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Secrets to Smoking on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and Other Smokers: An Independent Guide with Master Recipes from a BBQ Champion

Secrets to Smoking on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and Other Smokers: An Independent Guide with Master Recipes from a BBQ Champion

by Bill Gillespie
Secrets to Smoking on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and Other Smokers: An Independent Guide with Master Recipes from a BBQ Champion

Secrets to Smoking on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and Other Smokers: An Independent Guide with Master Recipes from a BBQ Champion

by Bill Gillespie


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Learn To Make Delicious, Next-Level Barbecue From a Smoking Pro

Use your WSM and other smokers to take your barbecue to the next level. This book includes incredible recipes combined with all the secrets to making great-tasting, succulent and perfectly cooked barbecue every time. Keep an eye out for the pulled pork recipe that won "the Jack," and the brisket recipe that got a perfect score at the American Royal Barbecue Invitational Contest.

Bill Gillespie, regular guy turned barbecue champion, whose team recently won Grand Champion of the American Royal Barbecue Invitational, shares all of his outstanding recipes and specific techniques for making the best ribs, pulled pork and barbecue chicken in the country, if not the world. On top of the traditional competition-winning offerings, he shares an amazing selection of his favorite dishes he cooks at home, including Pulled Pork with Root Beer Barbecue Sauce, Maple Glazed Salmon, and Stuffed Sausages with Prosciutto and Cream Cheese, among others.

If you own a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker or a similar smoker, this book is a must have. The techniques and secrets offered here will take your best recipe and make it a show stopper. With this must-have collection of recipes you will impress your family and friends with your amazing backyard cooking abilities.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781624140990
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Publication date: 03/17/2015
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 444,823
Product dimensions: 8.05(w) x 8.99(h) x 0.47(d)

About the Author

Bill Gillespie and his BBQ team, Smokin' Hoggz BBQ, have won more than one hundred barbecue awards and were named Grand Champions of the Jack Daniel's World Champion Invitational Barbecue as well as the American Royal Invitational, arguably the two most prestigious contests in the country. Bill lives in Abington, MA.

Read an Excerpt

Secrets to Smoking on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and Other Smokers

By Bill Gillespie, Tim O'Keefe, Ken Goodman

Page Street Publishing Co.

Copyright © 2015 Bill Gillespie
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62414-108-9



Generally speaking, the basic definition of barbecue is using charcoal to cook meat over a low heat source for a long period of time. This definition gave rise to the expression "low and slow." Chances are your interest in this topic, more than any other topic, is what brought you to this book. In order to cook traditional barbecue, you will need to learn how to get a long burn from the charcoal. In the world of barbecue, the most widely used technique to achieve long burn times on the WSM was made famous by an individual on the competition barbecue circuit. His name is Jim Minion, and the Minion Method is what most cooks use when making traditional barbecue on the WSM.

Over the years, Jim Minion made small tweaks and changes to his techniques. Naturally, different people learned slightly different things, yet everybody seems to call the technique they know the Minion Method. While there is a lot of lore surrounding the Minion Method, when you get right down to it, the main idea is really pretty simple to grasp. To simplify: You take a small batch of lit charcoal, and place it on top of a large pile of unlit charcoal. The heat from the lit charcoal slowly spreads to the unlit charcoal, giving rise to long burn time. Because there is only a small amount of charcoal burning at any point during the cook process, the WSM maintains a low temperature, usually in the 225–275ºF (107–135ºC) range. Although you can use any type of charcoal for this cooking method, we prefer to use natural briquettes.


* Ideal for long cooking sessions that last eight or more hours

* Great for overnight cooking and large pieces of brisket or pork shoulder

* Cooking can start in about 45 to 60 minutes

* Usually no need to add additional charcoal during the cooking process

* Slow and consistent burn holds temperature steady over many hours

* Less chance for the WSM temperature to run hot

* Easy to maintain a constant temperature of 225–275ºF (107–135ºC)


* Not acceptable to those who prefer all briquettes to be fully lit during cooking

* Not for cooking above 275ºF (135ºC)


Remember, the main idea behind the Minion Method is to add a small amount of lit charcoal to a large amount of unlit charcoal in order to obtain a long, slow burn. Rather than list every variation and tweak associated with the method, what we're sharing is our version of it.

