I'm not so much a TOTAL newbie to smoking, as i've successfully smoked Ribs, chicken, and have done about five pork butts (doing two next week). I've even smoked a couple of turkeys (still want to perfect that, tried it one time thus far).
I know pork butts are a very forgiving piece of meat, but this is the one I've actually served to my co-workers, inlaws, etc. They seem to like it - they keep asking me to smoke stuff for them and when I'm going to smoke more, LOL!
I've got some mods to make to my smoker yet (some of which will be practiced next week when I do the pork butts). Those include:
- Baffle Plate for redirecting heat
- Addition of two thermometers
- Creation of a charcoal basket
- Using a food safe sealant to seal the cooking chamber
I already have one mod completed, which is the addition of aluminum tubing on the chimney inside to get the heat down to grate level. That has worked wonders thust far.
Okay, so these are all fine and dandy, and up to this point, I've smoked without any of these mods. But smoking a brisket scares the BEJESUS outta me (just because it's such an expensive piece of meat, and I had a go years ago).
I tried to smoke a brisket YEARS ago when I got my first BBQ grill (it was an upright Brinkmann smoker/grill). I was young, dumb, newly married, and un-informed, LOL. I sure as heck didn't know what I was getting myself into.
Since then, I've upgraded to a Char-Griller with a side box (and a couple of kids, too, LOL). I've been reading up on smoking brisket, and have had my own horror story to tell. I know that smoking it is pretty subjective, each piece of meat is different, and each smoker is different as well.
My questions are on the critical things about a brisket that I need to do. For example:
- Dry Rub or Marinade? I think the last time I attempted this feat, I soaked the brisket in a marinade. Years later, I'm seriously partial to Dry Rubs (KC Style, to be exact). I read some even inject marinades into the meat. IS THIS NECESSARY?!?
- Internal temperature for most 'melt-in-yo-mouth' tenderness? I also see there's a huge debate on this subject as well. I've seen people pull their meat off the smoker after reaching an internal temp of 180, some 190, some even 200. What's the most common one that everybody uses?
- Foil or no foil? When I do my pork butts, I don't foil anything until it comes off the smoker (in which I foil it for like an hour, then pull it with a fork). The same for the ribs. But with a Brisket, I've seen where people pull it off, put it in foil, put it back on, put it in a cooler, some of everything. What the heck?!?
Please let me know your thoughts, and also know that this information that may be provided to me is going to help a friend of mine out as well - he's got a pellet smoker, and has gotten into smoking meat as well.
P.S. - The brisket is my wife's final test of her 'pitmasta' medal for me. She figures that if I smoke a brisket successfully, I'm a 'pitmasta' in her eyes and will supplant her father as the BBQ master in the family, LOL. So obviously there's a lot riding on this for me!