I've got a 13 lb whole packer rubbed up in the fridge right now. I'll be smoking Thursday night into Friday, eating around 5 pm Friday evening. I've done several whole packers, but never tried authentic burnt ends before. Since I'm off work for the summer, I thought I'd give it a shot. Here's how I typically handle a brisket:
Olive oil, then rub, then back in the fridge overnight.
Smoke on a combination of Kingsford charcoal and hickory wood chunks. I usually try to keep the temperature ~240 or so.
I don't inject, don't mop, don't use a water pan. The rig I have retains moisture really well, and if I introduce any into cooks, I've found the meat ends up spongy. I also don't crutch. Basically I throw it on, let it cook for ~6-7 hours, then probe it, and leave it alone until it's done.
Cook to an IT of ~190-195, then pull and foil. I rest it in a cooler for an hour at least, longer if it gets done early.
Then I either cube or chop the point for faux burnt ends.
I get lots of compliments, and there are rarely any leftovers.
I'm planning to pull the next one a bit earlier, separate the flat from the point, foil it, and rest it in a cooler. Then I'm going to cube the point, re-season it, drop it in a pan and put it back on the smoke for another 2-3 hours. I'll pull the cubed point, cover it with foil, and rest it while I slice the flat, then serve both together.
Am I on the right track?
Also, a few questions:
1) What temperature would you recommend pulling the packer to separate the flat from the point? I've seen anywhere from 165-180. I'm leaning more towards the 180, but I'm willing to be convinced I should pull it earlier.
2) I've also seen that some folks, rather than cubing the point, just re-season it and drop it back in the smoke whole for another 2-3 hours, then cube it after the fact. Better to cube it before or after the 2nd smoke?
3) I've also read that some folks separate the two pieces pre-cook. Any reason not to do it that way?
4) Finally, I'm not a big sauce guy. I think that if I do it right, you shouldn't need sauce. But lots of people like it. Would you recommend saucing the cubed point prior to dropping it back in the smoke, or am I okay to go without it?
I appreciate any tips. I'll try to get some pics of it and let you know how it turns out.