Not just for breakfast anymore
July 25, 2005 9:12 PM   Subscribe

The pork butts seem to actually slump upon themselves as if they can no longer support their own weight. Got a Weber Smokey Mountain? Before you waste another afternoon or cut of meat, follow the professor's five-step program. I have never been lucky enough to partake of his fare, but those who have swear he is the master. He smokes more meat than you have ever seen, unless you work in a slaughterhouse. Check out the forums for advanced techniques and further study.
posted by mzurer (19 comments total)
Whether you agree with his rather dogmatic stances on slow-cooking or not, it's an entertaining read. He's quite full of himself (and pork, it seems) but a good time.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:49 PM on July 25, 2005

smoking meat.

posted by Hat Maui at 9:54 PM on July 25, 2005

I am drooling all over my keyboard. Some of those photos are... they're just pure porn.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:44 AM on July 26, 2005

"come here. No, closer. Stand right there and look at me.


posted by pmbuko at 1:37 AM on July 26, 2005

Outstanding. Was gifted a water smoker two years ago but never could get the hang of it. Neighbors pointed and laughed at my dust-dry ribs. Wife nagged me about all the money wasted. The smoker? Made for a nifty plant holder on the back deck. Well, that was yesterday my friend. This weekend, thanks to you, mzurer, I get my self-respect back.
posted by hal9k at 1:46 AM on July 26, 2005

I want one. Baby back ribs... yum.
posted by Corky at 3:22 AM on July 26, 2005

I am drooling all over my keyboard. Some of those photos are... they're just pure porn.

From my work browser:

You were denied access because:
Access denied by WebWasher DynaBLocator content category. The requested URL belongs to the following category: Pornography.

That must be some smokin' meat!
posted by Pollomacho at 6:11 AM on July 26, 2005

While the art of doing it yourself is something to be appreciated, you need the time, space, and equipment. This is definitely not easy in New York City, so we rely on restaurants. For great slow cooked meats, try RUB on 23rd. I have been several times and the food is smokey and delicious. Just avoid peak hours and be aware that they don't seat parties larger than 6.
posted by nyc stories at 6:30 AM on July 26, 2005

Speaking as one who ownsand uses a water smoker, an electric smoker, a gas grill, a Big Green Egg, and a homemade pit for smoking whole hogs or similar quantities of parts: this is good! I think I will get those cryovac'ed ribs out of the freezer and start defrosting them for this weekend.
posted by TedW at 6:36 AM on July 26, 2005

Gary's already been outed in the media in a series of columns by Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass. Here's a link to one from July 4 - i think the others may have drifted off into the strange and inaccessible world of paid archives:
Kass on the 5-Step As someone who just completed step one on friday, and who has personally sampled the fruits of Gary's labor, I can attest that the system works.
posted by sfz at 7:23 AM on July 26, 2005

Air conditioning broke in office so decided to go for it. Will follow Professor to the letter. Water smoker. Check. Chiney starter. Check. Go to Home Depot. All they had was little clear bags of hickory for $5.99. Bought three. 10am Mexican grocery I pass by every day was still closed. Make complicated hand signals with other shoppers waiting at door. Move on. Bought chickens at Krogers. No Perdue. Settled for Tyson. Back to Mexican grocer, now open. No, they don't have the Goya marindade but next week, si! Fuck. Have pollo heating nicely in car backseat. Already committed. Went home. Split up pollo. One substituting with a bottle of Stubb's marinade I've had for a year, other skipping ahead to brine marinade in recipe #2. You have to brine overnight but dinner is at 7pm tonight. Fuck. Set up smoker and- fuck! Smoker is a Weber but not a Smoky Mountain! No vents in lid. But! Hornets nest in lid! Narsty mildew in bottom. Hose out everything. Hose self too. Happier. Retreat back to work. Air conditioning still out. 95 degrees. Do NOT tell Prof. Wiviott my address. Will reply with follow-up tonight after dinner.
posted by hal9k at 8:53 AM on July 26, 2005

hal9k...your dedication and enthusiasm bring a tear to my eye... GOOD WORK MAN.
posted by stenseng at 9:38 AM on July 26, 2005

His enthusiasm is nice but his didactic approach is misplaced. You'll eventually learn that for many of his "rules," a better answer would be: "It depends."

Get a Weber Smoky Mountain (WSM), $179 with free shipping from Amazon.

