Spend Quality Time With Family – BBQ Bring The Family Together

For too many years I allowed the need to support my family to interfere with quality time with my family. Now with my new hobby of BBQ, refining that to Smoking and Grilling. I have found a way that was always there to share time with my family. Many of you may share this feeling of loss and it is my hope through sharing my interest in Smoking and grilling, you will find more time to spend with your families. So you will see an old fashion way to create memorable memories while spending quality time with your families.

ways spend quality time your family
Need The Right Smoker/Grill
There are a few types of smokers out there to chose from.

  • Charcoal Smoker ( which there are many variations )
  • Pellet Smoker
  • Electric Smoker
  • Gas Smoker

I myself was ready to purchase an electric smoker, then the Pellet smoker caught my eye and that is what I bought. Found it to give the feeling of charcoal, yet the pellets gave easier control over the heat and smoke.
What exactly is a smoker? It is a piece of outdoor cooking equipment that is supposed to cook at low temperatures for long period of time. Using smoke of different types of wood, to infuse different flavors into what you’re cooking on it.


Things To Think About Before Buying Your Smoker

You do not want to buy too small or too big of a smoker. I purchased a small pellet smoker, thinking it was just for my wife and I. Forgetting the family and friends. Once you have one, your quality time with your family will increase. So if you feel you are for the most part going to cook for four people or you know many times it will be a gang of 20 or you want to cook many things at once, ribs, brisket, and some appetizers. These are things you have to know before picking out the size of your smoker,

Next thing to consider is fuel type.

  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Charcoal
  • Wood
  • Pellets

All of these will achieve your ultimate goal of smoking. You have to take into factor leaning curves. Charcoal is great but you have to learn, how to control the heat and smoke. Same with Wood smokers. Electric, gas and pellet smokers are easier to use. Also, think about where you live, you do not want to buy a charcoal, gas, wood smoker and find out that your Condo bylaws say you can not use them. Their electric might be the best choice.

You know yourself if you want to, most of the time making something quick, then gas or electric may be best for you. If you’re like me and your into the whole experience of smoking from choosing the right piece of meat and the seasoning. Taking time to cook it correctly than charcoal, wood or pellets is the way to go. My wife thinks I am crazy. But the family and friend sure do enjoy my slow- cooked St. Louis Ribs that take seven hours to smoke.

Also, think about if you only want to smoke or do some grilling. On most of the smokers, you can not do both, you tend to lose searing of the meat. But there is a way around that if you have an iron pan.

The other thing that most of us have to consider is ” How much can you spend on a smoker? ” When it comes to BBQ with the family, quality comes first, then price. You can spend from $100 to $10,000 on a smoker.

Pro’s and Con”s On Few Different Types Of Smokers

Let’s review a few different types of smokers.

quality time your family

  1. Electric Smoker They are truly the best to start the smoking process and forget it. It requires the least amount of babysitting. The unites work with a heating element that heats the cooking chamber and maintains the temperature. There is a draw under unite where you place wood chips and the smoker heats them enough to cause them to smolder, hence creating smoke. On many of the electric smokers, there is another draw where you fill with water or juices to keep the cooking chamber moister and add flavor. Some higher priced units have thermostats to control the temperature. They may also have probes to insert into the meat to give you the internal temperature of the meat, for cooking it to your desired taste. The Pros are you do not have to worry about fuel (gas, pellets, wood, Charcoal). Unit comes in different sizes, but do not take up a big footprint. They are great for apartments and condos. They are safer than other smokers in places like a boat. Cons are they only be used for smoking. They tend to leak heat, so even with a thermometer, the heat tends to not be as consistent. They must be stored in dry place.how to spend quality time with your child
  2. Horizontal Offset Smoker (Off Set Smoker) – This is the first smoker I ever saw, it was at a pit master BBQ competition. The offset smokers where started by people that made them their self, using metal drums and old propane tanks. These type of smokers use charcoal for heat and wood logs or chunks of wood for the smoke. You will find two types of Offsets “Cheap ones” find at your local hardware store or chain Home and Garden store. Problem with these is they cost $100-$300 and prove to be very disappointing. The more expensive ones are made of heavier steel, have better seals. They will deliver better heat and smoke. Negative thing with Offsets there is a learning curve. And because they produce very good smoke, if you do not know how to control the smoke the meat can come out bitter.quality time your family
  3. Gas/Propane These smokers look like the Electric smoker, just using gas to heat and create smoke. There is no thermostat, but controlling the heat is as easy to turn the knob on a gas stove. Very similar to electric smoker comes in different sizes. Do not need big space. Very simple to use. On the other side, you can only smoke, no grilling. You should always have an extra tank of propane, do not want to run out of propane in the middle of smoking a brisket for your hungry family. They’re not typically made very well, the seals tend not to be good, which means loss of heat and smoke.
  4. spend quality time with the family

