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Smoke Brisket and Pork Butt Cook on the Deep South Smokers GC36



[FTC Standard Disclosure] We received the BBQ UltraQ free of charge last year to review. I also use Amazon Affiliate links for products that I use and I receive a small commission for those. We received no other compensation for this post. 
We smoked a pair of briskets and pork butts on the gravity-fed Deep South Smokers during the 4th of July weekend.
Sliced brisket platter with meat from the point and flat. Loved our fire-roasted jalapeno potato salad. Served with Bush's Mixed Chili beans, Texas toast, and the Texas BBQ sauce from Ray Sheehan's Award-Winning BBQ Sauces and How to Use Them.
I have to be honest and admit that this is the least-good brisket I've made in two years. When I say least-good, it was still edible and better than most I've had at restaurants; it just wouldn't place in the top half at a BBQ competition. It was a little tight (not tough), not as juicy, and a bit underwhelming in flavor.
So why am I posting about it? Because sometimes, there is more to learn in failures than successes. The lesson I reiterated or confirmed this past weekend is this:  When making changes to your brisket (or pork, chicken, ribs) program, change only one thing at a time. I changed way too many variables to get meaningful data.

Changed the brand of beef due to availability issues.I used choice instead of prime beef due to availability issues.Changed 1 of my 2 brisket rubs.I did not inject the brisket at all.I did not give the brisket a 12-hour dry brine.Cooked the brisket whole instead of separated into the flat and point.The pork? Oh, it was fantastic, up to my usual standards – juicy, tender but not mushy, and flavorful.
The PrepPork ButtsTwo 9-lb pork butts from SwiftInjected with 2 cups quality apple juice and 2 tablespoons kosher saltWiped dry and then applied a thin coat of peanut oilSeasoned heavily with Cimarron Docs. Usually, I save that rub for ribs, but it is getting dated, so I need to use it up.Covered and placed in the fridge until going on the smoker 5 hours later.BrisketsTwo 15-lb Chairman Reserve briskets Trimmed whole, wiped dry, and lightly coated with peanut oil.Seasoned with a layer of my NMT Beef Rib v.2 and a heavier layer of Dead End BBQ brisket rub.Covered and placed in the fridge until going on the smoker 4 hours later.Note, this was USDA choice. "Premium" is NOT a grade, nor is it a pseudonym for USDA prime. I hear that misconception a good bit.
Both briskets ready to be covered and placed on refrigeration. I like to keep my smoking meats cold until the last possible minute because meat takes smoke better at temps below 120-140°f, and I want them to stay in that smoke zone as long as possible during the cook.
Briskets and butts ready to go on the smoker in the wee hours.

The Smoker SetupI used the Deep South Smokers GC36, which is a gravity-fed smoker. I love this cooker for its size, even cooking temperatures, and moist cooking environment. It is called gravity-fed because the charcoal is in a narrow stack in a chute on the right, and it is self-fueling as the coal burns at the bottom of the chute. 
I prefer to set up my cookers by the light of day. That way, when it is time to light up in the middle of the night, it's just a quick task. You can see the charcoal hatch door is open on the upper right side.
Looking down at the top of the charcoal chute. For this cook, I was using Frontier lump charcoal. I handpick the pieces of lump charcoal because 1) small bits block airflow and 2) too long pieces can "bridge" in the chute, keeping the rest of the coal from dropping down.
I used pecan chunks for my smoke wood. I took pecan split logs and cut them into thirds using an old miter saw as my chop saw.
This was my first time using the Pit Viper on this big smoker, and it held up to the challenge. It got the grill up to temp quickly and recovered temperatures. 
The BBQ Guru Ultra Q is the brains behind the Pit Viper. This continually compares the cooking temperature to the temperature that I set. If the cooking temp is less than the set temp, it blows the fan more to stoke the fire.
All ready to light it up.
I often get questions about this gravity-fed smoker and how it works, so I videoed a "nickel tour" of the Deep South Smokers GC36.

