NEW! Google Custom Search


looking for cooking class on how to use a smoker and smoke meat, chicago

2830cocoa's picture

Hi Everyone,


I live in the Chicago area, and I am looking for a place I could get some education on how to smoke meats, and on how to use and choose a smoker.  My husband and I love dining at the Eleven City Diner in Chicago.  One of their specialties is a smoked brisket of beef sandwich, it is ethereal.  It is sliced thin and served on a challah roll with the juices for dipping, yummy.  Anyway, does anyone have any ideas of where I could gain some knowledge, I have never touched a smoker and do not know where to begin.  I noticed Costco was advertising smokers this spring but my toddler didn't have the patience for me to check it out.  Help.

Pielove's picture

Chicago! (post #71331, reply #1 of 8)

Hey cocoa!  I'm in Chicago too-- in the city, northwest side bungalow belt.  I will have to check out the Eleven City Diner-- that brisket sounds great.  Have you been to Smoque?  

As for smoking classes, I suggest you search around and (if you don't find anything) post your inquiry on the LTH forum-- are you familiar with them?  There are a LOT of serious smokers on that board, plus they have the best dish on Chicago food that I have yet found.

I'd be interested in hearing what you come up with-- my husband just started grilling ribs with the low-and-slow treatment, so he might be interested in branching out to brisket, maybe pork butt.  Hmm, wouldn't a smoking class certificate be the perfect Father's Day present-- for me, hahaha!


2830cocoa's picture

smoking (post #71331, reply #3 of 8)

Thankyou for the feedback.  I love new restaurant recommendations in the city.  Where is smoque located?

Pielove's picture

Smoque (post #71331, reply #4 of 8)

Hi cocoa, 

Smoque is on Pulaski, just south of Irving Park.  Here is the LTH forum's list of Great Neighborhood restaurants-- we have had great luck choosing from this list:

What are your favorites-- are you north, south, west, or center?


Gretchen10's picture

Using a smoker is not hard (post #71331, reply #2 of 8)

Using a smoker is not hard and is a lot of fun. Having a class could be very nice and I can't help you with your area. BUT there is SO much information on the internet that is SO good, I'd give that a go.

I have had at least 3 smokers,maybe 4 by now, and have my "final' one-- a sidebox fire smoker so that I can control the temperature very closely. I use wood and charcoal.

However, for the price you would pay for a class, you could purchase a smoker that will practically do it for you.

The Big Green Egg is a very high end affair, but totally worshipped by those that have one. And I believe, makes smoking a very easy affair with delicious results.
There are electric and gas ones that are much cleaner and easier to regulate the temperature, the most important part of smoking low and slow. There are smokers that use pellets for the fuel that are very clean and neat and EASY.

So basically I would say do some searching on the internet for various styles, and then for places where people discuss them.

And you can fix that brisket in your oven almost as well as your restaurant does

JAlden's picture

  Gretchen is correct (as (post #71331, reply #5 of 8)


Gretchen is correct (as usual). For the price of a class you can buy a nice smoker and learn most everything you need to know on your own.

Low and Slow is the key.


These guys have a ton of information


I have not had good luck with brisket though. They are always too lean in my opinion. I think the Texas boys don't let the good ones cross the state line.

Now pork shoulder is another matter. Never made a bad one. I use a vertical charcoal smoker with lump charcoal.

Cajun seasoning and brown sugar all over it. Get it to room temperature and then let it cook for 10 hours. Adding charcoal every hour or so.

It will pull apart easily.



Gretchen10's picture

I think the thing with the (post #71331, reply #6 of 8)

I think the thing with the brisket is that you must wrap it in foil to finish--basically almost braising it to get it tender. The "pieces" they sell are too trimmed of fat.  Unless you buy the entire brisket (and the price is just eye watering) that has the entire fat cap, it just doesn't "do".  I have had some done by a guy with a big rig that was good--but again, it was the huge piece of meat. It's just as well we prefer the pork.

However, I have smoked ribeye roasts and that is a delicious thing to do also.  Smoke/roast on low temp for a couple of hours--not too much smoke--and just enough to begin to brown it.  It will still be rare and you can wrap in foil and run in a 400* oven to heat it for serving.

JAlden's picture

  I do my rib roasts the (post #71331, reply #7 of 8)


I do my rib roasts the same way. Slow so it's rare throughout. Then sear at the very end to get the color right and outside crisp.

Especially the layer of salty fat.


I'll have to try the brisket your way with the foil.


KickassBBQSouth's picture

BBQ Class (post #71331, reply #8 of 8)

Cocoa, if you are still looking, check out our website  Rance and I teach basic BBQ 101 - Smokin classes - in Elizabethtown, KY and have been for 4 years. We teach the basics of fire management, smoking woods, different types of smokers - gas grill, weber kettle grills, offset smokers, barrel smokers - all with the same end results. For a normal class size of 20 students, we smoke apprxiamately 110 lbs of meats, we provide lunch and when the product comes off the smokers, we taste test and send the left overs home in to go boxes. First spring class of 2013 is March 23. We have had students attend from as far away as Barker, New York, GA, SC, AL, IL, WI and even Canada. All day event starting at 9:00 am til 4:00 pm.