4. Pellet Smoker – These smokers look like the Off Set Smoker. But instead of charcoal and wood, they use electric and smoker quality pellets. Very interesting how they work. First, you fill the hopper with the pellets, which come in many types of wood ( hickory, maple, pecan, oak to name a few). The pellets are transported from the Hooper via an auger to the fire box, where the pellets are ignited by fire pin that is heated by electric. The heat is controlled by a thermometer with temperature controller inside the cooking chamber, which in turn controls the speed of the auger delivering the pellets. Pellet smokers start at about $500 – $9,000. They really only for smoking. I have found out that by taking an iron pan, turning Pellet smoker up to 450 F, letting the iron pan heat up for ten minutes, you can sear a steak to perfection. Need to protect the Hooper if you have pellets in it when not in use, pellets can get wet. I cover my unite and have not had a problem. After 2 or 3 uses I use a shop vac to clean out the ash the from the pellets to ensure proper firing of the pellets. The pellet smoker is my personal choice, They tend to cook faster because they have a fan that circulates the heated air and smoke, creating a convection type of cooking. I have found that if recipe says on smoker the meat will cook for a certain amount of time, on pellet smoker it will cook faster. ways spend quality time your family


A Little Off Topic – Spend Quality Time With The Family

Sorry about that let me tell you how all of this can create quality time with your family and this is the main reason I have created this blog.

My personal feeling is with everyone so involved with the many things we are all involved with, we are losing the time with the people that really matter, our families. Even if you can get them all to sit down to eat together, there always taking out their beloved smartphones, say it is important to have to get this. When in, a fact it can wait. They take care of those phones as if their priceless.

This is where having a meal that is from a smoker or grill is perfect. Serve a brisket or a rack of ribs. I promise you they will not answer their cell or respond to that text. Because their hands will be too sticky to touch their precious phone. Which allows you to spend quality time with the family!!bbq with family


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What To Grill As Side Dish And Flavor It With Little Smoke

When I am doing my favorite thing cooking on my Pellet Smoker for my family and friends. I like to make something different as a side dish or desert on the smoker, because smoke will give things you never considered putting on a grill a whole other flavor.

Smoke And The Wood Used To Create It !

There are so many types of wood to use for smoking that creates a whole different taste to the things you are grilling on the smoker. It will really add a real twist for the meal that you are preparing for people you love. Here I will touch on only a few because there are too many to review here today.

Alder wood is seen in Northwest, it adds a sweet musky flavor, not overpowering. Goes great with small game birds, poultry, beef, and fish. Can also work well with fruits.

Applewood a bit denser sweet, fruity flavor smoke. This complements beef, poultry and pork ( really good with ham), use it is one of the strongest flavorings of the fruit trees.

Cherry wood gives a hint of sweetness. Great with poultry, will give a turkey a rose tint real nice. Also, great with veggies and fruits.

Hickory wood gives a sweet strong flavor used when smoking bacon. Will work great with beef, pork ribs, ham, and poultry. If using best to soak in water for hour lessons chance of bitter taste.

There are so many other woods to use when smoking, we will talk about them at a later time.

When using chips or chunks of wood many people feel best to soak them in water to enhance the smoke. I tend to have a problem with this because it takes a long time for wood to get really soaked. It is common belief to soak the chips or chunks for an hour. My back round is water restoration, due to the density of wood, only a few millimeters of the wood surface will really retain water. But again I am not a Pitmaster, just a Dad likes to smoke and grill for family and friends and why I use a Pellet Smoker.

