Posted on Leave a comment

No Wrap Smoked Pork Ribs on the Rec Tec 700 Pellet Smoker

glazed smoked ribs on a pellet smoker
glazed smoked ribs on a pellet smoker

What's the Best Way to Smoke Ribs?

There are so many ways to smoke Pork Ribs, but my favorite way is the good old fashioned dry rubbed and slow smoked method, with a little spritzing.  These No Wrap Rec Tec Ribs are going to steal the show at your next backyard BBQ.  This recipe is a great way to get tender fall off the bone ribs that are not overdone and steamed from being wrapped in foil. The flavor of the rub, the smoke, and the meaty ribs are more intense and flavorful, in my opinion when they are smoked throughout the process.

You can use any smoker you have for this no wrap rib recipe, but the smokers I have used for this recipe are The Big Green Egg & The Rec Tec 700 Pellet Grill.  The method is the same for both, but the time it takes to smoke the ribs always varies, depending on the smoker and the ribs you pick out at the butcher.

What are the Best Pork Ribs to use on a smoker?

My favorite ribs for smoking are the St. Louis cut Spare Ribs.  They are nice and meaty with a good amount of fat that will melt down within the ribs as they smoking, making for the perfect bite after 5-6 hours of low and slow smoking. I prefer them to baby back ribs, as they

For this particular cook, I am using the Rec Tec 700 Pellet Smoker, which is a premium pellet smoker that has a nice consistent temperature controller.  I even liked the smoker enough to build a Custom Grill Table for it.  Definitely use whatever smoker you currently have to experiment and achieve similar results.

How to Setup your Smoker for No-Wrap Pork Ribs

  1. Set the temperature at 250°F and setup the smoker for indirect cooking
  2. Place a water pan below your meat if you smoker allows, or place a pan of water to the side of your smoker, away from the chimney.  This will help keep moisture in the cooking chamber.
  3. Choose a fruit wood or hardwood combination of your choice. I like the following woods for ribs:  Cherry, Apple, Pecan, Oak, and Hickory.  I often use Oak & Cherry together.  The Cherry will give you a nice smoke ring.

How to Trim and Season your St. Louis Ribs

  1. Remove the silver skin on the back of the ribs.  Rinse and dry the ribs first to make them easier to handle.  Then slide a butter knife between a rib bone and the membrane to separate the silver skin from the meat.  Pull away with a paper towel to grip it, and repeat if necessary.
  2. Season evenly on all sides with a rib rub of your choice, or use my favorite homemade Slightly Spicy Rib Rub found below… you will love this one!
st louis ribs with amazing dry rub

Slightly Spicy Rib Rub Recipe

  • 1 Tablespoon Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Celery Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Ancho Chile Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon HOT Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic / Garlic Powder

Hot Honey Rib Glaze

  • 1 Cup Mike’s Hot Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Pittston Tomato Ketchup or Other Ketchup
  • 1/4 Cup Hoisin Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Add more vinegar to thin the sauce, or more honey to thicken after mixing.

Slow Smoking the Ribs without Wrapping

Below is the process I use to smoke perfect now wrap ribs almost every single time.  Practice once or twice on your smoker, and you can dial in your own process.

  1. Smoke the Ribs for 2 hours meat side up
  2. At the 2 hour mark start spritzing the ribs with a liquid of your choice. My favorites are 75% water and 25% apple cider vinegar or just use Coors Light Beer with a splash of apple juice.
  3. Spritz the Ribs every 30-45 minutes.
  4. Rotate the ribs every few hours to eliminate any hot spot variations on the smoker
  5. Check the Ribs for the “Bend” Test starting around 5 hours.  If the meat bends and the bark cracks when you pick them up with tongs, then it is time to sauce the ribs with the glaze.
  6. Glaze the ribs and put them back on the smoker for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Pull the ribs off and let them rest for 20 minutes unwrapped
  8. Slice and serve!

Give this a try and definitely share this recipe if you love it!  You may also enjoy these other rib recipes and methods I have on my site:

Wrapped ribs from Aaron Franklin… they are also pretty amazing!

Smoked Beef Ribs on the Green Egg… one of my favorite cuts of meat in the world.

Hot and Fast Smoked Pork Ribs … cut the time to smoke ribs in half!

Posted on Leave a comment

Rec Tec 700 Review – Is it Worth your Money?

rec tec 700 smoker review

I purchased the new Rec Tec 700 about 4 months a go, after searching for the best pellet smoker under $1500.  There are so many pellet smokers out there, it can be a real chore to narrow down your final choices.  In the end, I narrowed my choices down to three pellet grills:

What drove my decision towards purchasing the Rec Tec 700 pellet smoker was the strong loyalty that all Rec Tec owners have towards their Rec Rec Smokers.  I have had so many comments on my YouTube Channel videos about the quality of the product itself and the amazing response they get from their customer service team at Rec Tec. Many people have even had the owners themselves respond to their questions during the weekend.  Definitely a team of people that care about their products and the people who use them.

The other strong items that drove me towards purchasing the Rec Tec 700 were the Overall Design and Looks of the Pellet Smoker, the rave reviews of the Temperature Controller, and the 40 lb pellet capacity of the pellet hopper.  You can view my initial impressions of the Rec Tec 700 below or on my youtube channel.

After 4 months of use, let me tell you the best and worst things about the Rec Tec 700 Pellet Smoker, so you can make your own decision on whether to purchase the grill.

The Best Things about the Rec Tec 700

Sleek and Fun Design

This was a primary driver for my decision to purchase the grill.  This grill is bad ass and looks great on your patio.  The integrated bull horns on the front look great and the design of the Pellet Hopper is real sleek.  I love the way the hopper is hidden behind the grill, so all you see is the front of the grill, which looks great.  This was important to me, as I knew I wanted to build a grill table for my pellet grill.  You can check out the grill table I built here.

Overall Quality of the Build

The Rec Tec 700 is a tank! This thing is built to last and is built out of thick steel and stainless steel parts.  They put their name and money on the line with the quality of the build too, as it comes with a 6 Year Warranty!  I recommend having a friend around when you put this pellet smoker together, as it is real heavy. I kind of threw my back out when lifting it up into position.  Very sturdy build.

Huge Hopper Capacity

You cannot beat a 40 lb pellet hopper capacity.  This hidden pellet hopper is huge!  From my approximations, you could smoke for 36 hours straight before running out of pellets!  Fire that sucker up on a Friday afternoon and you would be good until Sunday morning… wow!

large pellet capacity of the rec tec pellet smoker

Quality Thick Stainless Steel Cooking Grates

I love that it comes with high quality cooking grates that should last virtually forever.  A lot of companies cheap out on this part and make the customer replace the grill grates 2 years later as they become a rusty mess.  These should last a very long time.

Temperature Controller is Top Notch

I absolutely love this temperature controller.  It is accurate as adavertised, but the best part is the ability to calibrate the temperature to your desired temperature monitor.  So, if your ThermoWorks probe is reading 10 degrees higher than the grill is reading on its monitor, you can calibrate it to your trusted temperature gauge.  I was not aware of this feature when I purchased it, but this is a game changer for me.

rec tec temperature controller

Zero Operational Issues or Problems

I have had zero operation issues with this grill.  No issues with the pellets feeding and no issues with it burning out at any point.  It maintains temperature rock solid and does what it is supposed to do.  Works great, like it should!

The Wireless Rec Tec App

When I first purchased the Rec Tec 700, the app was not that great.  However, they have made huge improvements and now it is one of the strong points of the grill.  You can turn on your smoker withe the app, you can change temperature easily, and it gives you alerts when you hit temperature limits or if the temperature is reading high or low from the set point.  I now love this app!

The Worst Things about the Rec Tec 700 Pellet Grill

No Hopper Chute to Empty the Hopper

This one is not a deal breaker for me, as I do not switch up the pellet “flavor” or type of wood very frequently.  If you love to experiment with different types of wood frequently, then this could be a potential reason to look elsewhere.

