I just got a new electric smoking cabinet for my 40th birthday and have been experimenting all week. I got a couple of cookbooks and am quite enjoying the experience. The high temp is 275 F with 4 racks - big enough to smoke a whole turkey. Does anybody have any recipies or experience and advice for the novice smoker?
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www.smokering.com is set of linked websites. At the bottom of each page is a navigator to the next site. This gives you a chance to work through a lot of perspectives, tips, photos and such of barbecue.
My favorite barbecue books:
How to Grill by Steven Raichlen
Peace Love and Barbecue by Mike Mills
Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue by Paul Kirk
And there have been a number of barbecue posts of merit here, particularly by the member boar_d_laze that you should seek out.
Lots of recipes, lots of techniques.
The most important technique is NO PEEKING! You can tattoo that one backwards on your forehead so you see it in the mirror every morning.
Look up specific cuts like brisket, ribs, butt and so on and see if you don't find what you need.
Specific questions help everyone who wants to help you. It's easy to generalize a bit from there; but otherwise we're put in the position of writing a book on barbecue.
One of the nicest things (if not the nicest thing by far) things about electric smokers is the way they free you from fire management concerns. That means there's a lot you don't have to learn on the way to producing really good food.
Smokers are very specific to type and brand in terms of their "tightness," air flow (which determines the best way to load them, and their true capacity), and a lot of other things. So, the brand and model of your smoker is going to be important. In case we are not (or I am not) familiar with it, it would help if you could tell us what type of wood you use for smoke -- not species -- you were poised, weren't you? -- but whether it burns pellets, chips or chunk.
I've been smoking since the late sixties, using (relatively) small offsets since the mid-seventies. The last one, bought six years ago, was gas fired for heat, and burned chunk for smoke. But, like you, I recently switched to a cabinet -- a Backwoods Fatboy -- which, unlike yours, is charcoal fired for heat and chunk for smoke. After six or seven smokes, despite the long experience, there's still plenty of learning curve to the new equipment and the return to an old fuel.
Another area is what sort of food you're most interested in producing. KCBS style? Regional? "Nouveau creative?" and so on. What about sides? Desserts? Will you be trying to do cold smoking?
Oh, and did I mention NO PEEKING?
I like the smokering forums http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/index.php
I've heard some negative things about electric smokers, mostly from people that use lump or stick burners. Seems like the main complaint is that you don't get enough smoke, and the smoke is of poor quality (thick white v thin blue).
Bordelaise. a clever double entendre. I had a friend with a facial tattoo and he always regretted it. Besides, I'm way too handsome.
My smoker has a nice oval window in the front and a light and a remote control...so I'll PEEK all I like thankyouverymuch.
All joking aside...
My smoker burns wood CHIPS. I also snuck in some well saturated lavender with the Applewood for my smoked turkey legs last week. They are my lunch this week.
I had no idea that the preparation process was so involved...brining, rinsing, drying, wet rub, sitting, THEN to the smoker. whew.
It seems that my wood chips expire in about an hour and require what I consider to be frequent replenishment.
In the vein of cold smoking: I am eager to try salmon pastram, & nova or lox. I am interested in smoking corn and tomatoes (as I am a New Jersey-an)
I have pork babybacks in the freezer and will attempt them this weekend. I want to experiment with KCBS style- who doesn't like kansas city BBQ!?!
Look forward to years of enjoyment with my new toy. It's like learning to cook all over again.