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Smoking my first brisket pics included

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Got tired of the cheap old Brinkman bullet smoker and always wanted to smoke a brisket, so I went out to Wally World and picked this up the other day. Really wanted to get one with a side box but I'm limited on space, so this will have to do the job for now. It's another Brinkman, but this one is square has multiple vents on the top and bottom and will easily accomodate my 10 lb brisket. Got started around 1 today and I don't expect it to be done until very late this evening. Expecting rain tomorrow so I wanted to get it done, we can always reheat.

Anyway I figured I would take some pics of my first foray into smoking a brisket, so here goes.

Here is a shot of the smoker getting ready to fire it up.

I used a combination of this cowboy lump charcoal and kingsford briquets to provide the heat. filled the fire pan about half way and then but additional unlit charcoal on top.

Used a combination of hickory and apple for the smoke, gave it a good soaking.

Here is the meat...It started life as a 14 lb packer but there was no way this would fit in my smoker, so I had the butcher cut it down to 10 lbs..I used a basic rub on the outside, nothing fancy. I put a mixture of beer, apple juice and water in the pan. The smoke and steam are already starting to smell nice.

After bringing the temp up to about 220, I got it in the smoker at about 1:00 this afternoon (fat side up). The probes inserted so I can monitor meat temp from inside the house..Even though it's 75 degrees here in Jax, FL I had to have one of these.

Cost me aout $35 bucks from Bed Bath & Beyond but I think it will be money well spent.

Here is the first reading off the meat.

I'll update periodically, but I plan to take it to 170, pull wrap in foil and then go to 190 remove and then wrap and rest. If we're planning to eat this tomorrow, should I refrigerate and reheat or what? Thanks.
post #2 of 21
Lookin good so far. I know this is going turn out fantastic. Keep us updated for surePDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks, the meat just hit 107 degrees, so things are at least moving in the right direction.
post #4 of 21
That looks wonderful! I can't wait to see the finished product!
post #5 of 21
Onward!..... I hope the weather cooperates this evening and your Smoke goes off as planned. Have fun and Q-views when you can.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the encouragement guys..Just got back from a quick run and the meat is at the 125 degree mark..had to add some wood and water to the pans..seems to be coming along nicely!
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Update, seem to be stuck at 149 degrees..I'm wondering if I'm going to make it 170.
post #8 of 21
No problem, just a little stall. If you drink beer, now is a good time to have onePDT_Armataz_01_34.gif. She'll pick up in a while, no worries.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
10:22 and I just hit 156..It's tough keeping the smoker above 200. I'm sure it has to something to do with the size of meat and the amount of heat the fire is putting out. Need to figure a way to add a larger firepan so I can get some more heat in there..
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Since it's getting a little late, can I pull the meat at 170, wrap it in foil, towels and then put in a cooler to rest and then put in the refrigerator? Or will there be a problem if I don't take it to 190? Also, how long should I let it rest? Like I said we're going to reheat for tomorrow, but I definitely don't want to ruin this. Thanks.
post #11 of 21
Looks Great...PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif

But you shouldn't post pics with green vegetation in them while we are getting blasted with a blizzard and sub zero temps up north here in the Midwest...PDT_Armataz_01_36.gif
post #12 of 21
I think you need to let it keep going until it is tender, pulling it earlier than planned will most likely be tough. Temp of 190ish till tender is what you are looking for I think. Then you will need to chill it if you dont plan to eat it in the next 4 hours or so.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks..yeah, we had a really nice day today. got up to about 77 this afternoon. I don't miss that cold weather one bit.
I'm closing in on 10 hours, maybe I'm wrong, but I can't see this getting up to 190.
post #14 of 21
Thats the same smoker i use. I use mine usually every weekend or every other weekend at least.

One thing i want to ask is did you season it first? From the looks of the pics, it doesnt look like you did. As a word of caution, you should be the first to taste it (as cooks we all usually do PDT_Armataz_01_28.gif ) and if you taste anything like paint or oil, you may need to be careful. A good seasoning or two should be performed on every smoker to burn away any harmful chemicals and residues.

When i smoke a brisket, i typically pull mine at 165-175 depending on the size. The size you have there i would let get to 170-175. I usually double foil mine and stick it in a cooler with blankets for 45 min to an hour before cutting, which will allow it to rise another 4 - 8 degrees. I smoke my briskets at 200-225, usually trying to maintain 210-215, so i think my longer cook times help break everything down and they come out great.

