The concept is simple.
Our approach is simple, low heat and lots of time. Don't rush this. That's it. Patience...
We use a few different types of smokers including 3 types of Ole Hickories, and two stone pits we built ourselves, and two custom builts.
Our nightly beasts that puts in the most work is an Ole Hickory. During our busy season or for whole hog cooking we use our manual Big Betty smoker that can smoke 4x100 pound pigs at a time. We also have a custom made smoker on a trailer used for pig roasts and KCBS cooking competitions.
We use real wood, no pellets. We source wood, chop and split wood, season wood. Its a lot of work but this is our craft.
The wood we use is always procured locally. We smoke meats every night for roughly 12-18 hours, every peice of meat is different and sometimes they go at their own pace. During our nightly smoking session we primarily use White Oak (Quercus alba), in the rare case white oak isn't available we will use Hickory or Sugar Maple. White Oak works very well with Brisket and Pork Butt. We smoke pork ribs, whole chickens, wings, and various other meats during the day. Sugar Maple, Hickory, Peach, and Apple wood are used to smoke our meats during the day. Our wood of choice is actually Pecan, however it doesn't grow locally. The closest Pecan trees are located in western Tennessee.
Lots of smoke!
If burning wood in a smoker all night and day wasn't enough we also use wood fire grills at each location. We use a 4 foot Champion Tuff Grill at our Middletown Location as well as a 20' brownstone custom made grill on our patio during the summer season. We have two custom built wood fire grills at our Meriden location as well.
If you're looking, you aren't cooking!
Many of the meats used in barbecue are considered to be of lesser quality. Brisket for example, is a very tough meat with a lot of connective tissue. That connective tissue is called collagen. The goal is to turn that collagen into gelatin, which is delicious, and by melting the collagen the meat is not as tough. Most high end meats like rib eye, filet do not contain a lot of collagen, so they are naturally not as tough and do not require so much time. Collagen begins to melt at 160°F and turns into gelatin. Gelatin gives meat a lot of flavor and a beautifully silky texture. So it is important to liquify collagen. Here is the tricky part : Denaturation of the collagen molecule is a kinetic process, and hence a function of both temperature and duration of heating. Cooking at low temperatures requires long periods of time to liquify collagen.
Cold Smoking is a great way to preserve or add flavor!
Cold Smoking is a process where smoke is applied to an ingredient without heat. In particular we smoke cheeses and potatoes on a regular basis and for fun anything from lolipops to fruit. Smoking these items requires a delicate touch, or a cold smoke as we refer to it. We cold smoke at temperatures ranging from 80 to 120 °F using Peach and Apple wood procured from Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, CT. Smoking cheese with peachwood smoke from Lyman's Orchard is something special.