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Thread: Barrel Char?

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  1. #1
    Enthusiast
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    Barrel Char?

    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?



    Dave

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: Barrel Char?

    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.

  3. #3
    Disciple
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    Re: Barrel Char?

    . 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. . .
    TomC

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: Barrel Char?

    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.

    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
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  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006
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    Re: Barrel Char?

    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

  6. #6
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    Re: Barrel Char?

    Hmmm
    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!!)

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006
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    Re: Barrel Char?

    Dave,
    Check out this link
    Kentucky Smoked Fish
    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.

  8. #8
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Barrel Char?

    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.

  9. #9
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    Re: Barrel Char?

    I just checked my smoking recipe book for bourbon recipes. I have the original edition; the revised edition is here.

    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.

    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?

  10. #10
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Barrel Char?

    Chuck,

    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... ) 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 )

    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...

    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... They were wonderful. I burned them in my woodstove... 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.
    Bj

 

 

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