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Hello ManhattanDigest.com readers!  My name is Ronnie Parisella, I am a native NY’er (born in Brooklyn), and am a Professional and Entrepreneur in the IT industry.  I am a fan of most things consumable, most notably; cigars, whiskey and food.  I write for FineTobaccoNYC.com, a Cigar/Lifestyle blog and Power Consulting Group, the IT Consulting Firm where I work.  I look forward to bringing you posts about topics that taste really good.

For my first topic, I’ve chosen to discuss food, specifically, BBQ, more specifically, Smoking.

When I was 19, I had a small basement apartment in Brooklyn.  I loved the freedom my first apartment gave me, and I took advantage of it liberally.  Every Thursday, I would host friends and co-workers over for poker, BBQ & beer.  Friends would always bring over something interesting.  Sausage, steaks, chops, marinades, rubs, etc.  And I would supply the Bourbon/Scotch/Rye/Etc.  I learned not only a ton about what to cook, but more importantly; what too cook with.

Then, I was using an inexpensive charcoal grill and Royal-Oak charcoal.  The natural wood was the best flavor I’d tasted yet, much better than lighter fluid soaked charcoal briquettes.

This past January, when Erica and I moved from a small Ft. Greene studio to a big apartment in Bay Ridge with a deck and backyard, I knew I needed to purchase a grill that I could have my way with, frequently.  After some research, I decided on the Char-Griller Duo, a very large, heavy grill that does not fit on my deck (Booooooooo).

Big Ronnie's New Baby, The Char-Griller Duo
Big Ronnie’s New Baby

The Char-Griller Duo is a dual zone grill with separate zones for gas (propane) and charcoal heat sources.  The smaller, lower container on the right side of the grill is Char-Griller’s Texas Fire Box.  I have smoked big cuts of meat, just about every weekend since we moved in (with a few weekends off for business trips), and have been blown away by the results.  Now, I use the charcoal and wood chips/chunks from Cowboy Charcoal.  They offer many different varieties of wood types and sizes, and are sold nationally at Lowe’s.  I have tried their Mesquite and Hickory chunks, and their Apple, Pecan and Cherry wood chips.  I also prefer their 100% natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal.

Cowboy Charcoal
Cowboy Charcoal

Proper smoking is all about time and temperature.  Anything other than that is purely for flavor.  I have been experimenting with several different cuts of meat and wood types to practice.

Essentially, all you need to know is the weight of the cut, the temperature your heat source should be, and the internal temperature you need for the meat to reach before it’s done.  Large cuts of meat are done when their pre-determined internal temperature is reached.Smaller cuts (like ribs) aren’t held to a temperature standard to tell when they are done.  You’ll need to know how long these smaller cuts will need to cook in advance.

As for the actual smoking process, it’s pretty simple; try not to open the grill too much, and make sure the temperature is in the correct range for what you are cooking.

I buy my meat from a local butcher/meat market called Frank & Eddie’s in Bay Ridge.  Nice, friendly staff and they are very helpful with BBQ/smoking recommendations.

I leave you with pictures of my first 5 smoking sessions (Brisket, Bone-In Loin of Pork, Spare Ribs, Lobster Tail, Baby Back Ribs, Chicken, St. Loius Style Ribs, Prime Rib and T-Bones).

 

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