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Added Apr 02 2012

I really enjoy spending time preparing low and slow cooked food outdoors. Anyone else? Care to share how you shop, prepare and cook? For the smoked fish in the attached photo here's what I did:

Stopped by:
3333 North Kimball Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 478-5566

Bought the frozen Norway Mackeral, and the smaller yellow croakers in the box in their freezer. What you see is about 12 dollars worth of fish.

Thawed them, scaled them, gutted the fish. rinsed then dried thoroughly. In a baking pan used course sea salt and covered all of them with it. Placed in fridge for 1 hour. Rinsed them with running water to get salt chunks off, dunked them in cold water. Dried them thoroughly. Placed them on the rack, brought the rack outside. Let them sit in shade (it was 50 degrees out) for about 1/2 to form a pellicle.

Took the 22 inch Weber Kettle, used Royal Oak briquettes, placed a dozen hot coals with a chunk of cherry wood in, internal temp of weber up to 190F. Placed rack of fish opposite side of the coals. Probably opened the kettle 3 times in dduring the 3.5 hour cook. Internal temp of kettle at grate level fluctuated between 185 and 235. Added wood two times. Bottom air holes were wide open, top I opened full too. It wasn't real windy yesterday.

Internal temp of the fattest mackeral hit 172F.

Didn't use a drip pan and didn't use a pan of water over the coals either. Essentially dry heat and smoke.

I enjoy eating smoked fish when it's chilled.

  • Conor McGrath Portage Park

    Curse you, Kenji! It's only 10:30am and now I'm starving.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    At 10:30am chilled smoked fish is GREAT on an onion bagel.

  • Conor McGrath Portage Park

    I'll be right over...

  • loraine t washington 5 yr. resident

    yea it is. with onions and capers and a nice chardonnay or champagne.

  • Jefferson Koegel of Portage Park artist who paints houses & does light handy work

    Sounds great! We hot smoke a salmon in the Weber! Will post a photo when I figure out how!

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @jefferson, go to you can anonymously upload an image, get it's URL then post the URL in your EB post. Only original topic posts are allowed to attach images here.

    here's the same image from above but I put it on

  • how 'bout you give us a demo at your next backyard or alley party

  • Jefferson Koegel of Portage Park artist who paints houses & does light handy work - this might work . . .

  • Love smoked fish. My usual is brisket and/or pork shoulder. I buy the full brisket at Peoria on Lake St (about $30)I split the plates and smoke the bottom, I grind the top for ground beef. I buy The pork shoulder wherever, I get a full shoulder with the bone and as much fat as I can get. I brine both overnight usually in a combination of brown sugar or honey, garlic and whatever else I have around. I Use a basic rub on both that I change to what I feel like or what I have.

    I use a bullet smoker and try and keep it as close to 200 as I can. I will always use water or old white wine in the pan. Wood will vary with my taste. I have hickory, oak, apple and mesquite. And I believe in allot of smoke. I will cook until med or med well (about 145 for the beef and 155 for the pork). Takes about 10 to 12 hours. This means I am up before the sun starting the smoker (I warn the neighbors the day before so they don't call the FD) My wife will not let me smoke overnight so the party always starts late.

    For a treat, I will toss some mussels on the smoker after the meat is off.

    I like to drink lager with BBQ, although I have been known to go for a good Zin.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Nice info Gerard. Which bullet smoker do you have? Do you use a specific briquette or lump charcoal?

  • Inactive user

    kenji, I used to do the whole bullet smoker thing and finally went "lazy" and bought a Bradley smoker with an Auber PID (also have a 22" Weber kettle that I do chickens on using chunks of hickory). Carnitas, ribs, chicken, turkey all have had Hickory applied to them and eaten. Also love to bacon wrap some jalapenos that have been stuffed with cream cheese and ground up lil smokies. Sprinkle a little Bad Byron's Butt Rub and smoke for a few hours until the bacon is crispy. Thinking about setting up a small sausage area in the basement to begin making my own. Also wanted to try some fish recipes, just never tried any yet.

  • I use Kingsford. Yep I know, not traditional, but with the amount of smoke I use I like the longer lasting briquette. Not sure what bullet I have, I have had it for years. I know it was cheep and then I took the thermometer out and put in a new one (digital thermocouple) and I added a great to the charcoal pan so the coals would not rest in ash.

    My neighbor got an electric smoker last year and he said I can use it any time, so I plan on doing it soon. He also tossed out his old bullet and I took it at night. He doesn't know this and I am kind of embarrassed to use it. I plan to haul it to a friends in Indiana ;)

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @jefferson, that salmon looks good in the photo you linked to. Is that an oven broiler you are using?

    Also, that goat in the background looks yummy. I say cook the goat too.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @dave, sounds like a primo setup. If it's windy out does the Bradley's temps stay consistent? How log can you go with a Bradley without having to fuel it?

  • @Dave I make my own fresh Kielbasa. I use my grandmothers recipe, but, I have never smoked it. I need to try. I would go for a Texas sausage recipe if anyone had one.

  • Inactive user

    The inside temp stays right where I set it. I've had the thing running on windy 40 degree days and as long as I keep the door closed, it does a great job of holding temp. It's also electric so it will go as long as ComEd gets my payment. I can load about 8 hours of wood chips. Lazy, but very tasty!

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @dave...whoa. I'm jealous.

    Would my wife poop a brick if she saw how much I paid for one? I'm going to bet it's pricey. :)

  • loraine t washington 5 yr. resident

    you all cook good . we should have a b b q.

  • Honey One anyone? How about Hecky's? ready now. Nope, wife would kill me.

  • loraine t washington 5 yr. resident

    when is the next block club party?

  • Inactive user

    kenji, I got mine from Cabela's when they were having some crazy sale on the non-digital stainless steel units. I think I paid $250 for it and another $125 for the controller. I think the new digital ones are around $400.

    Gerard, mmmmmmmm to Honey One. I take people there all the time and don't understand why there isn't a line out the door for Mr. Adams BBQ!

