BBQ Rub

1 cup brown sugar
&
2 table spoons of each of the following:
  • paprika
  • chili powder
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • dry mustard
  • cayenne pepper
Keep in a dry container and it will stay indefinitely.

Smoked BBQ Chicken Wings

Making chicken wings on your kamado style cooker is really quite easy. This goes for a green egg, kamado joe, an akorn, or some other similar grill.
Take 6-8 wings and cut off the wing tips. Then  separate the little drummie from the flat. Generously apply rub and place into foil pan.


I used a basic chicken rub.
Place your heat deflector into the kamado grill in order to cook with indirect heat. Soak a few wood chips in water for 30 min or so. I prefer to use mesquite with chicken..





Heat the smoker up to 250, add the wood chips, and place pan into the smoker for 2 hours. Please check out my post for managing vents..












After 2 hours, remove pan from grill and brush on your favorite barbecue sauce. Place pan back into grill for another 15 minutes to set the sauce. We are just looking for it to get nice and tacky. This produced some very tasty wings!



How to grill the perfect burger on your kamado style grill

So, I've tried cooking burgers at high temperatures to see if you could get a good sear but the taste didn't really have a pay off and there was too much room for error when cooking at 700+ degrees. It can go from medium rare to well done in a matter of seconds. Since the vents would need to be fully open to fuel the fire to that temp you would end up with flare ups which char your burger rather than sear. Whether you are using a green egg, kamado joe, or akorn, there is a better way...
I have found that cooking your burgers at 400 degrees will yield a tasty burger, minimize flare ups, add more smokey flavor and provide a bit more room for error.
Keep your hamburger in the refrigerator until ready to start. No need to warm these to room temp as you would a steak.
First thing I do is put the hamburger in a bowl and add some Worcestershire Sauce. Then I begin to form the patties. We are talking 1/3 lb patties here. If you go a little bigger or smaller you will want to adjust your cook times accordingly. Try not to work the meat any more than necessary otherwise the fat begins to melt, insert scientist here to explain..., and the end result is a less juicy burger.
After making the patties I generously season the top and bottom with a special hamburger rub.
Tip: Push a quarter size dimple in the center of your patty to help it keep it's flat round shape. Otherwise, burgers tend to turn into footballs because the moisture is drawn to the center as it cooks.
Next fire up that grill and maintain a 400 degree temp. Please check out my post for managing vents.
Once the temp gets to about 420 degrees, throw on some wood chips and give the grill a minute to get back up to temp. Then throw on the burgers and close the dome.
Once you see the temp get to 400 again, keep the daisy wheel fully open but slide the vent fully closed. There are quite a few factors here so you may need to slightly close or open the vent to maintain temp. This should all be done with the top vent while leaving the bottom vent fully open.
After 4 minutes pass, flip the burgers and close lid.
Cook another 4 minutes for a total of 8 minutes.
Open dome, add cheese, close top vent completely, close daisy wheel, and close bottom vent.
 Wait 1 min 30 seconds for medium rare. I normally throw the buns on grill for the last 45 seconds or so.
Take off grill and let rest lightly covered under tented tin foil, as you don't want it sticking to the cheese, for approx 5 min.
Enjoy!

Magic Vinegar Sauce

Concentrated Mixture:
2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup cayenne hot sauce
1 cup ketchup
2 TBL kosher salt
2 TBL black pepper
1 TBL red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients and heat over medium heat until dissolved. Try not to boil, just looking to get everything mixed up.  This concentrated mixture can be placed in the fridge for up to a year.
Combine 50% water & 50% this concentrate to make the sauce that can be used to keep a pork shoulder juicy. It also does a great job of maintaining moisture when reheating pulled pork leftovers.

Spatchcock Chicken

While the name may be a little odd, I have found that grilling your chicken in this manner is extremely simple and produces amazing results. So amazing, in fact, that it doesn't seem right to be so darn simple!
The main idea of spatchcock chicken is that we will cut out the spine and flatten the bird in order to cook the entire bird more evenly. This allows the thighs and legs to cook up to a higher temp while cooking the breast meat to a slightly lower temp. The ribs also protect the breast meat somewhat from the heat to ensure juicyness.
First step is to rinse the chicken and pat dry. Some have had good results with crispy skin by leaving it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. Even if you don't have time for this step, your chicken will turn out just fine.
Lay the chicken breast down on a cutting board. Begin by cutting either from the neck or rear on one side of the spine.