No Integrated 2nd Shelf for a 2nd Grill Grate

This is the one feature I really think this grill should have.  At at $1200 price point, I really think there should be an integrated shelf or at least an integrated bracket for a 2nd shelf.  Currently, you can purschase a second shelf that stands right on top of the main shelf.  Definitely an oversight for me and the one improvement I would love to see on future grills from Rec Tec.

It takes a long time to achieve higher temperatures

This large smoker takes a real long time to heat up to high temperatures.  If you are looking to grills steaks or burgers on this grill, you should know that it takes 20-30 minutes to heat up to to 450°F.  I have reverse seared a few ribeyes on this grill, and it it takes quite a while to get it done with that long ramp up time.

Light Smoke Flavor

The smoker flavor from Pellet Smokers can be underwhelming, depending on your preference of how much smoker flavor meat should have.  This is true for the Rec Tec 700 as well.  Ideally, I wish it would give a little more smoker flavor to the meat.  If you have a charcoal smoker or a stick burner, you should know that this will not give you the same results.  The results are not bad… but there is definitely less smoke flavor in the meat.

Should you Purchase the Rec Tec 700?

This is a personal choice, but I have had a lot of fun with my Rec Tec 700.  Before I had a child, I did not see the reason to have a pellet grill, but now I love the convenience of having a pellet smoker.  This smoker really is the ultimate in convenience and performance.  It maintains temperatures accurately and has the ability to calibrate to your desired temperature, which I feel makes this smoker stand apart from some of the other pellet smokers out there.  Combine that with the thoughtful design and it is certainly one of the best backyard pellet smokers out there.

My favorite things I have cooked on the Rec Tec 700 are St. Louis Pork Ribs and Smoked Pork Butt.  It seems to really do well with high fat content cuts, such as the ribs and pork shoulders.  I have also cranked out some pretty good wings with little effort.  That is the best thing about the Rec Tec… it is just super easy to use and produce quality food.

Is it worth $1200?  I would say yes. I think the quality and the long 6 year warranty justify the price tag.  I know this costs too much for some, but I do feel it is a good value given the high quality build. If you are looking for a lower priced smoker, they also have smaller smoker options with the same high quality temperature controller.  There are also a number of charcoal smokers under $300 or so that give amazing results too.  You can check out my top charcoal smokers under $300 here.

Check out all my Rec Tec 700 videos on my youtube channel here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Rec Tec 700 Grill Cart Plans

how to build a grill cart table for the rec tec 700

Why Build a Grill Table for your Rec Tec? 

If you love using your Rec Tec 700 and want to upgrade the look and feel of your Rec Tec Bull, then this DIY Rec Tec 700 Grill Cart might be the project for you. You can build this grill table in about a weekend’s time and it should last for many years of backyard BBQ fun. If you want detailed plans for this Rec Tec 700 Grill Cart, you can buy them right here.

I purchased the Rec Tec 700 for the look and the performance, but I wanted to take the look and function up a notch. I did not enjoy the small side table it comes attached with and did not want to spend nearly $200 for the front table accessory. After looking online for possible grill carts to build for a built-in look, I really did not find anything out there. So, this compact grill table is my solution. The convenience of the Rec Tec 700 Bull is taken to a new level, with tons of storage.

If you would rather watch a video on the build of this Rec Tec Table, you can check out my YouTube video below:

Rec Tec Grilling Cart Dimensions

The foot print of this grill cart is 6’9″ x 2’9″, which is relatively compact for the size of the grill. It has counter space on each side of the grill and has tons of storage underneath for Pellets, Grill Grates, and temperature monitors. The height is close to 36″ tall, which is the standard countertop height for kitchens. 

The best way to show you how to build this grill table is to show you pictures of different progress points along the way.  It is framed out of pine and then trimmed out with cedar material for all the sides and countertop as well. It came out beautiful after staining the sides and sealing the counter.

rec tec table frame
This is the basic structure of the Rec Tec Grill Cart. 2 x 4 framing with plywood used for the shelving floors. Aluminum flashing used for a barrier between the smoker and the middle shelf.
rec tec table frame with rec tec 700
Another view of the basic framing for the Rec Tec 700 Grill Table. I used the Kreg Pocket Hole Jig for some connections of the framing to make it easy. The "sled" of the left if for the odd shaped rec tec temperature controller unit.
This is the vertical cedar tongue and grove siding installed, prior to staining the vertical components
rec tec table with trim work
Before mounting the doors, I stained the sides with an oil based stain and sealed the countertop with a water based sealer
The finished Rec Tec 700 Grill Table! Stained, sealed, and ready to Smoke some meat!
side view of rec tec table
rec tec table back with siding
This is how gorgeous the cedar siding looks after staining it with a clear oil based stain!

