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Topics - Sum1

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Poultry / Smoked Whole Chicken
« on: May 10, 2017, 01:35:46 PM »
Been testing and improving my Smoked Whole Chicken, trying various brines and rubs, using without and without butter, etc. and I think this is the best so far. It's really delicious, with a nice kick and great balance.

I tried to brine with and without sugar, and I think it works better without. I added 1 tbs sugar to the rub for a bit sweetness.

The only issue I have is that the skin shrinks and rips. Sorry that I don't have a photo. Next time I'll make it I'll post a photo.

I wrote to use a water pan, but now that I think about it, and also reviewing other people's posts, I think there's no need for it. Next time I'll try without it.

If anyone here tries this, I'd be curious to hear your feedback.

Here it is:

Smoked Whole Chicken

Whole chicken
Olive oil

Brine ingredients
1 gallon of cold water (or enough to completely submerge the chicken)
1 cup kosher salt
1 tbs ground black pepper
1 tbs cayenne

Rub ingredients
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp Aleppo chili pepper (or other chili pepper, but Aleppo is better)
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Wood: 2oz apple, cherry or oak

1. Mix the brine ingredients well until the salt is dissolved. Brine for 12-24 hours in the fridge.
2. Remove the chicken from the brine, wash briefly and pat dry. Leave to dry on a rack in the fridge for several hours.
3. Mix all the rub ingredients in a small bowel until well incorporated.
4. Oil the chicken and spread the rub liberally all over the chicken, including the interior of cavity.
5. Place the chicken in the smoker on the lowest rack, along with a dish with 2 cups boiling water.
6. Smoke on 225F, set internal temperature to 145F.
7. When the chicken reaches around 130F, turn oven on to 375F.
8. Once smoking is done, place in oven for 35 min.
9. One the 35 min are up, turn up the heat to 450F. Once it reaches 450F, roast for another 2-3 minutes. This will crisp up the skin.
10. Let it cool for 10-15 min before serving.

Net cooking time (without brining and cooling): around 2.5 hours  

Gadgets and Gizmos / Cold smoking - which device would you recommend?
« on: April 28, 2017, 12:15:16 AM »
Hey all.

I'm looking to cold smoke, and I've seen online several items, including the Cold Smoke Plate, Smoke Daddy Big Kahuna, A-MAZE-N and some others, but have yet to figure out which is best for the #1.

Which would you recommend?


Lamb / Help with Lamb Pastrami
« on: February 01, 2017, 12:36:13 AM »
Hi all.

In Chelsea Market in NYC, there’s an amazing butcher shop - Dickson's Farmstand Meats. These folks really understand meat. They offer superb raw meats, and many of their prepared products are top notch as well.

Among their excellent products, I discovered their lamb pastrami. Tasty beyond ridiculous. Whenever I’m in the area, I make it my business to get some, if they have it in stock. I’ve never seen anyone make lamb pastrami as they do. Theirs is just fantastic. 

Now I’m trying to somehow duplicate it with my #1. I’m not trying to copy them, but I am trying to create lamb pastrami that can at least stand up to theirs. I see theirs as the gold standard, so if I'll create something as awesome I’ll be very happy, even if – or perhaps especially - it doesn’t taste likes theirs.

I’ve done various trials and was finally able to create a pastrami that has an excellent texture.

But my seasoning is still not perfect. It’s lacking that awesomeness that Dickson's pastrami has.

Allow me to outline what I’ve done. I’d be curious to hear your feedback. If you have any suggestions for awesome seasoning, or some other comments, I’d be grateful.

By the way, I haven’t been to Dickson's in a while. Next time I’m in the area, I’ll try to pick the brains of the sales people about the pastrami. But for now, I’d be curious to hear what YOU have to say.

I’m attaching a photo of Dickson's pastrami, and a photo of two of my last trials side by side - one that really shrank, losing all that yummy fat, and one with perfect texture but not perfect seasoning, which I’ll describe below.

So.. the questions to you are:

1. What seasoning would you use?

2. What would you do differently from what I’ve done, if at all?

3. Is the brine necessary and does it actually impart a flavor?


Here it goes.


2 lamb bellies, totaling around 3.5-4p.

1 gallon water
¾ c Kosher Salt
1 tbs pink salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fennel
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon clove
1 teaspoon cumin
6 cloves garlic, smashed with the skin on
2 sprigs rosemary

1 tbs whole black pepper
1 tbs coriander seeds
1 tbs cumin seeds
1 tbs fennel seeds
1½ tsp kosher salt


1.   Bring all brine ingredients to a boil, turn heat off, and allow the brine to chill completely. 
2.   Strain the spices from the brine. If you don’t strain the spices, they will stick to the meat and it’ll be hell to remove. Pour the liquid into a container or a strong sealable bag, and transfer the meat to it, immersing it completely.
3.   After 3 days, remove the meat from the brine, discard the brine, and pat dry both pieces. Place on a rack until fairy dry but slightly tacky, around 15 min.
4.   Place all the whole seeds in a spice or coffee grinder, and grind coarsely. When well incorporated, add the salt and mix.
5.   Rub the spice mixture into the lamb, completely covering both sides of each piece. Starting with the narrow side of the meat, roll both pieces into a single tight roll and tie tightly with butcher twine.
6.   Using 3oz of oak, smoke the meat on 175F until internal temperature reaches 135F.  This can take 6.5-7 hours.
7.   Preheat oven to 225F. Use a pan that can hold a rack. Cover the bottom of the pan with an inch of boiling water. Place a rack over it, and place the lamb on the rack. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and steam for 5 hours.
8.   Let the lamb cool to room temperature.
9.   Transfer to fridge, and let cool overnight. 
10.   To serve, cut paper-thin slices.

Poultry / Smoked Chicken Galantine (Whole Chicken Roulade)
« on: September 21, 2016, 05:44:40 PM »
This recipe might be a bit time consuming at first, but once you learn how to debone and roll the chicken, the actual work isn’t all that bad.


1 chicken, medium to large

For the filling:
6 shallots, chopped
6 white mushrooms, chopped
3-4 tbs butter
White wine
12oz ground beef, the fattier the better - 30% fat is ideal, 10% fat might be too dry. [For the roulade in the photos I’ve used “bork” which is a mix of ground beef and bacon, yielding about 25% fat]
6 chicken liver, chopped into relatively small pieces
1 egg
Salt & pepper
Optional: chopped parsley, other seasoning

For the brine:
1 gallon of tap water (or enough to completely submerge the chicken in a bowl that is not too much larger than the chicken).
¾ cup kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
1 tbs ground black pepper
1 tbs cayenne

Olive oil
1 block of the wood of your choice (around 1.5-1.75 oz) [for the roulade in the photos I’ve used oak]


First, brine the chicken. Feel free to use the brine of your choice, or use my brine.

Don't heat up the water, cold or at room temperature is fine. Mix all the ingredients well until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Brine the bird for 24 hours, covered in the fridge.

Next, heat up 2 tbs of butter in medium frying pan. Once the butter begins to melt, add the shallots and sauté several minutes until soft and golden. Add a glug of white wine (say 2 tbs) and continue sautéing a minute. Add the mushroom, the remainder butter, and sauté several additional minutes until the mushroom are golden. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a bowl and let cool (see photo 1). In the meantime, debone the chicken. By the time you finish deboning, the shallot-mushroom mix will have cooled down sufficiently.

If you don’t know how to debone a chicken, there are several tutorials online, such as this one: and this one:

In the photos I didn’t debone the chicken perfectly (see photo 2) - I’m learning too, and each time I get better and faster at it.

Add the beef, liver, egg and herb (if you like, I didn’t use any herbs) to the shallot-mushroom mix, season with salt and pepper (or any seasoning you like), and mix until well incorporated.

Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the meat. This will allow you to roll the skin nicely around the stuffed meat, and will also allow you to pound the chicken breast until a bit flattened, to achieve a more uniform roll. In the attached photos I have not done either of these steps, but I think they will work better than what I have done.

Spread the final mix on the deboned chicken (see photo 3), roll the chicken as tight as feasible, and encase it with the skin. 

Truss it with twine. In the photos I haven’t trussed it properly (see photo 4). This is a better way:

Drizzle olive oil and using your hands, coat the entire bird. Season the skin with salt and pepper, or the seasoning of your choice. At this point you may leave the chicken in the fridge for several hours, or proceed to smoke it.

Smoke for 2 hours on 225F, then bump the dial up to the max (beyond the 250 mark), and smoke for another 1¼ hours. See the results in photo 5.

At this point you can let it cool a bit and eat it warm (see photo 6), or, which I think tastes better, let it cool completely in the fridge and eat the following day (see photos 7 & 8 ).


Note: in this recipe I brine the chicken, as I always brine whole chicken. I wonder if anyone has tried something similar without brining and whether brining is necessary for this type of recipe. Any thoughts? 

Beef / The Brontosaurus Rib (aka beef rib)
« on: July 24, 2016, 01:03:59 AM »
Here's a recipe for a damn good beef rib that I've been experimenting with for some time, using my little #1.

Begin the prep the night before you plan on serving these babies.


3 large beef ribs, as meaty as you can get, with some of the fat still on them. Each rib can serve 1 hungry guy.