1. Adjust the vents so that the bottom vents are fully open, and the top vent is fully open.

2. Fill the charcoal ring all the way to the top with unlit charcoal.

3. Using the charcoal chimney, light 10 to 15 charcoal briquettes.

4. When the briquettes at the top of the chimney start to turn gray, carefully place the hot coals on top of the unlit coals. When placing the hot charcoal in place, we recommend using metal tongs. Stack all the lit coals as close to the middle of the charcoal ring as possible.

5. Allow about 10 minutes for the coals to catch, and then assemble the WSM.

6. Add hot water to the water pan and fill the pan until the water level is about a half inch (13 millimeters) below the top of the pan. Using hot water allows the cooker to come up to temperature quicker, without using more fuel, and helps to give you a longer cook time.

7. When the WSM is within 50ºF (10ºC) of the desired cooking temperature, close the bottom vents halfway. Wait for the temperature to stabilize and reach the desired temperature (adjust vents accordingly). After the temperature is stable, add the smoke wood through the side access door. Use a pair of tongs so you don't burn yourself!

8. Place the meat you are cooking onto the cooking grates.

9. Check the water pan every three or four hours, and add water as needed; we recommend using hot water. If you add cool water, the cooking temperature of the WSM will need to restabilize, and you will use more fuel to heat up the cool water that's been added.

* If the temperature of the cooker is too high, you can dump the water in the pan and add cold water. The cold water will absorb extra heat, and, in turn, should help bring the temp of the cooker down.

This pretty much sums up our preferred methodology. The method we outlined typically provides about 10 hours of cooking time. On cold, windy or rainy days, it might be less. If you need to add more charcoal during the cooking process, we recommend adding a half chimney of hot coals. There are many variations of the Minion Method. Feel free to be adventurous and try other versions!


Chicken can be one of the harder meat categories to master. In competition barbecue, crispy chicken skin is very hard to attain, and it's even harder to maintain, so we do the next best thing: We try to achieve bite-through skin that also has great flavor. It took a lot of practice, and some trial and error, but now I have a technique that will improve your chicken results. I like to use chicken thighs. The dark meat has more flavor and will retain its moisture long after it cools. This recipe got us First Place Chicken at the Jack Daniel's World Championship "Circle of Champions" with almost a perfect score! We also won the New England BBQ Society's Chicken Team of the Year.


2 cups (475 ml) chicken broth
2 tsp (10 g) accent (MSG)
2 family pack chicken thighs (bone in, skin on) 18 pieces, approximately 5 pounds (2.25 kg) per pack
Smokin' Hoggz Dry Rub
1 stick of butter/margarine cut into 18 slices
BBQ Sauce
½ cup (120 ml) apple juice
1 tsp (5 g) accent

2 disposable aluminum half pans
Aluminum foil
Spice grinder
Small pump sprayer
2–3 chunks sugar maple

First, combine the chicken broth and accent together, making sure the accent dissolves completely. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Remove skin from the chicken thighs but don't remove it all the way, one side will come off very easy, the other side will still be attached. Lay out thighs and trim each one into uniform, trapezoid shapes, removing some of the excess fat.

Using a paring knife, scrape the high mounds of excess fat from chicken skins. With the meat side facing up and the skin off the side, sprinkle some of the rub on the bare surface of the thigh and reattach skins (the skin should wrap around the thigh, fully covering the front and about half of the back) securing meat and skin together. Refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight.

Using a meat injector, inject about ½ to 1 ounce (15–30 milliliters) of chicken stock mix into left and right side of thigh. Sprinkle back of each thigh with dry rub and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Fire up WSM for low and slow cooking (approximately 250ºF [121ºC]), adding chunks of wood about 5 minutes before chicken goes on. You should have 2 dispoable aluminum half pans. Place 9 pieces of butter/margarine in each pan. Rest one chicken thigh on top of each piece of butter/margarine, skin-side up. Sprinkle tops of thighs with dry rub. Place one pan on the bottom rack and one on the top rack of the WSM and smoke for 1 hour, making sure to switch pans around at the 30-minute mark.

After 1 hour, cover each pan with aluminum foil and continue to cook for 1 hour more, again switching racks at the 30-minute mark. (This process will allow you to get bite-through chicken skin. The internal temperature of the chicken will reach 190ºF [88ºC], but it's not overcooked. Because the chicken was injected, the meat will be tender and juicy.)

In a medium saucepan, heat the BBQ sauce.

Remove thighs from smoker. Using tongs or gloved hands, submerge each thigh into warm sauce. Shake off excess sauce and place thighs back in smoker, directly on grill grate. Cook until sauce is set (about 15 minutes). Select your best 6 pieces of chicken to present to the judges.