I hope you found all of these images useful and perhaps a source of inspiration to build your own grill table.  I have built a number of different Grill Tables for Big Green Eggs in the past, and have found this Rec Tec Grill Table just as useful to hold all of my grilling supplies provide a lot more counter space.  If you want detailed plans, you can purchase them right here.

Finishing Products and Hardware for the Rec Tec Grill Table

Penofin Penetrating Oil Finish for the siding, trim, and doors.  This also works for the countertop if you do not care if they finish is glossy.  

General Finishes Exterior Gloss for the Countertop 

You can find all of the hardware and tools I used for the build on my Grilling Tables Hardware Purchasing Lists

Posted on Leave a comment

Big Green Egg Table Plans for a Compact Modern Table

complete build of a modern green egg table cart

When I decided to move my big green egg closer to the house, I had to come up with a new Big Green Egg Table to fit the smaller space, provide some storage, and look somewhat modern to compliment the overall look I am going for in the backyard.  After hours of drawing up plans, I finally pulled the trigger to build this beautiful new addition to my backyard. During the process I also developed detailed Big Green Egg Table Plans for Large and XL sized Green Eggs.

If you are looking to build your own Big Green Egg Table, this one is pretty easy to build and looks great too.  And… I have developed detailed plans for both the Large and XL sized eggs.  And if you own a medium, you could easily modify the plans for the large sized egg.  CLICK HERE to see ALL of my Grill Table Plans currently Available.  If you are not sure which one to buy, I sell all of them packaged together for one low price.

 

Tools Required to Build the Big Green Egg Table

The build itself was quite easy with the proper tools.  These are the tools I would recommend having to complete the build:

  • Miter Saw
  • Table Saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Power Drills and Drill Bits
  • A variety of clamps which come in handy.
  • Finish Nail Gun
  • Biscuit Joiner

You can find the tool sets and the hardware for the build HERE on my Amazon Storefront. Once you have the proper tools, this build can be done in one full day or split up into 2 days at a more relaxed pace.

Continue reading Big Green Egg Table Plans for a Compact Modern Table
Posted on Leave a comment

Crispy Grilled Hot Honey Chicken Wings

chicken wings on the weber kettle vortex

chicken wings on the weber kettle vortex

If you are like me, you are always looking for a new tasty chicken wing recipe.  Well, I got a good one for you here. I have been addicted to these crispy grilled hot honey chicken wings for the last 6 months, and I still have not gotten enough of them.  What makes this chicken wing recipe so good?  Well, I think it’s the balance of flavor between the salty rub with a punch of herbs and spices balanced with the sweet heat of the Mike’s Hot Honey glaze on top.  Combine those flavors with the most crisp chicken skin I have ever achieved on a grill, tender fall off the bone juicy chicken, and we have ourselves a winner. Let’s get grilling these crispy grilled hot honey chicken wings!

Continue reading Crispy Grilled Hot Honey Chicken Wings

Posted on Leave a comment

5 Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts

rubbed and marinated chicken breasts on the grillHave you ever experienced painfully dry chicken?  Perhaps cooked by close friends or family… or even yourself? I feel your pain.  I have experienced my fair share of pretty terrible grilled chicken breasts.  Sometimes dry or sometimes rubbery, there are a lot of mistakes people make when grilling chicken breasts.  I am going to fix any errors you might be making with 4 easy steps.  If you prefer to watch videos, then check out my youtube video below with a play by play.