The CookSince this isn't a recipe post, I think the easiest way to lay out the cook is to show it in timeline form.12 am – Lit the pit using a propane gas torch through the fire pit door. Had the UltraQ set for 250°f. I went inside and used the app on my phone to watch the temps steadily rise up.2 am – Placed the butts and briskets in the smoker on the 1st and 3rd racks. I spritzed them all with plain apple juice to get them damp since the smoke has an affinity for moisture2 am – 9am – Spritzed meats with apple juice and replenished the smoke wood.9 am – I wrap based on color, typically when the meat is an internal temperature of 160-170° and about 6 hours into the cook. This depends on the type of cooker, meat, rub, and all kinds of variables.Pork butts were an internal temperature of 165°f AND had the color that I wanted, so I wrapped them. I used more rub, Parkay, and Stubbs Mopping Sauce in the wrap.Briskets were 170 and 165°f but not as dark as I would like. I decided to go ahead and wrap the briskets because I was concerned about moisture since they were not Prime beef and not injected. I used beef stock and dried minced onion in the warp.2pm The butts had reached an internal temperature of 203-5°f and were tender, so we pulled them to rest. I poured a pot of boiling water in the lowest steam pan to preheat a Cambro UPC300 hotbox. I put the wrapped butts into the Cambro to rest.The briskets were still tight, so I used the UltraQ to raise the cooking temperature to 275°f. I normally cook my briskets at 290°f, so this was well within my limits.4pmFinished the pork buttsI put a fresh chunk of wood in the firebox to get smoke going again. That's one thing I love about the gravity-fed smoker; it is easy to dose the smoke as you need it.I took the butts out of their foil wrap and put each of them, still on their rack, into a half-sized steam pan. I glazed the butts with Blues Hog BBQ sauce cut with apple juice to make it thinner.I put the butts in the smoker for 15 minutes to set the sauce and get one last kiss of smoke. Donnie Bray (2014 KCBS Team of the Year Pitmaster) told me that the last thing you put on your BBQ is the first thing you taste. Pork is done at this point.Briskets still not ready.5pmPulled one brisket and rested it in a preheated Cambro. The other brisket still wasn't ready. The internal temperature was still in the low 190s, and the flat was still tight in several places.6pmPulled the second brisket to rest.7pmRemoved the briskets from the Cambro. Drained the jus from the foil wrap into a fat & grease separator to get just the beef stock. Placed the briskets back into the smoker to reset the crust (the foil makes it mushy), which takes about 15 minutes.Sliced the brisket and placed it into half-sized steam pans, and then poured the warm, strained beef jus over the brisket.
Just before adding 46 pounds of cold meat, I bumped up the cooking temperature to not have to recover as much once I loaded it.
The slide-out racks make it easy to check the brisket and butts, as well as spritzing.
Wrapping the pork butts. I can smoke without foil, but it sure makes it more forgiving. The wrap preserves color, retains moisture, and lets you add another layer of flavors.
I have to run the meat probe wires through the door because the right angles of the probes make it impossible to pass the probe leads through the 1" pass-throughs.

Looked down at the charcoal chute, you can see how much the coal has cooked down over the previous 9 hours.
Brisket coming out of the wrap.
While the brisket is wrapped with foil, the bark gets soft. Putting the naked brisket back on helps reset that crust in about 15 minutes. Butcher paper is a compromise for the foil that won't make the crust as soft and lets more smoke in.
Pork butt after finishing cooking.

One of the briskets after finishing cooking.

The ResultsThe pork turned out as good as always – tender, juicy, smoky, and flavorful.

I knew these butts were going to be good when I went to take them out of the smoker because they had that tell-tale wiggle.

To process our pork butts, we wear cotton gloves under food gloves to provide heat protection but leave finger dexterity intact. I have bear claws, meat racks, and even a drill attachment, but we find hands work the best. We dress it with just a few splashes of my Olde Virden's Carolina-Style Vinegar Sauce to add flavor. We let our guests choose their BBQ sauce if any. 

The briskets were fine. They just weren't my usual "Oh my gosh, these are so good!" 

Sliced and ready to go into steam pans with warm beef jus. Brisket starts drying out fast so I like to get them into the drink ASAP. 

