Top 10 Tips for Barbecuing

Whether you are a beginner or expert at barbecuing, there are 10 easy tips that lay the foundation for great results. Continue reading to learn how you can achieve great barbecue by sticking with the basics.

Smoked Meat Dinners in Carmel 317-688-7290

Smoked Meat Dinners in Carmel 317-688-7290

Choose Quality Meats

Barbecue is known for using cheaper cuts of meat, like pork shoulder, ribs, and chicken. But “cheap” does not mean low quality. Quality meats are local, fresh, and properly stored. Be sure you are not shopping at the clearance section of the meat aisle, nor opting for packaged meat that has been sitting in your deep freezer for the past two years. If you want truly great results, make sure your meat is fresh and safe for consumption.

Do Not Reuse Your Marinade

Using the same marinade more than once is a big mistake. Used marinades contain illness-causing bacteria from the raw meat that was soaking in it prior. The residual bacteria will spoil or contaminate anything else you put back into the bag, which can make everyone very sick.

Season Your Meat With a Quality Rub or Sauce

Never be afraid to spice up your cut of meat before barbecuing. In fact, a quality rub, marinade, or sauce can really enhance the flavor of your smoked meats. Learn from others by looking up recipes online, and asking friends and family for their barbecue recipe secrets.

Use the Proper Wood

Using the proper wood to smoke your meats is crucial to achieving great results. Different woods will render different levels of smoke, so choose one that will compliment your cut and your palate, perfectly. Read our blog that discusses The 4 Most Popular Woods for Smoking Meat to get some ideas.

Soak Your Wood Chips in Water

Soaking wood chips in water prior to smoking is an age-old barbecuing tip handed down from professional pit masters. Soaking wood chips will prolong their life in the smoker, which promotes longer periods of smoldering, thus producing more smoke. Keep some extras soaking in water to toss them in periodically as they old ones burn up.

Always Clean Your Smoker Before Using It

A clean smoker delivers the more honest and natural flavors of your barbecued meats. If you want great results, you have to start with a clean slate, literally. In fact, most manufacturers suggest cleaning smokers and grills after every single use. Read our blog to learn How to Clean a Barbecue Smoker.

Never Add Lighter Fluid Directly to a Lit Grill

You never want to add lighter fluid directly to a flame, whether on a grill, in a bonfire, or a spit roaster. This produces carcinogens that cause immediate flare ups, which can catch the trail of liquid from the bottle and come back at you.

Always Thaw Your Meat Properly

Improperly thawed meats will not render the same taste, texture, color, or quality as meats that are properly thawed from the freezer. Furthermore, they can pose a long list of health risks since they generally stay cold and raw in the center, thus promoting heightened bacterial growth when left sitting out.

Practice Proper Temperature Management

While smoking your meats, it is imperative to maintain proper the proper heat levels in order to save time and money. Purchase a simple grill gauge to monitor your temperature to get even cooking results. Read our blog about Recommended Tools for Smoking Meats.

Maintain Safe Temperatures After Cooking

Once you have removed your cooked meats from the heat, it is important to keep them at safe temperatures to prevent food borne illnesses and digestive discomfort. Read our blog about Food Safety Tips for Smoking Meats.

Visit Rackz BBQ for Delectable Barbecue and More!

Rackz BBQ Carmel, IN 317-688-7290

Rackz BBQ

Rackz BBQ is eager to impress you with our delicious barbecue meals and smoked meat cuisines. As a Carmel BBQ restaurant dedicated to quality and value, you can trust us for exceptional customer service, neighborhood prices, and most importantly, authentic barbecue fare that you will love. Contact us at 317-688-7290 to place a call ahead order, or to learn more about our menu selections, prices, and specials.

The Best and Cheapest Cuts of Meat to Smoke

Smoked meats are terrific because they do not have to be the fanciest cut to taste great. In fact, barbecue is rooted on the knack for turning cheap cuts into mouthwatering masterpieces. If you are on the hunt for your next smoked barbecue meal, you do not have to empty your wallet for a successful turnout. Instead, focus on using traditional cuts of meat that are top in quality and cheap to buy.

Continue reading to learn some of the best picks for your upcoming barbecue!

Smoked Meat Dinners 317-688-7290

Smoked Meat Dinners 317-688-7290


Chicken is as traditional as it comes when it comes to cheap cuts of meat. Not only can you purchase all sorts of different varieties of chicken (i.e. cage-free, organic, corn-fed, etc.), it is one of the cheapest and most cost-effective options. Smoked chicken is an easy cut of meat to smoke, making it perfect for beginner smokers. Furthermore, you can cook chicken in an endless array of spices, seasonings, marinades, and flavors. Currently, you can visit your local grocer and purchase a whole chicken for an average of $1.09 per pound.