You will quickly learn how to keep your temps up. I usually have my bottom vents almost completely closed to 1/4 the way open, and my top vents are usually 1/2 to full open depending on how much smoke im getting and how much i need to let out.

I would highly suggest making your own fire box or something to hold your coals/wood in. The pan will not allow for any air flow and will make it near impossible to hit 200+. I put my 2nd pan up as a backup water pan.

I used an old rectangle grill grate from an old grill someone left by the trash. It was about 22" long and 14" wide or so. I bent the sides down about 4" or so on each side as to kind of make it stand up like a table, and i put my charcoal and wood directly on that. The ashes will fall through to the bottom as you cook which is good too. Really small pieces of charcoal may fall through, but theres not many tiny pieces in Cowboy Brand, which is also what i use. Using that as my "firebox/charcoal pan" i very easily hold 225-275 temps depending on where i want em. I can easily get 325-375 if i need to by opening the bottom vents 1/2 - 3/4 open, but i dont smoke anything that high temps.

If you have any questions about this smoker, feel free to send me a PM. Good luck and have fun with it! I think its the best smoker you can get under $100. Its usually $65-$75.

As a side note, i first tried making a firebox type thing out of aluminum, but that melted on me. I debated using one of those pans you can buy for the grill that has like 1/4 inch holes in it to cook shrimp and small vegetables on the grill, but didnt want to spend $15-$20 on it. If you use one, throw some bolts on it and it should work great.
post #15 of 21
Here are some pics that may help. You wont see my water pan in the first pic as i dont put it in till my fire simmers down.

I have had that old grill grate in the bottom for my charcoal for 9+ months now, and it is holding up fine. I forsee it lasting at least another year.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Disbe thanks so much for the information..Especially about the vents, so the bottom controls heat and top controls air flow. Got it. Great idea about the grill grate..I have an old one in my shed that I think I can modify to fit the box. With the way it is now, even with the bottom vents all the way open, once the pan was filled up with ash the wood wasn't getting enough air to really heat things up. Not the best deisgn, but you're right for under $100 bucks you can't beat it.

I pulled the meat at 164 last night is was almost 12:30, I let it rest for about a half an hour than put it in the refrigerator. I'm going to have to finish in the oven today..Yeah, I probably should have seasoned it so I'll definitely make sure to taste before hand..Thanks.PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #17 of 21
Ok when you put that thing in the oven make sure that you take back up to 200 and it will be really good too. Merry Christmas and enjoy.PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #18 of 21
Np man, once you make a new place for your charcoal/wood, i think you are going to be amazed. I think you will be ok without seasoning it too. Both vents pretty much control air flow, but for the most part, your bottom will effect the air getting to the fire which effects the heat, and the top vents mainly control how much smoke escapes... which remember, you always want TBS (thin blue smoke). You probably let you coals heat up a good 20-30 min before you put the meat on, and if you did, that should have burned off any residue. I know mine was pretty clean and i didnt see any residue on mine when i got it. In any event, let us know how it came out!
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip mballi..I have it in the oven now at 300 degrees..should make it to 200 by the time we're ready to eat. Hoping it hasn't dried out. Merry Christmas to you too.

Disbe, based on your pics, I did some modifications to the smoker with my own twist..I was able to canibalize some parts off my old bullet smoker, and I had some old grate laying around that I wasn't using and this is what I came up with.

Here was my first go at it. I put legs on it so it would sit on the bottom.

It looked like it sat too low and I wanted a way to make it easier for me to add wood.

Here is what I settled on, I cut some brackets so I could slide it in and out and add the fuel easier..not the prettiest but I think it will get the job done.

Last but not least, here are some shots of the brisket, this was how it looked when I pulled it off the last night at 12:30..

Can't thank you guys enough for all of your help..I know this is more an art than a science..hopefully I'll get the hang of it after a few more tries.icon_mrgreen.gif
post #20 of 21
Looks like a good mod! I havent done anything that nice looking as i am going to build a new smoker soon. It will actually be loosely based off the smoker we both have, as i love it, but would like it to be a tad bigger.

I have my charcoal grate sitting on the bottom, and i think it is very easy to add more. Even with mine sitting on the bottom.... or 4 inches from the bottom as it has feet, i have the perfect amount of room to add more charcoal and wood throughout. I would think if it was a good bit higher, adding more would be harder as the water pan may get in the way.

In any event, good job and here is to many years of great smokes! PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
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