Yet another fantastic birthday surprise. I guess you could say my friends and family know me pretty well to be able to pick out such amazing gifts. THIS one is a meat smoker’s assistant, so to speak.
That’s the tube smoker. The instructions are quite vague and my web searches only turned up instructions on how to use this with a gas grill, so I’ll do my best to talk you through the whole thing charcoal style. I will MOST likely leave something out, and will put updates on the site each time I try again. The tube stands 12 inches tall and is meant to be filled up to 1 inch from the top with pellets that you light with a propane torch and allow to smoke next to your coals as the meat cooks. Sounds easy, right? Well sure! Let’s get started.
First thing you do is heat the grease off the tube in your grill. Get it lit, and bring the temp to 275°F, put the tube on the grates and allow it to cook for 30 minutes. Once that’s done, take it out WITH A MIT and let it cool. Don’t try to fill it while it’s hot.
My brother got me the sample pack of pellets to go with it. I picked the Jack Daniels and maple pellets and just stuck them right in the tube together. I quickly realized this wasn’t going to get me to within 1 inch of the top (more like 2 inches from the bottom) so i put about 4 more packs in. I got about 3/4 of the way up and figured that would be ok.
Using a chimney, for the first time, I prepped my coals then placed them all on one side of the grill. When using a chimney, you put your coals in, put some newspaper underneath, light the paper and let it burn for about 10 minutes, or until the top coals are ashen and you can see the orange flames.
I put one grate in on the other side with the intention of cooking the meat off the heat in the thick of the smoke. I was unable to get the pellets to light with either match or torch, so I decided I would try placing the tube next to the coals and see if that would work.
Not quite getting the smoke, as you can see. At this point, I moved the tube closer to the coals, actually right up in there, and got a GREAT amount of smoke.
That’s more like it! It burned, like I said, for about 2 hours like this. Gave the meat a nice, smoky flavor.
It wasn’t easy to keep the temperature at the right spot. You want to cook the meat slow and low. I cooked at between 225 and 275 for 4 and 1/2 hours. To do this, you have to continually add new coals. You can see in that picture above that there are some black coals. You can just lay fresh ones on top of the burning pile. Every so often, my temp dropped too close to 225 for my liking, so I made a fresh batch in the chimney and just tossed them on top. You have to check your temp and coals every 30 minutes. If the temp is ok, don’t open the lid, stay close by and when it starts to drop too close to the low end, put some more coals in.
For the meat, I used a beef back rack of ribs, removed the membrane myself (which was very difficult) using a butter knife and sheer force of will. You use a dull object to loosen the membrane from the underside then use your fingers to gently tug until the whole thing comes off. I went to youtube and searched for some videos to find out for sure what they were talking about. It took me about 20 minutes of pulling before I gave up and just hoped I had done it. I washed the rack down then patted dry, massaged some dijon into it, then coated it in a spice rub that consisted of nutmeg, ginger, cloves, ancho chili pepper, salt, pepper and cumin. It was great! I also made my bourbon bbq sauce to brush on while they were cooking.
Topped with sauce and just about ready! Don’t paint on the sauce too early. I think I started with it around 1/2 way through. Gave the meat time to cook but still gave the sauce time to turn into delicious brick.
Look at that beautiful crispy crunchy delight.
The meat will come out a little pink, that’s ok! Just make sure the temperature is good and enjoy!