View Full Version : Barrel Char?

09-30-2003, 12:46
I bought all (literally) of the Buffalo Trace food stuffs

Mark, did you also buy a bag of their barrel char? It is the cheapes thing in their gift shop ($2 or thereabouts for a 1lb bag). It's supposed to be good on the BBQ for smoking, but I just open the bag up once in awhile for a great big sniff!

And... has anybody tried them on the BBQ?



09-30-2003, 13:08
Dave, I had a nice stash of barrel char( How did I get That?) It is great but I always thought of it afterwards , Kept forgetting to bring it out. When CL was here earlier this summer I let him have it. Barton is selling whole used barrels for 5 bucks each. I may get a few and chop them up. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

09-30-2003, 13:11
. Barton is selling whole used barrels for 5 bucks each.

Are they still inact?? If I could find a way to ship one up here I have a friend that wants an honest to goodness bourbon barrel (hellifino why. . .).

Hmmm. . .

09-30-2003, 13:12
To all,
I've used the barrel char a few times and it needs supplementation with some wood chips to get the smoke going. An interesting note. Shuckman's Smoked Fish in Louisville now smokes fish marinated in Woodford Reserve and smoked with chipped bourbon barrel wood.
Awesomee http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bandit.gif

09-30-2003, 13:17

fish marinated in Woodford Reserve and smoked with chipped bourbon barrel wood

Do tell more... What type of fish, do you remember? and was it accompanied by a sauce? (GOTTA TRY IT!!) http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

09-30-2003, 13:19
Yeah they even put a new bung in them after they are dumped. You have to get to the distillery before 2 or 3 M-F . They sell halves for 3 each. During the Bourbon Festival I saw some folks coming out of Clermont with out of state tags and a whole pickup truck full of whole barrels. About 45 each at Beam's. In all fairness the barrels at Barton's have been used for bourbon and once more for Brandy, Rum or the like and they have no further use , hence the good price. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

Earlier this year I saw some at Wal Mart garden shop for about 35. Unless you had another reason to be in Btown, you aren't going to save much. I guess if you buy 5 or6 you could come out on top.

A use for 5 dollar barrels http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

09-30-2003, 14:37
Oh hellz yeah, got one of them too. I was planning on using some later in the week actually... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

09-30-2003, 17:43
I used Bobby's char (thanks, Bobby!) on grilled, bone-in, chicken breasts, legs, and thighs. The char was small chips so I only soaked them in water for a couple minutes.

I had the fire set relatively low for a grill (250 - 300 F) and let the chicken take nearly an hour to cook. Alot of char remained. I expected them to burn up completely, but they didn't. BTW, I use a Weber charcoal kettle.

The chicken had a sweet, smoky taste from the Kingsford charcoal, as it does when I cook it that slow. I didn't detect but a subtle flavoring from the bourbon char. I am wondering if the char didn't smoke enough. (I was too busy playing horseshoes to watch it closely.) If the char had burned completely through, I might have had more smoke and more flavor.

I want to try the char in my smoker, but I am so damn busy nowadays, that I don't have time to tend to a smoker. The fish idea that pepcycle mentioned sounds good. That shouldn't take too long. BTW, I have a bullet smoker that is fired by gas (SO MUCH EASIER to maintain an even temp). I have a cast iron chip holder nestled among the lava rocks. I put the wet wood chips in the holder. I am not a Q expert, but I am hard pressed to tell the difference between my Q and that of the Q restaurants around here that use real wood.

I normally smoke pork shoulder over hickory (and that is an all day job). I am not sure whether adding bourbon char to the hickory would be noticeable. Based on my chicken experience, I think fish is the next thing I will try.

09-30-2003, 18:01
I just checked my smoking recipe book for bourbon recipes. I have the original edition; the revised edition is here (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1558322620/qid=1064969532/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-9042561-1496634?v=glance&s=books).

It has a couple bourbon-related desserts, Booker's Bourbon Mint Ice Cream (which is named after Booker Noe and doesn't specify the bourbon) and Bourbon Peaches.

But, it does have a Bourbon-Glazed Ribs recipe consisting of a rub, a mop, and a sauce. Only the mop has bourbon in it and it looks like a dandy, primarily for its high bourbon content. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif

3/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

For you smoker wannabees, a mop is a liquid you apply to the meat while it is cooking to keep the meat moist.

