Let the smoking commence!

Today I got my first smoker and had my first trial run with it. I was thinking of ways that I could keep track of my trials with it, so that I could progress my smokin', grillin', and anything for that matter. I tried playing on a Google Photos album, but it just didnt work to my liking. I thought about getting another website. But that just seems like too much extra, I could buy a lot of other things for the amount of money it costs. Then it struck me, I have my personal website. I have a portoflio of some of my drone work, CAD work, a little bio and I thought, why not add a little blog. This doesnt have to be limited to meat either, I can post whatever I damn well want to! And here I am.....

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Intro: So I have been eyeing some Traegers and other brand smoker/grills to replace my current grill that is falling a part on me. But the cost is just a little more than I was ready to spend at the moment. BUT. My birthday had just passed and when I saw my dad at a family event he opened his trunk and BOOM, there was a smoker he had got me for my birthday. The old man had read my mind. Its no Traeger, or anything of the sorts, but hot damn was I excited! Its a 30 inch electric cabinet style smoker (I think thats what it is called). Its the Masterbuilt Pro Series 130B. I was stoked that it was electric, because I can have more control and just overall easier to use and I have power right in my grilling area at home. 

The Prep: Kit and I got it home that night and got it together in a about 30 min. Was thinking about getting some meat then but decided it was too late, and Costco was going to be the place to go in the morning. Fast forward to the morning, the directions were pretty horrible in regards to anything other than putting it together. But after some research on what to do from the good ol YouTube I got the smoker up and running. I did the 3 hour seasoning, which I am glad I did because the initial smoke was smelling super plasticy and was up and running. We ran to Costco in hopes to score some brisket, but due to the huge pieces, high price, and lack of room in our fridge and freezer at home I went with a 2.5lb tri-tip. 

We got home and I immediately cut the meat in half, and froze the other half. Left the meat out and applied a rub which was a mixture of equal parts salt, pepper, garlic powder, brown sugar, and a less than equal part of red pepper flakes and let it sit on the counter for about a hour allowing it to come to room temperature and allowing the seasoning to grab on while the smoker finished its seasoning. 

The Cook: Once the smoker was done seasoning I set the temp to 225° F and threw the meat in on a middle rack, with a little bit of water in the water basin and Kingsford blend of Maple, Hickory, and Oak, with a little Mesquite wood chips. 

We ran out to Home Depot to grab some things and a battery for my iGrill meat thermometer and by the time we got back and I got the thermometer to like me, I plugged in the probe and after a little over an hour it was already at 140°. Shit. I was already at Medium, where I wanted to be. I expected it to take about 3 hours maybe more. I wasn't too happy visually, there wasn't any smoke coming out of the smoker(which I think is how it should be), and the meat didn't have a crust (bark) that I had imagined. I felt like I was failing hard! I took some wood chips out in hopes to get  a little more smoke, turned the temp down to 215 and let the internal temp get to 145, took about 20 minutes. 

The Finish: When I hit 145° I pulled the meat, wrapped it up in some foil and let it rest and relax for 30 minutes. When I opened the foil there was juices on top, juices in the bottom and the meat looked damn good, and the smell was making me salivate just as much as our english bulldog Molly. I sliced an end had a bite and passed the other half to my fiance and we were both amazed by the juiciness and flavor! I was really worried about a lot of things but I was actually quite impressed with the texture, juiciness and flavor. The rub and wood chip mix was perfect! I was thinking the red pepper wouldn't be enough heat, I was already hypothesizing changes to make, but it was just the right amount.

It was a little more done than I would have liked but it didn't take away from anything and I was quite impressed with my first attempt at smoking meat on a brand new smoker. 

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Highlights:

  • Meat: Costco tri-tip - half of a 2.5lb slab.
  • Rub: Equal parts course salt, black pepper, garlic powder, brown sugar, and a smidge of crushed red pepper.
  • Cook Time: About 1.5hrs
  • Cook Temp: 225° tapered to 215° for final 20 min
  • Internal Temp: 145° (medium-well)
  • Rest time: 30 min

NFNT (Notes For Next Time): The rub was a little too salty for my liking, it wasn't horrible but it was a little salty, other than that the mix is perfect. I need to cut the silver skin, I read after I had rubbed that it wouldn't render down and it would add a toughness and I didn't cut it off because I didn't know and had already rubbed, the internet one that one... this time. I think I should smoke larger pieces of meat, I think the smaller piece cooked to fast. While good, I really enjoy a good bark and thats something that I think I could achieve with a larger piece and a larger cook time. 

All in all. Killed it for the first time! Can't wait for next time!