Once through, go back and fully remove the spine with the second cut and discard. Or save to make some chicken stock if you feel ambitious!

Now that the spine is removed, flip the bird over. Grab it with both hands and flatten out the bird.












Now we can throw a bit of seasoning on the bird. Normally I rub some olive oil first and then shake on a little rub. I encourage some experimentation here. You can try a basic chicken rub or you would be surprised how good a chicken can taste with simply salt and pepper.
                                                















Time to get the grill ready. We will be doing a direct cook on a raised grill. For the Kamado Joe, I raise the grill to the height of the edge by using the heat deflector frame, without using the actual heat deflector. This will keep the grill about 9" off the top of the coals and will keep the flare ups down while still allowing this faster, direct cook.
Once the temp gets up to 400 degrees I normally throw in a couple wood chips onto coals, wait a minute, and then throw on the bird. All we need to do now is monitor the temp. There is no flipping over, the bird stays in this position for the entire cook.


Keep the temperature at 400 degrees by adjusting your vents. What works for me is to keep the bottom vent fully open and close the top vent but keep the daisy wheel fully open. You may need to start with the vent half closed and then as the grill stabilizes close the vent and keep the daisy wheels open. Please check out my post for managing vents.

The chicken should take approx 30-50 minutes to cook. I normally check the chicken after about 30-35 minutes. There are many variables that will go into the cook time so you will really need to cook to temperature rather than cooking to a specific time. After 35 minutes at 400 degrees, we are usually in the ballpark and can get a pretty good estimate on how much longer we need. I generally cook the thighs and legs to 170 and the breasts to 155. After you pull the chicken and let it rest for 5-10 minutes prior to carving the temp will continue to go up another 10-20 degrees. Also, note that the thighs and legs are much more forgiving for going over in temp than the breast meat.
Here is the finished bird. After you've done this a few times it will start to be your go to method when you want something quick, simple and delicious.

Hamburger Rub


Ingredients:
  • 2  TS Paprika
  • 1.5 TS Black Pepper
  • 1.5 TS Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 TS Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 TS Onion Powder
  • 1/4 TS Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 TS Garlic Powder
Directions:
Combine all ingredients in an airtight container. Store in a dry place and it should last indefinitely.

Basic Chicken Rub


Ingredients:
  • 1/2 Cup Chili Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Onion Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Directions:
Combine all ingredients and store in a dry place. Should last indefinitely.

Managing vents and temps on your kamado grill


I'll walk through three common ranges for cooking on your grill. The biggest things to remember are:
  1. More air equals higher temps.
  2. Primarily use the top vent to make temp adjustments. I don't even touch the bottom vent for anything > 350. Basically, I only adjust the bottom vent if I need a lower temp, but I don't have any more room to reduce the top vent without it being fully closed.
  3. Outside variables such as external temp, wind, rain, reused coal, etc. all play a role. So you still may need to make small adjustments even if a certain configuration gave you the perfect temp last time.
  4. Generally, it's best to have all coals firing as soon as possible. This will remove the variables of adding new coal which allows your vent changes to be more effective and consistent. On super long cooks at low temps, it may be worth experimenting with only lighting the middle then having the flames slowly broaden to add more coals. But for the majority of cooks, I use two firestarters one on each side to quickly get the coals up to temp.

Slow and Low (225-300)

In order to keep a low temp you'll need to pay close attention during the warm up phase to make sure you don't go over your target temp by more than 50 degrees or so. Otherwise it is extremely difficult to bring it back down.
Start with both the top vent and the bottom vent fully open.
Once you get to the target temp, reduce the gap on the bottom vent to be open by only about an inch or two.
Slide the top vent over the main chimney hole and only focus on the daisy wheel holes. Generally, I keep mine with about 1/3 of the holes showing and that keeps me around 230.
All small modifications in temp should be made with the top vent. The only exception, is that you do not ever want to fully close the top vent. So if there are only slivers showing on the top vent and your temp is still too high, reduce the bottom vent by a 1/2 inch or so until things stabilize.



Medium Range (300-450)
For the following to ranges, I leave the bottom vent fully open and only mess with the top vent. This range does provide a bit more leniency when it comes to reducing temps if you happen to over shoot. In fact, I recommend you overshoot your temp by 20 degrees or so prior to making any adjustments.
I normally cook chicken in this range so here is an example of getting and maintaining a 400 degree temp.
Start with both the top and bottom vents fully open.
Once you get to about 420, leave the bottom vent open but slide the top vent over, leaving a slight crescent moon on the main chimney. The daisy holes are fully open.
Much like the slow and low temp adjustments, from here on out we will only be adjusting temp by manipulating the top daisy wheel. If your temp continues to climb slide the top vent fully over the main chimney and continue to leave the holes fully open. Slight changes at this point can impact temp by 10-15 degrees.

