Author Topic: Advice Please  (Read 8066 times)

Offline cherrybergher

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Advice Please
« on: May 26, 2016, 12:59:20 pm »
I have the digital four rack and I have a few questions. 

-I would like to get some bricks for heat retention, and i'm unsure if there is a specific type (ie, firebrick) or will and type of brick from home depot suffice?
-Are the magic mats any good? Do they have any impact on heat retention or loss? or are they strictly for cooking ease?

I'm in a wheelchair and have some mobility issues, so any advice on streamlining the process (ie changing the water) or any advice at all would be greatly appreciated

Thanks
BDS 4 Rack
"Improving the flavour of our lives one smokey day at a time"

Offline Gafala

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 473
  • Gem faceter by choice, BBQ Smoker by heart.
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2016, 01:55:20 pm »
I don't use bricks but I have heard that you wrap them in foil and pre heat them in you house oven, I have never heard of magic mats but most mats are used to make cleanup easer or for small pieces of meat.
Bradley 4 rack Digital, 900 watt, Auber PID
Bradley cold smoke adapter
Char-Griller Smoking Pro BBQ Smoker with rotisserie
Brinkman Bullet Smoker
Weber 24”
Custom Hard Cure Cabinet for Salami
One Auber Master Temp monitor and two remotes with probes, up to ten remotes can be used.

Offline Habanero Smoker

  • Member Extraordinaire
  • ******
  • Posts: 14,049
  • KCBS - Master Certified Barbecue Judge
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2016, 02:02:54 am »
Hi cherrybergher;

Welcome to the forum.

Any standard size brick should work. As mentioned by Gafala, wrap it in foil.

As far as the water bowl, you may want to stay with the standard water bowl that came with your Bradley. Some have replaced the water bowl with an aluminum pan that will last for the entire cook without changing the water pan. Removing that type of pan would be difficult for you, unless you have someone who could change out the pan after the cook. The water bowl that comes with it, would be easier to change though it will be more frequent. I suggest you have a leak proof metal contain near the smoker, so you can empty the hot bowl right there. After the discarded water and fat have cooled down, it will be safer to dump. Also have a one gallon jug or water nearby to replenish the bowl. That way you won't have to travel for the kitchen to the smoker with a bowl filled with water.

If by magic mats you are referring to sheets of silicon that lay on the grill surface or can be used to line pan bottoms, I would avoid using them. If you cover the whole tray, it would be the same as using foil to cover the tray. Covering the tray may prevent smoke and heat from circulating, which could cause a fire. The other problem I see with them, is that grease will accumulate on them and it will find a way to flow off the mats. If the grease flows down the back wall onto the element, that will cause a fire. Or when you are trying to remove a tray, the hot grease may flow on you.

Many of us use frogmats they are a fiberglass screen that is coated in Teflon. Since they are a screen mesh, heat and smoke easily circulates through them. There is still clean up but a lot less. There are many posts on this forum with tips on cleaning the racks, such as the best detergent, soaking and using a dishwasher. 

Another suggestion, though you need to be careful with, is to cook in foil pans. The type of pan you would want to use, is one that will leaves at least 25% of the rack surface clear so smoke and heat can adequately circulate. You don't want to use pans that will completely block the flow of heat. If possible use pans with low sides some more smoke and heat will circulate around the meat.

Tips and troubleshooting:
Bradley FAQ's
« Last Edit: May 27, 2016, 02:04:36 am by Habanero Smoker »


     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

Offline cherrybergher

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2016, 06:56:45 pm »
thanks for all the great advice.  I did my seasoning of the smoker tonight and I'll be doing back ribs tomorrow.  The machine worked flawlessly.   8)
BDS 4 Rack
"Improving the flavour of our lives one smokey day at a time"

Offline Habanero Smoker

  • Member Extraordinaire
  • ******
  • Posts: 14,049
  • KCBS - Master Certified Barbecue Judge
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2016, 01:50:32 am »
Great! Let us know how your first cook turns out.