5 Easy Steps for Juicy Flavorful Grilled Chicken Breasts

  1. Slice the chicken breasts in half, making Chicken Cutlets that are about 3/4″ thick
  2. Rinse and dry your Chicken Breasts
  3. Apply a flavorful dry rub with a balanced spice blend. See recipe below for my Secret Chicken & Pork Rub
  4. Marinade the chicken with olive oil and rice vinegar
  5. Sear over high heat, around 550 degrees F,  for 2-3 minutes depending on chicken thickness, until 160 F Internal Temperature.

Slicing Chicken Breasts in Half

You could call this butterflying the chicken as well.  You really just want to carefully slice the breasts in half to create cutlets that are 3/4″ thick.  Nothing exact here… just making the thickness more uniform and generally more thin to allow a more predictable and shorter grilling session.

how to slice chicken breasts
Carefully slice the chicken breasts in half with a sharp chefs knife

how to slice chicken breasts into cutlets
Chicken Breasts Sliced in Half for Easy Grilling

Rinse and Dry your Chicken Breasts

You want to do this anytime you make chicken on the grill or in the oven.  It is sanitary, but also increases the penetration of the rub and marinade.  If you are making dry rubbed skin on chicken, drying your chicken also give you a crispier skin.

Apply a Flavorful Rub

This BBQ Rub is great on chicken or pork.  Give it a try… you WILL LOVE IT!  Coat the dry chicken with the rub first and then apply the marinade ingredients.

  • 2 Tablespoons Celery Salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 12 Tablespoons Brown Sugar or Turbinado Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons Ancho Chile
  • 1 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 1/2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Marinade the Chicken for 30 Minutes

After applying the Rub, coat the chicken with enough Olive Oil to slather both sides of the chicken.  You want enough olive oil that the Rub becomes a little saucy.  Then just drizzle a little bit of rice vinegar over chicken and mix together.  This will create a tangy chicken marinade that will develop a nice flavor crust on the outside of the chicken when it hits the hot grill. Marinade for 30 minutes while the grill heats up to 550 F – 650 F.

Grill the Chicken over High Heat at 550 F +

Directly from the marinade pan, place the chicken on the hot grill.  Grill the chicken for 2-3 minutes per side.  I often grill the first side for 3 minutes and the second side for 2 minutes if they are nice and thin.  If you use the same setup on your grill every time, you will start to know exactly how long your chicken breasts will take.

cooking chicken breasts over high heat on the grill

Let the Chicken Rest for 5 Minutes

Now the hard part… waiting a few minutes to slice up your chicken.  I usually let it rest 5 minutes or longer as I finish up a side dish, such as grilled vegetables.  I hope you give this recipe a try.  I really found it life changing when I figured out how to make awesome chicken breasts.  They are cheap, easy, and tasty… making them a great weeknight meal.  Let me know if you try them out!  If you eat as much chicken as I do, you may want to check out my flavor infused triple BBQ chicken recipe or my Asian Glazed Chicken Wing Recipe.

slicing grilled chicken breasts for serving

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Crispy Oven Fried Chicken Wings

oven fried chicken
Oven Fried Chicken Wings

Fried chicken might be one of my top 5 favorite foods.  Sometimes it is something you just have to get right now!  However, it is something I never used to make at home because it makes a huge mess with all the frying oil.  Well, this crispy oven fried chicken recipe changed that for good!  This recipe has been tested on my family and friends, and it is have been a hit.  Zero wings have been left to spare every time I make them.   Maybe because I eat too many… but that’s another story.  It may seem too good to be true, like Jennifer Aniston in a nighty, but crispy oven fried chicken does exist… Give this one a try! 

Continue reading Crispy Oven Fried Chicken Wings

Posted on Leave a comment

The Best Easy Chili Recipe from Scratch

the best easy chili recipe

 

the best easy chili recipe

Here in Des Moines, Iowa… Chili season has arrived.  It was 65 degrees and sunny just a week a go before Halloween.  Now just a week later the highs are going to be 35 degrees for the next week!  Chili season is in full effect, and that part of winter I welcome.  It is great to make ahead for weekend meals and is always a great Sunday dinner as well.  This recipe is my favorite chili recipe that I have developed and it is soooo easy, you cannot mess it up.  Give this recipe a shot and you might agree that its the best easy chili recipe you have ever tried.