  • Maureen Cuyler near the park

    Y'all are making me salivate! I bought a never-used Weber smoker at my neighbor's estate sale last summer and the first time out made the best pork roast I'd ever tasted. it made me cocky so I invited lots of family for the next time and of course it bombed--couldn't keep the heat going and after five hours gave up and had to resort to the microwave and broiler. Mortifying. What I don't understand is how do you monitor the fire/smoke if you're not supposed to lift the lid?

  • Jefferson Koegel of Portage Park artist who paints houses & does light handy work

    @ Kenji - That salmon (2 1/2 Ibs.) was done on a 22" Weber grill, Kingsford coals and hickey wood chips, indirectly smoked for about 40 mins @ approx. 150º - the salmon sits skin down on a well seasoned oven pan lid over about 2" of water in the pan- that's the family dog, not a goat - ha!

  • Jefferson Koegel of Portage Park artist who paints houses & does light handy work

    @ Kenji - it's a broiler type pan with a lid that may have come from a different pan, not sure! But water in the button of pan underneath the salmon is the trick!

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    Sounds great... A few years ago, we went to Door County and had the fish boil, on the way home, we brought some smoked whitefish . Unfortunately, we don't have a back yard to bar-B-Que in.

  • Dennis 30 year Jefferson Park resident

    I love backyard cooking. Have 2 Weber's and a Traeger. Use the Traeger for long time cooking/smoking. Last weekend did a corned beef brisket...cooked at 225 for 5 hours...delicious. Beef brisket, pulled pork, whole chicken best I have ever eaten. For the
    Webers, I use either real wook chunks or hardwood lump. Used to use Kingsford briquets, but the taste is so much better with hardwood. Hickory, alder, oak, apple, or pecan.

  • Impressive color. Never smoked fish--so you don't need to slit the fish or clip the fins like when broiling. Nice. Lived in Albany Park but never made it to Joong, which I regret.

  • @Dave H - Yep, I have been going to Honey 1 when they were on Washington. I play golf at Columbus and I take different ways home and stop if I see a BBQ place. My wife hates it because she thinks I will get killed. Hey, not a bad way to go. Having said that, I haven't found one as good as Honey One again yet. A few months ago Robert was there when I stopped in and he gave me a sample of a brisket he was doing, it was great, I said he should put it on menu alone (he has the sandwich) we got in a conversation on Texas BBQ and had a real good talk, great guy. I was watching Chicago's best a week or so ago and they had one on, I think 73rd , I will look it up and see. I have not explored the south east at all and need to hit some places. I know there is a smoked fish place on the canal that was on "No Reservations" so I may have a day trip in my future...

    @ Maureen - Most smokers have access doors that will allow you to put stuff in as needed. You would monitor the fire by temperature and the smoke is really up to you on how much you like. Weber normally has a good thermometer. You will need to do more cooking to see what works for you. Temps from 125 to 300 are generally used. Get a prob thermocouple to stick in what you are cooking. Run the wire out the vent. No matter what you do the meat should be done to normal temps. Rule of thumb is less heat more smoke (need to cook the little beggar some how).

  • loraine t washington 5 yr. resident

    i have a bk yard but no grill.

  • Alex M. Jeff Park, web design, DJ, thinker

    I don't have a backyard. :(

    "Low and slow" for me is in the oven. I'll do Texas-style brisket like that. I even found those oven smoker bags are wonderful. Here's my recipe:

    I also love using my Dutch Oven for slow-cooked braised stuff.

    Eventually my fiance and I will buy a house (if the market ever gets better), and then I can get more into backyard cooking. Would love to get a kotlik and make goulash over an open fire. here's the recipe:

  • loraine t washington 5 yr. resident

    oven smoker bags are a good idea. thanks.

  • OldIrving Anna on a quest for craft brewed "zimne piwo"

    For those w/o backyards, here's an idea.

    Lots has been posted in Albany Park about cookouts & smokeouts as a way of discouraging gangs. Positive loitering.

    So, get a block party permit in a gang graffiti hotspot, bring out the smokers, have a cookout, and you'll have a two-for-one accomplishment.

  • loraine t washington 5 yr. resident

    good idea

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Just wondering, what happens if a bunch of nearby residents just setup some grills/smokers on a corner but don't block the sidewalk have a cooler or two, offer people walking by a soda and a burger. Ask the resident who lives right there beforehand to let them know what you are doing. Don't pull a permit, just do it.
    Would the 16th district police roll up and tell you to break it up?
    That way it could be an impromptu gathering with little or no planning.

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    We make BarBQue ribs in the oven. I put a rub together and put it all over the ribs, start it in the oven at 350 for an hour or so. After that, I put on some Open Pit Hickory sauce on that I "doctored" with garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, black pepper, a touch of brown sugar, and cayenne pepper. Baste the ribs 3 or 4 times. Delicious. Usually serve this with coleslaw and oven fries.

  • Alex M. Jeff Park, web design, DJ, thinker

    My best friend gave me a rib rack for the oven. So going to try it out this summer.

  • loraine t washington 5 yr. resident

    where can you buy them?

  • Alex M. Jeff Park, web design, DJ, thinker

    buy what?

  • loraine t washington 5 yr. resident

    the rib racks.

  • Alex M. Jeff Park, web design, DJ, thinker

    Knowing my friend, you can find it at HomeGoods, or perhaps the kitchen sections of TJ Maxx or Marshalls. He tends to shop there.

    Bed Bath and Beyond I'm sure will have them.

  • loraine t washington 5 yr. resident

    thanks. good looking out.

  • Rob Martwick State Representative 19th District

    Mmmm, me some 'cue! When I was a kid, my great uncle lived in Paducah, Ky. When he visited, he would bring whole smoked pork shoulders from Starnes BBQ. This is real Western Kentucky Barbecue. Down there they skip the sweet sauce and instead douse the pulled smoky meat with a homemade vinegar based hot sauce. I love it, because the meat is usually rich enough, and the hot sauce adds a nice contrast. About 10 years ago I bought a cheaper barrel smoker with an offset firebox. I smoke with natural charcoal and Hickory chunks, for a HEAVY smoke flavor on ribs, shoulder, brisket and turkey drums.

