The Hampton Smoker

What's up wtih what's going down? Does a tree falling on the ocean with no one around make a sound? Barbecue, BBQ, Bar-b-que. It's all in how you sell it.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Working For The Weekend

Looks like Amy and I will be heading out to the East End to get a little rest this weekend. We'll most likely fire up the cooker to do some ribs that are a special order from the in-laws. Not sure what else to cook this weekend. I might do some more vegetables this time-- maybe a smoked gazpacho or salsa.

Last weekend we grilled a flank steak marinated in mustard vinaigrette. We sliced it up thin, like roast beef, and made sandwiches on nice french bread with a roasted pepper and onion relish. Doesn't get much better.

New Links is a blog making sense of what can be an overwhelming world of asian cuisine.

Eater is a new blog from the people that covers the NYC food scene of new restaurants. I know, there's not enough info out there, right?

We'll be back with pictures and witty anecdotes after the weekend.

Read more!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Food For Thought

Shake Shack, New York City, June 2005
Image hosted by
23rd St., New York City, June 2005
Image hosted by

Read more!

Firewalk with Me Pt. 3

Let's Get Sauced!
Image hosted by
So many varieties of sauces make their way onto 'que in this country that, while people may still remember growing up with ribs baked in a cloak of Kraft's, the notion that candy-like-Kansas City-style sauces "ARE" bbq sauce, is starting to fade. As palates evolve, people are starting to be more discriminating, and the word is out that in Tennessee or parts of the Carolinas a golden mustard sauce is likely to be on your barbeque sandwich. There are so many recipes and books floating around out there that it's worthwhile to find a few favorites to rely on, but don't be afraid to experiment-- if you haven't tried vinegar, red pepper flakes, and little else on pulled pork, the time has come.

I still like the K.C.-type sauces myself, and that's the one most people reach for first when we serve our 'que, but not the only one. I find also that K.C.-sauces make a perfect base upon which to build your distinctive blend. Here's one you can build on with your special touch from a book called, "Where There's Smoke There's Flavor", by Richard W. Langer and published by Little, Brown.

The Basic B Sauce

2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. Peanut Oil
1 Med. onion, minced
4 Cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 Tsp. ground cumin
1 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup water
2 Cups ketchup
1/2 Cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Melt the butter with the oil in a medium stainless steel or ceramic saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and saute until just translucent. Add the garlic, dry mustard, black and cayenne peppers, and the cumin. Stir into a rough paste, mashing out any obvious lumps. Mix in the brown sugar, followed by the water to help it dissolve smoothly. Add the ketchup, vinegar and worcestershire sauce and blend well. Simmer over low heat for about 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. The thickness of the sauce can be adjusted to your liking by simmering for a shorter or longer time. If it becomes too thick, simply thin it with water.

Read more!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

New 'Que For You

Last weekend, Hiroshi and I headed out to East Hampton to get in some much needed bbq meditation. We cooked 4 racks of ribs, a beer can chicken, a pork shoulder, texas-style beans, cole slaw and hot dogs. The hot dogs kept us fueled while we were waiting. We used a combination of oak, hickory, wild cherry, apple and peach. The oak was mainly for fuel and the others were added as accents with an emphasis placed on the apple and peach. Pictures from the weekend are below this text.

The weather was perfect-- upper 70's, clear and just a slight breeze. We used an all wood fire, starting with twigs and throwing a few sticks on at a time. It seemed like we were adding more wood every 30 to 45 minutes, but as long as we pre-heated the sticks, we cruised at about 231 degrees by adding one or two at a time. The best part was that there was practically no ash to worry about.

Two racks were just dry rubbed, the other two had a slather and rub. On day one, we just cooked up ribs and used a modified Cattlemen's sauce as a glaze because I had a craving to cook some sticky, gooey ribs. They were good, but I actually preferred the dry ribs from the next day, which was Sunday.

We got up Sunday morning, started up the fire, and when we got to about 275 on the Polder, we threw on the pork shoulder which was painted with some mustard and rub, as well as the beer-butt chicken. The can was about 1/3 beer, an onion, and a few cloves of garlic. About 5 hours later, we pulled the chicken and threw on the next two racks of ribs. We pulled the ribs and the shoulder about 5 hours later. The 7 pound shoulder took about 10 hours at 230 and the only time the hood was up was putting on and taking off the meats, no mopping or anything else. The bone pulled clean out and the meat shredded with little effort. The best, sweetest shoulder we ever made. The ribs from Sunday were mild, smokey, sweet. Just about everything I was looking for. Both days, we ate the trimmings from the racks w/ some sides as dinner.