Let’s get into What to grill as a side dish.

Side Dishes That You May Not Of Thought To Smoke

Another key component in creating a good smoke is temperature, it best to keep it between 180f and 225f. Also, find having a perforated pan is a big help, here two that are good.What to grill as side dish

Grill on smoker

Something good to add to a summer salad. Take a nice Georgia Peaches cut them into halves and pit them. Now use a combination of Hickory and Applewood chips or pellets, bring the smoker up to 200F to 215. Place the peach halves cut side up for 15 – 20 minutes, flip them cut side down for 10 minutes. You will have heavenly sweet smokey peaches, slice them and mix it in with the salad. I have used a raspberry salad dressing delicious. If you have any left over put them on a dish of vanilla ice cream and drizzle warm caramel over it. Hmm, sinful!!

What to grill as side dish






Another thing to add to a salad. Take those tiny tomatoes Place them in one of the above pans and brush a little olive oil and sprinkle a little salt and garlic powder on those red jewels. Lite the smoker with apple and cherry wood chips or pellets and bring the temperature to 180F, Place the pan on grill and cook for five minutes. Add them to a Caesar salad.

When I am thinking of what to grill as a side dish this is one of my favorites. This is one that my daughter’s boyfriend made, it was a crowd pleaser. Bacon wrapped figs the First time made 24 but you should double that, ran out of them in 20 minutes. Okay, for 24 figs need 8 slices of hickory bacon and cut them into 1/4 pieces and wrap the figs use toothpicks to secure them ( soak toothpicks in water for an hour). Then is a bowl combine 1/2 cup soy sauce,2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a half teaspoon of smoked paprika. Whisk them until the brown sugar dissolves and them brush it over the wrapped figs. Turn of the smoker to 180F and use hickory chips and get it smoking, once have a good smoke place the Bacon wrapped Figs on the grill for ten minutes, then turn it up to 450F. When bacon is crisp take them off and serve.

What to grill as a side dish
This is another family pleaser, Take hard-boiled eggs peeled and leave them hole. Lightly coat with smokey paprika seasoning. Then use maple wood chips and fire up the smoker to 200F to 215 and get a good smoke going and then place the eggs on the grill for 15 to 20 minutes. Great for Cob salad or egg salad.

My Favorite Dessert (Well one of them)

What to grill as side dish-Peach and Raspberry crisp

This wonderful dish is called Peach and Raspberry Crisp
You will need

  • 6 cups diced peaches ( which I smoke like in prior passage Use about 5-6 peaches)
  • Juice of a fresh lemon
  • 2 cups of wash raspberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour divided use)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 ounces shortbread sugar cookies, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons of cold butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • vanilla ice cream for serving

Now grease a 10-inch pie pan with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine the peaches and the lemon juice. Add the raspberries, the granulated sugar,1/4 cup of the flour, and the cinnamon. Whisk to combine ingredients. Then pour into the pie pan.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cookies, brown sugar, butter, salt and the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Pulse until the cookies are crumbly and the butter has been broken down into pea-sized bits. Spoon the topping evenly over the fruit in the pie pan.

Now set up the smoker with either Cherry or Applewood, could combine them. Set it for 350F.

Bake the crisp for about 45 minutes, the crisp filling should be bubbling around the edges and the topping is browned.

Call everyone to the table and serve it over vanilla ice cream and watch the smiles appear.

What To Grill As A Side Dish?

So we see that side dishes do not have to be boring. And they do not have to be just corn or string beans. Which I could have told you how to change corn and string beans into something different. You also see why the temperature is important in creating smoke. And that the taste that smoke gives the food changes with the different type of woods you can use. We found out our smoker grills are not just for meats. So let the imagination go and try different things to change the next family BBQ into a memorable experience.

As always thank you for visiting Smokeypelletsbychris. I encourage you to please leave comment or suggestions.







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Perfectly Grilled Steak

tips for perfectly grilled steaksIt is my belief like many other steak lovers that a Perfectly Grilled Steak is rare to medium rare. If someone asks for steak well done, give them chicken. I have another trick if you do not want to be rude, which will be disclosed later in this article.

