Thursday, April 11, 2013

5 Practical Tips for The Barbecue and Smoker

Over the past few months since the introduction of our Smoker and UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker) units we’ve collected information which we believe will be useful to anyone that is new to Barbecue and Smoking.  This is a short post so we’ll get right to the action.
  1.  Preparation is key.  When beginning the process or readying your smoker and the meat you’ll use you’ll want to plan the area for preparation, the area for meat storage and the area in which you’ll get the job done. If space is at a premium then this step is critical to your success.
  2. We can’t say enough about safety around the smoker.  When we started our series we advocated starting the chimney starter with charcoal.  After the charcoal was ready one would dump the lit charcoal on top of the charcoal basket after making a small well for the lit charcoal to reside.  One would then lift the basket placing it in the UDS very gingerly while making sure not to come in contact with the hot coals.  Well, we know that most would not be as careful as we are about the process so we’ve changed our stance on handling the basket.  The firestarter is fine when started on a metal surface over concrete.  As for the charcoal basket, we now advocate pouring the lit charcoals over the basket after it has been inserted and positioned in the UDS.  This will ensure maximum safety while reducing any potential for burning. 
  3. Use only Non-self ignitable charcoal.  That’s a mouthful but essentially you want to have charcoal that does not carry its own lighter fluid.  Charcoal with lighter fluid will burn too fast causing overcooking of your meats.  This type of charcoal also makes it very difficult to manage heat.  Choose standard non-self ignitable charcoal when purchasing.
  4.  Have a good set of heat resistant gloves handy when using the smoker.  If you use the hanging method for meats which we love then you’ll want to make sure that you’re able to get the meat off the hooks when necessary.  If you overcook the meats or they simply shrink around the hooks, separating the meat from the hooks can be an issue.  Gloves will protect you against the heat of the smoker and will assist you in the meat removal process. 
  5.  A table as simple as it seems is a big help when smoking meats.  The process of smoking requires a number of steps and somewhere to hold things while you check on the meat, examine the temperature, add more coals and so on.  A small 3 X 5 table will ultimately make your job easier and less tiresome.  
Of course we can’t end this discussion without mentioning the use of a great barbecue seasoning rub or bbq marinade as well as time for preparation.  A good seasoning such as Jake’s will break down the muscle fibers of the meat allowing the seasonings to do their job of marinating.  The same goes for bbq marinades, should you use them?….Of course. 

For more tips and suggestions on using your UDS or barbecue be sure to check back often.  Or simply go to our website at for homemade bbq sauce recipes as well as dry rub recipes.