We cooked these on Saturday but to reheat them for Independence Day, I put these slices in beef jus in a skillet over med-low heat.
SummaryDespite my whining about the brisket (haha), this was a fantastic meal. A few slices of lean flat and a nice "chonk" of the luscious point. But the point stands, when making changes to your BBQ processes, change just one or two variables at a time. 
Sliced smoked brisket with my fire-roasted jalapeno/garlic mashed potatoes, mixed chili beans, pickles, and Texas toast. 
The BBQ sauce is on the side, where it should be for brisket. We like using the Texas BBQ Sauce recipe from Ray Sheehan's Award-Winning BBQ Sauces and How to Use them.

By: Chris
Title: Smoke Brisket and Pork Butt Cook on the Deep South Smokers GC36
Sourced From:
Published Date: 07/05/21

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Japanese Grill night



This cook was years in the making. Inspired by cooks from @CPARKTX2 and @The Cen-Tex Smoker many many moons ago, I've had yakitori and onigiri on my mind,  for far too long. So, I dusted off The Japanese Grill book, checked out some other recipes, and got to work.

Onigiri, with miso butter.

Chix thighs with scallions, glazed with the yakitori sauce from The Japanese Grill book. Drumsticks glazed with an orange, soy sauce, yuzu kosho sauce. 

Shisito peppers, cherry ‘maters.

Had a decent spread…  from bottom left – yakitori chix, ‘maters, orange-soy-yuzu legs, shisito pepepers, ‘shrooms with bacon.

All chased with a fair bit of sake :) What a great meal! Relatively simple cook (the prep takes a little time), and the payoff is yuge. Would have eaten a bit earlier if I had fired up another cooker or two, but… lazy.

Caliqueen agreed that we need to do this more often. But, that may have been the sake talking.

By: caliking
Title: Japanese Grill night
Sourced From:
Published Date: 07/25/21

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Ribs Take Wing



First came Beer Can Chicken. Then the Bacon Explosion. Then Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings and Pork Shooters.

So the next way cool thing that will rock the barbecue blogosphere?

We’re putting our Bitcoins on Rib Wings.

Rib Wings are made by slicing a rack of ribs into individual ribs before cooking. The process resembles how chicken wings are divided into drumettes and flats.

Which brings us to the debate as to who in the barbecue world first created the rib wing. writer and Barbecue University alum Larry Olmsted credits Mike Hiller with the Rib Wing (Forbes, May 2021).

I’m a diehard mad scientist when it comes to barbecue. I love experimenting when I cook. I like to see how changing the rub, the sauce, or the grill produces new flavors and textures. For example, the ribs I cook low and slow in a Big Green Egg XL will taste and look different than the ribs I hang in my Pit Barrel Cooker. Check out my “Ultimate Rib” blog to read more about my ribs experiments.

Rib Wings are my latest experiment. A rack of ribs is typically sliced into individual ribs after cooking; why not cook them that way? And why did no one think of it earlier?

How to Grill Rib Wings

Here is how my Rib Wings came together. I started by slicing a rack of St Louis cut spareribs into individual ribs. I normally remove the membrane from a rack of ribs before cooking. Slicing the ribs before cooking eliminates that tedious step per Hiller. I liberally seasoned the ribs with one of my homemade spice rubs. (You could also use Steven’s Kansas City Smoke Rub.

I then placed the ribs on a wire rack to make it easier to move them on and off the grill. I left space between each rib so the smoke would circulate evenly. My plan was to cook the ribs low and slow, spray the ribs with an apple cider vinegar mixture while cooking, and then baste with barbecue sauce at the end as outlined by Hiller.

I set up a Big Green Egg XL for indirect grilling by inserting the diffuser plate and obtained a temperature of 250 degrees. I used apple chucks to create wood smoke. After smoking the ribs for one hour, I started spraying the ribs with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, and hot sauce.

I continued to spray the ribs every 30 minutes. To finish the ribs, I increased the temperature to 375 degrees for the last 20 minutes and basted the ribs with my homemade spicy peach barbecue sauce. Total cooking time was three and half hours. I knew the ribs were done when the meat was pulled back from the bones.

Here is what I learned by cooking ribs individually. The smaller ribs cooked faster than the meatier middle ribs. The ribs from the ends of the rack were fall of the bone tender, but I prefer my ribs to hold together when I take a bite. The meatier ribs held together beautifully. The ribs developed a dark mahogany color, almost to the point of looking burnt. I feel the dark color was a result of the Worcestershire sauce in the spray mixture. The dark color occurred before I added the spicy peach barbecue sauce, so it was not due to burning the sauce.