1 cup beef broth


2 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon coarsely grounded black pepper
2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes


Place the rub ingredients in a small bowl and mix with your fingers until well incorporated.

Apply the rub to the ribs on all sides, pressing into the meat.

Refrigerate overnight.

When ready to smoke, place a tray with water or beer on the bottom shelf of the smoker. Better yet, fill up your Sasha Flavor Savor with water or beer and hang it on one of the racks.

Wood: Use around 2-2½ oz of hickory or oak (1 block of Smokin-It wood is perfect).

Note: After trying various types of woods, I concluded that the wood chunks sold by Smokin-It work the best for our machine. I’m not sure why they work better than chips (such as Western chips, which I've used countless times). Perhaps it takes longer for the solid blocks to burn, and the result is a deeper flavor? I'm not sure, but I think they do work better. 
[The Jack Daniel’s chips are awesome, but I use them to smoke whole chicken, not for beef ribs and other applications].

Temperature and time: 225F, for 8 hours.

[I tested beef ribs on both 250F and 225F, checking them at various hours - 6, 8, 9, 10 - and concluded that for meaty ribs, 8 hours on 225F yields the best result. The meat is still somewhat red, yet very soft, and the exterior is nicely smoked with great flavor.]

When the smoking is completed, place the ribs (which by now should have shrunk significantly), in a sealable container, a pan with a tight lid, or thick aluminum foil.

Pour in the beef broth, cover, and let the ribs steam for 1 hour, softening them further.

Then eat to your heart’s content!


This recipe is based on a recipe in Steven Raichlen’s superb book, “Project Smoke”, with some modification to fit my palate (he doesn’t advocate preparing it the night before and his rub is too hot for my palate). Besides, he suggests 225-250 for 8-10 h, while I concluded that with the Smokin-It machine, the best is 8 h @ 225F.

The attached photo is from today’s smoking. Usually I buy from my butcher a full bone rib (Paisanos Butcher Shop, one of the best in NY!!). This time they accidentally sent me a rib that was cut in half (short ribs), and I think it came out even better!

You might want to experiment with a full-length rib vs. a rib cut in half. One advantage of buying ribs that have been cut is that you can then choose the meatiest cuts. If you buy an uncut full rib, you might end up with one that is very meaty on one end but on the opposite end is not, resulting in an uneven rib.

As an aside, I’ve gone through several smoking books - including: Aaron Franklin's "Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto”, Jeff Phillips’ “Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue”, Myron Mixon’s “Smokin' with Myron Mixon” and some others - and hands down, IMO, “Project Smoke” is the best of them all. I’m going through it slowly, but so far, except for one recipe, they’ve all been fantastic. I particularly appreciate that the recipes tend to be Paleo friendly (unlike Mixon’s recipes that involve way too much sugar etc.), and they let the meat shine rather than drowning them with sauces (as Mixon does....). If you have to coat your meat with a sauce, you either have very poor meat, or you're doing something wrong.

I just found Raichlen’s article about beef ribs. This can help you chose the right one. Honestly, I don’t know which I use. I think I use the ones he calls “beef plate ribs".



Jerky / OMG Jerky
« on: July 20, 2016, 01:54:07 AM »
Hi all.

Years back I used to make jerky using a dehydrator and got the smoky notes from liquid smoke. That gave me good results, but now that I have the #1, I thought of experimenting with the full range of flavors it offers, and get the real smoky flavor, not the liquid one. Today I modifying an old recipe of mine, and adopted it to the smoker. Because it came out so amazingly good, I'm rushing to share it with the members of this forum.

A few quick notes off the bat.

1. Contrary to what practically everyone thinks about jerky, my jerky is THICK, CHEWY and somewhat MOIST. I don't particularly like the traditional dry, thin/ultra thin jerky. I like jerky you can sink your teeth into, one that has a crunch on the outside and is still soft on the inside. Hopefully, if you try my method, you will realize that this way is so much tastier than the typical jerky; it takes jerky to a new level.

I got the idea years ago, when watching a Food Network segment about J & J Czuchraj Meats, in Cleveland, OH. The segment is still on their website, In it, Michael Symon virtually orgasms from their jerky, as being the best there is. Their secret, at least one of them, is that the cut is very thick. I ordered some of their jerky, and indeed some of it is excellent. Since then I’ve been cutting my jerky thick, and never looked back.

2. I don’t use curing salts and because the cut is thick and the inside remains fairly moist, it must be kept in the refrigerator. This isn’t a snack to take on trips that last for days on end. I suppose it’ll last a day or two outside of the fridge (can’t guaranty), but generally it should be kept in the fridge.