    I love the hands-on approach, but I confess I would love something simpler. The folks down south would never consider anything gas-fired as "true barbecue." Still, when I do a shoulder, I do it for 14 hours, and feeding the fire every hour throughout the night is no easy task. The results, however, are wonderful. Usually, the meat just falls apart and is delicious.

  • bzbiker Portage Park resident and community supporter

    First time checking this blog out! Great thread, I'm loving it. So many different BBQ styles and techniques. I'm a Weber bullet smoker guy who learned from Gary Wiviott - Low & Slow. With his techniques, I can keep the smoker in the 225 to 250 range almost every time. Mostly cooking brisket & ribs (costco), pork shoulder & hot links (Peoria Packing) and chicken but this Sunday I'm cooking a leg of lamb from Paulina Meats. I plan on using Nature Glo hard wood (40Lb bags from the wood pile at Kingsbury and Halsted) oak chunks, an empty water pan. Never cooked a leg of lamb this way before so if anyone has tips, please share since I don't want to let the family down on Easter!

  • Rob Martwick State Representative 19th District

    I've never done a leg of lamb, but I can't imagine that you'd do it any differently. Perhaps cook it to a more "medium/medium-rare" temperature? Please let us know how it turns out!

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @bzbiker, sounds great. I'd think your instant read meat thermometer will be your friend for your Easter cook. You know already, but I'd make sure the leg isn't right out of the refrigerator, and let it get close to room temp before your cook. What kind of rub/prep were you thinking? I've seen Greeks make slits and insert garlic cloves into the meat before cooking......

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @Martwick, the Weber Smokey Mountain, the one @bzbiker is using would be a great happy medium for your low and slow cooking needs. You'd be using charcoal as your fuel, you'd use any hardwoods for smoke. The great thing about it's design is you can get 7-13 hour of a steady temp from one load of fuel, without having to tend your fire like you were with the offset you have.

    Only thing that keeps me from getting one is I've been playing around with other types of designs other than a bullet.

  • My own opinion is not to smoke the Leg of Lamb, just me, I think some meat speaks for itself.

    Having said that, PLEASE let us know how it turned out.

    I do grill LOL and when I do I get the leg at Caputo's (Paulina is too high priced for me). The old butcher at Caputo's is a hoot and is a great resource for many things. I always get the shank cut off and save it for braising. I chop garlic cloves with prosciutto and Rosemary, then cut holes in the leg. Put is as many holes as you like and add a good pinch to each... I rub the outside with salt and pepper.

    I find that a probe thermometer in the meat then out the top vent is a lifesaver. Keeps me from opening the lid too many times.

    Good luck!!

  • kenji Find us here -->

    There's a big lamb counter at Fresh Farms on Touhy in Niles. Always lots of primal cuts there and guys working on them. They move a lot of lamb there.

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    Italians also make slits in beef and pork roasts and insert sliced garlic and Italian parsley into it. Put salt and pepper on the meat and brown it on all sides on top of the stove. After the meat is well browned, add some beef stock for the beef roast, along with rosemary, a few bay leaves, and marjoram. and put in the oven at 350 for about two hours. Delicious served with mashed potatoes and a green veggie. Beef can be thinly sliced to make sandwiches. You can add some hot pepper flakes and serve with hot and sweet peppers...

  • Josh. .

    Hey Luci, quit giving away the recipe for Al’s Beef. LOL.
    Just kidding.You forgot some oregano and hot giardiniera.

  • Alex M. Jeff Park, web design, DJ, thinker

    Here's how to do a braised Greek Lamb in the oven. Straight from my father. I also have Greek potatoes and their summer salad of cucumbers and tomatoes.

    If you're doing it outside, the ideal thing is on a spit...but if you don't have that...then I'd tell you to place foil on the grill and do low and slow...and continually baste the lamb in a combo of olive oil and lemon. You want the outer skin crispy while the inside is cooked perfectly.

  • Dennis 30 year Jefferson Park resident

    @Martwick you can remedy your issue with feeding your gril with a Traeger. Few people around here have heard of them. They were invented in Oregon and I discovered on a trip to Oregon a few years ago. The grill is a barrel with a hopper on the side that holds hardwood pellets fed into the fire pit by an auger. They will cook for days as long as the hopper is full. I highly recommend them. Absolutely the most delicious meat you have ever tasted. I have done brisket, pulled pork, whole chicken, ham, and corned beef, ribs. I use my weber for steaks and chops, although I have done them on the Traeger, also. Don't get the searing with the Traeger.

  • bzbiker Portage Park resident and community supporter

    Great tips, I'll use them. I picked up the leg this morning and yes, it was pretty pricey at Paulina Market. My plan right now is to do what has been suggested on this blog; small slices in leg with garlic and rosemary inserted, salt and pepper on outside. I'm also going to try something new, for me, and that's to cook the lamp without a water pan for the first hour or so to get it cooking pretty quickly and add color, start a crust, then for the last 1.5 hours on the lower rack I'm going to put a foil pan with cannellini beans, vegetable stock, white wine, onion and rosemary sprigs. This will create indirect heat, lower the temp a bit and also create a tasty side dish. To Gerard's point, I'm not naturally inclined to think about BBQ lamb or heavily smoked lamb. I'm going to go lite on the oak. I've got hickory, apple and cherry that I could use but I think a kiss of oak is the way to go. Any thoughts?

  • Let's see, apple and mint or cherry and mint. I agree with the light smoke. Hey, I'll try anything once. I think if you just get the smoke to flavor the outside, that would be best. My worry is this, I had a smoked rib roast once at a restaurant. Fantastic cut of meat done perfect, but, all I tasted was the wood, not the beef. So I think less is more, just a hint might be great. But, don't over think this, you could hate me tomorrow night! Have fun and let us know.