I just might modify my next pork smoking. I use a bullet smoker with a pan of water above the coals. The water evaporates and moistens the meat, so I don't have to mop. I wonder if I can just use the mop above instead of water or just add bourbon to my water. Any of you hard core smokers have any advice about this?

09-30-2003, 18:29
What does the barrel char look like? I mentioned this in one of the Thursday chats--at Old Dominion Brewery in Ashburn, VA they age an Oak Barrel Stout with used bourbon barrels. They invited everybody on the tour to pick off the clear-brown caramelized goodies from the barrel and taste. (Evidently the pressure from the beer forces more of it to the surface). Does your barrel char look like dried maple-syrup?

09-30-2003, 18:43
I just tried shooting a pic of it with my camera phone but it came out way too crappy to see the texture or anything. And the bag is so wet I dont want to open it until I am ready to use it. I've been keeping it in 2 ziploc bags for now haha. Anyways, it basically looks like very small pieces of burnt/blackened wood. Small chips, say 1/4" by 1/4", blackened.

I'm sure when I go to use it it wont work well anyways, this city boy only has a natural gas grill... I figure maybe if I wrap some in foil, heavy on the bottom, and poke some holes in the top then place it on top of the lava rocks it'll somke a bit to infuse the food? Hell, I have no idea haha. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

09-30-2003, 19:24
I'm sure when I go to use it it wont work well anyways, this city boy only has a natural gas grill... I figure maybe if I wrap it in foil, heay on the bottom, and poke some holes in the top then place it on top of the lava rocks it'll somke a bit to infuse the food? Hell, I have no idea haha.

Here's your idea. Go to Barbeques Galore (http://www.bbqgalore-online.com/BBQ2001/shoponline/products/accessories/ouraccessories.asp?pageCursor=2) and get the BBChef Cast Iron Smoker Box, $11. It's what I use with my smoker and it works wonderfully. Just presoak the wood before you put it in the box (small barrel char should need soaking only for a minute). I move the lava rocks around and put the box straight on the lava rocks grate so that it gets nice and hot - more heat - more smoke. When I smoke pork shoulder, the box will hold enough wood chips to last for over two hours.

If you think you would ever need to refill or handle the box while cooking, I'd also recommend getting a pair of grill gloves with long gauntlets. My local Barbeques Galore carries a black leather pair for $12, but I don't see them online. These aren't insulated so you can only hold onto something grill-hot for about 10 seconds. But, I like the usability of the leather gloves that have 5 fingers + long gauntlet) rather than the insulated mitts that have no fingers and little or no gauntlet.

09-30-2003, 19:29
Ah, thanks for the tip Chuck. I have seen Emeril use those smoker boxes on his show, but they were thin tinny ones, the one you mentioned sounds great since it is cast iron. I guess it will be a few days before I can have this thing shipped to me, but I will be sure to try and get it as after reading these posts I am craving some smoked pork ribs! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

09-30-2003, 19:33
Check out this link
Kentucky Smoked Fish (http://www.kysmokedfish.com )
Lewis, the proprietor, is quite a character and if you should ever wander into his shop, he'll be glad to show you the whole operation. I love all his products.

10-01-2003, 09:07
Mark, in the meantime (before you get to purchase something pre-made) a simple method I use (that works great on a gas grill) is to purchase some HEAVY DUTY aluminum foil. Tear off a huge section, say 4 feet long. Fold over twice to make a 4-layer sheet, then roll up the four sides and pinch the corners to make your own box. The advantage of the tinfoil method is that the woodchips start smoking sooner. Cleanup is a snap, simply cool your home-made tray, roll it up with the leftovers, and toss it in the trash. I use this method with other woodchips on my grill, but have yet to try the Barrel Char.

10-01-2003, 09:24
Thanks Dave. I was thinking of still trying it in the meantime, I was just afraid that the intense heat would still simply burn the char... But hell, for the price of what the char cost, I'll still try it. I agree with you that using the heavy duty foil and making sure it's fairly thick on the bottom is the best route to go. Thanks http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

10-01-2003, 09:26

If the char had burned completely through, I might have had more smoke and more flavor.