Poultry is cheap, and well suited for the smoker, so it should be no surprise that turkey is another option on the list of top quality cheap meats. Turkey is a great candidate for smoking because it absorbs flavors well and cooks evenly. It is inexpensive, and can be seasoned any way you like. Right now, your local grocer is selling turkey for an average of $2.19 per pound.


If you love beef, but cringe at the price of your favorite steaks, brisket is the way to go. Beef brisket is simply divine out of the smoker, and fortunately, still one of the most inexpensive cuts of meat that are also high in quality. Currently, you can pick up a 3 pound brisket for less than $25, as they sell for around $7.99 per pound.


When looking to smoke a good cut of pork, ribs will certainly deliver. Not only are they easy to cook, everyone loves them. Just be sure you choose a cut that has a lot of meat and little fat. Right now, you can purchase St. Louis style pork ribs for around $1.79 per pound, and boneless pork ribs for around $5.99 per pound. Beef ribs are actually a great, inexpensive choice too, at around $2.69 per pound.

Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder has been one of the most admired cuts of meat to smoke for centuries. Its natural deliciousness and versatility makes it easy to work with and difficult to turn down. Whether you go for a picnic roast or a Boston butt, pork shoulder is a reliable, inexpensive, top-quality cut to use for pulled pork sandwiches, roasts, and more. Right now, you can buy a full 2-part pork shoulder for around $3.49 per pound.

🍅 Prices derived from Kroger® Grocery

Looking for a Great BBQ Meal Near You?

Rackz BBQ Carmel, IN 317-688-7290

Rackz BBQ

If you are craving delicious barbecue smoked meats and homemade side dishes, come to Rackz BBQ in Carmel for authentic flavors and great prices! We offer a wide selection of barbecue classics, house-made sides, and tasty desserts, all prepared using the freshest local ingredients. We also offer call ahead and take out ordering and catering! Call 317-688-7290 to learn more about our current menu selections and specials, anytime.

How to Enhance the Flavor of Smoked Brisket

If you wish to add flavor to a brisket, it is important to choose your seasonings carefully. After all, your primary goal is to enhance, not overpower. With the right knowledge, you can easily create a beautifully balanced flavor profile that leaves your mouth watering for more.

Continue reading to learn some helpful tips for seasoning and smoking beef brisket.

Smoked Meat Dinners 317-688-7290

Smoked Meat Dinners 317-688-7290

Whether you are someone who prefers rubs or marinades, there are some basic brisket standards you should follow.

Start With Good Wood

The fundamental component for smoking barbecue brisket is the smoke, which starts with the wood. Most professionals recommend using a wood option that does not render a strong or bitter smoke profile, since beef brisket is already cooked for a long period of time. Stick to mild flavored woods like oak, which is a staple for brisket. From there, you can add other varieties of wood that pair well with brisket without overpowering the flavor, like apple or hickory. If you are someone who really loves mesquite flavors, it is recommended to do so sparingly with barbecue beef brisket.

Rubs and Marinades

Dry rubs are very popular for smoking meats, especially beef brisket. That is because all seasonings are great for flavoring a brisket. Get creative, or simply stick to your favorites. Common go-to rubs include seasonings like garlic, herbs, and spices. Just be sure to take it easy on the rub so that your brisket doesn’t come out too salty. If you plan to mop or baste your brisket while smoking, be sure to coordinate the flavors properly with your rub.

Marinating is another option for smoked brisket. It is a general rule of thumb to marinate beef for a full 24 hours to ensure the fibers have absorbed the flavors as much as possible. For tender beef, you want to stick to an acid-based marinade, which is why lemon juice and vinegar are common choices. Use either lemon or lime juice, or use a vinegar-based marinade; then simply add the seasonings and spices you love most. For sweeter brisket, add brown sugar; for something spicy, go with some cayenne or crushed red pepper. See our blog about recommended tips for marinating cuts of beef.

Bastes and Mops

In the world of barbecued smoked meats, a “mop” is not something you clean with. Instead, a “mop” is a colloquial term used to describe a thin, sauce-like mixture used to keep the meat moist during the cooking process, which enhances the overall flavor of meat. This sauce is also called a “baste.” Traditionally, large cotton cooking brushes are used to baste meats, but there are several other cooking tools that work just as well. Mops should be thin like water. They should not contain too much acid-based seasoning because it can make the meat too bitter. It is important to not use too much sugar-based ingredients, like tomato cause, because too much sugar can make a brisket burn (this is especially true if you are using an offset fire box smoker).

Table Sauces

Sauces are added to smoked briskets after they are done cooking, which is why they are commonly referred to as “table sauces” or “finishing sauces.” They can come in a wide range of viscosities and flavors, from sweet and tangy to spicy-hot. Most table sauces for briskets are tomato-based, but since they are not exposed to heat, they will not burn, so they can contain whatever you want them to.

Come to Rackz BBQ for Lip-Smacking Beef Brisket!