Where To Purchase Your Steak And Grades Of Beef

Now if you are not really a steak lover like myself, you can go to you local Grocery store and purchase an okay steak. Grocery store steaks are not usually the best quality meat, they are usually USDA Select

So you have many choices to find quality meat, but here we are going to talk about two. One is you local Butcher, a good butcher will be very friendly and happy to explain to you about the different types of steaks, to help you find what you should be looking for. They tend to carry USDA Prime or USDA Choice and Aged Prime or Choice. These cuts are expensive to very expensive. But worth of every Penney if you are true steak lover looking for perfect steak to serve your family and friends.

Second place that you can purchase very good steak is at Costco. They carry both USDA Prime or USDA Choice. The difference is that you lose the care of you local butcher. But gain great meat at a considerable savings. This Christmas we purchased our prime rib their. It was out of this world. This is how it looked before cooking it.

Below is a description of the different grades of meat.

How To Prepare Your Steak To Be Come The Perfectly Grilled Steak

Fist of all you must remove it from the package and pat it dry. Place it in the refrigerator overnight. You do both of these steps to insure the best char on your steak. Some people think you should season it at this time too. I prefer to season it after the 24 hours in the refrigerator. Either way before grilling it you need to leave it out on the counter for 4 hours to get to room temperature, to insure an even cook of the whole steak. You will find many ways people say to season s steak. I prefer to coat it with butter a good coat of salt ( do not skip on the salt) and garlic and onion powder. Then let it sit for an hour. Then I fire up my smoker to 450 degrees and Place my cast iron pan in it for 10 to 15 minutes. Place the steak in pan for 3-4 minutes to sear it and flip it to sear the other side. This helps to start to create the crust you want and lock in the juices and flavor of the meat. Then turn down the heat to 350 degrees.

Meat Thermometers Very Important

They say a real good Pitmaster can judge the steak by pushing down on it to see if it is rare, medium rare or well done. Well I am not a Pitmaster or a well-trained Chef in restaurant. I am a weekend Dad that like to grill on my smoker in my back yard for my family and friends. And can’t afford to mess up a USDA Prime steak that I paid 12 dollars a pound for at Costco. My wife would kill me.

So I use a meat thermometer their are two types, their purpose is to give you the internal temperature of the meat to archive you desired cooking of the meat, rare, medium rare and well done see chart below:

First type you insert a prob into the meat and on a remote device that you can carry while entertaining your family and friends. It can be set to tell you when it has reach you desired way you like it cooked. For me that is rare!! I prefer this type because you do not have to keep puncturing the meat, which I feel lets out the juices of the steak.

The second meat thermometer is the Instant thermometer, which give you the internal temperature each time you insert it into the meat.

What To Do After You Have A Perfectly Grilled Steak ?

Okay you want your steak to be rare or any other desired result, I suggest removing it from the smoker or grill at about 10 to 15 degree shy of the targeted temperature because it will keep cooking and will reach the targeted temperature as it rests for about 5 minutes, before carving it. This also allows the steak to retain the juices and flavor We are looking for the Perfectly Grilled Steak correct? While the steak resting, is good time to open a good bottle of Burgundy wine and let it breathe, That’s my preference, not a must.

If you want to do something different with a baked potato. You will have to start this about hour and a half before starting your steak. Take an apple corer going the length of the potato core out one or two holes. Keep the ends of the cored out potato. Then stuff the potato with some cook broccoli, bacon, shredded cheese and butter. Place the plug end of the potato back in on both ends of the potato and you can take some slightly cooked strips bacon and wrap it around the potato, then wrap them in aluminum foil. Bake them for 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 degrees .

After the steak has rested, carve it against the grain. It’s not just the cut of meat that determines how tender it is, it’s also how you cut the meat. First, find the direction of the grain (which way the muscle fibers are aligned), then slice across the grain rather than parallel with it.Perfectly grilled steak

What Have We Learned About The Perfectly Grilled Steak?

