baby brisket

While looking for a full sized brisket at my local butchers, I came across this baby brisket.  At only 1.2kg (around 2.5 pound) cut from flat/point, I wondered how it would go in the smoker.  Could I start smoking in the morning (at a decent time, no 4AM wake up here) and have it well and truly ready by dinner time?  Could it be as smoky, as barky, as tender and as juicy as a full sized brisket if I managed everything well and used some ”enhanced” brisket techniques?  I just had to find out. Full disclosure – it was a very well marbled wagyu cross brisket, and it would be tricky doing a brisket of this size in the smoker and having juicy results!

perfect for brisket burgers for a small family

If this works out at 1.2kg (around 2.5 lb) there’s enough in this baby brisket to easily fill four brisket burgers as well as have spare.  Once it cooked down there was around 700 grams (around 1.5 lb) of cooked brisket, and because it was small there was a deliciously generous bark/meat ratio!

I’m loving using my Akorn Jr kamado style smoker, so I tossed this baby brisket on there.  With the lump charcoal I placed some pecan chunks and some hickory chips.

Brisket (especially one so small) isn’t a forgiving or easy cut to work with, but don’t let that intimidate you.  Nor should you let the many steps noted below intimidate you either.  While there’s a lot of steps none of them are particularly difficult, and with the right tools and care I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the results.

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Pulled Pork collar

Before I really got into Low and Slow, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about with Pulled Pork. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, but I’m also not going to say I’d go out of my way to get some. To me it seemed too juicy and soft, and not enough texture. I’m not a fan of the massive Pork Butt and super soft pork that you find in the middle. But like most things BBQ, there’s more than one way to it!

So I’ve experimented a bit and found I like using a Pork Collar cut for my pulled pork instead, and here’s the reasons why. Well if I’m honest, it’s one key difference that leads to many reasons. Confused? I’ll explain.

While both cuts share the same connective tissue and collagen that requires low and slow to break them down, the key difference is that the collar is much smaller and a tiny bit leaner. For me that means more bark vs non bark ratio, more of the meat is being kissed by the smoke, and the “inside meat” isn’t quite as soft (or dare I say it, mushy). So if you’re like me and you enjoy a bit more texture to your food, this method might just be for you!

If you need more meat than what a collar provides (this one came in at around 2.25kg or 5lb) then do two of them if you have the real estate in your smoker.

I’m smoking this pulled pork collar with Ironbark as my flavour wood. Ironbark to me is the Australian equivalent of Hickory; a great all-rounder for most meats, though pork will also be complimented beautifully by fruitwoods such as apple, plum or cherry. One thing you need to watch out with Ironbark is it burns hot, so be careful and don’t overload it.
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smoked beef short ribs

I’ll just get this right out of the way.  Smoked Beef Short Ribs are probably my favourite BBQ, ever.  I’ll never forget the first time I made them though.  I was so keen to eat them that I pulled them out too early, and they were mostly tough and sinewy.  They aren’t that difficult to get right, but the MOST important thing is to not undercook them!!

There’s a few different kind of beef ribs that you can get depending on how they’re butchered.  

  • Back Ribs (AKA “Shiners”) – these are IMO the least desirable beef ribs.  There’s just not that much meat on them usually.  These are often braised and slow cooked.
  • Chuck Ribs – these have much more meat than back ribs, but have a smaller bone.  I don’t find them quite as juicy when cooked well, so my assumption is they have slightly less intramuscular fat.
  • Asado Ribs – rather than the ribs being cut perpendicular to the bone, Asado Ribs are cut thinly across the bone.  This cut is common in South America.  Each Asado Rib portion will have several thin slices of bone through them.
  • Wang Galbi Ribs – native to Korean BBQ, each bone in piece is filleted or flanked and then folded around the bone and then grilled quickly.
  • Plate Ribs – now we’re talking!!  Big dinosaur boned, juicy smoky and barky Plate Ribs (drool), my favourite style to smoke and what you’ll see on this post..


Beef Shorties = life

To get that almost black and crunchy bark, it’s simply salt and pepper that’s needed but I put a touch of garlic and onion powder on too.  I’ll be smoking these on my Akorn Kamado charcoal smoker, and I’ll pair the lumpwood charcoal with pecan and sugar gum chunks for flavour.  They are both mild flavoured but with enough chunks in there (the ratio was probably 3 charcoal/1 flavour wood) I should get plenty of smoke on these.

The smell of these smoking is just divine; be prepared for the entire neighbourhood to want to know what’s going on! 

