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Home » 12 Biggest BBQ Mistakes You Could Be Making While Smoking

12 Biggest BBQ Mistakes You Could Be Making While Smoking

While smoking meat is meant to be enjoyable, there is a lot to learn when you’re just starting out.

When your guests begin to arrive just as things start to go wrong, it may be stressful.

Your buddies will start saying they are “out of town” whenever you have a barbecue.

12 Grilling Mistakes You Don't Have to Make (But Probably Do) | Grilled sausage, Grilled sausage recipes, Food lab

It’s a lot more exciting if you put in some work and avoid these typical blunders.

Smoke some pig butts, some chicken, and maybe even try your hand at some brisket, and when everything is in working order, have a barbecue party and wow your friends with your smoking prowess.

Meanwhile, benefit from other people’s smoking blunders and discuss your own experiences in the space provided.2. 2

1. Not allowing enough time for anything

A failure to give oneself sufficient time might lead to a cascade of subsequent errors.

With time running out and company on the way, it might be tempting to do things like clog the chimney with extra coals or seal up the chimney flue to trap the smoke.

Method of correction:

Grilling is an art that requires time and care.

You can’t be in a hurry, and it’s tough to guess how long it will take to cook a certain cut of meat.

Common cuts of meat have been categorized and their recommended cooking times and temperatures have been compiled in a handy chart.

Some people believe that if you start cooking in a smoker, you should finish in a smoker, but if it’s getting dark and you’re running out of fuel, the “Texas cheat” is always an option.

A few hours of smoking precedes covering the meat in foil with some liquid and finishing it in the oven at 325°F (160°C) for a few hours.

2. An Excess of Smoke

I receive the most letters about this one since it’s the most literal smoking error.

Since even a little amount of smoke improves the flavor of meat, one may assume that a substantial amount would result in a really phenomenal flavor.

Unfortunately, following this line of thinking may lead to some very awful grilled meats.

One of the most common blunders made by inexperienced barbecue cooks is using an excessive amount of wood and failing to properly control the fire.

Closing the vents will trap even more smoke inside, making a bad situation much worse. Using this method will guarantee that your meat will be thrown away.

Method of correction:

When it comes to lighting up, less is most certainly more.

There should be wisps of smoke curling up from the grill.

How much wood you need to use for your barbecue is highly dependent on the grilling method you choose. If you’re using a Weber Smokey Mountain, use just a few bits of smoke wood around the size of your hand.

For a starting point, aim for around two ounces of wood.

Keep the inlet and exhaust dampers cracked open at all times, and shut the inlet damper with care to prevent the fire from smoldering and producing unpleasant smoke.

The quality of the smoke directly affects the flavor of the meat.

3. Incorrect grilling setup

You’ve lit up for the first time, and so far, so good. Now that you’ve used a charcoal chimney to thoroughly ash over your coals and set up your cooking area and drip pan, you can begin grilling.

After getting your mouth watering over mental images of luscious pig butt, you may have felt a sudden rise in body temperature.

In a state of panic, you throw caution to the wind and open the vents, turning knobs and changing settings at random until the temperature decreases.

You’re on the correct track conceptually, but your execution is wildly off.

Method of correction:

An increase in temperature might be unsettling, but you shouldn’t freak out.

Over-correction is common if you attempt to tweak too many variables at once.

Attempt a single modification at a time and see the results.

Avoid smothering your fire by shutting the top and bottom vents on your Weber kettle or similar setup while smoking.

It’s also a good idea to keep the lid closed as much as possible. If you want to keep the temperature stable, the trick is to make only little modifications.

4. Using a poor choice of meat

When you’re craving a cigarette, it might be tempting to simply grab the cheapest piece of beef from the meat area at your local chain store.

However, you must begin with the highest quality you can purchase if you want to make great pulled pork, ribs, or brisket.

Method of correction:

Get to know your neighborhood butcher well; he or she will become your closest ally. Just be specific with the butcher about what you want. In this case, it all depends on what you want to light up.

This is a very broad field, but here are a few things to keep an eye out for:

In ribs, you want to make sure there is meat all the way to the bone and steer clear of fatty areas on top. Save money and time by avoiding frozen food if at all possible.

Brisket: Look for a whole packer brisket that is marbled well and has a layer of white, firm fat approximately 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch (0.6 centimeter to 0.8 centimeter) thick over the whole flat side.

However, the huge “money muscle” on the other end of the bone is where you want to focus your attention while cooking pork butt, since it is more tender and flavorful than brisket.

Check out the bone’s other end. A tube-shaped object (with striations and stripes). The fat will appear as parallel stripes across the muscle. A well cooked meal should result in the fat simply melting away, or “rendering.”

We really suggest Snake River Farms for brisket and hog, and all the meat from Porter Road is top-notch if you’re having difficulties locating nice barbecue meat in your area.

5. Lighter fluid is used to ignite charcoal briquettes

How to use a charcoal chimney starter

One of the most typical rookie blunders at the grill. It makes sense to me. You’re eager to begin cooking right away since you can’t stand waiting.

You should know that dousing your charcoal in lighter fluid may produce noxious aromas and give your smoked meat a strange flavor before you do it.

And this is exactly the opposite of what you want to achieve while cooking on a low heat for a long time!

Method of correction:

One of the finest purchases you can make is a high-quality chimney starter. A Weber Chimney Starter is available via Amazon.

Smaller, lighter cubes are ideal, but a few of clumps of paper towels can do the trick.