What Makes a Great Chili?

I like a chili that is meaty, tangy, spicy, all balanced with a rich sauce in the background that makes every bite delicious.  Give it a shot….. if you find a better easy chili recipe than this… leave me a note in my comments section below and I will give it a try myself!

If you want the exact chili recipe I use, then scroll down to the bottom.  First, I want to share my thoughts and beliefs about Chili.  A highly debated subject in some circles of the world… like Texas. In Texas, Chili is a stew with no beans.  Maybe not even vegetables?  Either way, I say most beans and vegetables are welcome in my Chili.  Next, its all about the meat.  I like a blend of several ground meats.  In this recipe we are using ground beef, ground pork, and sweet pork sausage.  I think using two to three types of meat really adds a depth of flavor to the Chili and it is just plain fun to experiment.  Feel free to substitute ground veal, chicken, or turkey for any of these meats.  I do prefer ground meat vs chopped meat for Chili. I just like the texture better.

Other things that make this Chili different from some of the other recipes I find out there, is the combination of spices and the use of chicken stock to develop the rich flavors of this Chili.  To me, Chicken stock works great for Chili.  It does not dominate the flavor profile, unlike Beef Stock which does sometimes take over the flavor of the dish.  The other must have spices I like in Chili, besides common Chili Powder,  are Smoked Paprika, Mexican Oregano, Ground Cumin, and Turmeric.   Emphasis on “Smoked” in the Paprika.  Common Paprika sometimes does not have that undertone of flavor, which is the difference maker.  Turmeric and Mexican Oregano are also spices you will not always find in Chili recipes.  Mexican Oregano adds an herby earthiness to the Chili and Turmeric gives it this background tang that is hard to describe.  The Chili is just plain better when all of these things come together.

Lets Make a Big Ass Batch of Chili

Here are the basic steps for my process of making awesome chili.  If you like things less spicy, just cut the amount of ancho chili powder and jalapeños in half and then add more back in after you taste the final product.  I am not shooting to kill anyone with spiciness, but I do like things on the hot side.  Just note that if you are freezing this for later, it will mellow out over time.  Let me know in the comments below how you like this Chili! The recipe below makes a big pot of chili… I recommend a 12 quart pot.

If you are looking for another spank’n good bowl of love, check out my Chicken Noodle Soup … it cures anything that hits you!  Over the top flavor for a chicken soup.

Thanks for reading – Keegan

the best easy chili recipe
5 from 1 vote
Print

The Best Easy Chili Recipe from Scratch

This is Keegan's go to Chili for the entire winter.  Make a big batch of this and freeze leftovers for many awesome weeknight meals.  The comforting feeling this Chili gives you is for real folks. 

Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, texmex
Keyword Chili, Easy Chili, Homemade Chili
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 12
Author Keegan

Ingredients

Ground Meats

  • 2 lbs Ground Chuck 85/15 or 85/20
  • 1 lb Mild sweet pork sausage
  • 1 lb Ground Pork

Vegetables

  • 3 white onions of medium size Chopped
  • 3 green peppers Chopped
  • 2 Jalapenos Add less depending on desired spiciness
  • 5 Celery Stalks Finely diced
  • 5 Medium Cloves of garlic minced

Dry Spices

  • 10 tablespoons Ancho Chili Powder Start with 6 and then add more if desired
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 5 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Tumeric

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 28 oz cans of Diced Tomatos
  • 1 28 oz can of tomato puree
  • 1 7 oz Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 32 oz Box Chicken Stock
  • 28 oz of Water
  • 2 14 oz medium chili beans - medium spice or Pinto Beans or Black Beans

Optional Fixins

  • 2 tablespoons Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon Sour Cream

Instructions

  1. Put a large pot, I use a 12 quart pot, on medium heat.  Add a few table spoons of olive oil. 

  2. Add the onions, celery, and jalapeno.  Saute for 10 minutes or until translucent. Save the green pepper for later.  

  3. Turn up the heat to medium high and add all of the ground meats.  Add Salt and Pepper.  Stir occasionally until browned throughout. 

