One thing that I've found very helpful over the years is to take a few notes each time I barbecue with the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. I especially like to write down what worked well and what did not work well, so that months or even years from now I can duplicate my successes and avoid repeating my failures.
As a beginning barbecuer, you don't have to be formal or super-detailed about your note takingójust do what makes sense to you. If you feel that taking notes is not your style or is too much work, then don't do it. Remember, barbecuing should be fun and should not feel like work!
Many advanced barbecuers, especially those who participate in barbecue competitions, use a cooking log to record each barbecue session in great detail. Small changes to recipes or cooking methods can make all the difference between winning and losing, so documenting what you did, when you did it, and how you did it are very important to the competitive barbecuer.
You can design your own cooking log, or just click one of the links below to download a copy of the one I use. You can personalize the Excel version to meet your specific needs.
If you decide to use a cooking log:
Downloadable Cooking Logs
Updated June 2003
What's In A Cooking Log?
In a cooking log, you usually track the following types of information:
Sample Cooking Log
Someone asked for an example of how I fill-out my cooking log. Here's a PDF you can check-out: