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

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[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: www.nibblemethis.com/2021/07/smoke-brisket-and-pork-butt-cook-on.html
Published Date: 07/05/21

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The Best Pizza Dough Recipe

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Add 1-¼ teaspoon of active dry yeast to a large bowl then add ½ teaspoons of sugar because that's what causes the yeast to get excited and start working.

Add 1 cup of water to the bowl that has been warmed to about 110°F.

Note: Filtered or spring water will taste best if you have it.

Stir things around with a spoon or whisk to dissolve the yeast then set a timer for 10 minutes.

During this time the yeast will get to work and you'll after about 8 minutes you'll see bubbles start to rise to the surface letting you know that it's almost time to move on.

Stir in 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the yeast mixture then add 2-¼ cups of the bread flour.

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I use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine everything and once it starts looking like dough, flour the work surface and your hands and it's time to start kneading it.

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I wear an Apple Watch and when I started kneading, it beeped and said, “it looks like you've started an elliptical workout, would you like me to record this workout” or something like that.

If you give me a choice to workout at the gym or workout by making dough, I'll choose the latter thank you very much!

Now, I must say that you can definitely do this in the mixer but I like to do it by hand. There's something very cathartic about kneading dough and I find it relaxing even if my watch does consider it a workout!

Here's how I knead and you may have your own method. You can also find dozens of methods online if you want to look it up.

I place the heels of my palms on the dough with my fingers facing slightly upwards and roll or push the dough forward about 10-12 inches. I then pick up the dough and move it back to the starting point and do that same maneuver again.

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I then turn the dough ¼ turn as I'm moving it back to the starting point and do that same roll/push maneuver 2 more times.

I do this over and over for about 8-10 minutes until the dough starts feeling very elastic.

I have found that the faster I knead, the less it sticks to my hands and the work surface.

Add flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking too much but you don't want to add much.. just a small amount.

The dough should be just a tad sticky for it to turn into a good pizza.

Form the finished dough into a ball then lightly flour it on all sides.

Place it back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place such as on top of the fridge or in the garage so it can rise for 1 hour.

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During this time the dough will double in size.

After the hour is up, you will see that it has gotten at least twice as big as it was.

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Remove the plastic wrap and punch it down with your fist.

Remove the ball from the bowl and lay it on the work surface. Use a knife to separate it into 2 equal pieces.

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Place each of those 2 pieces into a large gallon-sized zip top bag and place into the fridge for at least 3 hours. I have had the best luck with dough that has been in the fridge for 12+ hours.

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It continues to rise while it's in the fridge and this is known as the “cool rise”.

Leave in the fridge until you are ready to start making your pizzas.

I have read a LOT of pizza dough recipes and almost every one of them says to let your dough come to room temperature before stretching it.

This recipe proves that it is best to stretch the dough while it is still cold. Your hands will warm it up as you stretch it and if you're careful, you'll be able to do a 16″ diameter pizza with each of these balls that is very thin like the New York style. You can also stretch it less if you like a more traditional pizza.

To stretch the dough, hold it on the sides sort of like you'd hold the steering wheel of your car with your hands only a few inches from each other.

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Let the weight of the dough stretch itself as you move your hands around the circle.

The more the dough is stretched the faster the process goes.

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If it feels like it's going to tear, just rest it across your arm for a few seconds before continuing on.

When it's about the right size, lay it on the floured pizza peel and shape it into a circle.

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I love to make barbecue pizza which just means that I use barbecue sauce instead of pizza sauce and I use some leftover smoked meat such as pulled pork or pulled beef.

The other toppings can be whatever you like such as mozzarella cheese, cheddar, jalapeños, onions, etc.

Here's a typical layering:

  • barbecue sauce
  • fresh mozzarella
  • meat
  • onions
  • peppers
  • More mozzarella
  • shredded cheddar
  • Jalapenos

Here's one I made recently.. I like to load 'em up!

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If you're using a home oven, make sure your top oven rack is about 9-10 inches from the top of the oven. Place a pizza stone onto that rack and turn the oven on to 500°F.

Let it preheat for about 30 minutes then right before you are ready to cook your pizza, turn it to broil.

It will stay on broil throughout the cooking process.

At this point the pizza stone is around 500°F due to the preheat  and this is to brown and crisp the bottom of the crust.

The ambient temperature in the oven is 500°F with direct heat from the heating elements at the top of the oven for browning the top of the crust and melting the cheese from the top down.

These 2 heat sources will do a great job of cooking your pizza perfectly in about 8-12 minutes but ultimately, you'll need to keep an eye on the pizza and when it's the right color, the bottom is crisp and brown, and the cheese is melted, the pizza is ready to remove and slice.