Smoked BBQ Pork Shoulder on the Kamado


Here I'll show you how to make a fantastic pork shoulder with surprisingly little effort. That's the beauty of having one of these well insulated kamado grills.
First thing I do, the night before I'm going to cook, is to inject the meat with some flavor. It doesn't take anything fancy. You can either use a metal or plastic based syringe. The only real difference is long term durability. For the marinade/injection mix up the following over medium heat:
  • 32 oz Apple Juice
  • 8 oz Distilled White Vinegar
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Kosher Salt
Try not to boil, we are just trying to dissolve everything. Remove from heat and let cool. This is more than enough for the 6 pounds of  shoulders that I buy, but you can easily double or even quadruple this recipe and keep refrigerated for a year. Make sure to pour some into a separate bowl so you don't contaminate the main batch from the needle touching the uncooked pork.
Trim any excess fat off the pork shoulder and place in an aluminum pan. This is necessary as some of the injection will leak out over time. Now that the marinade has cooled we can begin making injections all over the shoulder. Every inch or so in all possible directions. You can't put too much in as any excess will drain on it's own. Lightly wrap with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least a couple of hours. I generally do this the night before and wake up early to start the cook.
Start getting your grill up to 250. I generally mix up both chunks and chips of either Hickory or Mesquite with the lump hardwood charcoal. Be sure to use the heat deflector plate so we can cook over indirect heat. I like to leave all vents open until I get a reading on the dome of 270. Then close the bottom vent to about an inch or two being open and slide the main part of the top vent over and leave the daisy wheel hole open for now. I will slowly be fine tuning those daisy wheel holes in order to maintain the 250 temp. I can't give a hard and fast rule as it all depends on placement of the grill, how many fresh coals, how much wood, how much wind, etc. etc. Please check out my post for managing vents.
Now that the grill is up to temp we can take the shoulder out of the pan and place directly onto the rack. Let this go for the next 3 hours. No need to peek. Just watch the temp and adjust the daisy wheel as necessary to keep the temp at 250. The more open the holes, the more oxygen, the higher the temp. The more closed, the less oxygen, the lower the temp.
After three hours is up, get a new pan ready and pour in some apple juice. Place the pork in the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Place back into smoker and cook until internal temp is 205. Depending on the size of meat, this can be anywhere from 2 hours to 5. For the pictures here, they were only in for 2 hours after the original 3 for a total of 5 hours. But these were relatively small pork shoulders, the supermarket wasn't as stocked as I would have liked...
After you hit a 205 internal temperature on the pork, remove the foil and coat the pork with your favorite BBQ sauce. Close both vents fully so we are not adding any more heat. In effect, we will be resting the meat for the next hour.

Once the hour is up, take out pork shoulder, grab some bear claws, and break down the pork into pulled pieces/chunks. One of the best ways to make sure that your pork stays juicy is to heat up some Magic Vinegar Sauce in the microwave and drench the pork right after it gets pulled. Use 50% water & 50% concentrated magic sauce. This is also an awesome way to make sure your reheated leftovers taste nearly as good as the fresh batch. I highly recommend topping a pulled pork sandwich with a dab of coleslaw. I've  always loved the mayo/BBQ combination and the coleslaw also provides a much needed crunch for texture.
Enjoy!