The process of seasoning and smoking the ribs individually definitely boosts the flavor compared to the whole rack method. Every bite had a heightened level of sweetness, spiciness, and smokiness. The combination of the rub and smoke created a crisp texture that reminded me of the “bark” I love on brisket. One minor shortcoming of smoking individual ribs is the smaller end ribs were a hint less tender on the inside. The most noticeable advantage to the “Rib Wing” is that each bite of the rib has a blast of flavor that comes from exposing all sides of the rib to spice rub and smoke.

I think Rib Wings would make a great appetizer for a cookout. I wondered if I could cook enough to make a meal, so I ran a second test. The second test was going to be performed on my Pit Barrel Cooker, which is one of my favorite methods to cook multiple racks of ribs or wings for a large group. I can hang 6-8 racks of ribs or cook over seventy chicken wings on the hanging skewers in the barrel cooker. I sliced the ribs and seasoned them with Steven’s Kansas City rub. Apple wood chips were added to create wood smoke. The barrel cooks at a higher temperature so I anticipated a different texture and shorter cooking time.

I wanted to skewer the ribs and hang them like I do chicken wings. After a few attempts, I didn’t feel the ribs were secure on the hanging skewers and might fall off as the meat pulls back from the bones. Disappointed, I placed the individual ribs on the grate.

I started to spray the ribs with the same apple cider vinegar mixture after 30 minutes. The ribs started to pull back from the bones after an hour and a quarter. I then basted the ribs with Steven’s Chipotle Molasses barbecue sauce and cooked for an additional 15 minutes. Total cooking time was an hour and a half.

Rib Wings with sauce

Due to the higher temperature of the barrel cooker the rub and sauce caramelized and produced a sweet and smoky exterior. The aroma of wood smoke was present despite the shorter time exposed to the smoke. The time required to cook the larger ribs caused the smaller end ribs to become too crispy. The ribs developed the same dark color on the ribs as in the first test. The ribs had an appealing sweet with a little heat flavor due to the combination of Steven’s rub and sauce. The ribs held together with each bite. The only drawback? I was disappointed I could not hang the ribs. I thought it would be a cool way to cook enough rib wings for a larger group.

I enjoyed both experiments because they were so incredibly tasty. Seasoning all sides of the ribs and adding sauce elevated the flavor of the ribs. I hope this inspires you to run your own flavorful experiment.

So blogsphere—get ready for rib wings. You’ll never think about ribs—or wings—the same way!

UPDATE: We recently received an email from Mark Garetz, who in 2017, published a recipe for individual pork ribs named “Blasphemy Ribs.” (It can be found on his website, Predating both recipes by hundreds of years, of course, are the red-hued individually-roasted ribs served by Chinese-themed restaurants. There are many instances in the culinary realm of “universal mind,” where similar ideas have sprung up in geographically disparate parts of the globe. Planking, hamburgers, pasta, and sandwiches are just a few examples.

Steve Nestor is the fire wrangler on Project Fire and at Barbecue University. More importantly, he’s an incredibly skilled physical therapist in the Boston area. If leaning over a hot grill or pulling heavy briskets from smoker leaves you with weak knees or a sore back, give him a call. At very least, sign up for his newsletter.

The post Ribs Take Wing appeared first on

By: Daniel
Title: Ribs Take Wing
Sourced From:
Published Date: 07/20/21

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Grilled Shishito Pepper and Scallion Salad



I've been on a mini-quest to find more ways to enjoy shishitos than solely on their own. So far I've put them in sandwiches and on skewers, but I've had an idea for a shishito salad bouncing around in my head without a totally clear idea of what it would consist of, so never developed a recipe for it. While my family was visiting this past Memorial Day weekend, my sister said some grilled shishitos would hit the spot as part of our Tiki-themed menu, and while at the grocery shopping for that, my shishito salad began to come into focus and I decided to give it a whirl. What I ended up making was pretty damn tasty, featuring a prominent grilled flavor by also including a large amount of fire-cooked scallions along with the peppers.