I have a Camp Chef pizza oven that runs on propane and it's a joy to use. The home oven works well but the pizza oven is designed for pizza and if you love pizza, it's a great investment without spending a whole heckuva lot.

Light the pizza oven about 20 minutes before you're ready to bake your pizza.

The Camp Chef pizza oven that I use has a single burner and I have found that I can set it to just below medium to maintain a steady 550°F.

I also use an infrared thermometer to test the temperature of the stone but this is completely optional. If you preheat the oven for around 20 minutes, the stone will be about the same temperature as the ambient temperature.

Here you can see the VersaTop burner on the bottom and the pizza oven that sits on top of that burner. The VersaTop is purchased separately and includes a flat top griddle.

You can then purchase accessories that can be used with the VersaTop including a barbecue box and the artisan pizza oven that I use.

The VersaTop uses 1 lb propane bottles but you can get a hose that converts it to use a larger 20 lb bottle.

Here's what you'll need to get started:

VersaTop Burner with Griddle Model FTG250

Pizza Oven Accessory Model PZ30

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At this temperature, you can expect the pizza to get done in about 12 minutes but this will vary depending on your dough, amount of toppings, wind, etc.

Don't leave the pizza unattended and you'll be fine. Watch the pizza and when it's the right color, the bottom is brown and crisp and the cheese is bubbling, you can rest assured that it's about as perfect as can be.

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Using a pizza peel get easier with practice but I can tell you that I've used one quite a bit and I'm still not very good at it.

Make sure you flour your pizza peel really good before you place the dough on it.

When you ready to move the crust from the peel to the oven, hold it at about a 30 degree angle with the leading edge of the peel touching the pizza stone in the location where you want the back side of the pizza to be.

Give it a couple of good forward then back flicks and once the dough touches the pizza stone, you'll be able to slide the pizza peel out from under the dough completely.

I have found that I do a better job of not losing all of my ingredients if I press them down a little bit first and make sure they are well seated and ready for some forward/back movement. That may not be kosher but it's what I still have to do to make it happen. One of these days I'll be a pro but until then, I do what I have to do and so should you.

Using a pizza pan is a viable option for sure.. in fact, I have a whole box of the disposable kind that I purchased when I first started making pizza and they kept me sane when I just couldn't seem to get the pizza peel to work properly.

Your crust won't get quite as crispy that way but it's still crispy, still delicious and it's okay if that's what you need to do to make it happen.

Sometimes if we have a pizza party, I'll give everyone a pan and let them stretch and build their own pizza on that instead of using the pizza peel. It speeds things up and everyone is happy.

Absolutely and I have that planned.. be watching for that very soon! In fact, I'll send out an email to everyone on my newsletter list once that is available. Subscribe here to make sure you get that email as well as receive my new recipes just as soon as they get published.

By: Jeff Phillips
Title: The Best Pizza Dough Recipe
Sourced From: www.smoking-meat.com/best-pizza-dough-recipe
Published Date: 09/30/21

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Cooking Tips

Basehor Bombs

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Basehor Bombs

My twist on this recipe: https://urbancowgirllife.com/texas-twinkies-recipe/Basehor
I like chedder cheese more than creamed cheese, so used that instead. Chilis smoked for 1 hr @225, chilled in cold water and drained. Layered in strips of sliced chedder,diced up brisket mixed with Jack Stacks BBQ sauce. I use thick cut bacon, wrapped 1 slice around stuffed jalapeños and sprinkled with
Cowtown Squel. Smoked @ 225 for 1hr 15 minutes. Sure smells good . . . letting them cool off

By: loco_engr
Title: Basehor Bombs
Sourced From: eggheadforum.com/discussion/1228732/basehor-bombs
Published Date: 09/17/21

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pumpkinata – happy autumn

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swapped in pumpkin ale for water and added some pumpkin pie
spice to a base farinata di ceci, following the initial bake I removed it to a
grid for the addition of goat cheese, fresh rosemary and pineapple head/butter
roasted pumpkin then a final bake.

batter into a screaming hot cast iron pan with a good bit of olive oil, to get a nice fry on the exterior
the ale affected the final texture, guessing it was the sugar, didn't get the usual crispiness but still good
about another 5 minutues to melt things together a bit
topped off with a peanut/date crusted chocolate tart
doing a lot of yard work, fall cleanup, several bonfires lately, really enjoying autumn

pumpkin Sam & some salted peanuts, another great combination. 

By: Zippylip
Title: pumpkinata – happy autumn
Sourced From: eggheadforum.com/discussion/1228773/pumpkinata-happy-autumn
Published Date: 09/26/21

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