2010 Update:

I thought it would be cool to show you how the data looks after you run a cook…for 24 hours!  You can see our notes are crammed on here – but we know what we mean and in addition, there is an output file that we can dump into excel and analyze more accurately.  I can’t imagine running our rig without this unit….it’s unbelievable.  I will be writing a post on all the settings, the dos and don’ts, ins and outs, etc, etc, etc.  Look for it in the next few weeks as I continue to learn.  Just to name a few – we have it configured to give us updates on twitter and via email when the alarms sound (fire hot or cold, food hot or cold, etc), you can run multiple cookers and it will auto detect a sudden drop in temperature and shut the fan down so you don’t have an inferno in your firebox!!!

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Pork Rib Preparation

This post is geared towards spare ribs but all in all prepping baby backs is the same minus a trimming or two. 

When you go to buy ribs you’ll more than likely see either spare ribs or baby back ribs.  At your grocery stores you may only see one or the other and more typically you’ll see baby backs.  However, you may see a St. Louis style rib which is just a trimmed up version of the spare rib. 

If you want some more insight to the rib types and anatomy of where they come off the hog visit our friends at www.virtualweberbullet.com/ribselect.html

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BBQ Contest: Get there early and other timely tips

Typically a BBQ contest will take up a couple of days.  From our experiences, it’s an all day event on a Friday and Saturday (at least most of Saturday).  On the day the event starts, it is a good idea to get to your site as early as you can.  Some contests don’t have folks around to help get you checked in until later in the AM – but in most cases you can get checked in as early as 7AM or even the Thursday night before.

Getting there early provides many advantages, some examples:

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BBQ Contest: Start Here

So you’ve “mastered” the art of making competition quality brisket, ribs, chicken, pulled pork, whole hog, etc, etc etc and want to take it from your backyard to a contest?  EXCELLENT!  You are making a very exciting, challenging, rewarding and FUN decision.  Before you get started there are a few things (in my opinion) that you should know to make the first (or your next) experience the best it can be.

I’m sure my counterparts are going to have lots of their own thoughts on this topic – but from my point of view, this post includes all the beginning basic “stuff” needed to know in order to succefully make it through a BBQ contest.

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