Can I Smoke That? An Introduction

Can I Smoke That? An Introduction

Dear ManBQue Readers,

I’m Luke of Black and Blue BBQ. Want a BBQ secret? 6 years ago if you asked me how to cook ribs or brisket or how to spit roast a chicken, I would have probably told you that my microwave doesn’t have that feature.

The Mission of Can I Smoke That?: This is an outdoor cooking adventure. Smoking, grilling and basically trying to figure out myself… can I smoke that? I will give tips, answer questions, give life advice and share my BBQ revelations and experiments with you. Together we will eat better and impress everyone.

I bought my first 18” Weber Kettle grill in college in 1992, so I feel like I’ve always had one.Today I have two Weber Kettles, two Weber Smokers, and a new custom grill I am tentatively calling “Meat Sweats.” My early grilling skills included overcooking chicken, kicking out bland, overcooked steaks and well-done burgers. I was more interested in how big of a flame I could make than how to cook a good meal.

That all changed when I met the girl who is now my wife. I wanted to impress her with my grilling, so I decided to get fancy. I made well-done chicken skewers dunked in Sweet Baby Ray’s and microwaved Stouffers’ spinach soufflé. It’s a suitable meal for a bachelor, but unacceptable for a decent cook. In hindsight, I would have said it was a disgusting meal and she should have walked out on me. Instead, she said I had to try making her dad’s “Scientific Ribs.” Sounded like some NASA BBQ crazy talk–a science of ribs? The idea of making the leap from shitty chicken to incredible ribs was daunting; no way did I have the skills.

That summer I had a moment just like the moment I had when I first realized that I love beer. A moment so vivid that even years later you can describe it down to the tiniest details of what the weather was that day and what you were wearing. A perfect moment. This was the day I watched her dad cook ribs on a Weber Kettle just like mine. His method was so simple; Indirect heat, adding a specific number of coals per hour until he felt they were done. He cooks perfect ribs every single time, no joke. “How the hell could it be this simple?” I asked. He said “I read the instructions for the grill 30 years ago. This is what the instructions said to do.”

WHAT THE FUCK?!?!? My grill had instructions? Stick the legs in the holes, put in the coals, dump an entire bottle of lighter fluid in there, avoid fireball, what else was there? SHIT. I never read instructions, and here I am discovering they held the keys to delicious ribs?!?!? NO WAY, NO FUCKING WAY. From this day forward,  from this perfect moment, BBQ was on my brain.

A dozen BBQ cook books later and endless hours standing over my grill, I vowed I would master flame, smoke, and meat. I would own this shit. My friends would say, “Mission accomplished,” but I wouldn’t care. My mission has just begun. I wanted to know how to cook everything on a grill or in a smoker. I still read as much as I can, watch every video on the subject, talk to everyone about BBQ, and try every idea that comes to mind. Don’t believe me? Last weekend I turned a gas grill into a bonfire trying to make meat sushi.
You can do this too. No joke. Don’t believe me? Try this recipe. It’s the first one I tried from a BBQ guru, Steven Raichlen, for his first-timers ribs. He even gives you an easy BBQ sauce to make that will blow your friends away.

After six straight years grilling and smoking everything I can get my hands on, traveling the country to try every region’s BBQ, and asking a million questions, I am now known as a pit master.  My kitchen is outdoors, my butcher is on my speed dial, and the Spice House should have given me a parking spot by now.

I look forward to sharing this BBQ adventure with you.

Keep it saucy my friends,

Luke (AKA Tomax to you ManBQue folk)

Pit Master
Black and Blue BBQ


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