We got home Monday evening in time to watch the fireworks and crash.

Clucker on a throne (Don't know what the red dot is from)
Image hosted by
Pork about to be pulled
Image hosted by
Sandwich time!
Image hosted by
Sunday's ribs and trimmings
Image hosted by
Boy in alley with sparkler
Image hosted by
Fireworks over the Hudson River
Image hosted by

Read more!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Firewalk with Me Pt. 2

Many people are starting to realize that barbecue means different things to different people—especially true in different parts of the country. In the northeast, for instance, when people say barbecue, they usually mean cooking something over a high, direct heat from charcoal or gas, like burgers or hot dogs. In the south and Midwest, however, the term barbecue means tough cuts of meat, such as ribs or brisket cooked over a low heat, away from flames and, often, with the addition of wood smoke. Grilling is done at temperatures of approx. 400 degrees and up. Barbecue is done in the range of 200-275 degrees.

The word barbecue also refers to the device people use to cook on—i.e., ‘I’m throwing some steaks on the barbecue tonight.’ No, that doesn’t mean the steaks will be on top of the ribs, it means they’re cooking some steaks on their grill.

Regardless of whether you cook on a gas grill or over charcoal, the art of ‘traditional’ barbecueing is maintaining a steady, low temperature in the range described above. With a kettle-type charcoal grill, you will most likely want to start with about 15-40 briquettes (depending on the size of your grill) lit on fire WITHOUT lighter fluid which WILL leave a bad taste in food cooked for several hours. Avoid quick-lighting charcoal for this same reason. Use a charcoal chimney or some other non-toxic starter. Use an oven thermometer on the cooking surface or even better, a remote probe-type or candy thermometer that allows you to check the temperature without lifting the lid and losing heat. Add more coals if you can’t get a high enough temperature, or use tongs to SAFELY remove coals if you can’t lower the temperature enough.

On a kettle, control the temperature using the bottom vents and keep the top vents open all the way. More air means higher heat, less air will cool things. To cook indirect, bank the coals to one side and place the meat on the opposite side of the cooker. Use a disposable pan with some water beneath the meat to catch drippings. You can also place the pan in the center and make two piles of coals on either side. Either way, the goal is to NOT cook the meat over direct heat. You can see a picture of this in Firewalk with Me Pt. 1.

If you own a smoker designed for barbecue, it most likely will have a firebox attached to the main chamber. This is called offset cooking. The fire is built in the side box and the heat and smoke are carried into the main chamber where the meat is located for cooking (see image below). The principles are the same, the smokestack is your exhaust which should always be kept wide open, and temperatures are controlled by adjusting the amount of air that you allow into the fire. These cookers are designed to burn wood logs, but also work extremely well with a base of charcoal for heat and some wood added for flavor.

To obtain a smoke flavor from wood, add wood chips or chunks (preferred) to the fire. Chips burn away quickly and many people soak them for half-an-hour before adding them. Some do not. This is a judgment call and a matter of taste. Chunks or chips can be tightly wrapped in foil to slow their rate of combustion. Poke a few holes in the top to allow smoke to escape. On a gas grill, place them beside the burner, with charcoal; add them on top of the coals.

It doesn’t take much to add a lot of flavor, so resist the urge to load up. Start out with one or two pieces, add one more halfway through. When you are done, if the flavor is too mild for you, you will know to add more the next time. Always make small adjustments, it is quite easy to go from pleasant and mild, to bitter and sooty. Too little smoke is much more palatable than too much. Even the dog won’t like too much. Different woods have different flavors/degrees of smoke, experiment to find your favorites.

Here’s a guide to some wood flavors

Next up: Let’s Get Sauced!

Part one of the how-to is here: Firewalk with Me Pt. 1

Happy Fourth of July!!!

Read more!

Your Gateway to Barbecue Information
A service of
netRelief, Inc.

This site is a member of The Smoke Ring
A linked list of BBQ websites

Next - Skip Next - Next 5 - Prev - Skip Prev - Random Site

Join the ring or browse a complete list of The Smoke Ring members

If you discover problems with any of The Smoke Ring sites,
please notify the Ringmaster

[ Previous 5 Sites | Skip Previous | Previous | Next ]

This RingSurf Food~n~More Ring Net Ring
owned by Backyard Chef.

[ Skip Next | Next 5 Sites | Random Site | List Sites ]

More blogs about bbq.
More blogs about The Hampton Smoker.