First brisket, wildcat style Q-view

Discussion in 'Beef' started by teleburst, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    Why wildcat style? Cause I"m running without my normal temp gauge. I couldn't find my candy thermometer, so all I have right now is my Taylor meat therm which only goes to 220. So I'm going to go against the grain (pardon the pun) and see if I can use some cooking savvy to get a good product.

    First caveat - I live in pig country. I don't have a lot of beef BBQ experience.

    Second caveat - while I'm going to try to wing it (no surprise from me, eh?), I'm still going to use the meat therm to try to expand my knowledge of how my new Weber 22"er manages heat. This is as much for me as it is for you <chuckle>.

    Third caveat - I'm going to sear.

    Fourth caveat - I'm not trying to disprove the "low and slow" thing. I AM trying to see if one can use the final result as a test (getting the brisket to a final temp in a fairly extended period of time) and see if there are other alternatives to a commonly held belief that you HAVE to keep your temps constant, etc. My thought is that if you have a cut of meat that normally takes a long time anyway, that you can tolerate wide swings of temp, as long as the "graph" of the temperature includes lower than average temps if you start with higher temps (or that you have to be super precise with the temps as long as you use some common sense). Obviously, if you are cooking for a competition, it's better to have a good, consistent cooking technique, but I'm talking about cooking at home. Sometimes there's more than one way to skin a cat.

    Fifth caveat - all of the photos are "redder" than real life. My camera phone just seems to do that.

    And finally, I'm using a smaller than normal brisket.

    This is what I got at Kroger:


    Obviously, I"m working with a pretrimmed brisket. I got it from the butcher, which was what they use to get their smaller cuts for display. It was cryovac'ed. I thought I'd start with something that didn't require a lot of butchering on my part. I only trimmed off a very small piece of fat.

    As I have previously written, I've always left a few half burned coals from the previous session. I'm a pretty thrfty person and since I usually don't cook for a lot of people, I have to consider how many coals I'm creating, so I usually leave stuff for the next time. This is what I started with:

    (for some reason, this just isn't displaying, so here's the link):

    I did a chimney full of half hardwood charcoal (on the bottom) and half briquettes:


    Once again, being thrifty, I don't wait until all of the coals are ashen, so, this is the point that I threw them into the kettle.

    Here is the brisket unpacked (again, the link isn't generating a pic, so here's the link):

    I rubbed the brisket with palm sugar (natch) and my rub. I tend to leave the rub sitting for several weeks. This means that the flavor mellows so that I can even use it on fish if I want. But if I'm going to do pork or beef, I simply refresh it by adding fresh ingredients. Thrifty again.

    Here it is, fat side up, first sear:


    This is 11:17. I seared the bottom side for 3 minutes (yes, I was chicken):


    I flipped it over and realized that I hadn't put any wood on the fire. So I got out a handful of mesquite and hickory chips and threw them on. In about a minute, I got some flames so I flipped it fat side down. At 11:24 this is what I got. I didn't leave it on as long as I might have since I had actual flames (good thing, as you can clearly see if you click the link):

    I moved everything over and threw on a softball of mixed dry chips. Rather than poke holes, I simply left a couple of openings. After it had been on for a few minutes, I got thin white smoke (which you really can't see in the photo):


    It was pretty hot, so I left the top off for a few minutes (11:31) and then covered it, leaving a little crack in the top (put if off-center a little). When I replaced the top and put the Taylor in, it still rose to 220 pretty quickly, so I left it a little open (the top and bottom vents are about half open). I added a few small pieces of fresh charcoal (11:45):


    At that time, the meat temp was only 115.

    It's now 1:04 and when I checked the temp, it was still at least 220 (although it took a while to climb there. So I think that it's just a few degrees higher).

    It's now 1:14 and the air temp takes about a minute to get to 220, so I'm pretty close. I'll also take the temperature of the meat. It's 150. Since I have the top off, and the coals are buring down, I thought I'd get a little fire going again. So I used the wood chips as kindling and I added a few more smaller pieces of hardwood charcoal in a little moundl. I got a little fire buring and moved the packets closer to the flames. There is still a lot of fresh wood in the foil, so I'm hoping to get it going a little more. I've got a good stream of white smoke going, so I've covered it again and taken the air temp through the vents - 160. With the top closed and a little fire going, I expect it to rise a bit.

    I'm going to check it in about 20 minutes and I'll get back. If it's over 200, I'll just let it be for at least an hour. At that point, if the meat temp is 160, I'm going to foil it with apple butter, apple juice, brandy and a little more of the rub. I'll build another small fire and let 'er go for a while.

    OK, 1:36. Air temp is a bit over 220 (it took about 30 seconds to get there so it can't be too much higher than that).

    So, that's where I'm going to leave it for about an hour. Think I'll sip a little of the brandy as a quality control.

    I'll get back later, and I'll take a couple of more pics.
  2. seboke

    seboke Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good start, good plan (especially the sippin'!), should bring great results! Lookin forward to your final qview!
  3. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Looks great! Keep us posted.

