Saturday, August 25, 2012


I recently asked my Facebook friends to vote what I was going to smoke for a weekend.

The only requirements were that it had to be something I could readily find in Oklahoma City and it had to be something that was suited for low and slow smoking. So no crab testicles or elephant shoulders.

The Top 3 meats voted for, ok the only 3 meats voted for were.... Goat, Brisket, & Bologna.

Brisket & Bologna were tied when voting ended but there had been a lot of interest from people that had never smoked bologna before. So I broke the tie based on the number of people wanting to live vicariously through my smoking adventure.

Now you can smoke pretty much any kind of bologna but for this cook I didn't want to smoke just any kind and as you can see. I went for 100% All Beef Bologna. Nothing but the best for my readers!
This is pretty much all you need to get started. Instead of using my usual rub. I decided to go with a salt-free seasoning I had. Bologna has a lot of sodium in it already and so does my rub so I didn't want to add more sodium if I didn't have to.

You can use any kind of knife to crown the bologna but I prefer to use a box knife so every cut is the exact same depth. Does it make the bologna taste better to have exact depth cuts you may ask? Well no but it makes it look better.

It's hard to see in this pic but I have crowned and seasoned the bologna.

Crowning is taking a knife and slicing the bologna lengthwise at intervals around the bologna. As I mentioned above. I use the box knife for this step.

With the blade extended fully. I sliced the bologna six times at approximately the same distance apart. Just using a regular sharp knife and holding your fingers about 1/2" to 3/4" from the tip to get cuts of equal depth will work but I find it easier to accomplish with the box knife. If you don't care about equal depth cuts you can slice it however you want.

In this pic you can see the effect that crowning has on the bologna while it is cooking. It also serves another purpose beyond making a boring chub of bologna look more exotic it also increases the area for exposure to the smoke. For this cook I was using hickory and cherry and I wanted to get as much hickory and cherry smoke on this piece of bologna as I could.

I usually cook bologna at temps between 225-250. I want to bring it to an internal temp of 140 degrees and the lower temp gives it more time in the smoker. You can cook it higher but you'll get less smoke flavor.

About 30 minutes before I took the bologna off the smoker. I glazed it with a mixture of Head Country BBQ sauce thinned with a little apple juice and I added some cayenne pepper to give it a little kick.

You can pretty much slice it and eat it just like it is as it comes off the smoker. It has the exotic look from the crowning already and is tasty. But.....

.....Everyone knows that grill marks make everything taste better. So I finish the sliced bologna on a hot grill. Now that's some sexy bologna goodness right there and nothing like the fried bologna sandwich your mother served you as a kid.... That is if you were lucky enough to have a mother that would make you a fried bologna sandwich.

Now you may notice that my bologna wasn't alone on my smoker on this day. It was all cozied up with some beef ribs I had picked up the same day for $1.88 a pound.

I had never smoked beef ribs before and I sure couldn't resist that price. So I added beef ribs to the menu too.

Since I've been on a Central Texas BBQ kick recently. I kept these ribs very simple. Kosher Salt and Black Pepper was all I seasoned them with prior to putting them on the smoker.

I'm still working on my salt and pepper blend and for these ribs I mixed 4 oz of kosher salt with 2 oz of black pepper. Now obviously, at least I hope it was obvious, I didn't use the entire 6 oz of rub. Just enough to season the slab.

This is how the ribs looked after 3 hours on the smoker. In hindsight I think they were probably done or really close to it at this point but this was my first time cooking beef ribs and I was treating them more like pork spare ribs.

I ended up cooking them for 5 hours and they were tender and more importantly tasty. So I don't think the extra time on the smoker hurt them but I also don't think it was necessary.

About 15 minutes before I pulled the slab from the smoker I basted it lightly with some Salt Lick BBQ sauce one of my friends from Central Texas had given to me.

Normally I don't like a sweet flavor profile on beef but beef ribs are very rich and I like just a touch of sweetness to help offset that richness.

I was pretty happy with my first attempt at beef ribs. I wouldn't say I nailed them but they were still good enough that it took a lot of self control to not eat the entire slab in one sitting.


  1. Next time get a slab of short ribs instead of the beef back ribs. Costs more but well worth it.

  2. All I seem to be able to find in the markets around OKC are the back ribs.

    I have a friend that gets a side of beef every year and he is giving me the short ribs from that this year. So I will be smoking some sometime in 2013.

  3. When cooking it to 140 how long are you holding it at that temperature to be safe killing bacteria? I have been trying to research this and not getting very good answers. The FSIS chart says 3 minutes for 145 and 140 is at 9 minutes

    1. The bologna I used is a cured and fully cooked meat. So there are no bacteria issues. I could slice it and eat it cold if I wanted. I cook it to 140 internal because that's the temp I like to eat it and that gives it plenty of time to take on some smoke flavor.

      If you are making bologna at home the recipe should call for a curing agent that would make the bologna safe to eat.

  4. I'm a pit Master from Chicago. I recently moved to OKC. I just got a job as a cook at one of our local smoked meat restaurants. They serve smoked balogna. I must say in Chicago we didn't have it but I love fried balogna always have. I'm going to have to try it your way at home. Sounds fantastic.


All you need to know about barbecue