For the finishing rub, take about 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of the dry rub and 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of accent and put them into the spice grinder. Grind until you get a powder-like consistency. Take a pinch of the finishing rub and lightly sprinkle onto each piece of chicken. With a small pump sprayer, spray each piece of chicken with apple juice to help blend in the finishing rub.


I think everyone needs a good dry rub in their barbecue bag of tricks to help add a little bit of flavor to the meat. A good dry rub has to be well balanced with the sweet, the heat and a touch of the savory. This rub does just that. Go ahead and give it a try!


½ cup (95 g) white sugar
½ cup (100 g) brown sugar
¼ cup (35 g) ancho chili powder
¼ cup (60 g) kosher salt
2 tbsp (15 g) chipotle powder
2 tbsp (15 g) paprika
1 tbsp (10 g) black pepper
2 tsp (10 g) garlic powder
2 tsp (5 g) onion powder
1 tsp (5 g) white pepper
½ tsp allspice

Mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.


Barbecue sauce and slow cooked meat is a finely matched pair that goes together like peanut butter and jelly! Most everyone loves barbecue sauce. The key is that you want the sauce to complement the meat—not overpower it. Ideally, you want to apply sauce toward the end of the cooking process. Apply the sauce 30 minutes before the meat comes out of the cooker, and then again with 15 minutes remaining. Remember, you only need to apply a thin layer of sauce on the surface of the meat. The idea is to create layers of flavor. Here is a pretty simple sauce recipe that I think works well with any low and slow cooked meat.


1 cup (240 g) ketchup
½ cup (590 ml) cider vinegar
¼ cup (85 g) molasses
1 tbsp (20 g) Worcestershire sauce
1½ cups (300 g) packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp (12 g) chili powder
1 tbsp (15 g) kosher salt
2 tsp (5 g) coarse black pepper
1 tsp (5 g) garlic powder
1 tsp (5 g) onion powder

In a saucepan on medium heat mix all of the ingredients and simmer for about 15 minutes. Cool and store in the fridge.

* For an interesting twist, you can use honey instead of molasses. Honey isn't as rich as molasses, so it provides a more subtle flavor.


Ribs are what led me into this obsession with competition barbecue. I started using St. Louis style ribs in competition because they are meatier and have a little bit more fat content than the baby back ribs more commonly found at restaurants. When cooked right, spareribs are juicy, tender and oh so flavorful. Here is my recipe that has helped us win the New England BBQ Society Ribs title of "Team of the Year" three years in a row!


4 racks of St. Louis cut spareribs
Smokin' Hoggz Dry Rub
16 ounces (455 g) honey
2 cups (400 g) brown sugar
8 tbsp (115 g) butter
2 cups (480 g) BBQ Sauce

Heavy duty (HD) aluminum foil

Set up your WSM for low and slow cooking (250–275ºF [121–135ºC]) and use about 4 good-sized chunks of apple and maple wood. Add the wood just prior to putting the ribs on.

Lay the ribs out with meat side facing down, apply rub to back side of ribs and let set up for about 10 minutes. Flip over and apply rub to meat side, let rub set on ribs for about 15 minutes and then apply another coating of rub. Let them sit for another 30 minutes.

Put two racks on the bottom grate and two on the top grate. After about 90 minutes, switch up the ribs from top to bottom and vice versa. Continue cooking for another 90 minutes.

Lay out four sheets of the HD foil, apply 2 ounces (60 grams) of honey, a ¼ cup (50 grams) brown sugar and 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of butter. Then lay the ribs meat side down, apply 2 ounces (60 grams) of honey, a ¼ cup (50 grams) of brown sugar and a ½ cup (120 grams) of BBQ sauce and wrap tightly; repeat for the other three racks.

Return to the WSM and cook for about 1 more hour; check ribs for doneness.

(To check if ribs are done, look at the back side of the ribs. First the meat will have shrunk from the bone about ¼ to ½ inch [5 to 12 millimeters] and secondly the bones will start to pop through on the back side.)

If ribs are done, remove from WSM and open foil to let them vent for about 10 minutes. This will stop them from cooking any further.

Take about ½ cup (120 milliliters) of juices from foil and ½ cup (120 grams) of BBQ sauce and use this as your glaze.

Cut ribs and serve.