3. “The USDA current recommendation for making jerky safely is to heat meat to 160F (72C) before the dehydrating process. This step assures that any bacteria present will be destroyed by wet heat. … After heating to 160F, maintaining a constant dehydrator temperature of 130 to 140 F (54-60C) during the drying process is important because: the process must be enough to dry food before it spoils; and it must remove enough water that microorganisms are unable to grow” (Marianski, Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages, p. 550-551). The book goes on the topic in great detail, and is highly recommended to all home meat producers.

I achieve this recommendation by first smoking the meat at 165F for several hours, and then dehydrating on 130-140F for several additional hours.

4. Use only a very small amount of wood (in this recipe: 1¼ oz), because the goal is to merely add smoke notes that will blend with all the other flavors, not overpower them.

Ok, on to the recipe.

4 p bottom round
1.25 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce, for a somewhat saltier jerky)
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
4 Tbsp brown sugar

Wood: Apple and hickory work well. 1¼ oz.

1. Place the meat in the freeze for an hour or two. This will make it easier to cut uniform pieces.
2. Cut the meat into slices 0.5-0.75” thick. Don’t cut it thinner than 0.5", and thicker than 0.75” might be too thick. The width should be around 0.75” or somewhat wider, and the length doesn’t matter - as long as it’ll fit it your smoker/dehydrator.
3. Add the marinade ingredients into a large, microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, mix well until all the salt and sugar dissolve, and allow to cool.
4. Add the meat to the cooled mixture, and marinade for 24 hours or so, mixing the meat at least once during that time.
5. When you are ready to smoke, pat the meat pieces dry with a paper towel. Do not wipe the pieces clean, you want to keep much of the seasoning on it. Just pat them dry and place on the smoker’s rack.
6. Add the wood to your smoker and smoke the meat on 165F for several hours. Remove to a dehydrator and set on 140F until ready.
Note: The total time of smoking + dehydrating should be around 6 hours. I have not yet experimented with the optimal timing, but you may divide the 6 hours thusly: 4 in the smoker 2 in the dehydrator, 3 hours in each, or 2 in the smoker and 4 in the dehydrator. I don't know which is the preferred method. This batch was 4.5 hours in the smoker and 2 in the dehydrator, and a few pieces were slightly too dry. The rest came out perfect, so I suspect that 4 in the smoker and 2 in the dehydrator is optimal, but you might want to experiment.
7. Remove the meat from the dehydrator and allow to cool on the rack.
8. Once cool, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. I don't know how long it'll last in the fridge. This is so yummy that I eat it all up well before it has a chance to go bad.

If you use this recipe, I'd like to know how it came out and what's your opinion about it!

Attached is a photo of today's jerky.

Keep Calm
and Eat Jerky


Model 1 - The Little Guy!! / Turkey Wings
« on: November 07, 2015, 07:52:08 PM »
Hi all,
Been searching everywhere for tips on turkey wings, and found none.
Can you please offer tips/recipes for smoking the best turkey wings? How (if at all) is smoking them different from smoking chicken wings?
Do you brine them (I don't brine chicken wings)? If yes, for how long? Any particular brine?
On what temp do you smoke them? Till which IT? Which wood?
Thanks in advance for any help!

Model 1 - The Little Guy!! / Bacon questions
« on: October 25, 2015, 10:50:01 AM »
Today is my first attempt at smoking bacon.

The slab (around 5 pounds) has been cured and is sitting in the fridge waiting to be smoked.

A few questions..

1. What is the best temperature to use? Note that I don't have the cold smoking tray. I've seen guys run it on 100F for two hours, then bump it up to 200 till IT reaches 150. Others run it on 100C, or 200F, for the entire time. What's your take?

2. Do you smoke it skin side up or down?

3. How many oz of wood do you use?


Model 1 - The Little Guy!! / Newbie question: Wood Quantities
« on: September 19, 2015, 09:45:47 PM »
Hello all,
I'm new to smoking, and so far I've smoked only three times with my brand new #1.
I've been reading quite a bit on the topic, pouring over books and recipes, but I still don't know how to figure out how much wood to use. How does one go about it? I know that in electrical smokers the rule is "less is more", and the max is 8 oz. But I don't know much beyond that.
Does it depend on the amount of food (volume? weight?)? The type of food? The length of cooking? Type of wood? All of the above? Some of the above? Something else?
Is there some rule(s) of thumb I can follow?
I realize that this might be in part a matter of personal preference, with some liking a stronger flavor and some weaker, but I don't know where to begin, and how to gauge the amount of smoke that quantity X of wood produces. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, I thought I would ask the pros here.
Just as a concrete example. Tomorrow I'm smoking a full chicken (3.75 pounds). It's resting nicely in the fridge in a marinade that I prepared from a good book. How much wood should I use? I'm thinking of using cherry.
Many thanks in advance!

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