BBQ recipes
June 14, 2006 4:54 PM   Subscribe

BBQfilter: Like many people, I use my (charcoal) BBQ to grill vegetables and meat, but I'd like to move on to the "smoking, indirect heat" type of cooking. While the technique seems simple enough, I'd like recommendations for simple recipes to get started.
posted by bluefrog to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Head to Whole Foods and pick up a pair of cedar planks and a pound of salmon fillet. Soak the planks for a couple hours, prepare a marinate for the fish while your planks soak, and then once everything's ready, smoke the fish for 20 minutes or so.
posted by Mr. Six at 5:03 PM on June 14, 2006

There is so much wisdom about smoking meat in the FAQ of the Internet BBQ List that you could smoke food for a lifetime and not take it all in.

Steve Raichlen's BBQ Bible has many very simple examples of using indirect heat in a Weber-style grill, with lots of pictures and clear directions.
posted by popechunk at 5:11 PM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

Behold the glory that is: Secrets of the Salt Lick.
posted by ColdChef at 5:59 PM on June 14, 2006

This is pretty much the only way we use kettle barbeques in Australia. Our favoruite recipe is a couple of whole chickens (or three smaller chickens). Stuff them with fresh thyme, parsley, a bay leaf, a few cloves of garlic and a few wedges of lemon. Season the outside with a little olive oil and salt. Put them in the middle of the rack, throw a couple of pieces of hickory wood on the coals, close the lid and walk away for an hour and a half. Rest for ten minutes, then carve. With potato salad, corn on the cob and a green salad, we easily feed ten people this way with leftovers for lunch.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:36 PM on June 14, 2006

Best answer: self-link.

Basic principles apply to everything. I cooked a half leg of lamb this way in about three hours.

At a rather higher temperature, I have had great success with a butterflied chicken. Work some garlic/herbs/salt under the skin, and place skin-side up, cooks in less than an hour.

Basically, you have to decide whether you are cooking fast for a crispy skin - basically roasting inside the cover - or doing a long slow hot-smoke. If the former, then you want tender cuts or chicken, and a lot of heat. If the latter, then you can use tougher cuts, and let the fire go as low as you can without it actually going out. Then you have the whole afternoon to fool around with it.

As for recipes, you can make up your own easily enough. Marinades are just something acid and something oily and salt and some flavour. Just bear in mind that whatever it is has to work well with smoke.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:50 PM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

Cook's Illustrated has there step by step "best grill-roasted chicken" here (free link). Includes BBQ chicken & beer can chicken (and others) as well. These folks are a little persnickety but, if you what they tell you to do, you can't fail.

See the resources on the sidebar as well, esp. the "Grilling 101" pdf.
posted by Jos Bleau at 7:31 PM on June 14, 2006

Oh yeah, this is how I do salmon. Ends up like this.

First, get your salmon fillets. I assume they're skin-on.

Make a mixture of two parts salt to one part brown sugar, with some ground pepper. One cup salt to a half cup sugar coats a small fillet.

Coat the salmon in the salt and sugar, put the rest of the mix in a dish, put the salmon skin-side up on the salt and sugar, and put the whole lot in the fridge for a few hours. About an hour before you light the fire, take the salmon out, rinse it, pat it dry, put it on a rack, and put the rack back in the fridge. We want the salmon to be nice and dry before we smoke it to ensure a "pellicle" (ie skin) forms on it.

Make up a charcoal fire on each side of the barbeque. When it's down to glowing coals put a drip tray in the middle, put some wet wood chips or sawdust on the coals, place the grill on top, and put on the salmon, skin-side down.

I discovered a cache of manuka firewood under the house, so I split a round into kindling and soaked the pieces in a bucket. You can do something similar, or maybe just get some leaf tea - I hear that's pretty good too. (Manuka is the local wood favoured for smoking, maybe you want hickory or something). Don't go overboard on the wood. Also, it's important that there are no flames. It's nice pale white smoke we want. Otherwise you get creosote taste.

