Prepare the wood you need for smoking. Large pit smokers
you don't need to wet for the smaller units that have electric
heat or gas you may want to wet the wood. Soak the chunks
for a hour or the chips for about 10 minutes before use.
Step 2: SETUP SMOKER
Heat the smoker to the proper temperature. The Rule of
thumb to set the temperature to 225 degrees for most meats
except Poultry which is should be increased to 240 degrees.
There is a bacteria risk if the temperature is too low for too long in in the risk zone (70 to 135 degrees).
Note: Recommend to heat the smoker to 350 degrees then spray with water to create steam, this will sanitizes the interior.
Brisket: Reduce the fat around the Brisket to about a
1/4 inch and then add the "Dry Rub" to the Brisket. There is
one spot in the corner of the Brisket that can be 2-3 inches
of fat. Trim this down. Let it stand in room temp for 30 minutes to bring it close to room temperature first. If you like a lot of bark on the meat then give the Brisket a second coat of rub. Keep track of which is the Fat side.
Smoke fat side up in the smoker.
Pork Shoulder: Coat the shoulder with a lot of "Dry Rub".
The bark here is fantastic. Keep track of which is the Fat side.
Smoke fat side up in the smoker.
Poultry: Light coat of rub for either Chicken or Turkey. I use the spray olive oil to coat poultry after I the dry rub is
used. This helps seal the skin and keeps the moisture in.
Step 3: PREP THE MEAT
Ribs: Make sure you remove the membrane on the
back side. Poke the meat a bit so when you rub it the
rub gets into the meat. I like to give a good coat and
wrap in plastic for 30 minutes. It starts to draw out the
moisture. Then coat again and place into the smoker. This
makes a great bark when smoked.
Brisket can be coated with Mustard
Coat with Rub
Step 4: SMOKE THE MEAT
Fat Side Up
Brisket or Shoulder: Cook the meat ~10 to 16 hours
this really depends on weight of the meat.
Test the meat at 10 hours (assuming these are at least 8 pounds). Definition of done depends on
what you want to do with the meat, if you plan to slice the meat then take it off when its tender.
If you want it to shred the meat then leave it on longer until the meat it tears away easily off
easily by hand. Great excuse to test and taste the meat. For Pork Shoulder the bone will pull out easily and the bone will be white.
Ribs: Cook the meat for 3.5 hours and then test. The meat will start to pull away from the bone
toward the end and the bone will start to get white. When you lift up the Ribs it will start to crack
in the middle. Once it reaches this point its done ~ 4.5 hours. If you leave in too long it will dry out.
Poultry: Long smoking times with Poultry is not recommended. You need to test the temperature of the meat to know when its ready. Chicken (whole) and Bone in Turkey Breast take around 3-5 hours at this temperature. Test with a instant thermometer in the thick part of the thigh about 1-2 inches deep. Once it reaches 165 the meat is done. I would leave the thermometer in, if you pull
out the thermometer it will drain those wonderful juices. After its done pull out the meat but let it sit for 30-45 minutes before you serve it.
Notes: Depending on your smoker check your wood and water often if using a water based smoker. When cooking high fat meat that fat can replace the water and you can end up cooking in a dry environment.
Step 5: REMOVING THE MEAT
Brisket or Pork Shoulder: Be careful with the Pork Shoulder it may come completely apart. Wrap in aluminum foil and rolling it our works best. Brisket may have the same problem if its very tender. Taking out the shelf and then sliding it onto a sheet pan works well with the Brisket. It would be horrible if the meat falls to the ground after all that work. Once you have the meat out do not cut the meat for 50 minutes. It will stay pretty hot and still continue to cook. If you cut it too early it will drain all the wonderful juices.
Poultry: Pull out the meat and likewise let it stand for 30 -50 minutes before you cut into it. Too early it will start to drain the juices.