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Wood on top or below?


Dazza
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Whats the opinion on where wood chunks/chips go? Most of what I’ve come across says on top of charcoal but I came across some champion American smoker (forget his name) video that said that it should always go beneath the charcoal!

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I think that's Harry Soo. I seem to remember him saying he goes under/mixed through. I usually do on top as I'm like a headless chicken, So I throw on top. 

I think either works no right or wrong way. Try both and see what you think gives better flavour. 

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1 hour ago, hoogl said:

I think that's Harry Soo. I seem to remember him saying he goes under/mixed through. I usually do on top as I'm like a headless chicken, So I throw on top. 

I think either works no right or wrong way. Try both and see what you think gives better flavour. 

Yeah that was the guy!  I’ll try both! 

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I think I saw that video some time ago too. When I remember, I have put the wood in the bottom of the fire basket. I'm not sure if it makes any difference. My own thinking is that you want a continuous supply of smoke for the first few hours of the cook. If the smoke comes in to late in the cook because it's buried beneath the lump wood you won't get as good absorption / smoke ring. I therefore tend to mix it through the burn as a general rule.

Cheers n Gone Nick

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5 hours ago, Skagg2000 said:

I think I saw that video some time ago too. When I remember, I have put the wood in the bottom of the fire basket. I'm not sure if it makes any difference. My own thinking is that you want a continuous supply of smoke for the first few hours of the cook. If the smoke comes in to late in the cook because it's buried beneath the lump wood you won't get as good absorption / smoke ring. I therefore tend to mix it through the burn as a general rule.

Cheers n Gone Nick

Being new to all this I have been doing lots of experimenting tried and have found that the smoke production is unpredictable with the wood buried, I now prefer small blocks that I can put on top when I want the smoke, usually adding one every 30 minutes until I think I have had enough smoke.

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I've always put the wood on the top, mainly because I don't put it on right away. I figure if it's going to take my smoker 30 - 45 minutes to get up to temperature before I put the food on, I'm not going to chuck the wood on and have it smoking way with no food in there.

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I don't think that it makes much difference TBH. If you are using a Kamado and have filled the fire box to the brim then having the wood buried at the bottom would clearly mean little or no smoke for a while.

Harry Soo knows his stuff when it comes to BBQ, but that doesn't mean that he's correct on everything. Watch him making "competition" ribs, for example. The amount of sugar, sweet syrups, squirt-on "butter", more sugar, honey, etc etc that he ladles onto the ribs is ridiculous. Yes, they finished product may look nice, but I'd wager that all you could taste would be overpoweringly sweet. I barbecue to taste meat, not tacky sugar!

 

 

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Like with most food I can never decide what I prefer - a really nice sauce or just the pure taste of the meat with minimal interference. Mostly o go with the latter nowadays. 
 

Having said that....in terms of rubs and brining - hoping to spatchcock a chicken this weekend on the kettle - are there any that a few of you have tried, tested and agreed are winners? I have a rub I made last summer in my cupboard but no idea what I put in it! I’ve never brined before bbq’ so looking fwd to how it goes. 
 

Also, temp wise seems 225f is the most common to go with and then maybe use a bit more heat at the end to get crispy skin. 

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10 hours ago, Dazza said:

Like with most food I can never decide what I prefer - a really nice sauce or just the pure taste of the meat with minimal interference. Mostly o go with the latter nowadays. 
 

Having said that....in terms of rubs and brining - hoping to spatchcock a chicken this weekend on the kettle - are there any that a few of you have tried, tested and agreed are winners? I have a rub I made last summer in my cupboard but no idea what I put in it! I’ve never brined before bbq’ so looking fwd to how it goes. 
 

Also, temp wise seems 225f is the most common to go with and then maybe use a bit more heat at the end to get crispy skin. 

I agree with you on the sauce, I think the rub is enough although I do make a sauce as a side but rarely touch it myself. In my previous bbq life, when everything off the bbq was incinerated or raw then sauce was essential!

I do spatchcock chicken at 325f based on this https://amazingribs.com/tested-recipes/chicken-recipes/grilled-citrus-herb-spatchcocked-chicken-recipe

The rub he suggests is good but my wife does the chicken rubs now and I have no idea what she puts in them but definitely citrus and herbs. 

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27 minutes ago, Ripple said:

I agree with you on the sauce, I think the rub is enough although I do make a sauce as a side but rarely touch it myself. In my previous bbq life, when everything off the bbq was incinerated or raw then sauce was essential!

I do spatchcock chicken at 325f based on this https://amazingribs.com/tested-recipes/chicken-recipes/grilled-citrus-herb-spatchcocked-chicken-recipe

The rub he suggests is good but my wife does the chicken rubs now and I have no idea what she puts in them but definitely citrus and herbs. 

Just reread that recipe and they combine the salt with the rub, I apply the salt the day before, video of method

 

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Ha ok thanks. I was planning on using snake and 225 but maybe I’ll go with this one as a first try as looks like skin will be better. 
 

do you think I can Chuck on a few sausages at the same time (or maybe add them half way)?  

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I cook at around 225F all the time on my bullet smokers, because that's smoking temperature. I don't own a kettle, but I guess if you're just trying to cook a chicken at "roasting" temperatures, then 325 - 350 is probably about roasting temperature.

 

I did a spatchcock chicken in the week in my ProQ smoker, and it was fabulous, but it did take 3 1/2 hours, and got a nice smokey flavour. I used a rub called Feather Duster that I bought from Angus and Oink and it was incredible, had some really nice sweetness and spice in it. Definite winner for the future.

 

image.thumb.png.19ac40abcdb94c9473554686afa5b155.png

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Looks good. And what about the skin tho at 225f? Was it crispy or did you need to crisp it up at the end? Depending on time i have I’ll let that determine whether to go with 225 or the hotter option and if not disasterpus will report back!

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2 hours ago, paul6057 said:

I cook at around 225F all the time on my bullet smokers, because that's smoking temperature. I don't own a kettle, but I guess if you're just trying to cook a chicken at "roasting" temperatures, then 325 - 350 is probably about roasting temperature.

 

I did a spatchcock chicken in the week in my ProQ smoker, and it was fabulous, but it did take 3 1/2 hours, and got a nice smokey flavour. I used a rub called Feather Duster that I bought from Angus and Oink and it was incredible, had some really nice sweetness and spice in it. Definite winner for the future.

 

image.thumb.png.19ac40abcdb94c9473554686afa5b155.png

Out of interest, with a proq or other bullet, how does it work when cooking across both racks? As in if they are different meats does one flavour not “pollute” the one below? Or do you have to offset them ie brisket on upper left and chicken on lower right? Or it doesn’t matter. 

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I haven't done it that much but I did do ribs and a chicken on my WSM. Yes the ribs dripped a bit onto the chicken, but I figure that's just like a natural basting with extra delicious flavour, so not something that I was going to worry about.

 

I guess if that's a concern, then you'd have to avoid having one piece of meat over the top of another one. That sounds like as good a reason as any to buy more barbecues...

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