     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

Offline cherrybergher

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2016, 05:31:31 am »
There is a threat of rain today the forecast changed overnight, so I may be forced to finish them in the house oven.  To crutch or not to crutch that is the question now? :-\
« Last Edit: May 28, 2016, 07:37:00 am by cherrybergher »
BDS 4 Rack
"Improving the flavour of our lives one smokey day at a time"

Offline TedEbear

  • Member Extraordinaire
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,396
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2016, 08:25:32 am »
I usually do the Texas Crutch but there are different opinions when it comes to ribs.  Read the discussion below.

The Texas Crutch: Wrap in Foil to Tenderize and Speed Cooking

Offline cherrybergher

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2016, 04:32:54 pm »
My first ribs were a success!
8lbs back ribs, rubbed, smoked with apple, finished with Blues Pig sauce

Mother Nature held off and we were able to get 6 hours of cooking (4 of which were smoking).  They weren't perfect but they were very good, my wife said they were the best she's ever had.  We found that the smaller, leaner racks that we placed on the upper trays, we good, just slightly tougher than the bigger meatier racks on the bottom two trays.

We rotated all trays once from to back only.  Meaning we never took the trays for the bottom and put them on top and vice versa.  I decided against the crutch this time.  I thought it would be easier given it was our first time and we spritzed all racks a few times throughout.  We added sauce at 1 hr intervals for the last two hours.  My thermometer hasn't been shipped to me yet so I couldn't get an accurate chamber reading.  The digital smoking unit read the chamber was at 240F on the preheat, then the ribs went in and sucked the temp down to about 180 (expected) and gradually got it back up to about 214F after the first spritz.  We then raised te set temp to 300F and the chamber temp settled in around 237F for roughly the last 2.5 hrs.

So if anyone has any thoughts on how I could have kept the two top trays a bit juicer, I'm all ears

I tried to upload the photos via photobucket as some members have posted about, but i'm having trouble sharing.  It's saying it can't copy them.  Any pointers?
« Last Edit: May 28, 2016, 04:38:33 pm by cherrybergher »
BDS 4 Rack
"Improving the flavour of our lives one smokey day at a time"

Offline TedEbear

  • Member Extraordinaire
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,396
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2016, 06:18:57 pm »
Glad to hear that everything turned out relatively well.   :)

To post pics on the forum, you can u/l them to Photobucket.  It's a free site.  If you're new to Photbucket, it is best to create separate folders for different themes such as Food, Hobbies, Sports, Vacation, etc.  You don't have to do this but it makes it MUCH easier to find the pics you're looking for years from now by keeping things organized.  Also, after you create your folder(s) be sure that you upload the pics to the correct one.  It's easy to get that messed up.  Ask me how I know. 

Anyhow, after you u/l your pic, click on it on Photobucket and look at the right sidebar.  Left click anywhere in the IMG box and the contents will automatically be copied onto your clipboard.  Then just paste those contents into a message on here.  You can click on the Preview button at the bottom right of your message to see that it worked before you post it.




Offline tskeeter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,006
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2016, 06:42:41 pm »
My first ribs were a success!
8lbs back ribs, rubbed, smoked with apple, finished with Blues Pig sauce

Mother Nature held off and we were able to get 6 hours of cooking (4 of which were smoking).  They weren't perfect but they were very good, my wife said they were the best she's ever had.  We found that the smaller, leaner racks that we placed on the upper trays, we good, just slightly tougher than the bigger meatier racks on the bottom two trays.

We rotated all trays once from to back only.  Meaning we never took the trays for the bottom and put them on top and vice versa.  I decided against the crutch this time.  I thought it would be easier given it was our first time and we spritzed all racks a few times throughout.  We added sauce at 1 hr intervals for the last two hours.  My thermometer hasn't been shipped to me yet so I couldn't get an accurate chamber reading.  The digital smoking unit read the chamber was at 240F on the preheat, then the ribs went in and sucked the temp down to about 180 (expected) and gradually got it back up to about 214F after the first spritz.  We then raised te set temp to 300F and the chamber temp settled in around 237F for roughly the last 2.5 hrs.

