Confessions of a Pitmaster

Well, I have to say that the people of Okemos have spoken, they love BBQ. It has been our pleasure to bring our brand of Craft BBQ to that side of town. The outpouring of support has been truly amazing and if I do say so myself I thought we did a pretty good job of bringing the same quality that everyone expects in REO Town to Okemos.

Here is a confession though. It has not been easy. You would think the new smoker would cook the same as our old one in REO based on the fact that it’s the same model, just bigger. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

In our old smoker, we can manipulate the hot zones to our advantage and we thought they would be located in a similar spot. Also, we thought we had a reasonable expectation of how long things would take to cook. Well, that was naive on our part. Which goes back to something that talked about in our first blog. Know your smoker. They are all different, no matter what, and you have to spend time cooking on it to get the best results.

The first day we cooked on it started out pretty well, except a few hours in the doors started to warp and the doors no longer sealed properly. Heat and smoke were pouring out around each of the doors and we could not get a temp above 175 degrees. Not good. To top that off we had a new shipment of wood that we had received earlier that day and it was pretty green, not our usual seasoned cherry that we prefer. That was a very long and stressful day.

Good news is that after two weeks of cooking on the new one we have identified the hot zones and we can place briskets and pork shoulders in the proper place to ensure the best end result. The point side of the brisket should always face the hottest spot since it is usually thicker and has more connective tissue that needs to break down. On a pork shoulder, the side that has the bone exposed needs to be also facing the hottest spot since that is what also takes the longest to get done.

We have also learned that the Okemos/Haslett like their ribs. We used to think that we were ballers when we sold 24 ribs on a Saturday during the summer in REO. Ha, that would maybe make it through lunch. Ribs have always been one of our signature items and also an item that people judge the quality of BBQ on so the fact that they have been so popular is a pretty exciting thing for all of us.

Thank you, everyone, who came out to see us this first week. It has been quite a ride and we are excited to bring Craft BBQ to the east side of town