    P.S. I just made my own mint jelly for my leg. I also tried making a mint syrup sweetened with agave nectar. we'll see how that goes...

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Whoa. Best sentence typed into EB for 2012 so far this year:

    "P.S. I just made my own mint jelly for my leg."


  • Ha! :)

  • bzbiker Portage Park resident and community supporter

    My leg turned out pretty good, everyone seemed to like it. I must admit though that I think the flavor that you get with rosemary is killed by smoking, not a great combo. Think I'll stick with lamb in the oven next time. Thanks to all for your input.

  • grethomory Resident of Jefferson Park

    How do you eat smoked fish? I mean what do you eat with it. I've seen smoked fish in the Polish stores, but was too afraid to buy as I didn't know how it would taste. Ya'll know I am from down south...and we fry fish...the healthy people bake with a crust and olive oil, lol.

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    Here's how we eat smoked fish---We cut it in half and take the bones out and cut off the head. Toast a bagel and put cream cheese and thin slices of tomatoes on it with a little salt and pepper. Serve it on the side. We sometimes have a salad with it, or a green veggie.
    It's a great warm weather dinner or lunch with not too much work involved. Sometimes I serve it with a tomato salad. Only can be made with perfectly ripe tomatoes---rinse and cut up tomatoes, add crushed garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, add vegetalble oil (not olive oil--too strong and masks the tomato flavor), serve with crusty Italian bread and enjoy.

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident

    And sometimes we just pull it out of the fridge, grab a fork and pick at it while watching a movie.

  • I agree with Luci and Tracy, although I like Olive Oil in the mix. You can also do a good cracker or fresh black bread with cream cheese and dill.

    Oh, now we have doe it, on my way to Family Fruit for some fix-ens ( I already have some plank grilled Salmon)...

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    Gerard - I like olive oil too, just not in the tomato salad.
    The black bread with cream cheese and dill sounds great---I'll have to try that.

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident

    And just in case you don't smoke your own fish, don't forget to check out Hagen's on Montrose just off of Central. Their smoked sable is wicked good and I hear the candied salmon is wonderful. (It's on my to-try list.)

  • Kat

    Tracy - the candied salmon is REALLY good. I'm not a salmon fan; but I tried a little of it off my hub's plate and mmmmmmmm

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident

    I'll have to make a point of getting up there for some. Thanks, Kat.

  • Luci, Not meant to be anything other then a suggestion, I need to try yours also :0

  • grethomory Resident of Jefferson Park

    @Tracy, I've been to Hagen's before, but usually to buy frog legs if they have them. I have seen that smoked fish in there as well, but now you guys have got my antenna up and I'll try it with all of these suggestions. THANKS!!!

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident

    @grethomory, I think you'll be pleased. Their fried shrimp is also very good, and they go out of their way to make sure that it's right for you, no matter when you plan to eat it. Nice folks; very helpful.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Smoking today. Pork belly, rib tips, beef ribs.

    Trying a new appetizer for tonight. We've enjoyed them in Chinatown dim sum meals, so I got some to prep and cook, at Butcher Block Specialties (formerly Chicago Meat Market). First time. $1.80 worth.

    Making them Filipino style grilled.

  • sorry Kenji, not that you've offered, but I wont be bringing Aaron by for this one ;v)

    Have fun with those - the one looks like it's trying to get out of the bucket

  • kenji Find us here -->

    once done and prepped correctly they are delish

  • I'm sure, I was just being silly. Does the family try everything you make?

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Pretty much, now that they are all older.

    Rule around here growing up was you have to try what's on your plate if it was new to you but no need to eat it after an initial tasting if you thought it sucked.

    All of the kids here have come to expect all kinds of different flavors on the table and now that it's 2012 here on the NW side there's a bounty of fresh ingredients from all over the world at our local markets within a short distance.

  • Where's the eye wash station. Eye bleach, stat.

    Gotta shake it off...cotton candy...strawberry shortcake...chocolate lava cake...ok, feeling better.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    I'm assuming you enjoy men. Here you go:

  • Yep, prolly not clicking again.

    Not used to seeing those uncooked. Golden, brown and well...caramelized & crispy..but not raw.

  • Conor McGrath Portage Park

    @Glad2B: If you think you feel bad, imagine how the chicken feels.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    If tofu had feet I'd eat those too.

  • @Conor I think the chicken(s) don't feel a thing now.

    @Kenji, the only feet I eat are Macaron feet. I hope the feet were neat.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    They were yummy. My main meats weren't as good though. I went too heavy on the smoke yesterday. Call it a BBQ fail. It happens every now and then. I strayed from my normal technique to try something different.

  • Are those crappies. We got 2 whole rainbow trout from the dad and will be just grilling, no smoke, today, with pico de gallo like salsa in the belly & wrap in banana leaves. We hope for the best.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Yum, stuffed trout.

    Yes there's crappies, a little walleye and some rock bass. I smoked them up North. The rock bass were the most flavorful.

  • Lana Avondale

    I love smoked fish but have never tried making it myself. I also don't know how to remove the scales from the fish. I think you should invite all of us to come over and sample the food and learn how to do it. :)

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Here's my fish scaler:

    If you shop where there's a fish monger they'll clean your product for you. I like to get whole fish when I plan on smoking fish. I go to these places for my fresh fish that I smoke:

    Joongboo Market
    Super H-Mart
    Bryn Mawr Produce
    Fresh Farms

    I can tell everyone my process too, if you like. If you wanted to watch me it's a 3-5 hour process.

  • Lana Avondale

    Do you have to go to a sporting goods store for a fish scaler, or are they available elsewhere? I don't remember seeing them at the usual kitchen gadget stores.

  • any red meat recipes?

  • kenji Find us here -->

    What kind of an outdoor cooker do you use?

  • sad to say gas, but it is not that terrible, can i use wood chips in a gas grill somehow like a box or something?

  • Dennis 30 year Jefferson Park resident

    Smoked Copper River Sockeye salmon for 3 hours on my Traeger--absolutely delicious.