    I have a couple Weber 22"ers and have had great results with everything I've cooked on them.
  4. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    So, it's now 2:40. I spent about 15 minutes building a new little fire and foiling the brisket (all top off). I put the brisket on foil and added some apple butter, apple juice, brandy and rub. The internal temp had held at 150. Time then was about 2:20 by the time I finished everything (yes, I was a little imaptient!). Put the lid back on and checked the temp just a minute or two ago and the temp was once again just a tick over 220. I didn't bother to check the temp of the brisket because I know it can't even be close, so I'll check back in an hour or two, just to see where the air temp is at...
  5. I smoked in my Weber a few times with good results. By the look of things, you seem to be doin alright. Can't wait to se how that brisket comes out!
  6. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    3:45. 210 air temp. I'm going to remove the top and take a beef temp. Around 155. Cool. "The plateau is my friend...the plateau is my friend"...
    I build another small fire and check my foil packet. It's basically charcoal at this point. So I dump it on top of the growing fire. Basically, I"m just building fist-sized pyramids of charcoal and briquettes at this point. I add some more chips (and a little newspaper while the top is off) and get some nice smoke and fire. I take the foil top off and find that there's still apple butter sitting around the edges. I hit it with some mirren (rice wine) and put the top of the foil back on realy loosely. Put the top back on and it's time to finish off the pint of brandy, wouldn't you say?

    Guess I'll check back in about an hour or so...
  7. okie joe

    okie joe Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    looks great you make my mouth water thinking about it.
  8. norrell6

    norrell6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Sounds good tele.

    Cant wait to see the final results.
  9. Looking good so far.
  10. vlap

    vlap Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    darn skippy! Thats going to be a good brisket!
  11. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    Checked it a 5pm and it's dropped back down to 150. No prob. "The plateau is my friend...the plateau is my friend".

    I built another little fire and put the top back on the kettle after removing the top of the foil packet. I want the bark to crisp up a little (I flipped the brisket over as well). Air temp is 190 wth the top on. I assume that with the new fire, it will actually build a little, so, it's time to kick back again and relax (although I'm getting a little hungry!)

    I'm out of brandy! Time to make a liquor store run in a few...

    I'll post some pics later (my cell phone is both my camera and my modem, so it takes a little while to get everything organized - have to be off-line to send my pics to my photohosting site...)
  12. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    Here are a couple of pics - from around 2:15 and from around 5pm:



    This is after flipping it over from fat side down to fat side up. This is how it looks under the hood right you can see, it's a little soft right now - needs some firming up...
  13. cbucher

    cbucher Meat Mopper

    Looking good so far.
  14. abelman

    abelman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks good so far!

    Next time, you may try rolling up the sides of the foil or put it in a foil pan so you can save the juices. That's some great stuff. Plus, if it comes out a little dry, you can use the juice to moisten things up.
  15. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    True dat about rolling up the edge, although the edges are curled up a bit - you just can't see it really well. The juices are still in the bottom.

    At 6:05, air temp is 190. Beef temp dropped a little to 145. So, I've built a new little fire to get the temp back up. Flipped the brisket over to remoisten the top half. Putting a new foil cap on the top to keep it moist (added a little more apple juice). Bottom side was nice and moist. Put the kettle top on a little open so that the fire will kick up a little and left the foil top a little loose on one side. Moved the brisket a little more toward the center. At 6:30, air temp is back up over 220. Going to leave the top open over the coals/wood a little to keep the fire going for another hour.

    Will reevaluate at that point.
  16. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    At 7:45, the air temp was still over 220, so I quickly checked the internal temp and found that it was 175. So, I popped the top back on as quickly as I could, rechecked the air temp and got 195, so I'm just going to let it go for about 30 minutes, check the temp again and probably finish it in the oven at 250. Should only take a few minutes at that point. Normally, I would have just built another little fire, but it's getting dark, so I'll probably just finish it off in the oven.
  17. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    At 8:30, I went ahead and put it in the oven at 275. It's now sort of plateauing at 180 (10:15). Perhaps one more hour <g>.

    So, we're going to hit 12 hours, mostly due to my constant tinkering with the fire (I've learned a bit about the Weber, though). We'll see how it turns out, but I'm a little concerned about dryness. As it turned out, I lost the juice through a hole in the foil (predictable, eh?). Also, there's all of the poking with the thermometer. Can't have been good for moisture retention...

    Well, we'll see what happens...
  18. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    At 10:45, it was ready.

    It turned out to be not too dry after all. Could have been a little juicier, but not bad at all and certainly not as dry as I thought it would be. I pulled it and sliced it and left a nice chunk of it untouched.

    Smoke ring? You betcha! About 1/8" wide and a bright reddish pink.

    Taste? Good. Maybe just the barest hint of creosote. Maybe. I got it really nice and charred and I thought it tasted great. Wouldn't get me an 1/8" into a comp though.

    It was pretty tender when I pulled it. A little dry, as it was when I sliced it. But within a tolerable range. The fat was pork-jelly. Sweet. Not jelly sweet...ahhh, you know what I mean.

    It's now in the 'fridge, waiting for future use. I ate a nice bit of it while it was still hot. I've been smelling it all day - I just had to eat it basically off of the brisket. No meal here. Henry the 8th stuff (without the bone).

    Here are the pics. It was too dark to really get a good shot of the smoke ring, but you can see it in the first pic. Sorry for the quality, but the brisket was so dark, it was hard to get it to show up. I had to bring it up in Photoshop just to get it to show. But, believe it or not, that's almost the color of the smoke ring. Almost. Just not quite as bright.


    Here is is broken down to its basic components:



    Definitely a learning experience indeed...
  19. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    NICE, [​IMG]
  20. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks good. [​IMG]

    Looks like your hard work paid off.


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