First we found out where to go to purchase you steak. And that their are difference in a great to poor quality steak, which is defined by USDA grade of the steak, best being Prime USDA to okay Select USDA. Then the importance of how you prepare the steak you chose.

The importance of watching the internal temperature was brought to light, so you grill it to you desired level of cook (rare, Med. Rare). At the beginning of this article I made my feeling known about someone that wants their steak well done. I cringe at that specially if the steak that I am serving is prime USDA, that I spent a bit of money on.

So I will have a Select USDA or grocery cut of steak on hand for those special people that like it well done. And if you prepare it as follows it will taste almost as good as prime cut.

Place you (cheap) steak on a baking sheet or in a pan and coat its entire top surface with salt. Yes, you heard that right—bury the entire slab of meat in salt. Make sure you’re using a coarse grain, such as coarse sea salt or kosher salt. Table salt cannot be substituted; due to its fine grain size, it dissolves and is absorbed too quickly into the meat and over-salts the steak.

Now it’s time to let the meat marinate. Leave the salted steak untouched and at room temperature, basing the length of you marinade on the thickness of you cut. Each inch in thickness equates to one hour of letting it sit: if you steak is two inches thick, you’ll want it to marinate for two hours, and so on.

When time is up, rinse you steak very thoroughly, washing off all the visible salt on the surface. As the salt sloughs off, you should see and feel tenderness in the meat. Additionally, the color of the meat will be slightly darker than before—very similar to an aged cut.

After rinsing, pat you steak dry with paper towels. Don’t skip this step: if the surface of the steak isn’t dry, you’ll be steaming you meat instead of heating the steak surface directly.
Lastly, grill or cook you steak to the doneness you desire—of course, skip the salting step you would normally incorporate in you cooking method. The resulting steak will be tender, flavorful, and oh-so-juicy.
As always hope this was informative, please leave me you comment below.







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When I was young there was a time when I got into my Dad’s charcoal, he was so mad. My dad like most dad’s took his barbecuing very serious. He always said he had the best charcoal for smoker and grilling. He was not to happy I was messing with his charcoal.

Let take a brief look at the History of Charcoal

Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer of Pennsylvania in 1897 invented and patented the first charcoal briquette. Henry Ford made it popular by using wood and sawdust by Products from his automobile fabrication as a feed stock. The ford Charcoal became Kingsford Company.


There are many types of charcoal today, here are a few.

Pad Molded Briquettes are made by packing charcoal, ordinarily produced using sawdust and other wood results, with a fastener and different added substances. The common fillers used are limestone, starch and clay. A few briquettes may likewise incorporate darker coal (warm source), mineral carbon (warm source), borax, sodium nitrate (start aid),limestone (fiery remains brightening specialist), crude sawdust (start help), and different added substances.

Hexagonal Sawdust Briquette Charcoal are made by packing sawdust without covers or added substances, making it totally regular. Hexagonal Sawdust Briquette Charcoal is the favored charcoal in nations like Taiwan, Korea, Center East, Greece. It has a round opening through the middle, with a hexagonal crossing point. Predominantly for BBQ utilizes as it doesn’t emanate scent, no smoke, little fiery remains, high warmth, and long consuming hours (surpassing 4 hours). Simply unadulterated wood fragrance for the BBQ meat.

The last charcoal like to talk about is Lump Charcoal. It is made from Hardwood firewood chunks, that have been charred. There is nothing added to them, so people like t

hem because there all natural. It has an intense burn which makes it very hot deliver fabulous flavor for your smoke foods and grilling. It is used by many of the Pitmaster today.

Now we will compare Charcoal Briquettes and Lump Charcoal

Which is the best charcoal for smoker.

I have watched many Pitmaster competitions and there is mixed feelings on this. So Let’s get into comparing them and giving you the Pro’s and Con’s on both briquettes and Lump Charcoal.

There are times that I use lump charcoal and when I feel briquette charcoal is a better choice. It depends on which grill I am using or if I am smoking. So if I am cooking slow and long and want longer burns, I use the briquette charcoal. That is the best for smoker. Now for lump charcoal it is going to burns faster and hotter, you want to use it in your ceramic grill or in a drum when cooking hot and fast.