That scallion and shishito pairing is what came naturally to me, what took a bit more thinking was how to round out the salad and also what that right dressing would be. With both the scallions and shishitos being grilled, I wanted something to contrast those cooked elements with a freshness, crunch, and a pop of color. Staring at the wall of produce, radishes jumped out as the right thing to do that, and then I also grabbed cilantro to bring in an herbal component too.

Grilled Shishito & Scallion Salad

Then for the dressing, I took a cue fro a shishito preparation I previously did that I loved, which used a combo of sesame oil and lime juice to give the peppers a pop of citrusy brightness along with a toasty undertone that tasted very fitting with the fruity peppers. So I made a dressing that used lime juice as its base and built up complexity with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and sesame seeds. After seasoning that with some salt and white pepper, it tasted like something was missing, so I added a little squeeze of honey and that did the trick.

Grilled Shishito & Scallion Salad

Now it was time to leave the kitchen and head to the grill. I had just removed a batch of wings from the fire and the heat was still pretty intense, so I made use of it to grill up the scallions and peppers, both which are very quick cooking. I started with the scallions, which I brushed lightly with oil and then grilled until until tender, but not overly charred. It should be obvious, but when grilling scallions, be sure to arrange them perpendicular to the grates so they don't fall through.

Grilled Shishito & Scallion Salad

After transferring the scallions to a cutting board, I placed the oil-dressed shishitos directly over the fire and grill those until they were tender and well charred all over. They cooked quickly and at different rates, so as each was done, I moved it to the cutting board where the scallions were hanging out.

Grilled Shishito & Scallion Salad

I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to serve the veggies in the salad—I thought leaving them mainly whole, minus the roots and stems, would make for good presentation, but not necessarily easy eating. So instead, I chopped both into roughly one-inch pieces, which I figured would provide good texture without the need to break the veggies into any smaller bites while consuming.

Grilled Shishito & Scallion Salad

After chopping, I place the scallions and shishitos in a medium bowl, added in the radish slices and cilantro along with the dressing, and tossed to combine. I then transferred the salad to a bowl and served.

Grilled Shishito & Scallion Salad

I had gone in a little too heavy on the dressing, but except for that fixable mishap, this turned out to be a solid and unique salad. Shishitos and scallions are both high up on my favorite grilled veggies list, so there's an obvious bias in my opinion, but I had three other eaters this day that were also digging the the way the fruity peppers were melding with the strong oniony and herbal components that also had a good tang and nuttiness too from the dressing. One thing I didn't consider from the outset was this salad was also going to be spicy—the standard saying is that one in ten shishitos will be spicy, but when you chop a bunch up and mix them together, just a few spicy peppers in the lot was enough to give almost every forkful of this salad a touch of heat. So it took me awhile to final figure out what a good shishito salad would be, and it kind of came together on a whim, but I was pretty pleased with how it came out.

Published on Thu Jul 15, 2021 by Joshua Bousel

Print Recipe

  • Yield 4 servings
  • Prep 10 Minutes
  • Cook 10 Minutes
  • Total 20 Minutes


  • For the Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (about 1 medium clove)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • For the Salad
  • 20 scallions, washed and dried
  • 1 lb shsihito peppers, washed and dried
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 medium radishes, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon), to taste


  1. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, canola oil, sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, honey, and garlic. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2. To make the salad: Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Brush scallions lightly with oil, place on grill, and cook, turning occasionally, until dark green sections are completely softened, but not charred, about 5 minutes total. Transfer scallions to a cutting board.
  3. Place peppers in a medium bowl, drizzle in about a tablespoon of oil, and toss to thoroughly coat peppers. Place peppers on grill and cook until blistered all over, 1-3 minutes per side. Transfer peppers to a cutting board with scallions.
  4. Cut scallions and peppers into roughly 1-inch pieces, discarding pepper stems and scallion roots. Transfer peppers and scallions to a medium bowl, add in radish slices, cilantro, and dressing; toss to combine. Season with additional salt and white pepper to taste. Transfer salad to a serving bowl, sprinkle with sea salt, and serve immediately.

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By: (Joshua Bousel)
Title: Grilled Shishito Pepper and Scallion Salad
Sourced From:
Published Date: 07/15/21

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