I don't ever soak char. The char I have is dripping with Bourbon (don't wanna wash that off... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif) The char really works best with charcoal, on a closer/hotter fire than you would smoke with (coals really). Personally,I always use it as a starter. Then, when I'm doing quick/grill kind of stuff (Steaks, shrimp, oysters, etc.) I'll add it occassionally to the fire, depending on how long I'm cooking. Keeps the fire rockin' (especially adding them http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif)

What you really want in your smoker is the actual barrelwood. I will soak barrel chips/chunks in Bourbon, water and maybe hot sauce (speaking of hot sauce, have you ever used the chopped up hot sauce barrels?).

I normally smoke pork shoulder over hickory (and that is an all day job). I am not sure whether adding bourbon char to the hickory would be noticeable.

IMHO, that hickory will overpower anything... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

I believe the absolute best way to use a Bourbon barrel to smoke stuff, is burning it as fuel. Years ago, we used to have access to fresh barrelheads. They just gave them away... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif They were wonderful. I burned them in my woodstove... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif They were easy to separate into pierces, no metal, etc. And, the coals impart an individual taste to BBQ. Unfortunately, they aren't available anymore. They now go overseas with the barrel. So, we do the next best thing. Chop up barrels and use them with the charcoal. You can soak some of them, depending on how much smoke you want.

Gosh, if I had known, I would have given you several staves to take back with you. A friend from the Barton warehouse gave them to me after a barrel somehow collasped.

10-01-2003, 15:24
$5 -- do they always do that? If I could carry one home I'd like to have one -- Greg

10-01-2003, 18:16
Yes Greg, So far. BettyeJo told me a year or more ago when they first put out the sign advertising selling these. It was on New Haven Road and the 4 warehouses out there were ( Maybe still are) Leased to Maker's . We were talking of Maker's and 4 Roses trucks at Barton and wondering why.I was told that Maker's is in the process of removing only and are not putting anything new in Barton's. They were 12 for a whole and 8 for a half. When I spoke to Greg Davis at the sampler in May he said they had them down to 5 and 3 . How big is your trunk? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

10-02-2003, 07:28

I had a 5 gallon bucket of barrel char that I brought with me during the festival to give to my SB.com friends.

I put it behind the bourbon-barrel fountain, and forgot all about it. I found it, after the festival during break down...I left it in my car. I apoligize to all my friends that I promised the char to. I did have it...

Bobby,I will keep it in my car until I go to Louisville, and then I will drop it off at your house http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif. So's iffin there's a 5 gallon white bucket with a red top sittin on ya front pourch...Ya, know where it came from http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

10-02-2003, 07:30
Bettye Jo,

You did say your car smelled of bourbon. I guess that char was helping a bit. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

10-02-2003, 07:43
Let me tell ya Bob, when you open a 5 gallon bucket of barrel char---straight from the dump room---everybody around is gonna find it...It's some really powerful stuff when it's fresh (still moist)...I have put a little pile of it on the ground---mind you far away from the house or anything that would burn---put a lighter to it--- http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif Poof http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif a blue flame instantly---Folks is cookin with this stuff...gotta be extremely careful...

Put ya kingsfords on...put a bit of jobettye's barrel char on the top...Strike ya match...throw it..."Holler, Fire in the hole" and run like hell http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif...Ya got your basic Holiday party BBQ and fireworks show all in one http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gifOhhhhhhhhhh Yeahhhhhhhhhh http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

If you were to open that bucket in your house...Well...then your house would smell like my car except 125+ proof...Really, Really, Really, smelly stuff...

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

10-02-2003, 15:25
So's iffin there's a 5 gallon white bucket with a red top sittin on ya front pourch...Ya, know where it came from

Yee Haa! I might squeeze a little thru some cheesecloth and see how it goes.

10-03-2003, 16:29
So's iffin there's a 5 gallon white bucket with a red top sittin on ya front pourch...Ya, know where it came from

Much to my surprize!

I got in a little late to avail myself of this today, but hey, the weekend is here! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

10-06-2003, 07:35
Hey Betttye Jo,
Let me tell you how much I love that bucket you brought me! I wasn't sure I should say anything... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif I didn't want to get you in any trouble. But,
since we're talking about it...it rocked!!