Then go to the Virtual Weber Bullet site for the acknowledged masters of the unit. It's the best no-hassle true barbecue setup under $500. The VWB forums are a treasure, and have helped me solve many a question and problem.
posted by sacre_bleu at 10:25 AM on July 26, 2005

In his defense - the didacticism & hard & fast rules he proposes apply only to the five cooking sessions described in the tutorial, after which he himself recommends digging around in the VWB site for inspiration and advice. But, for those first five cooks, he's dogmatic in order to instill the fundamentals of fire-management into his pupils...
posted by sfz at 10:35 AM on July 26, 2005

Oh, specifically: His absolute rule against briquettes is complete nonsense. He wants to use lump, good for him.

But many championship barbecue cookers across the country use Kingsford. (Lesser store brands do contain crap.) Look at the pictures from the American Royal or Memphis in May. Stacks of the 24-pound Kingsford bags piled up everywhere.

You can set a WSM loaded with Kingsford, pack it with rubbed pork butts and let it smoke overnight while you sleep. You can't do that with lump, which burns much faster.

So listen to the professor if you want, but don't take him as an absolute authority.
posted by sacre_bleu at 10:39 AM on July 26, 2005

sacre_bleu, despite having posted this, I don't really have a horse in the race and I am confident that if I had a smoker, ease of use would frequently trump purity of method, but I am curious why you think Kingsford is crap-free? According to their own website their briquets "contain ingredients other than charcoal to make them efficient cooking fuels." The proof is in the pudding, however, and if you get good results with whatever method you use, I don't think the Professor would begrudge you that. But you may find yourself on his list of people not allowed to eat his ribs.
posted by mzurer at 11:08 AM on July 26, 2005

Sorry, I did not mean they were 100 percent charcoal. By crap-free I meant devoid of gravelly filler residue, off odors or sooty tasting fumes, all of which I have experienced with non-Kingsford briquettes. Crap briquettes are harder to light, don't burn clean and do contaminate food.

That's why more than half of competitive BBQers (my estimate from pictures and limited competitive experience) use Kingsford, which the professor must know. And these are guys who will sometimes use tweezers and a magnifying glass to arrange their parsley sprigs in their presentation boxes.

But you may find yourself on his list of people not allowed to eat his ribs.

OK by me. I'd throw down with this guy any day. I smoke mine over charcoal, oak and hickory for 6 hours, then glaze with my own cherry-chipotle, honey-garlic or standard American vinegar-based sauce.
posted by sacre_bleu at 11:27 AM on July 26, 2005

I'm glad somebody linked to the Virtual Weber Bullet site - thanx sacre_bleu. Chris Allingham has done an incredible job documenting his experience with the WSM, it's definitely the place to go if you're just getting started with one.

As for Prof. Wiviott's sanctimony - whatever, I can live with it. He does know about smokin' meat (and eating it too, evidently), so until I can smoke a better brisket than big boy there, I'll reserve judgement.

Ok, he's a freak-on-wheels, but at least his madness is being being used for good rather than evil.
posted by bicyclingfool at 4:30 PM on July 26, 2005

Well the fire trucks left half an hour ago, dishes put away and the kids are spinning down from the s'mores. Total disaster met complete success.

Did a combination of dinner #1 and #2 per my previous post. Fired it up, laid out mucho pollo, and went down for a nap. Dreamt the good professor pulled up on a Harley (ref: bad guy in a) Snowcrash or b) Raising Arizona) to check my progress.

Woke up 1-1/2 hours later and did a boogie-check. The chicken was just slightly this side of raw. But a beautifully peach-colored raw. Don't try and convert electric smoker to fire-breathing version. No dampers. No vents. No flow through the flue. Fuck.

Thunderheads menacing and hungry family threatening me with pizza delivery. Time was running short and by now the bacteria had evolved to type Hamlet. Turned to the trusty Weber kettle to save the meal.

All I had was leftover charcoal that had been sitting out. If you've read his instructions, his caveats, nay, his very threats! you'll understand I had just entered his seventh water pan of hell. But there was no turning back. There wasn't even time for the chimney starter. Rinsed old briquets with lighter fluid. Lathered. Repeated. Visited by fire department.

I had marked each side of the chicken per the marinade I used for each so we could do a little taste test between them. Consensus: The black skinned pieces were almost as good as the ones that sighed outward in a puffy cloud of vaporized pumice when you cut into them.

I kid. Actually they tasted terrific and was told its my best effort yet. A little crispy on the outside maybe, it took a bit more careful study to find out if you had a thigh or a breast in your hand (and at my age thats quietly noted as another symptom), but all in all, I'm sold on the brining idea.

Next week: Poached Oysters!
posted by hal9k at 7:39 PM on July 26, 2005

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