If you think grilling is the “thing” to do this summer, think again! John McLemore, a southerner through-and-through, was born an entrepreneur and accidentally became a cook. While testing cooking products designed by Masterbuilt, his family business, John and his brother Don, realized they had created a simple style of cooking recipes that are normally considered difficult.
He is the author of “Dadgum That’s Good!” and he’s about to show you the fool-proof way of smoking that will have your grilling days long gone no matter what season it is!
Please tell our readers about your background; where did your love of barbecue come from?
John: My backyard cooking with my dad established my love of food and I learned the recipes straight from my mom. Masterbuilt, the family business, has been around for about 43 years, so we went from cooking in our own backyard to sharing recipes with folks out there all over the country.
What is it about smoking that makes BBQ-ing foolproof?
John: It’s simply the smoke flavor; the juicy result created by smoking your favorite recipes. These are not the results that you typically get from a grill. You’re standing, waiting and even sometimes, burning those hamburgers and hot dogs, losing the juiciness of the meat. But here at Masterbuilt, this is how we do it to get great smoke flavor and have results like we do. We are smoking a ton of food out here this morning; altogether, hamburgers and hotdogs with corn, Boston butt, ribs, smoked whole chicken and cornish game hens. We have some on this one smoker and on a propane smoker; it all works the same to give you great results.
So whether you have ribs or chicken, it doesn’t really matter what the recipe is, all the varieties you want to smoke, you can. When you smoke food you get a different result; not only do you see the results, but you taste and savor the infused flavor produced by smoking! So instead of burning your ingredients, you are actually blending those ingredients throughout the meat so that you get a different result (compared to grilling). It’s easier, you can relax with your family and friends and let the smoker do all the work.
Let’s talk wood… how does it really work with food and what are your best kept secrets?
John: You’ll get a different flavor from the different smoke woods.
- If you use an Apple wood, you’re going to get a milder, fruitier style flavor that’s great for poultry, pork or wild game.
- Alder wood is going to give you that great flavor when you’re smoking fish or seafood.
- Pecan wood, something that I love, will give you a sweeter flavor for pork, poultry and wild game.
- Mesquite wood is going to give you a stronger flavor which is great for beef.
- And the wood that everybody goes to, the most common, is Hickory flavored wood that you can smoke with all your recipes. Not only will it give you the flavor but it adds different ways of seasoning your food.
There’s also the option to brine your chicken. This is one of my favorite chicken recipes: Lemon Pepper Brine (recipe below). Mix your ingredients in a Ziplock bag with your poultry and place it in the refrigerator overnight and start smoking in the morning; you’ve got a 4-5 hour chicken recipe – done.
As you can see in the video above, this is a wet rub that is created with some regular yellow mustard blended with your favorite barbecue rub. Simply put that in the refrigerator overnight as well.
When you are going to be smoking baby back ribs, you always want to make sure that you take the membrane off the back. This allows the smoke flavor to get through and your ingredients and flavoring to go through and into the meat as well.
No matter what time of the year you’re cooking, who you’re cooking for, or who you want to spend time with: your family or friends, Masterbuilt has you covered for all of your smoking needs! We just want to make it that super easy on you; whether you’re cooking with propane, electric or charcoal.
What are your best techniques to the perfect BBQ that impresses even the BBQ experts?
John: I use a special technique with my ribs. It’s my 3 – 2 – 1 Technique:
1. I use my baby back rib seasoning on the ribs and I put them on the smoker at 225 degrees, smoking for 3 hours.
2. Then I take them off the smoker, wrap them in aluminum foil and put them back on the smoker for one hour. This allows that bone to actually pull apart from that rib and give you two different results. One, leave it on for one hour, you bite that meat off the bone. Or two, let it smoke for two hours and you get fall-off-the-bone results.
3. Whichever you choose, put it back on the smoker unwrapped the last 30 minutes and put your barbecue sauce right on top – and this melts right into that meat.
With that barbecue sauce on there combined with the smoking, you’re not burning your food, but rather you’re getting a great smoke-infused flavor.
Please tell us about your book, “Dadgum That’s Good!” Where can we get a copy?
John: We have had 3 cookbooks over the past four years: Dadgum That’s Good was our first cookbook, Dadgum That’s Good Too was our second and then our latest, Dadgum That’s Good And Healthy. This is our first cookbook that covers all kinds of different recipes for your smoking, grilling, frying, and bold and steamy desires.
I’m showing you today on the video above all of our smoke recipes so you’re going to see just a little bit of what we do here at Masterbuilt. All of the recipes are in my cookbook: you’ll find pulled pork, baby back ribs along with some smoke corn, hamburgers and hotdogs, and a broad prime rib.
Another great recipe – let’s not forget salmon that’s a great compliment with the wood flavor of your choice.
Noting the number one staple in America: chicken. Smoke Your Chicken Without Frying and I promise you – it will change the way you think about your chicken recipes.
Where and how should we start this season with our own venture in BBQ?
John: I suggest you go to masterbuilt.com. Our products are available at all retailers just about everywhere all over the country and you can also go to our Masterbuilt Facebook page to get some information about what wood chips to pair your food with for the beginners out there. Start with whatever recipe that you’re going to cook this weekend. Smoking used to be that type of technique that you did only in certain seasons. However, smoking is now a popular and common process that anyone can do, and people are doing it year-round. We actually are saying:
Smoking is the new grill. Why? Because you get great results, it’s easier, and this is what you want to have when you sit down at the dinner table.