Cooking ribs and or brisket on a gas grill or electric smoker
Martha Dyson asked a great question today on Facebook, I decided to post it up here for all of you to see. Thanks Martha!
“Hey Bryan - I have a BBQ question for you - what kind of equipment (grills, smoker, etc…) do you use for cooking your BBQ? At present I have a gas grill and a Old Smokey electric smoker, but I haven’t been particualry happy with the way it cooks anything except poultry as I think it cooks too hot. EVentually I’d like to build my own BBQ pit with a wood firebox and a grill that raises up and down. I’m just curious what you use to make your brisket and ribs. Your relatively novice friend, Martha”
I have a custom pit with the fire box on one end and a good adjustable window outside the box. It has 2 grates for smoking and a grate dirctly over the firebox for quick hot grilling while waiting for the slow cooking items to get done. It also has an upright chamber with 3 racks for hanging jerky or sausage or for keeping items warm. The stack is above the upright chamber and it adjusts the temperature. This pit cooks like an oven, I was fortunate to have a friend that builds them from the ground up and he built it on a custom trailer to my specs , and it works well. If you intend to do much barbecueing, the firebox off the side is desirable to keep the temperature consistent , and to allow for pure smoking . I will caution you though, I don’t use green wood for smoking, its super smoky and will produce some bitter tasting meat,
always use dry wood and hose the wood down to clean off any dirt or other debris.
Gas grills are great for cooking quick meals, from burgers and steaks to fish , shrimp, and chicken. I also like the way they work for grilling veges. Yes it does cook very hot, but that is the best method for cooking all of the above mentioned items. There are a few things to remember with gas grilling:
Gas dehydrates as it heats the food, so remember to use a good marinade or baste on the meat to help keep it moist and preserve the natural juices. Try and use a meat thermometer to assist in knowing when your meats are done. This will keep you from guessing when things are done, and overcooking them as a precautionary measure when uncertain. Also, never leave your gas grill unattended when cooking . Meats tend to drip, and a baste will drip oils and juices on the fire and increase the likelihood of flare- ups. I like to have a spray bottle full of water right next to the grill to quickly extinguish any flare-ups. Adjust your fire accordingly to the type of food being grilled.
When cooking ribs on the gas grill, I first rub the ribs down with a good dry rub, such as The Texas Gourmet’s Sweet Chipotle Season All, then cut the rack in half for easier handling on the grill. Set the temperature at about 300 to 350 degrees F. I like to flip the ribs every 30 minutes to cook them evenly on both sides, after 1 hour I will start basting the ribs lightly . At 1 1/2 hours, place the ribs in foil, and baste again, then move to an area on the grill where the burners won’t be cooking directly under the meat, but still keep the heat going. This indirect and covered method will allow the ribs to continue cooking while broasting in the juices developing inside the enclosed foil . You can reduce the heat on the grill for this step, or if you wish you can place the foil wrapped ribs in the oven at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours more . I dont like to cook the ribs in the foil longer than 1 1/2 hours or they tend to get too soft.
As for cooking a brisket with the electric smoker, choose a small to medium size brisket (approx. 8 to 10 lbs. ) Rub the brisket with your favorite dry rub, or at least with salt and pepper. Then place the brisket as far away from the heating element as possible with the fat side up. Be sure and fill the water tray for moisture, I like to use beer instead. Use your favorite wood chips, I like hickory and pecan the best , but mesquite can be used sparingly as well. Smoke for approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours then remove from the smoker, and place the brisket in a foil boat double insulated and place in a roasting pan in the oven at 300 degrees . cook for 5 1/2 to 6 hours. Then remove from the oven, and make a small opening in the foil, pour off all of the juices in the foil into a sauce pot or a small bowl. Put the container of juices into the freezer for 30 minutes to allow the fat to separate from the natural meat juices. Discard the fat, then put the remaining juices in a sauce pot with some of your favorite barbecue sauce and maybe even a shot or so of your favorite Whiskey. Crown or Jack D. will do just fine. Add a couple teaspoons of honey and heat through to combine the flavors, then set aside for serving with the meat. Slice the meat across the grain in 1/4 ” thick slices. Serve warm, and by the way, this brisket will freeze just fine when wrapped up tightly in foil, then placed in a freezer zip lock bag. Thanks again , and I hope this will be helpful when using these types of grills .