Most everyone enjoys ordering baby back ribs or a pulled pork sandwich from a restaurant. Some steak places promote their tender fall off the bone ribs, while others describe their pulled pork as pit cooked. Some wanna be places just throw several Boston Butts into a giant crock pot and try to pass their product as "pulled pork". You might have wondered how these delicious foods are really cooked.
If you really want to cook these food right, you have to use a smoker and cook them slowly—5 hours for ribs and 12 hours for pulled pork. Well, that's my take on it and I have been smoking regularly for several years. Don't worry; I don't inhale.
Cheryl Jamison starts her book by breaking down the basic types of smokers—a good start for beginners and for intermediates that might be considering whether a new smoker might be beneficial. This book was written in 1996 and a bigger variety of smokers are available now, but this will give you the basics.
Jamison goes on to discuss wood (but not in much detail) and charcoal, as well as various tools, and techniques such as rubs and marinades. Then Jamison dives head first into fru-fru with recipes. The first one listed is "Plum-Delicious Pot Stickers" which may not sound gourmet, but it doesn't make me think "smoker". "Turkey-Chutney Triangles" and "Guadeloupe Conch Fritters" are the next; I have never seen such offerings in BBQ places, but I have in upscale restaurants.
I'm not saying that any of this is bad, but I would approach this book from a different direction. First, learn how to smoke various meats such as whole chickens, Boston Butts, turkeys, chicken breasts, salmon, etc. You can build a simple dinner around these meats as you are learning to use a smoker. Two nights later take the left over turkey and follow the recipe to combine with chutney and you will have a completely different dish.
The author does not mention the amount of preparation for using a charcoal smoker—or the clean up. I would suggest that beginners thoroughly research the internet for tips on setting up the type of smoker they have. The mess needed to clean up will be obvious. That is why I never just smoke 1 chicken, but do 3 instead. All that work means I end up with 2 fully cooked chickens in the freezer (unless I have company) with at least 3 meals from each chicken.
I am going to try some of the recipes; although most of them call for way too many ingredients. I will make the Reader's Digest version, which is the way I cook anyway. Start with good quality ingredients and even if you are missing some rare herb, it will be delicious!
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