So if anyone has any thoughts on how I could have kept the two top trays a bit juicer, I'm all ears

I tried to upload the photos via photobucket as some members have posted about, but i'm having trouble sharing.  It's saying it can't copy them.  Any pointers?

CB, Bradley smokers experience some significant temperature stratification.  Lower racks, close to the heating element, are warmer than the upper racks.  Don't remember the difference a forum member documented, but my sense is it was in the 15 to 20 degree range.  I suspect that the ribs you had on the upper racks were slightly tough because they were not as well done as the Ribs on the lower racks.

Offline Habanero Smoker

  • Member Extraordinaire
  • ******
  • Posts: 14,049
  • KCBS - Master Certified Barbecue Judge
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2016, 12:48:53 am »
Sounds like a fairly decent maiden cook.

For most foods, I recommend rotating front to back, and bottom to top; for a more even cook for all trays. Often the meat will decide when it wants to "give-up"; so even rotating, one tray will often finish before the other.

For ribs, it is difficult to get a good internal meat temperature measurement, but there are a few ways to test for doneness. I like to use the bamboo skewer test. When you can insert and remove the skewer with very little resistance; they are bite off the bone ready. If it can be inserted like a hot knife going through butter; they are fall off the bone ready. Be careful at this stage, they can go from fall off the bone to mushy very quickly. There is a bend test: you use tongs to grab the ribs at one end, and if the ribs crack at the bend point they are done. One other test is the twist test. With protected hands, you grab a bone and twist. If it come out easily they are done. Another is judging how far back the meat has pulled back, and how much bone is exposed. I don't find that test as reliable as one of the others.

Spritzing is a good idea, but remember every time you open the smoker you are adding cooking time. So adjust your cooking time accordingly.


     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

Offline cherrybergher

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2016, 07:13:46 am »
So here are the pics, that I tried to post last night.  Thanks TedEbear  ;)








I really appreciate all of the advice, I thought that there may indeed be bit of a temp. swing from top to bottom.  I'll be able to get a better handle on the oven temp when my probe thermometer arrives. 

Habanero, I went with the bamboo test. as i've had good results with the toothpick test when baking.  I was concerned about the heat loss thats why we took it easy on the spritzing. 

Can anyone tell me what colour smoked pucks in the water bowl should be mine were black and considerably smaller than when I started so I think I'm ok?  All of the equipment functioned correctly so we didn't get any pics of that this time.
 



BDS 4 Rack
"Improving the flavour of our lives one smokey day at a time"

Offline Salmonsmoker

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 883
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2016, 10:41:17 am »
cherrybergher, welcome to the forum. An addition to Hab's suggestion to use foil pans for ease of cleanup is to place a rack inside the pan, so that you elevate what  you're cooking off the bottom of the pan. If you can get as high as the sides of the pan you will get better heat and smoke circulation as the pan sides can act as a shield from radiant and convective heat. It will also keep your food from sitting in liquids and getting soggy.
Give a man a beer and he'll waste a day.
Teach him how to brew and he'll waste a lifetime.

Offline tskeeter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,006
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2016, 11:12:04 am »
The ideal is to have a completely charred puck.  Not to turn the puck to ashes.  Sounds like your experience was dead on.

Over time, you will notice that some pucks don't char completely.  Not anything to get excited about.  It happens fairly frequently.  Documented causes of less than complete char are cold weather (winter smoking), type of wood, and possibly, some variation in how densely a puck was compressed.

Offline cherrybergher

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 218
Re: Advice Please
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2016, 04:40:41 pm »
tskeeter, thanks for the notes on the pucks, I appreciate it, it really helps a lot.   Salmonsmoker, that's a great idea about the trays.  When I do pork butt would it be a good idea to put a water tray on an empty rack below the butt to help maintain the temp and also catch some drippings so the vtray doesn't get too greasy and cause flare ups? or would that negatively affect heat circulation and make the meat soggy?

Thoughts or ideas from anyone welcome
Thanks
« Last Edit: May 29, 2016, 05:18:24 pm by cherrybergher »
BDS 4 Rack
"Improving the flavour of our lives one smokey day at a time"