Rackz BBQ Carmel, IN 317-688-7290

Rackz BBQ

Rackz BBQ is eager to impress you with our delicious beef brisket meals and barbecue cuisines. As a Carmel BBQ restaurant dedicated to quality and value, you can trust us for exceptional customer service, neighborhood prices, and most importantly, authentic barbecue fare that you will love. Contact us at 317-688-7290 to place a call ahead order, or to learn more about our menu selections, prices, and specials.

How to Clean a Barbecue Smoker

If you really love to barbecue and smoke meat, it is safe to say that your most valuable tool is your smoker. Smokers are designed to last, making them appear resilient and steadfast; but without proper cleaning and care, your smoker will not continue to perform as it should. More importantly, a dirty smoker can pose health and safety risks. Because smokers seem so durable and resistant to damage, it can be easy to forgo a cleaning use after use. Nonetheless, the chore is important and imminent.

If you have never cleaned your barbecue smoker, or have only cleaned it once or twice since purchasing it years ago, it is highly likely that it is in need of a good cleansing. In fact, it is recommended to clean the insides of smokers every 6 to 12 months, and the outsides every other time it is used. Continue reading for some more important tips like these, including a quick guide to cleaning your smoker.

For Great Smoked Meats and BBQ, Call 317-688-7290!

For Great Smoked Meats and BBQ, Call

Rust and Grease

The biggest and most imminent threat to your smoker is rust. Although smokers are built with a protective coating, it does not last forever; eventually, rust will get through. Rust will deteriorate and corrode the inner and outer components of a smoker, which weakens its structural integrity overtime. At this rate, you can expect to replace your smoker before you should have to. A great way to protect your smoker from premature rust formation is to oil it after every use. Use a store-bought cooking spray, like Pam®, to lightly spray the surface when it cools to around 150 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also apply cooking spray to partly rusted surfaces.

Special Note: As an iron oxide, rust forms when iron, oxygen, and water (air moisture) combine. When these elements come into contact with one another, the iron loses electrons to oxygen atoms; a process called oxidation. Oxidation produces a chemical reaction that forms Fe203, or rust.

Aside from rust, grease is another major threat to both the structural and performance integrity of your smoker, as well as the health of those consuming the barbecued meats cooked in the smoker. Leftover food deposits, grease, and sludge can all accumulate at the bottom and on the cooking rates; Eventually, the sludge can begin to grow mold. Fortunately, a dirty, moldy, smoker can be cleaned with a few common supplies and a little labor.

How to Clean Smokers

What You Will Need:

Old Clothes (or protective apron)
Long Rubber Gloves
Small Shovel
Paper Towels
Scrubbing Brush
Large Bucket Lined With a Garbage Bag

Getting Started:

Cleaning a smoker is a dirty job, so be sure to don all of your protective gear and clothing. This includes old work clothes, long rubber gloves, and large aprons. Once you have all of your gear and supplies ready to go, you can get right to work!

First, remove the cooking grates from inside your smoker. Now you are ready to clean out the sludge and grease. Be very careful to not scrape the metal surface with your shovel. You do not need to scrape the sides. Only scrape from the bottom.

Use your small garden shovel to gently scrape the sludge out from the BOTTOM of the smoker, but do not remove all of the sludge. Leave behind a thin layer to keep the surface slightly oiled to prevent rust. Once you removed as much grease as needed, use paper towels to wipe out the pit. You will get dirty during this part, so be sure you are not wearing anything you care about salvaging, including jewelry.

Now it is time to clean the grates. Do not use soap. Soap is too harsh and will remove too much grease; grease that is needed to keep your grates from rusting. Instead of soap, heat your smoker up and then allow it to cool down. This makes it easier to remove the grease.

Once they are cooled enough to safely handle, wipe them clean with paper towel. For extra dirty grates, use a clean scrubbing brush to gently removed caked-on food debris and sludge. After the grates are wiped clean, give them a light coating of cooking spray to keep them nicely oiled.

Be sure to clean the ash out of the firebox to prevent rust formation. When ash mixes with water or moisture, it can create the reaction that causes rust to form. Ash absorb water overtime, so regularly cleaning it out of the firebox is highly beneficial.

After the inside is finished, it is time to clean the outside surface. Use damp paper towels to wipe the surface of your smoker. Repeat this step as many times as it takes until the paper towels are no longer brown after wiping. Once you are finished, you may choose to spot paint your smoker to make it look like new. Just be sure to use a heat-resistant paint.

Enjoy Smoked Barbecue Meals and More!

Rackz BBQ Carmel, IN 317-688-7290

Rackz BBQ

Rackz BBQ is eager to impress you with our delicious smoked barbecue meals and barbecue cuisines. As a Carmel BBQ restaurant dedicated to quality and value, you can trust us for exceptional customer service, neighborhood prices, and most importantly, authentic barbecue fare that you will love. Contact us at 317-688-7290 to place a call ahead order, or to learn more about our menu selections, prices, and specials.