Kamado Grills

So what is a Kamado Style Grill? Basically it is a ceramic grill/smoker/oven that originated over in Japan thousands of years ago. Kind of looks like a big urn or a big egg, be it green or red. Popular examples include:
  • The Big Green Egg
  • Kamado Joe
  • Primo Oval
  • Grill Dome
  • Akorn
  • Big Steel Keg & Broil King Keg
  • Vision Grills
  • Komodo Kamado
Personally, I have a Kamado Joe and love it. It is pretty much identical to the Big Green Egg except the stand & shelves come included in the price.
Why do you want it?
The extra insulation of the thick ceramic makes it so that you don't need much fuel to maintain consistent temperatures. This is a big bonus to those that live up north. In other words, you can grill in the winter! These grills use lump hardwood charcoal rather than the briquettes. Lump hardwood charcoal burns at a higher temperature and has very little ash which is a big benefit. It also does a great job of maintaining moisture which helps to prevent any meat from drying out.
Benefits:
  • Easy to clean - You can get these grills up to 850-900 degrees which just obliterates any grease or bbq sauce into dust - Think of self cleaning oven
  • Can sear a steak at 650-700 degrees
  • Can smoke pork at 225 - 250 and maintain that temp for long durations
  • Maintain temperatures anywhere in between
  • Can cook brick oven type pizza's
  • Insulated so well that you can cook in the winter or even light rain.
  • Multiple platforms allow to cook indirect or direct and at different heights
  • Little to no ash from the lump hardwood so you don't need to clean out ash very often
  • Able to save money on charcoal by closing vents. This stops the coals from getting oxygen so you will only use as much charcoal as you need. Much will be remaining for the next cook.
  • Temperature control on my Kamado Joe is amazing. I can see immediate results when manipulating the vents/daisy wheel.
  • Looks cool
The recipes on this site are designed for Kamado style grills but can be adapted since I try to provide temp's and times whenever possible. Please take a look at my post on managing vents.

Here are some pics:


BBQ Baby Back Ribs On The Kamado


Check out this post if you are not familiar with a Kamdao Grill: What is a Kamado? The recipes on this site are designed for Kamado style grills but can be adapted since I try to provide temp's and times whenever possible.
One of the major benefits of a Kamado style grill is that it can be used to maintain lower temperatures (in the 200's)  for smoking. I'll lay out an easy way to get the most out of your grill and produce some tasty baby backs.
What you need:
  • Water soaked wood chips & chunks
  • Rib spritz (2 parts apple juice - 1 part white wine vinegar)
  • BBQ rub
  • Couple racks of baby backs
  • Favorite BBQ sauce
  • About a cup of apple juice
  • Honey to drizzle on top of ribs
  • 2-3 tbl spoons unsalted butter
To prepare, get some of your favorite smoking wood. I love hickory for my pork. Soak a combination of chips and chunks in some water for about 30 minutes. This will help to keep them smoldering and emitting smoke rather than burning to a crisp.
On to the ribs, first thing you will want to do is to remove the membrane on the back. Start at either end, whichever seems to be the easiest. I find that using a paper towel adds the right amount of friction to get a good grip. Once removed, trim any excess fat.
Sometimes I brine my ribs prior to smoking in order to infuse a bit more flavor deep into the meat, but it is not 100% necessary. This time around, I opted to skip that step and go straight to seasoning them up and throwing them on the grill. Take some dijon mustard and rub it around the ribs. Then take a generous amount of BBQ rub and sprinkle that onto the ribs.
Now go get that grill fired up to our cooking temp of 250. Load up with lump hardwood charcoal and mix around some of the chips and chunks. I used to build a teepee/pyramid out of the charcoal with a hole in the center. Kind of like if you were to build the pyramid around a tube and then drop in a firestarter. I now only use this method on super long cooks of 10+ hours. For these shorter cooks, I normally use two firestarters, one on each side.
Make sure you have your heat deflector/place setter in place as we want to cook on indirect heat. Once the temp gets to 250 on the dome, start to shut down some of the vents. Close the bottom vent down to about an inch or two remaining open. The top vent should be in two parts. The vent lid itself and a daisy wheel attachment. Close the lid and leave the daisy wheel half open. Watch your temps and if you see that the temp moves to 275, shut the top vent down to a sliver. Still no luck, then shut the bottom vent down to an inch. Please check out my post for managing vents.
Once the grill starts to settle down a little and maintains about 250, go ahead and throw the ribs on the grill. Watch your temps closely as it generally takes an hour before the kamado truly settles in at a consistent temp. Try to make sure you have at least a half inch to an inch on the bottom vent and try to adjust temp the best you can with the daisy wheel. If you end up closing more of the bottom vent you run the risk of your fire going out and not producing as much smoke.
Here's the plan for times:
  1. 2 hours uncovered at 250
  2. 1 hour wrapped in foil at 250
  3. 30 min uncovered - closed vents - temp will slowly drop
Step 1: Spritz every 15 min or so after the first 30 minutes have passed
Step 2: When putting the ribs in the foil, I like to add some unsalted butter, apple juice and some honey on top of the ribs.

Step 3: Remove the ribs from the foil and coat with your favorite BBQ sauce. Close both the bottom and top vents completely. This will effectively stop heating the ribs where they will rest and at the same time get that BBQ sauce nice and tacky.
Step 4: Enjoy!