  • i can eat salmon, how do you prepare?

  • Dennis 30 year Jefferson Park resident

    Just some olive oil and salt and pepper. I am a simple guy. Sockeye have a very pronounced flavor. No seasoning necessary.

  • Sorry this isn't BBQ but as long as we are on food. Does anyone know where to get ham off the bone in the hood? Six corners area would be great. And not that stuff they have in some delis now that you can slice on the machine. I am talking real ham cut with a knife from the bone.

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    @Gerard, There's a restaurant on the corner of Montrose and Irving (south east corner, I think) that advertises ham off the bone on it's window. I don't know the restaurant's name, but it's been there for a long time.
    Maybe the name is JERRY's. Hope this helps. Good luck.
    What about that Polish deli---Bobak's, not sure where they are located, seems like something they might have.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Gerard, they roast a 25 pounder everyday at the Edens on Cicero. Order it with eggs. Best ham around here. There's a secret cooking ingredient applied to it. If you go an enjoy it let me know what you think it is.

  • @kenji, I will, but do you know a deli so I could bring home?

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Wife just said Gene's at Belmont and Laramie has baked Polish hams on their counter that they cut down for you. She believes they bake them there and that they aren't industrially produced.

  • Yep, they are pork "butts" really good. Small and worth every penny. Maybe I will go back to them.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @inactive user, you can do low and slow BBQ in your gas grill and yes you can use chips. It's not the ideal setup for real BBQ but you can do it.

    Do you have an oven thermometer that you can use or an instant read thermometer with a probe?

    Want a quick tutorial?

  • kenji, yes, i have a thermometer on top of the grill, it is built in. if you can give me some pointers on how to use wood chips in my grill, it would be appreciated. i have always cooked everything pretty fast and would like to learn some slow cooking techniques and using chips.

  • @Luci, Yes you are correct I have been there and it is worth the trip. However, as I said to kenji I am looking for a deli so I can bring it home. I know some of the dinners will sell it that way but it gets expensive The Family Fruit did it up until a couple of years ago but that was it in the hood until the now close meat market on Montrose ad Milwaukee had it. Can't believe in this neighborhood no one does it.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Not that built in thermometer. Do you have one you might place inside your kitchen's oven if you were cooking a roast? You'll want to measure temperature at the grate level, not up top on the kid.

    You'll want to know what temp is on the grate before you begin.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    lid not kid.

  • ok, found one thermometer, brand new in a table top kitchen set, did not even know it was there, never had to use before.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Want to take it one step at a time?

    Light your grill up. I'm assuming you have two burners inside the grill. Turn one off and put the remaining one to it's lowest setting. Place the thermometer on the top rack of the side that isn't lit. Close the lid. Come back in 30 minutes. Read the thermometer inside. Also read the thermometer on the lid of the grill.

    What's the readings?

  • ok, one step at a time, i am not going to cook this instant so let's go hypothetical. i just got back from forgoing my usual bacon cheese burger at hot dog express and going for your recommended greek chicken salad, i will concur, good salad. i have one rack the main one, the top shelf rack i have not used and am not sure where it is, can i go off the main rack? or do i need to find the small top rack? if the main rack is ok, over the non lit side, what should the goal temperature be after 30 min.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Sure use the main rack, the bottom one. Imagine the bottom rack as two halves. On the half that isn't lit from underneath, place the thermometer in the center of that side for 30 minutes.

    What's the temp?

    What's the temp on the lid too?

    What's the dimensions of the grill rack inside your grill?

  • kenji Find us here -->

    OH, BTW, it would be great if the thermometer inside reads between 225 and say 265 F

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    @Gerard, Kretschmar's makes an off the bone ham. Whole or half ham maybe sold at Jewel or Dominick's in the canned or packaged ham section. Good luck. I know how frustrating it can be when you are looking for a particular item.
    Years ago, I was looking for a particular shade of green for my kitchen tablecloth. We just had our kitchen done, and I was so happy when I came upon the perfect tablecloth~~~~in Jungle Green!

  • kenji Find us here -->

    grocery store lunchmeats?


  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    @Kenji, I'm not talking about Kretschmar's ham from the Deli section--sliced, I'm talking about a 5lb packaged ham located in the canned ham section of the store.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    My brow is still furrowed.

  • ok, dimensions are 15x24, ok hypothetic between 225-265, next

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @inactive User:

    If you have the ability to get those temps, that means you should be able to cook at those temps for hours and hours.

    Next step is choosing your meat. I'm suggesting you practice your BBQ skills using chicken for the first 4 cooks you'll be doing. Go to Family Fruit Market and get these:

    Whole chicken

    Bottle of Mojo Criolla Marinade,

    Three lemons

    Kosher Salt

    Black pepper

    Take the chicken face it back up, cut the bird in half. Using a big ziploc bag or a large flat pan put the chicken in it. pour the Mojo marinade and the juice of three lemons to cover the entire chicken. Put it in the fridge for about 3 hours. Some folks even like it marinading over night.

    After it has been marinaded, take the bird out of the liquid, pat it dry. sprinkle kosher salt and pepper over the bird. Let it warm up for about 30-45 minutes.

    Get your grill heated up for about 15 minutes, knowing it's at recommended temp.

    We'll continue the next post with smoke technique.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    one more thing. An instant read meat thermometer will come in very handy for cooking.

    Like this:

  • Inactive user

    kenji, if you ever want to try out the "set it and forget it" electric smoker, send me a note. You bring the fish I'll provide the smoke and any drinks required!

  • bzbiker Portage Park resident and community supporter

    I'm smoking two chickens and some hot links for Ravinia tomorrow. I like Kenji's Mojo chicken and I'll use that for one of the birds, for the second one I'm thinking of a butter milk brine. Both methods have been winners for me. The only thing I'm not sure of, is how to cut up and transport the chicken and sausage to Ravinia so that it's still warm and that the chicken skin doesn't get soggy/rubbery. A wheeled cooler with the chicken in zip lock bags is the easiest way, but of course I worry about the soggy factor.