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curious cuts: Spider or Oyster Steak

There’s much more to beef steaks than the popular ones that grace the front rows of our local butchers displays and our local grocer/supermarket.  If you look at these displays you’d be hard pressed to find items other than the “money steaks”.  These include the Rib Eye, Eye Fillet (Beef Tenderloin), Porterhouse, Sirloin (New York Strip) and T-Bone.  Depending on which side of the world you live in, they might be called slightly different things, but the themes are common.  Which is why as an unashamed curious cuts lover, I’d like you to expand on your horizons and consider something other than the norm (and maybe even save yourself some money).  So today, I bring you the Spider or Oyster Steak (not to be confused with Oyster Blade); the first of my curious cuts posts.

This marvellous specimen which you see above is a MB9+ Australian Fullblood Wagyu Spider Steak.  I’m going to sear it hot and fast over hot coals in my Akorn Kamado grill.


something different but without the big price tag


It’s hard to believe, but this special cut cost me no more than a standard Angus Rib Eye per lb/kg.  And it is so darn tasty with all the intramuscular fat from the MB9+ marbling.  Call me crazy but the Rib Eye is just so ho-hum to me now and I’ve never been a fan of Eye Fillet (Tenderloin) due to the lack of fat/taste.  I’m happy that everyone that doesn’t know can keep on paying through the nose for those cuts and leave these curious cuts as a secret just between us :). 

The Spider Steak is a marvel to look at.  It’s a little semi-circle shaped somewhat like a croissant.  It’s named Spider Steak in Australia for the spider’s web weave of intramuscular fat across the top of it.  Don’t worry about it being all fat though.  It’s relatively thinly spread on the surface, and it creates great flavour when seared over hot coals. 

As for the anatomy of the cut, it’s adjacent to each hip bone of the cow.  It’s a relatively small cut (average 0.5 lb/250g) and super flavourful, and the MB9+ marbling keeps it very tender.

Just freshly cracked salt and pepper for this beauty.  I’ll let the beef and the coals shine here! Read more >


Often called Poor Man’s Burnt Ends, these Chuck Roast Burnt Ends are actually my favourite way to make burnt ends. There’s nothing poor about them to be honest. Is there any beef that’s poor man’s any more? Chuck is very similarly priced to brisket. But as you can get chuck portions quite small (around 0.5 kg/1 lb through to chuck roast 2.5kg/5 lb sizes), they don’t take anywhere near as long as a full brisket to smoke. Maybe they should be called Time Poor Man’s Burnt Ends?

Burnt Ends originated in Kansas City BBQ as a freely given away treat while guests waited for their “real” brisket. Made traditionally from the point muscle of a full brisket, the point is separated from the flat and cubed and cooked once again with BBQ sauce until gelatinous and squishy.

Honestly, I’ve had competition quality brisket burnt ends and this Chuck Roast Burnt Ends version stands up really well. With a couple of tricks up your sleeve, your family or guests could mistake your dining table for a Kansas City BBQ joint.


affordable and available


Just like my first post (pork chops) chuck “steaks” or chuck roasts are super affordable and readily available at your local grocery store or supermarket as well as any good butcher. You might need to give your butcher a heads up though as they might have all their chuck earmarked for the grinder!

The chuck area of a cow is the shoulder and neck region, above the brisket. There’s lots of “hidden gem steaks” in the chuck if butchered right. Flat iron, Denver, Teres Major are just some. Any version of Chuck steak or chuck roast is just chuck. I mainly use smaller chuck steaks for my burnt ends. They cook quicker and I have no problems keeping them moist and tender with this method.


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smoked pork chops

Delicious Smoked Pork Chops
Smoked Pork Chops

Not all meats on the smoker require several hours of cooking and sleepless nights, or a lot of preparation. For those times when I’m time poor and I need an easy “go to” that doesn’t take too long to prep or cook, I’ll often go with some smoked pork chops.

Smoked Pork Chops done right are deliciously tender and juicy, smoky and tangy. These will be a hit with the entire family, I assure you! And you can pretend you slaved over this forever too.


affordable and available


Pork loin chops (often referred to simply as pork chops) are super affordable and readily available at your local grocery store or supermarket as well as any good butcher (just like another post – Chuck Roast Burnt Ends!). Resist going for the marinated portions.  Go for chops that retain some of the fat cap if possible to help keep it juicy (you can remove it before eating if you wish). I normally go for the bone-in chops. Boneless would work just as well and shouldn’t be any different in method.

Pork chops come from the loin area of a pig. There’s a few different cuts of pork chops that you can get depending on where exactly in the loin it’s taken from.  The most common is rib chops. It really shouldn’t matter.  If it looks like a pork chop and smells like a pork chop, you should get goods results!


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