Put the lid on. When I tried last it was ready at 45 minutes. It was just crispy on the outside and incredibly juicy in the middle, with a glossy mahogany coat. I have a feeling you could give or take 15 minutes, because the fish is so oily and with no fresh fuel the temperature starts to drop towards the end. You may need to experiment some more.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:06 PM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

Re the lamb belly - wow. Just wow. I'd always wondered what to do with those. There goes my Saturday afternoon.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:53 PM on June 14, 2006

i'm getting started as well, and that salmon is about as easy and quick as it gets. Meat takes longer generally, actually much longer if you just smoke it. You didn't say what type of grill/bbq you have, and whether you can do pure smoking with it.
I guess generally there's 2 ways to go--
1. do what you're doing already, but add wood for smoke. In otherwords, you're cooking relatively lean cuts of meat.One great thing you can try is the same as that salmon, but do pork tenderloins. And I agree about putting the salmon or pork on a soaked wooden plank. But basically everything you do now will be better if you add smoke--also recommend dry rubs with salt.
2. real smoking. this is what i'm trying to learn about--slow smoking meat and fish at 200-250 F. I recently did a pork butt for 10 hours (pulled pork). That seems to be a pretty good place to start, people say its hard to mess up. It came out real good, although i have some things to improve with the fire. Next is definitely ribs. The main trick with this seems to be really getting to know the fire and how to maintain it just right for many hours.

Finally, just wanted to recommend this grill. Its very affordable (170 at home depot) and a good old cooking time.
posted by alkupe at 9:03 PM on June 14, 2006

oh also, slate currently has a running dialogue about this
posted by alkupe at 9:24 PM on June 14, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the ideas and recommendations (I know there is a lot on this topic on the Web, but as they say, sometimes too much is like not enough... At least now I have some sense of direction). Can't wait to get my hands on some lamb flaps...
posted by bluefrog at 6:25 AM on June 15, 2006

Most of these links don’t seem that simple to me.

Here’s two simple suggestions for starting an indirect cooking repertoire. You can always get more elaborate, but these should prove the potential with the least effort.

Whole crispy chicken.

Take a 3-4 pound chicken and shower it with your favorite spice rub (or just salt and fresh ground pepper for the uber-minimalist), inside and out. Get two quarts of coals gone gray and line the sides of the kettle, leaving a no-coals third in the middle (as in the Cooks Illustrated diagram). Put some water in a beverage can and insert it into the chicken’s body cavity. Using the can’s bottom as a “seat,” arrange the chicken’s legs so it’s sitting up on the grill, with no coals beneath it.

Put wood chunks in the coals for smoky flavor. I use hickory and oak mostly. Put the lid on with the vent open.

Leave it alone. Every time you peek you lose 5-10 minutes of heat. 75 minutes should do it.

This is sometimes referred to as “beer can” chicken or “chicken on a throne.” It doesn’t matter what liquid's in the can, in my experience. But the vapor steams the inside while the skin gets crackly crisp, about 1 hour 15 minutes. You could brine the chicken for extra moistness, but with the steaming I’ve never found it necessary.

Of course, you could marinate the chicken a million different ways, too – my favorite is my approximation of Peruvian rotisserie chicken – but you said simple. You could even forget the can and just set the chicken in the middle, but I find it worth the fuss.

Smoke roasted sirloin.

Get a piece of top sirloin cut two inches thick. Coat with salt and fresh ground pepper (or spice rub). Get two quarts of coals gone gray and put them on one side of the grate.

Sear the meat to a crust on one side, 5-10 minutes. It should be almost charred. Turn the meat over and do the same to the other side.

Pull the meat to the cool side of the grill, with no coals beneath it. Put wood chunk(s) on the coals, and put the lid on with the vent open. Roast until it’s as done as you like it. I prefer medium-rare, which takes about 30 minutes.

Nick it with a knife and peek inside to make sure, knowing that residual heat will continue to cook it one step further after removal from grill. (That is, pull it at medium-rare if you want medium.)

Let rest 15 minutes, slice thin across the grain. People who like more well-done meat will enjoy slices from the perimeter.

And if you want to make the best barbecue with the least fuss, get a Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker. I ended up throwing out all the other ones.
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:16 AM on June 15, 2006

My favorite BBQ recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated. I think you have to pay on their site to get it (or find it in one of their BBQ books), but here is the general gist of it:

Ask your butcher for an untrimmed, unbrined cut of beef brisket. (I've found that if you let the butcher in on your plans they will bend over backwards to give you a good cut of meat for the purpose.)

Cover the meat in your favorite spice rub and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Prepare your grill by covering half of the bottom with coals. When the coals are ready, put on the wood. The soaked wood chunks can be wrapped in aluminum foil with holes punched in the top. Then you put the brisket on the opposite side of the grill from the coals.

Here's where the 'easy' part comes in. Rather than tend a charcoal fire all day, you smoke the brisket for 60-90 minutes. Then you wrap it up in foil and finish it in the oven set on a fairly low temp. Some may call it heresy, but the end result is delicious, smoky tender brisket.

You can do this on any size grill. Just have the butcher cut a smaller brisket if you only have a tiny grill. (I have even done this on those little Weber portable grills).
posted by Otis at 10:01 AM on June 15, 2006

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