  • K, this sounds amazing, but wondering how much of a pain was it to scale and gut fish? I'd love to try this.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Dave, what the lowest temp your smoker can hold this time of year?

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @martina? Do you like mackeral? Or only more milder ocean fish?

    Depending on where you buy your fish places will clean them for you if you are buying them fresh or thawed.

    For a cheaper alternative I'll buy whole frozen fish and scale, gut and clean them myself. With some practice cleaning a fish isn't difficult. Having a really sharp filet knife is a must if you have lots of fish to clean.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @bzbiker, I like brines too.

    To keep one cooler hot I'd take a huge pot of boiling water and pour it into the cooler about 10 minutes before packing. Drain and dry it wth a towel before packing. I'd also take a bunch of potatoes that were covered in foil and baked, right out of the grill/cooker, and use them as a cooler heat source.

    Hmmmm? keeping skin crispy for a travel up the Edens? I think using a ziplock would make it soggy. What are those roast chicken containers like from stores that sell roasted chicken? I think they have some holes to let moisture not accumulate. Even wax paper wrapping might be a better idea? That way the chicken is covered but it's "breathing".

  • Inactive user

    Kenji, the smoker is on a covered porch and out of direct sunlight and wind (kinda). With just the smoke generator on I can usually hold 150 if it doesn't get above 90. I can also place a couple bags of ice in there, if needed. When all else fails, sit nearby, have a drink and open the door with the digital controller looks too high!

  • I do like mackeral, and almost all smoked fish. Thanks for the info. Think I might spring for the pre-scaled/gutted fish, though, since I'm kind of a weenie. Thanks again for the awesome recipe.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Mackeral is inexpensive and it doesn't have scales. Close by us at KImball and Belmont, 3300 North, Joong Boo, has them on ice. They clean it for you. It's a good species to practice smoking on.

    It's also a good fish to grill. Take the fish and make 4 or five deep slashes into it's meat on both sides. Drizzle low sodium soy sauce mixed with some wine and a little vinegar over the fish as you grill it.

    Don't try and cook mackeral in the house in a skillet or pan in the oven, you'll really stink your place up.

  • @Kenji, let us know when your food truck is ready to go.

  • @kenji, ok got it, should i flip it the bird or just let it cook until internal temp is approx 170f, i do have an internal thermometer, brand new never used. as of now i plan to marinade on saturday and cook on sunday. thanks for taking the time to educate me on the art of slow cooking.

  • Lana Avondale

    I just fired up my grill and my thoughts are wandering back to this thread. I've done in-direct cooking but never smoking (at least not intentionally). I'm eager to try smoking some fish but I only have a thermometer without a probe. The temp seems so low that you really can't open the lid often, so the thermometer becomes key to ensure it's still going. Is there a way to do this without a probe thermometer? I have a stick thermometer that I could put into the holes on the top. Would that give me a decent reading?

    I recall a Good Eats episode where Alton smoked a fish with stuff he found in the garage and a nearby garage sale. He used a box, a baking rack, a pie pan, and probably a fancy thermometer. I don't remember the thermometer part. Thanks for your input.

  • Lana Avondale

    Ah! I remember now! The box allowed him to poke the grill thermometer (with the pointy tip) through the box and gauge the temp. Anyone have any experience measuring temp by sticking the thermometer in the top holes on the charcoal grill? Thoughts on accuracy?

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @inactive user

    Next is smoke creation. Cheapest way is to use wood chips and aluminum foil. Crafty Beaver on Central has a great selection of various wood chips for cooking on their North wall. I'd suggest not using something that will be too over-powering as you practice your BBQ skills. Go with oak or alder.

    Take a 10 inch square sheet of foil, place a cup of chips in the center and fold over the foil to make a packet. Take a fork and make about 8 jabs into the foil all over to make little holes.

    With your grill already warmed up for 15 minutes, place the foil packet with hole in it right next to the flame from the burner. Within minutes you should be creating smoke.

    For a chicken cook, I'd create oak or alder smoke for about 35 minutes of the total cooking time.

    Place the chicken onto the grate with the dark meat parts of chicken closest to the heat source.

    You'll have anywhere from a 1.5 hour to 2.5 hour cooking time.

    yes you can turn the chicken halfway thru the cooking time.

    Personally I take my chicken off when the dark meat hits 155. I then cover it for about 10 minutes before serving.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @lana, not sure which cooker you have but for my 22.5 inch Weber kettle, about 8 coals is all I use off to one side. smoking the fish on the grate on the opposite side of the hot coals.

    For fish you can do it without a thermometer. Use a fork and your fingers. When the fish isn't expressing moisture anymore, take a fork into the thickest part of the fish. If the meat flakes you are done. During the cook using your finger, if you press into the thickest part if it bounces back you need more time.

    Depending on the thickness of the fish I'm usually at 3-4 hours. I'll create smoke for about 1/3 of the cooking time.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @lana, I went to Kmart on Elston and Cicero and got this:

    I use it for temping the inside of a cooker and meat temps. What's also nice about this model is it goes up to 550 degrees which makes it ideal to use for hot oil cooking too. It's made my fried foods much better now that I know what temps my oils are at.

    Currently I'm fond of using grapeseed oil and bringing the oil to 395 degrees.

  • Lana Avondale

    Thanks, Kenji, that's less costly than thought. I have a food thermometer but not a thermometer to measure the heat inside the grill. I'm using a 22" charcoal Weber too.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    once you learn how much of a specific fuel creates a specific temperature it's all about maintaining that temp by using the openings of the weber and adding fuel as needed.

  • @kenji, cooking with kenji update, went to family fruit market today picked up a
    3.1lbs chicken $5
    goya mojo criolla marinade $1.49
    3 lemons $1.56
    cut the chicken in half (first time cutting a raw whole chicken in half, easier than i thought) and put into a large sealable container, put the juice from the 3 lemons on it and the marinade to cover the chicken.
    it is in the fridge now, i opted for the overnight marinade.
    i will update as i go along.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    No beer run at the Savoy down the block, West of there on Milwaukee?

