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I need some guidance on my first smoking voyage - Page 2

post #21 of 35
Thread Starter 


4 hours in. The meat is at a temp of about 162 degrees with my coals at around 220 yet. A few things I have learned on the fly today.

1. You guys are all awesome for helping a newbie out on this adventure

2. It does not take a lot of charcoal to get my little torpedo to get to 200 degrees. I am almost finding it hard to keep it lower. 


3. One thing I have not learned yet is wood distribution. I have put in a couple of chunks every hour or so, maybe 1.5 hours. It smokes like the pic above for a few minutes, then I literally cannot see any smoke after that. I am hoping that this is indeed because it is really hard to see the thin blue smoke. I guess I am not sure if I am supposed to keep throwing more wood chunks on the meat. I have read so many people say there meat tastes bad and a lot of people responding by saying it may be too much wood, so I am trying to error on the low side.

post #22 of 35
Sometimes you may not see it but smell it! That's ok
post #23 of 35

Yes,  you smell the smoke instead of seeing it.


That little door is for adding fuel.  If you leave it open your fire will normally get hotter because it has better air flow.  I would try cracking the lid a bit if your temps are running high in the short term.  The smoke baffle on top of the pit should be full open all the time. The air adjustments under the charcoal pan can be closed to limit air flow, lowering the temps.  In the long term add unlit charcoal or wood to the fire around the outside of the hot coals.  The existing fire will ignite the new coals more slowly allowing you to better manage the temp spike.  You are using charcoal without the instant light garbage spayed all over it, right.  You can move the older charcoal to the center of the fire pit making room for more fuel.


Good luck, the fact that you are keeping a close eye on it means you'll learn a lot doing it.

post #24 of 35

Good to be on the low side... if you get to much smoke you cant take it off... lol. Sounds like you are doing fine with once every hour to two hours. If you have a top vent on your smoker and you are really having a hard time keeping the temps down, you can close the top vent down a tad. I wouldn't close it any more then 50% though, you want the smoke to flow and not get trapped in the smoker and get stale. But closing it down by 20-50% will help you keep the temps lower.


Don't worry when you hit the dreades "stall" either. The intenal meat temp will stop going up and just sit there for a looooong time, sometimes a couple of hours depending on the piece of meat. That is when the low and slow heat is breaking down all the fat, gristle, muscle fibers and turning it into a fork tender chunk of heaven.

post #25 of 35
Thread Starter 

6.5 hours in....... Temp of meat finally get to 170. I have now wrapped the meat tightly in tinfoil and added a little more charcoal to the sides to keep my temp at around 200-220 according to my thermometer that I hope is being accurate. The meat looked very moist when I took it off the smoker to wrap it in the foil.  If I am correct, it should be done in perfect time for me to take it off and let it rest for awhile in a cooler wrapped up and ready to serve later tonight at the BBQ.  It smells amazing outside right now.


I will say that the edges of the slab o meat are blackened, not crispy but definetely black, I hope this is supposed to be this way. My guess is that it may be a little moreso than it should be because I have been fighting temps all day long.  200 is a very hard temp to keep it at. It seems to want to be at either 220 or 180 so my ebbs and flows have been more than I would have liked.  Hopefully the untrained tastebuds of the guests tonight will not notice if that is the case.

post #26 of 35

I think you did a great job.  The burn't edges are the best part.  I think you should shoot for a temp of 220-225 in the cooking chamber.  You may want to take a look in a bit and see that you have some moisture collecting in the bottom of the foil if you didn't add any.


post #27 of 35

That dark section is probably bark, yummy tastey bark. Sounds like you have a good smoke going, grats! Don't forget to let it rest wrapped in towels in a dry cooler for at least 1 hr. A lot of folks get impatiant and skip that part, it really is a critical part because that is when all the juices redistribute within the piece of meat and make it all moist. If you skip it will look moist as soon as you cut it, then 5 minutes later it will be dry.

post #28 of 35
Thread Starter 

6pm.... Just reached 190 degrees internal meat heat and took it off. Unwrapped small section to try before rerwapping and putting into towels and cooler and all I can say is OMFG!!!! is that good! It is so juicy and tender I hate that I have to wait. People are coming over around 7 so a 730 sit down time for supper should allow it to rest for the perfect amount of time.  I just want to tear into it right now. 

Now, how do I cut this beast, is it better to make tear it into small chunks or thin strips? I just want to thank all of you for your guidance on this, this is truely a group effort and I wish I could give each and everyone of you a taste, because you had a big part of it.


Thanks again fellow smokers, I cannot wait to do it again!! Now the big question is, what next... any suggestions on the next cut of meat to try is welcomed. I will give a final report on how it goes over with the crowd later tonight. Now, I think I have earned a couple of beers, so cheers and have a good weekend.

post #29 of 35

WOOT! Glad it turned out good!


For cutting make a small cut on one corner of the flat end to find out which way the grain is running, then cut 1/4" slices across the grain.


Make sure to save th juices from the foil and either put them into a finishing sauce or just pour them over the sliced brisket.


post #30 of 35

The slices are larger if you hold your knife on a 45 degree angle(in relation to the plane of the cutting board) when cutting across the grain.  I find it makes a nice presentation and leaves some chunks on both ends for you to scarf on while waiting to serve.


post #31 of 35
Thread Starter 

Thank you all!!!!!!

The Brisket turned out to be sooooooo good. Better than I could have imagined, it was so juicy and tender. It sliced really thin and had just a great flavor to it. I got rave reviews from everyone who ate it, and boy did they eat. I was left with hardly any leftovers, which makes me sad.  I cannot wait to try another brisket or something else. What should I do next?

post #32 of 35
Originally Posted by midwestpatsfan View Post

What should I do next?

Post up some Qview, that'll work! Remember here on SMF if there ain't no Qview, it never happened!  


Have you done any pulled pork yet?  Also a must for some appetizers is ABT's! 

post #33 of 35

Plop, plop, fiz, fiz is normally the next thing I do 

post #34 of 35

Glad everybody enjoyed it.... definately remember to get pictures when you can, we all love to drool over some good looking Que pictures


Since you actually started your smoking career with the hardest chunk of meat to pull off I would suggest you try some ribs or pulled pork next. A big pork shoulder (aka pork butt) will probably run around 12-14 hrs., ribs would be a 5-6 hrs., chicken 2-3 hrs. Pick and meat and read around the forum and you will get lots of great rub and sauce ideas.


Like Dean said.... toss in some ABT's or something as well. Hard to go wrong with smoked appatizers, just make sure you reserve some for the cook, cause the "guests" usually inhale them in under a minute! lol

post #35 of 35

Yes sir I would try A boston butt next. You can't go wrong there. I have one rubbed up in the fridge now at 8.5 pounds.

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