  4. Add the garlic and all of the dry spices that are not already in the pot.  Stir in the spices.  Immediately add the tomato paste and stir in rigorously. 

  5. Then add all of the wet ingredients.  Start with the chicken stock and water first, then add all of the others. 

  6. Add the green peppers to the pot 

  7. Bring up to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for 1 hour.  Stir occasionally. 

  8. Ladle any excess fat that has risen to the surface off the top.  Taste the chili to adjust the spice and salt level if needed. 

  9. Serve with any fixin's you typically like.  I love cilantro, so that is my go to herb for chili to give it some brightness. 

Posted on Leave a comment

Smoked Chuck Roast as a Brisket Alternative

sliced smoked chuck roast

sliced smoked chuck roast If you love a good smoked brisket, then you will love his smaller cousin, smoked chuck roast. I have heard of others smoking different cuts of beef as an alternative to brisket, including chuck roast, and I had to give this a try.  I love brisket, but it can be a large investment of time and money as well.  Usually you are going to pay at least $30 and more likely $50 for a good brisket.  I found this beautiful 2.5 lb chuck roast for $14.  Quite the steal, considering the highly marbled beef that will render down into tender delicious brisket like morsels.

Picking out a Chuck Roast to Smoke

When choosing your chuck roast, look for piece that is very thick and highly marbled with fat.  Most of the fat will disappear over the 10 hours it will take to smoke the chuck roast, so you want a good amount of fat in this cut of meat.  The key is finding awesome marbling, vs large veins or chunks of fat within the chuck roast.  Its OK to have some of the larger pieces of fat, as its hard to avoid… but look for the best cut with the best marbling.  The piece I found was 2.5 lbs, but try to get a thicker cut that is in the 3″ thick range….. giving you a starting weight of 3.5 lbs or more.

chuck roast with marbled fat

chuck roast with marbled fat

Preparing the Chuck Roast for Smoking

Because this is a smaller piece of meat, we are not going to cut any fat off of it.  This is subjective depending on your chuck roast, so make the call that you are most comfortable with.

Next, we are going to season the beef with a salty spicy rub that will soak into the chuck roast as we smoke it for 10 hours over indirect heat. This rub is on the spicier side, but it will mellow out over the duration of the cook.  The end result is nice back end heat with each bite.  If you do not care for any heat at all, then you can omit the jalapeno powder and cayenne pepper.  Either way, season the chuck roast heavily on the top and bottom and less heavily on the sides.

Continue reading Smoked Chuck Roast as a Brisket Alternative

Posted on Leave a comment

The Best Charcoal Smokers under $300

top 5 charcoal smokers under 300

top 5 charcoal smokers under 300

(this post contains affiliate links)

I recently purchased a new charcoal smoker to play with, which inspired me to nominate the Top Charcoal Smokers under $300. When deciding what smoker to buy, there are a ton to choose from.  You have propane smokers, pellet smokers, and charcoal smokers.  You also have larger offset smokers that wood logs in addition to charcoal.  People often ask my opinion on what smoker they should start with and there are a bunch of factors that play into that decision.  The size of the smoker, the cost of the smoker, the quality of BBQ produced, and is the smoker easy to work with and learn?  In this guide we are going to focus on charcoal smokers, because of the quality BBQ they produce.

After starting with a cheap electric smoker, and then trying a propane smoker, I have settled on charcoal smokers for my everyday use. They just put out a better product.  The flavor and bark developed in charcoal smokers is more authentic and robust than propane and pellet smokers and smoke flavor produced from the constant burning of charcoal is unmatched.

I typically use a chunk or two of apple, cherry, or oak for a little extra smoke and flavor, but the charcoal does most of the heavy lifting.  Luckily, you can find an awesome charcoal smoker for under $300 that you can use for a life time…. or until you buy another.  If you are like me, you are always looking for the next smoker to add to your patio weaponry.

If you are looking for a great charcoal smoker for a great price, any of the following charcoal smokers will help you smoke awesome BBQ for your family and friends. Lets examine the pros and cons of some high quality charcoal smokers that will take you to the promise land…. with out clearing your saving account.

Continue reading The Best Charcoal Smokers under $300