  • an occasional drinker at best, i am having a red stripe now, it has been months since i had a drink. really not a drinker, but can drink, and will throw down rum and diet cokes all night at a wedding or event of such.

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    @Inactive User, Don't forget to wash your hands well after handling raw chicken and meat. FYI

  • @kenji, update on the grill now 260 at grate 280 on built in thermometer on grill on top. chicken over off burner, wood chips soaked and put over on burner, reynolds wrap sheets were used to make the packet, poked holes in it. only burnt myself once when putting the wood chip packet. removed the thermometer on the grill with glove , lifted grill grate, put packet, then went to put thermometer back on grill grate without glove, owh!
    @ luci, hands washed every time i touch meat. i have someone open the door even not to get my hands on the handle or anything else. thanks for posting.

  • @kenji, ok, flipped over, 267 at grate 290 on built in thermometer, 110 on internal thermometer in chicken. smells good, i am beginning to learn patience in cooking, having a little anxiety over it, i can see this is probably where the beer would come in handy.

  • @kenji, complication, checked temp, 100 at top of grill. "pro tip, if slow cooking for first time make sure you have enough propane." grill out of propane, relocating bird to a 350 degree oven to finish off, smells and looks good. most likely 20-30 min will finish it off. i can see where the beer would come in handy here too.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    FWIW, I've done that.

    Neighborhood tip on propane refills. Go to the Uhaul place on Cicero and Cullom. They fill the tank all the way for about 15 bucks. I used to go the the gas station and get the 19 buck exchange tanks for years. Those tanks at the gas station aren't filled to full. It's maybe 1/2 the amount of propane you'll get at UHaul.

  • oh, i forgot to mention how it turned out, only took 15 minutes to finish off in the oven. the chicken came out juicy on the inside and was literally falling off the bones. i liked it and would make it again. you can taste the smoke flavor from the wood chips. there were a couple times i took a bite that was extremely lemony. it went very quickly, i am thinking of doing the same with a bunch of chicken breast. with the wood chips, do i use new chips every time or wait for the ones to burn up? how do i know when to change chips?

  • kenji Find us here -->

    I make a few packets for a day of cooking. Use a new packet when the packet isn't emitting smoke anymore. Try different types of wood for various flavor. Mesquite is the most flavorful followed my Hickory. Fruit tree woods can be lighter in smokey flavor. Maple is less smokey than oak too. Also, I don't bother soaking the wood chips. I use them dry.

    Personally I'm a dark meat kinda guy and if I was only making breasts I might not go past 145 degrees and then let them sit covered to come up to temp. White meat gets dry to me if cooked to too high of a temp. To make the skin crispier you could stop when they are at 120-125 then turn the flame up and cook over an open flame to finish off the bird.

    If you are confident you can keep a constant low temp for a few cooks then move on to baby back ribs. Baby backs can be cooked in under 1.75-2.5 hours with the same technique as your chicken. they are a different type of meat than a spare rib and get nice and tender in 1/2 the time of spare pork ribs.

  • grethomory Resident of Jefferson Park

    Kenji I want to taste some of your stuff and compare to mine. I'm from down South and I have not had any BBQ or grilling or frying that compares to what I am used to.

  • Randy Stroller

    @grethomory - not sure what part of the South you are from but I am guessing not Texas as Smoque and Hickory River do a good job on Texas style brisket. Not as good as mine but good.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Here's my newest rig. I picked it up this past Friday:

    Lil Drum Smoker

    Practiced with this weekend and did 7 cooks so far. 5 chickens, and about 30 various sausages so far.

    I've got it to 5 hours of burn time, between 225F to 250F, with an initial 25 briquettes and about 5 additional coals thrown in throughout the 5 hours.

  • Conor McGrath Portage Park

    I just cooked up 12 slabs of ribs at a picnic this weekend. Serving one rib per plate they lasted 10 minutes. Which means I need to bring more ribs next year. Which means I need a bigger smoker. I have a bullet smoker and an off set smoker. I really like my off set but it's rusting out and may not make it much longer. Any suggestions? That Lil Drum looks interesting (Weber conversion?). How large a capacity does it have?

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Conor, you need the bigass Ugly Drum Smoker.

    Yes you can cobble one together yourself, but this guy in Gary IN, has it down. Food grade barrel implementation.

    The mother of all UDS threads is here:

    Suffice what I just posted for you to:

    12+ hours at 250F with just 9 lbs of charcoal and wood chunks.

    I'm still practicing on my little drum smoker, but once I'm dialed in you are welcomed to give it whirl anytime. I think looking at it, I could do 8 slabs easily with a rib rack. I picked this up because I wanted something for less volume cooks using less fuel. That and it was only 75 bucks with a drive to Gary.

    If you end up going to Gary, I'll go with, I found a good soul food restaurant in Merriville which seems only 10 minutes away.

  • grethomory Resident of Jefferson Park

    @Kenji, how do you know about the oil can drum smoker? We use those alot down south. I swear I have never seen anyone use them. I am beginning to think you might have some cooking skills, lol.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    I learned it all on the Intertubes, that and I grew up in Maywood, with my friend's grandpa's from Mississippi.

  • Randy Stroller

    I really like JoongBoo and Barrel smokers but being a guy who has hydroblasted crackers I sure hope those barrels do not have any caustic left in them. Also it would be nice if I could have put my briskets in Kenji's smoker or my smoker anywhere that did not disturb folks. This was $65 of meat I was willing to cook and share with my neighbors but that is a new concept for folks who think smoke means rib or pork.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    The rig from Gary is made from a food grade barrel. It gets burned out with a pipefitters torch and a quick sandblast before it's fabricated into a smoker.

    Being that the cooker is new Randall, I'm still learning temp control. I'm good up to four hours right now. Once I get it dialed in we can cook your beef. I'm assuming your brisket cooks are 8-12 hours.

  • Conor McGrath Portage Park

    @kenji: WhiteArc's offset smoker looks very nice, and it's only $250. I'll probably give the guy a call in the next few days as his pictures of the offset don't give any interior views and I'm curious if he installs a heat diffuser or if that's an option.

    If I do make the trip I'll give you a holler. A stop at a soulfood place sounds like a nice option.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    It's my understanding most folks using the full size 55 gallon drum smokers don't want, need, or use a diffuser. I got that from reading that big thread on bbq brethren.

    Do a goog on it using "uds" "diffuser".

  • Lana Avondale

    I will selflessly volunteer to help test the food from anyone's trials. :)

  • Conor McGrath Portage Park

    @kenji: I wasn't talking about a diffuser on the UDS, but on the offset. A diffuser probably wouldn't make much difference in a UDS. In an offset it is a game changer. With the firebox on one side you get much more even temperatures across the entire cooking surface.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    gotcha. My next purchase from White Arc, will be the UDS. I think offsets might take too much fire tending for my tastes.

    I essentially want my cooker to be like my kitchen stove oven. Set a temp and be able to walk away from it for a long time.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    @lana...I'll keep you in mind!

  • Randy Stroller

    I have worn out an electric and a charcoal Brinkmann and now my newest Brinkman which is not pictured draws too much air. This new one you just move the fire pan to change to a grill so it does not have the large piece that slowed air flow on the others. The complaints on Saturday about smoke though came while the charcoal was still in my chimney starter. Here are some older pics.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    That's a beautiful looking brisket, Randall.

    What would happen if you gave some of those neighbors a chicken or two every now and then?

  • Randy Stroller

    @Kenji - Thank you for the comment on the brisket. The live chickens? One woman tried to convince me to become a vegan. Smoked? Not in my smoker. It as is one of my freezers is reserved for beef. I have one of those down under brand grills that I use just to a little smoke on quarters or thighs and then we finish them in the oven. I am paranoid about pink meat unless it is beef.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Hey Randall, what do you think of this recipe?

    Rosh Hashanah begins in the evening of Sunday, September 16, 2012, and ends in the evening of Tuesday, September 18, 2012.

  • Randy Stroller

    Hard to say. I have not had a chance to try any Rosh Hashanah brisket recipes. There are so few places here I can buy a whole brisket and it seems a shame to not get the whole thing going at one time. I like all of the flavors mentioned in the ingredients.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    People on the LTH Forum like Peoria Packing.

    Did you mention you tried Ellengee? I've only had their in-house prepared corned beef brisket. Which is awesome.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Even more brisket porn!

    An instructional video:

  • Randy Stroller

    The place I was using was closer in on Lake and on the North side of the street. Ellengie gave me a good price on IBP whole briskets and some very nice hamburger patties and they are just right up Milwaukee so I feel like I am shopping in my neighborhood.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    yesterday's cook: $1.99/lb pork shoulder from Family Fruit Market on Cicero Ave. about a 6lb cut of meat. 7 hours on the new little smoker. Good tasty product.

    yesterday's rub:

    cheap yellow mustard coating, Goya Adobo general seasoning, black pepper, Mrs Dash's Original Blend

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Forgot to mention, All Summer I've been using the Royal Oak briquettes (red bags) from Crafty Beaver on Central Ave.. Two 13lb bags packaged together for 11.99. Good burn time, consistent product all summer. They said they'd keep it in stock all Fall and Winter too. Supposedly this product is just charcoal and doesn't have all the chemicals the blue and white bags of Kingsford briquettes have.

  • I am smoking a 6lb brisket today, left that bad boy out there for the last nine hours. I through a spicy rub on it, using apple wood chunks to smoke. In a few hours it should hopefully be super tender.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    What kind of cooker you using?

  • grethomory Resident of Jefferson Park

    Hey Kenji, have you ever heard of BBQ Balogna? I was telling people about it the other day and no one believed me. I remember it being wrapped in foil...the outside being crispy, but the inside was oh so juicy.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    No, I'm not well versed with sausage.

  • grethomory Resident of Jefferson Park

    I remember 4th of July as a kid eating it and many people still do down South. Hey Kenji, I just found someone on youtube BBQ over hickory. Look below:

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Whoa! Jeezo Peezo.

    That's flash pulmonary edema ready to happen.

    One serving has to be 12000mg of sodium.

    He's using the red top bottle of Kikkoman on top of a bologna!

  • grethomory Resident of Jefferson Park

    LOLOLOLOL. Now, I don't remember seeing them put Kikkoman on top of it when I was a kid. I'm gonna ask my uncle in Louisiana for the recipe.

  • So we did ribs today in a regular Weber, dry rub, 3 hours smoke (mesquite & hickory) and 1.5 hours oven. Nice smoke ring, but way too soft. Never thought I could ever say that. I now know I like a bit of fight with the bite.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    What were your side dishes?

  • White rice and a sweet/sour arugula salad.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Luci emailed me her gravy recipe and I thought this thread would be the perfect place to archive it for us for future reference. Pasta is a great side dish for a BBQ meal.

    Thanks Luci!

    From: @Luci in Rogers Park

    1 LB Italian Sausage, casings removed (she likes Dominick's Hot Italian)
    1 LB ground beef
    1/2 cup finely diced onion
    4-5 cloves of garlic minced
    1Tbl Olive oil
    1 large can crushed tomatoes, I use Contadina (it's not too sweet)
    2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
    1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
    1/4 cup good DRY red wine
    1 1/2 cups of water
    2 teas dried Ital. seasoning including oregano & some fennel seeds, and Ital. seasoning
    1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped~~~~this is added during the last 20 min of cooking
    salt and pepper to taste

    In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add oil, break up the sausage, add beef, onions & garlic until well browned, DRAIN FAT. DON'T BURN THE GARLIC!
    Stir in crushed tomatoes, tom. paste, tom. sauce, water, Ital. seasonings, salt & pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 11/2 hours, stirring occaisionally.
    Add fresh basil last 20 min. of cooking time

    Serve over your favorite pasta with parm. or romano cheese.

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