Monday, August 31, 2009

Essential equipment for Texas style BBQ

You don't need a massive pit smoker for great tasting Texas style BBQ.  Those huge pits you might have seen pictures of are only needed when you cook large quantities of food at once.

Essential stuff really is:

  1. Smoker. A kettle style grill will do just fine.
  2. Thermometer
  3. Chimney starter
  4. Wood

A kettle style grill is just perfect for a lovely BBQ meal for up to 4 people.  I use mostly my Weber One-Touch Gold kettle grill for most of the BBQ's I do.

I've added a thermometer which I just pop in through the air vents.  It's crucial to know your temperatures inside the grill while smoking.  Too low temps and your meat will never be ready, or too high and you end up burning your meal. For the meat to absorb the smoke and get the lovely BBQ flavor, you need to keep the temperatures ideally between 110 and 140 °C (225-285F).

You might also want a wireless digital thermometer for measuring the meat temperature, but to be honest you can make it fine without it too.  More about it later.

For igniting the charcoal you should really have a chimney starter.

I use newspaper to light up the charcoal.  It's fast, cheap and efficient.  It does smoke a bit while igniting it, but hey .. we're about to smoke here anyway.

You never ever want to ignite the charcoal with fluids as they give their strong aromas to the charcoal and in the end to your meat.  Unless you want to taste lighting fluid in your food, forget them and get a chimney starter. I use the Weber one and I can't recommend it enough. It'll last you a lifetime.

Last but not least is the smoking wood.  That is usually also the hardest thing to find.  I use mostly apple and cherry tree which has dried at least a year or even two.  If you can't manage to find dry fruit tree, wood chips can be found much easier in stores that sells grills or from online BBQ shops.  The problem with wood chips is that they burn out too fast and you need to keep on adding them all the time.

There are some tricks that helps: wrap some aluminum foil tightly around a good fistful of soaked wood chips. Make one or two tiny holes in the foil and put it on top of the charcoal.  This way you'll be getting nice smoke for much longer than just putting the wood chips directly on the charcoal.

Thats all you really need for a tasty plate of BBQ.  Just get some nice meat and start smokin' low and slooow!

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