The meat used in the competition pork category comes from the pork shoulder. The pork shoulder is comprised of two pieces: the pork shoulder and the pork butt. Pork shoulder and pork butt have a very high intramuscular fat content. This fat provides both the challenge of cooking and the reward of eating barbecue pork. The challenge is rendering the fat down without overcooking the meat. The reward is a tender, moist and flavorful product that is hard to beat. This was the pork recipe that got us the call, in which we eventually went on to win the 2011 Jack Daniel's World Barbecue Championships.


2 (8–10 pound [4–5 kg]) Boston butts, bone-in
Pork Injection
½ cup (120 ml) yellow mustard (or honey mustard)
Smokin' Hoggz Dry Rub
Pork Braise
1½ cups (360 ml) Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce
1½ cups (360 ml) Blues Hog Barbecue Sauce
Heavy duty (HD) aluminum foil
4 chunks of apple and sugar maple wood (2 each)

Fire up the WSM and get it ready for low and slow cooking. (approximately 250ºF [121ºC]). Fill up the water pan to about half using hot water. Do this about 1 hour before you want to put the butts on. This will allow the cooker to get up to temperature. Add the smoke wood at the same time you put the butts on the WSM.

Trim the butts of any extra or loose fat but keep the fat cap on. This will help protect the butt and keep all moisture in. Remember fat is flavor.

Take half of the injection liquid and start to inject the meat. Make sure the majority of the injection goes into the muscle opposite the bone (a.k.a. money muscle) and the muscles around the bone. The reason for the term "money muscle" is that if it is cooked perfectly, you'll be in the money every time at a contest.

Now rub down the entire butt with the mustard; you don't need too much, all this is doing is making a nice surface for the rub to adhere to. After you coated the butt with mustard, generously apply the dry rub.

Wrap the butts in plastic wrap and put into the fridge or cooler until about an hour before they go on the WSM.

An hour before the butts go onto the cooker, remove them from the refrigerator or cooler and apply another generous coating of rub. Let the re-rubbed meat sit at room temperature until ready to go on the WSM.

At the same time the butts go on, add the wood chunks. Place butts on the WSM, fat side up. Place one on the top grate and the other on the bottom grate. Cook the butts until they reach an internal temperature of about 160–170ºF (71–77ºC) (approximately 6 hours).

Once the butts have reached the desired internal temperature, they are ready to wrap in foil. Lay out two sheets of HD foil (big enough to fully wrap each butt). Place each butt fat side down, add the pork braise onto each butt and then wrap butts completely with foil and return to WSM and cook until an internal temperature of about 190–195ºF (88–91ºC) or until probe tender.

Remove the butts from WSM, open foil and allow the steam to dissipate (about 10 minutes). This will help stop the cooking process. During this time, mix the two BBQ sauces together and apply a coating to the top surface of the butt. Close foil and let rest for a minimum of one hour; you can use a dry empty cooler lined with some old towels.

When the pork is ready to serve, cut off the front muscle (money muscle), slice into ¾-inch (2-centimeter) slices and brush each slice with sauce. Remove the bone and all the meat around the bone, place chunks into a half pan and pour super-hot BBQ sauce all over it. Cover with foil and let sit for 15 minutes.

* Wrapping meat in foil does a couple things. It allows you to add more flavors to the meat by catching juices and adding marinade, and it helps quicken the cooking process.


An injection is a great way to add more flavor and to help keep the meat moist and tender. This pork injection will absolutely bring your pork to the next level.


1 cup (240 ml) apple juice or white grape juice
2 tbsp (30 g) kosher salt
½ cup (120 ml) water
½ cup (100 g) brown sugar
1 tsp (2 g) cayenne pepper
2 tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce
¼ cup (60 ml) apple cider vinegar
¼ cup (60 g) Amesphos phosphates

Combine all of the ingredients and stir until salt and sugar are completely dissolved.


Excerpted from Secrets to Smoking on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and Other Smokers by Bill Gillespie, Tim O'Keefe, Ken Goodman. Copyright © 2015 Bill Gillespie. Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction 17

Chapter 1 The Secrets to Low and Slow Cooking on the WSM and Other Smokers 16

Chapter 2 The Secrets to Hot and Fast Cooking on the WSM and Other Smokers 92

Chapter 3 The Secrets to Combination Cooking on the WSM and Other Smokers 138

Chapter 4 The Secrets to Grilling/High Heat on the WSM and Other Smokers 160

About The Authors 186

Acknowledgments 187

Index 188

Customer Reviews