Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

How to make a simple, inexpensive barbecue smoker

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 4, 2011

For those uninitiated in the finer things of Southern culture, Barbecue is a staple Southern food.

In fact, it’s one of the primary food groups.

Snake Handler Double IPA

Snake Handler Double IPA

It’s right alongside beer.

Yep, there’s bread, also known as the “staff of life” more often, though, it’s cornbread; there’re vegetables, which include tomatoes, green beans, black-eyed peas, corn on the cob; liquid refreshments which include sweet tea, beer – and then… there’s barbecue.

Barbecue is a high art form for low life.

It’s poor folks food that rich men try and hope to imitate. It’s kinda’ like polenta. Yeah… what’s that? Corneal mush? Yep. Elevated to a “high art form” by the culinary crowd. It’s cuisine-art. Go figure. Rich folk wanna’ be like poor folks, who wanna’ be like rich folks. What IS up with that?

Anyway… back to the ‘cue.

Folks know about Southern cuisine.

Gentleman Jack - Twice Mellowed Rare Tennessee Whiskey

Gentleman Jack – Twice Mellowed Rare Tennessee Whiskey

Why, even the world’s best whiskey is made in the South! There’s all the goodness that comes from Kentucky, and who could forget Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee? Even though there’s no cork in that bottle, Old No. 7 is still good stuff! And Gentleman Jack is super smooth! My, my, my!

Now, every good Southerner knows that good and proper barbecue is first of all, pork. If it don’t squeal, it ain’t the real McCoy.

Beef Brisket: Dinner, or Supper?

Beef Brisket: Dinner, or Supper?

Now, our western cousins – those good folk in the Lone Star state (that would be Texas) – would argue the point, claiming that barbecue is made from beef, and excitedly proclaim the beef brisket as proof positive of such a claim. Extravagance aside, even the average person knows that beef brisket can be and is readily cooked in an oven, whereas barbecue cannot be properly smoked in an oven.

Now that we’ve put that myth to death…

Basically, there’re two types of pork barbecue – ribs, and pulled pork.

It’s pretty straightforward.

Grill placement - bone side down

Dry rub on ribs – Grill placement – bone side down

Barbecue is not to be confused with grillin’. Grillin’s what’s done to hamburgers and steaks. It’s typically done in a few minutes over high heat. Barbecue is what’s done to pork. To further clarify, some folks mistakenly think that chicken can be barbecued.

Let me set the record straight.

HELL NO!

While chicken may be grilled, everybody in their right mind knows that it is properly fried. It’s kinda’ like okra. Of course okra can be eaten raw, or boiled… but are you really gonna’ eat it raw or boiled? Again, hell no!

Barbecue is sometimes abbreviated as BBQ, but only the genuinely lazy use such shorthand for the delicacy that’s fancily and properly pronounced as “Bar – buh – kwah.”

To properly cook barbecue – and in this instance, I’ll be referring to pulled pork, which is made from a shoulder, or more frequently, from a butt – it must be done two ways. Again, simplicity is the key.

Here are the two rules for cooking barbecue.

1.) Low

2.) Slow

Smoke emerging - 6347

Smoke emerging from the barbecue smoker

Those two terms are synonymous with smoke – and lots of it! In fact, when it comes to barbecue, the more smoke there is, the better the barbecue! Yes, that’s just the way it is.

Getting the fire started - 6306

Getting the fire started in the barbecue smoker

About the only time you need to be seeing a flame on the wood is when it’s getting started. Other’n that, it needs to be smoldering, and smoldering to the point of suffercating. But not to worry, the meat doesn’t need to breathe. So clamp down on it and smoke it up! The smoke is what gives good ‘cue such wonderful flavor!

In continuing keeping with the simplicity of good barbecue, one need to bear in mind that there are certain additional, or secondary flavors that sometimes accompany barbecue. Though it’s sometimes called sauce, such a term is often a misnomer used indiscriminately by neophytes and those who are just plain ol’ ignorant.

A purely "pretty picture" - Pork Spare Ribs 99.5% done

A purely “pretty picture” – Pork Spare Ribs 99.5% done

There are two types of additional flavorings that are given to barbecue, both which are termed and identified because of their own unique characteristics.
They are:
1.) Wet, and; 2.) Dry.

A wet barbecue is typically made with tomato paste and a variety of other flavorings unique to each barbecue cook, and liberally applied intermittently or continuously to the meat during the cooking process – with application frequently beginning at the mid-point of cooking. A dry rub is made from dry flavorings – typically dried spices, herbs, etc. – and applied to the surface of the uncooked meat by rubbing the mixture upon the surface of the meat from the start of cooking, with no additional applications during or after cooking.

To review: So far, we have discussed

• Two types of barbecue – 1.) Ribs, and; 2.) Pulled pork

• Two types of pork used for barbecue – 1.) Shoulder, and; 2.) Butt

• Two rules for cooking barbecue – 1.) Low, and; 2.) Slow

• Two types of flavorings – 1.) Wet, and; 2.) Dry

And yet, what we have not discussed is the title of this entry, which is…

“How to make a simple, inexpensive barbecue smoker.”

We’ll get to that in a separate entry.

Until then…

Bone appetite!

4 Responses to “How to make a simple, inexpensive barbecue smoker”

  1. [...] I had previously mentioned, barbecue is poor folks [...]

  2. [...] How to make a simple, inexpensive barbecue smoker (warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com) [...]

  3. […] How to make a simple, inexpensive barbecue smoker(warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com) […]

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