There are many brands of charcoal out there you just do not want one with a lot of fillers or the instant lite ones. The oak or hickory versions of charcoal gives the best results and flavor. Royal oak is one of my favorite, just look in your area to find a good brand. Using a chimney charcoal starter is best for getting your charcoal ready for cooking, just put a few pieces of paper at bottom then pile your charcoal on top and light paper from bottom. Then shortly you will have charcoal ready to cook on. To add flavor to your smoking you can put Oak, peacan, apple chips to name a few, to produce great flavor to your meat.


Let’s sum up what we have learned about Best Charcoal for Smoker

The charcoal as we know it today dates back to 1897. I bet that most of you didn’t know that the Henry Ford the inventor of the automobile also developed charcoal further and started company Kingsford charcoal company, which today make the most of the charcoal in USA. We also found out the briquettes use filler. Most people feel it does not affect the flavor of the item your cooking. Lump charcoal is more natural, there is no additives added in the making of lump charcoal. It burns faster and hotter, where the briquette burns slower and longer. There are many brands to chose from.

But most importantly we found out the Best Charcoal for Smoker is the briquettes, do to how it burns slow and long.

I hope you found this informative. And you will join me in further pieces at SMOKEYPELLETSBYCHRIS.COM





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Welcome to Smokey Pellets if you love barbecuing with a Smoker or just charcoal or gas you have come to the right place. If your new at Barbecuing or Smoking or even a Pitmaster we will be share stories, recipes, tools to make your meats to come out perfect. It is mainly to share experiences and make your family gatherings memorable.

Where I am coming from                    

Like many of you. My family is the most important thing in my life. We will do anything for the people we love. So I realize that working hard and advancing at work would be beneficial to my family. Also, new I had to balance that with quality time with the family, so you support them in all they do. Spend time with them, help point them in the right direction.

Found out one most important time with family is when we gather at the dinner table. My wife Katie did most of the cooking during the week. On the weekends I took over the roll. Loved BBQ, started with charcoal grilling, then went to gas grill. Both of these methods produced great meals on the weekend. But my girls have many stories of Pops singeing his eyebrows or the taste of lighter fluid, as I said memorable stories. So that is a little about me, sure many of you can relate to it .



When I first started Barbecuing there was no google or internet for that matter. Yes I am 61-year young, or old as my girls would say. So spent a lot time and money on trial and error at first. There were many of weekend dinners that my wife would say girls “Dad is taking us out to dinner”. Or the meal should have been at 5pm end at 7pm because charcoal would not light, didn’t stay hot long enough to cook the steak or chicken or ran out of gas. Now if my wife even saw a little pink in here chicken off to Wendy’s we go.

So here we would like to help people avoid that and share not only my experience but yours as well. To help the newbies at Barbecuing, learn from some more seasoned Pitmasters. Share things I have learned or found from other sources.

It is very confusing all the different methods of Barbecuing. Here we will explore them, so you can find one that fits your needs. After many years, I discovered Smoking, did a lot of looking on best method to smoking (BBQ). I went with Pellet smoker, we will discuss this in detail in the future of SMOKEY PELLETS.

So I am starting this journey, hope you will join us and share your experiences. And use this all to create some wonderful times with your families and friends.



As child like most of us, when Dad barbecued we thought he was the best. I remember my first time thinking no big deal this is easy, how wrong I was. Then the thought of having to BBQ gave me ANXIETY ATTACKS. We like to save you from that, by helping pick the method of BBQ or Smoker. Helping learn how to use them to produce the best meals for your family and friends.

There are many techniques and tools that will help you accomplish the task of creating a memorable BBQ meal. They will make it easier and take the guess work out cooking different meats. All meats have a different internal tempura to insure they are cooked properly. Here at SMOKEY PELLETS we will discuss these things in detail and in terms that anyone can understand.

One of the best things I enjoy about Smoking is how you can enhance the flavor of the meat your cooking by using different kinds of wood ( oak, pecan, apple etc.). We will talk about this in detail throughout our journey.

Most of all create new friends, have fun BBQ and Smoking. And enrich our time with family and friends

If you ever need a hand or have a question, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Chris Capo


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