Light the paper towels and place them on the grill’s bottom grate before filling the chimney and placing it on the grill.

There should be rising smoke and a warm sensation.

You need to keep a tight check on it, but if you do, you should be good to go in around 20 minutes. If you’re still not convinced that a chimney starter is the best way to ignite charcoal, have a look at our handy tutorial.

6. Failing to regulate the heat inside the grill

Cooking meat over coals or a smoker for hours at a low temperature is the key to perfect barbecue.

Inadvertently cooking the meat at too high of a temperature, which results in dry, tough meat, is a typical blunder. Smoking on a gas barbecue may make this a real headache.

Method of correction:

Although it may take some practice, the ideal range for the oven’s temperature is 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (107 to 121 degrees Celsius).

How you regulate the heat in your smoker will vary depending on the model you have.

In order to raise or reduce the interior temperature of a charcoal smoker, you must either open or close the vents or intake dampers.

It is crucial to ensure the smoker is stable before adding meat.

First, remove the pot from the heat and place the thermometer inside to see whether the temperature has stabilized. If it has, add the meat.

Get a nice thermometer setup with a probe for air temperature and another for meat temperature to keep everything under control.

The ThermoWorks Smoke is our go-to thermometer recommendation. It’s simple to use, comes equipped with everything you need to produce delicious barbecue, and can take all the abuse you can dish out without breaking a sweat.

Last but not least, maintain a pan of water in your grill’s inner chamber, since water acts as a heat sink and helps keep everything at a more consistent temperature. Long cooking times mean that water will evaporate, so check and replenish every three to four hours.

7. Getting tipsy at the grill

One of the greatest aspects about smoking is the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while relaxing with a cold one.

If you drink six beers with them, though, you could find that your vigilance begins to wane.

The brisket, which had been cooking for 12 hours and weighed 9 pounds, quickly became an inedible piece of jerky when the temperature became too high.

A catastrophic grease fire may break out if meat fat, heat, and airflow all came together at the wrong time.

Method of correction:

When the internal temperature has to be maintained between 107 and 121 degrees Celsius (225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit), careful monitoring may be needed for extended periods of time.

You should drink beer, but if you’re a beginner, you should probably wait to drink whiskey until after you’ve cut up.

8. Instinctive fear during the pause

Waiting for the meat to reach the ideal temperature for tender barbeque may be stressful if you lack patience.

The dreaded “stall” is something most smokers of briskets and hog shoulders will be familiar with.

What happens when the thermometer stops moving for many hours.

You don’t want to make the rookie error of becoming impatient and turning up the stove. Keep in mind that we’re not going for a pot roast, but rather tender, flavorful meat.

Method of correction:

Different hypotheses have been proposed to explain the pause, such as the meat losing moisture, the fat not being rendered quickly enough, or the protein degrading.

If you’re really into it, we have a whole essay breaking out the science behind the stall, but the short version is: don’t freak out, maintain a steady temperature, and the meat’s internal temperature will rise gradually.

This level of deliciousness couldn’t be achieved without some difficulty.

9. Attempting to glance into the grill too often.

Your anticipation has reached new heights after you’ve picked out the perfect cut of meat, marinated it, and seasoned it, and after you’ve gotten your grill and coals ready.

However, if you keep opening the cover, heat will escape and the smoker will cool down.

Method of correction:

There’s no way that meat is going anywhere! If you need to make any modifications, your thermometer should tell you all you need to know.

Remove the cover only to wipe, spray, turn the meat, or tend to the embers. Not checking up on it every few minutes is unnecessary.

The severity of this error is proportional to the substance being smoked, and mild peaking is likely to be OK.

If you’re using a Weber Kettle for your smoking, avoid peeping too much.

Since charcoal has a lower heating capacity than gas or pellets, lifting the lid of a charcoal barbecue like the Weber Kettle has a bigger impact. With time, it fades and goes out completely. Therefore, you are not only wasting time when cooking, but also losing time while cooking at a higher temperature.

10. Relying on the dome smoker’s temperature gauge

The temperature readout under the hood is inaccurate.

The “handy” dial is a standard feature on the lid of most barbecue grills and smokers.

Since they are placed towards the top of the lid, they accurately record the temperature of the air above the food you are cooking and are quite inexpensive.

Method of correction:

Put your trust in your gut, not the erroneous built-in smoker.

Investing in a digital dual probe thermometer is the most accurate approach to keep tabs on the inside temperature.

Together, the grill’s temperature and the food’s internal temperature may be monitored in real time.

11. Making a poor choice of wood

Family and friends may roll their eyes if you spend too much time worrying about what kind of wood to use for smoking.

There is no need to pair the “flavor profile” of the wood with the dish being served. The whole idea is dismissed as “wishful thinking” by others.

The use of high-quality raw materials, such as wood, is essential for a solid foundation.

Method of correction:

The first step is to educate yourself on the best wood for your smoker and the sorts of wood to avoid.

Whenever in doubt, go with a fruit wood, such as apple or cherry. Oak, hickory, and mesquite are some more options for experimenting with.

12. Disregarding your cooked meat after it’s been prepared

I have the want to just start hacking away after all that time spent waiting and working.

A piece of meat may be ruined if it isn’t rested properly or sliced against the grain.

Method of correction:

Around the 7:10 mark, Aaron Franklin gives advice on how long to let your brisket rest and how to cut it for optimal tenderness.

A slice of brisket should be about as thick as a No. 2 pencil and should be cut against the grain of the meat.