- 25 Posts. Joined 8/2016
- Location: Contra Costa, CA
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First Overnight Brisket
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The first brisket is always daunting - but do not worry it is only a piece of meat it will be just fine in the WSM.
Firstly you need to use the Minion method in the charcoal basket to give you the long low cooking times required. You say that you will be using charcoal. Good quality briquettes would be better as they will give you a longer sustained burn but you will be OK with the charcoal but you may need to top them up during the cook.
Above you can see the setup you need and you can either use wood chunks or pellets. With the good quality briquettes one load will give you 12-14 hours at ~225 F. With charcoal you will get less time and will probably need to top them up during the cook.
Do not soak your chunks. They will only need to dry out again before they start to create the smoke.
Use the water bowl - either with water or with sand. This will help to prevent heat spikes within the cooking chamber.
If you are putting it on at midnight, when you wake up (about 5am) foil the brisket for the rest of the cook. When you take it out then do not forget to wrap it in several layers of foil and place it in a cooler for several hours before carving to allow the meat to continue to cook in its own heat.
Save the juices in the foil and use them for a gravy/sauce.
Good luck and dont forget to take lots of photos
The secret with the temperature control is to make sure that the smoker is in a sheltered spot, out of the wind and sheltered from any rain and then to bring it up to temperature slowly. Use the charcoal setup as shown above and initially open the top and bottom vents fully. Get the water pan in place at least half full with hot water - hot tap water is fine.
Relying on the lid thermometer is not ideal as they are usually inaccurate - however having said that the one on the lid of my ProQ Frontier is actually pretty close. If you also have an oven meat thermometer then you can push the metal probe through one of the top air vent holes and you can take an average of both thermometers. If you can check the meat thermometer in advance in boiling water then that is even better.
As the chamber temperature gets about 3/4 up to where you want it then start to close down the bottom vents. As it gets closer to temperature then close them down further. Exactly how far will vary on the type of fuel you are using and the weather but you usually find they will end up 3/4 to 7/8 closed. To get it up to a stable temperature will take you up to an hour so be patient and get it started a little earlier. Once at temperature it should stay fairly close for several hours without needing any attention. Do not let the temperature overshoot by any significant amount as it is harder to bring the temperature back down than it is to increase it. A few degrees s fine but don't let it shoot out of control.
Obviously do check it as early as you can in the morning and make any necessary adjustments. As I mentioned above, good quality briquettes will give you a more consistent temperature over time than charcoal.
I hope it goes well and that you find you can relax
Well the smallest packer at my butcher was 17 pounds. So I took the flat which came out being 9.5 pounds. I trimmed and seasoned with SPG. It's sitting in the fridge till midnight tonight. I'll keep the pics coming.
- 8,048 Posts. Joined 8/2014
- Location: Michigan
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I wouldn't soak your wood but that's me. You need to get a good therm so you don't have to monitor so closely it's much more fun. With a little practice you will be sleeping like a baby while it smokes away. I run my WSM 18.5 with a dry/empty water bowl and after it settles in only one vent about a quarter open. Sure makes pork butts a lot more fun.
You can either use water in the bowl or sand. It is not the water that is important it is just a volume of something that can act as a heat buffer between the coals and the meat to help stop any heat spikes. I use both and to be honest I have never really noticed any difference in the final result. For beginners with a bullet smoker I suggest using water as it is easier and helps for a smooth temperature control.
As b-one says, do not soak any logs that you use as you only waste heat in drying them out again before they can burn and produce more heat and smoke.
Sorry. Low lighting outside and I had my head lamp. I put the meat back in with beef broth. At 820 I got a IT of 200. The combined smoke/cook time was 7 hours and 49 min. I'll post more pics when I open up the foil to eat!
I bought BBQ sauce but did there was no need for it! Thanks everyone for your tips. I had no idea a flat could be this good. Butterd some King's rolls, steamed some provolone cheese, and threw on the meat. Damn good Sunday meal. My wife made Mac and cheese from scratch.