When you’re on the Low N Slow barbecuing competition circuit, you’re bound to meet Brisbane-based low and slow BBQ team, The Smoking Hot Bros. What began as a curious experiment to discover what a real BBQ was, became a lifestyle that transformed this quad into low and slow gurus with an Australian twist. You will not miss this team smoking up a storm at the competitions, armed with 20” offsets and a mean custom-made smoking drum as their weapons of choice. Currently topping the leaderboard for Round 12 of the 2016 Barbeques Galore Australian Barbecue Championships, we got them to share their top five hot tips to get you smoking.
1. Know your smoker
You can cook awesome brisket on a basic smoker, and you can cook rubbish brisket on a top of the range. It’s all about knowing your smoker. Know which fuel it prefers, how to maintain a constant temperature, and how to manage your fire properly. We have seen amazing food cooked on a $20 ghetto rig, and seen horrible food cooked on $30,000 smoker trailers. So best to know your pit.
2. Always cook to internal temperature/feel and look, never to a time
Every smoker is different. This will affect cook times dramatically. Too many people ruin their cook by taking meat out early, or totally burning it because they were cooking to a time and not to feel/look and internal temp. Best piece of equipment you can buy for BBQ is a good quality digital thermometer. Don’t get cheap ones either, they can be off anywhere from 10-50 degrees F.
3. Buy quality meat
We might be cooking the less desirable cuts for a long time to get them tender, but spend the extra dollars and make sure your meat is still good quality. You are cooking for a long time, and no one wants a 12-hour cook to turn out terrible due to not spending the money on a better cut of meat. Shop around, find a butcher that will accommodate your needs. Talk to other BBQers on forums, see where they get their meat.
4. Use good wood
A recent cook where we switched wood midway through really hammered this fact home to us. The first half was very dirty smoke, but when we changed halfway to a better wood, the smoke cleaned right up. Make sure your wood guy knows the moisture content of the wood you are purchasing, and can tell you the age. Our favourite is Ministry of Smoke in Queensland, his timber is excellent.
5. Listen to advice
You will learn more about BBQ by listening to advice from other pitmasters than in any book, or recipe you will find. Lots of people cook with blinkers on, and refuse to believe that cooking any way other than the way they cook is correct. Talk with one of the legends of the Australasian BBQ Alliance like Tony from The Beard & The BBQ, or Coops from Scratch and Sniff, for an hour and you will learn invaluable information about cooking the best Q.
Most of all, have fun, drink beer, and don’t take it too seriously.
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