Ultimate BBQ Tips

You need to be brining your meats prior to smoking them.

A brine is essentially a salt water solution that you soak your meat in for a specific amount of time based on the type and amount of meat in question. Instead of just seasoning the outside of your meat, brining allows the salt to permeate the meat, adding flavor throughout.

Some of the best things about brining:
-It's extremely inexpensive
-It's easy to experiment with different flavors and make your own amazing concoctions
-It adds a ton of flavor
-The rave reviews from your guests about your "killer" "amazing" "life changing" BBQ Fare

A basic brine is really easy to make and you'll only need a few things.
-1 plastic, clean 5 gallon bucket (you can find these at Lowes)
-1 5 gallon sauce pot
-3 gallons of filtered water
-tin foil
EXTRAS (you can experiment with some of these to make your brine your own. Of course you aren't limited to these options. You can add pretty much whatever you want)
-Apple Juice
-Cranberry Juice

To create your brine you'll start by boiling 1 gallon of water. Then stir 3 cups of salt in until the salt has completely dissolved. Then you'll need to add 1 more gallon of filtered water. The third gallon can be any kind of liquid you want. For instance you can use a 1/2 gallon of apple juice and 1/2 gallon of cranberry juice. Or you can just use water or beer or any kind of combination that you want. Now that you have a total of 3 gallons of liquid in your pot you can add any aromatics like onions, carrots, apples etc. Bring the combo to a boil, remove the aromatics with a strainer and let it rest until it reaches room temp. IMPORTANT: DO NOT ADD MEAT DURING THE PREPARATION PROCESS! Put your brine in the fridge and let it get nice and cold before you add any meat to it.

I always make a big batch like this because when I bbq I tend to need a ton of meat. The brine is just enough for 2 medium chickens, 3 racks of pork short ribs and a large brisket. If you aren't going to cook this much meat, use less brine. Simply cut the recipe in half or in three if you need less.

Now that your brine is nice and cold it's time to add the meat. Get that big plastic 5 gal bucket and place the meats in it. Dump some ice in on top of the meat (3-5 lbs should be fine) and pour brine in until the meats are completely submerged. You don't need to fill the bucket to the top, just make sure the meat is covered in brine. Cover the top of the bucket with foil and place the bucket in a cool place. A cool garage is fine, but the fridge would be better. Don't worry about the meat spoiling because the high salt content will keep it preserved as long as it's kept at a relatively low temperature.

Thinner meats around 1-2 inches in thickness only need around 3-5 hours. Meat as thick as 2-4 inches should get around 5-7 hours and thicker meats like whole chickens require at least 12 hours, but will come out great if left to brine for 24 hours.
After your meat is done brining, you're going to want to apply a rub. Remember that after brining your meat it will be salted very well. Any spice rub you add doesn't need to have much salt, so prepare the meat rub yourself and leave the salt out or at least cut around 90% of it out.

BadaBING! You are ready to move your meat to the bbq smoker.