Do briskets cook faster in a smaller smoker?

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mikesmiff

Newbie
Original poster
Apr 18, 2024
9
3
I have a bbq business and also do catering. Recently, I noticed my briskets cooked at noticeably different rates. I cooked 2 16 lb briskets (after trimming) on my 82" reverse flow smoker. I start at 225 for about 4 hours then bump up to 250-275 for the duration of the cook. I don't wrap until about 190 internal. Then hold for as long as I need to. I have an Alto Shaam holding oven. I took the briskets off after about 9 1/2 hours. Held them overnight. This is how I normally cook my briskets at my bbq business.
The next day I had a catering event and got up at 3am to cook two more briskets. I did everything exactly the same except I used my 36" smoker. The briskets were the same size as the ones I did the day before. However, in my smaller smoker, they were done in about 7 1/2 hours.
So my question is..... Do briskets cook faster, generally, in a smaller smoker?
 
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One brisket can differ from another in fat and connective tissue, that could alter cook time as well. Also if one cooker isn't insulated as well as another could play a part too.
 
You always want to smoke briskets at a slow rate. That is what breaks down the connective tissue and renders the fat in a proper way. Cooking it faster does not help no matter the temperature or the size of the smoker. You are just cheating it.

Briskets were a very cheap cut of meat until it was learned to cook them for about 14 hours to get the best out of them.

Watch videos of the best Texas places such as Terry Blacks and you will see why they smoke them so long.
 
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Depends upon convection.

Convection can speed cooking times. For convection ovens in the kitchen, recipe cooking times have to be adjusted. Convection is a more efficient transfer of heat.

And we get convection in our smokers with air flow. Its very possible your 82" reverse flow doesn't have the air flow of the 36" offset.
 
It may have something to do with your meat placement on the reverse flow vs the Lang. Your grate temp may have been hotter where you put the brisket on your Lang.

You always want to smoke briskets at a slow rate. That is what breaks down the connective tissue and renders the fat in a proper way. Cooking it faster does not help no matter the temperature or the size of the smoker. You are just cheating it.
I tend to disagree with this statement. There are numerous threads posted on the forum disproving low-n-slow vs. hot-n-fast brisket smoking. Unless you consider 325* plus low-n-slow. If you do a search. I think you might be surprised.

Chris
 
It may have something to do with your meat placement on the reverse flow vs the Lang. Your grate temp may have been hotter where you put the brisket on your Lang.


I tend to disagree with this statement. There are numerous threads posted on the forum disproving low-n-slow vs. hot-n-fast brisket smoking. Unless you consider 325* plus low-n-slow. If you do a search. I think you might be surprised.

Chris

I happen to have watched this Aaron Franklin vid just the other day, where he talked about hot and fast. It should start at the 19:50 mark .

( btw, this and comments he made in his MasterClass influenced me to not wrap my last brisket and to keep on the smoker to the end, and it was the best brisket I've ever smoked. )

 
I'll take a wild guess you are keeping more consistent heat on the smaller smoker. Have you looked at the temp swings between the two? The points made on meat placement on the large smoker and convection are both also factors.
 
With two briskets on the grate, I'd think there's more radiant heat on the 36" smoker.

Though, the reverse flow can get radiant heat from the cook chamber length baffle.
 
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It may have something to do with your meat placement on the reverse flow vs the Lang. Your grate temp may have been hotter where you put the brisket on your Lang.


I tend to disagree with this statement. There are numerous threads posted on the forum disproving low-n-slow vs. hot-n-fast brisket smoking. Unless you consider 325* plus low-n-slow. If you do a search. I think you might be surprised.

Chris
I'm in a agreement with Chris on this.

I've given up on the overnight low/slow cooks.Since I mainly use the MES these days I do all my butts/briskets at 270-275 and I can honestly say they come out just as good.
 
I'm in a agreement with Chris on this.

I've given up on the overnight low/slow cooks.Since I mainly use the MES these days I do all my butts/briskets at 270-275 and I can honestly say they come out just as good.

I don't see those temps as hot and fast. HF is well over 300, actually more in the 350 and up range.

275 is the generally accepted temp for about everything.
 
You always want to smoke briskets at a slow rate. That is what breaks down the connective tissue and renders the fat in a proper way. Cooking it faster does not help no matter the temperature or the size of the smoker. You are just cheating it.

Briskets were a very cheap cut of meat until it was learned to cook them for about 14 hours to get the best out of them.

Watch videos of the best Texas places such as Terry Blacks and you will see why they smoke them so long.
I understand about cooking at a slow rate. All the briskets I did came out great. No issue there. I just thought it was kinda strange the difference in cook times. All were cooked the same way, at the same temp. Just that the ones in my smaller smoker got done alot faster.
 
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I'll take a wild guess you are keeping more consistent heat on the smaller smoker. Have you looked at the temp swings between the two? The points made on meat placement on the large smoker and convection are both also factors.
There's definitely some wiggle room as far as placement on the big smoker. I generally put the briskets in the middle. The two briskets just barely fit in the smaller smoker so I didn't have a choice on placement. I'm just thinking there's alot more room in the bigger one for heat to move around as opposed to the smaller one where everything's a bit more concentrated maybe? Also, I'm cooking other things on the big one when I'm doing the briskets so usually the more food, the longer things take to cook so that might be a reason as well.
 
With two briskets on the grate, I'd think there's more radiant heat on the 36" smoker.

Though, the reverse flow can get radiant heat from the cook chamber length baffle.
I think in general cook times are a bit shorter on a lang due to the reverse flow and the metal grate that gives off heat as well.
 
On a smaller cooker that has less diameter you might getting more radiant heat from the walls of the smoker, but it's not going to have a massive effect. If they are both reverse flows, the reverse flow plate of the smaller cooker might be a lot closer to the food and that definitely will lower the cook time. Smaller cookers can get more radiant heat from the firebox itself.
 
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Smoke them to 140-150, wrap tight, cook to 180 IT and then hold at 140 for at least 8 hrs. Aaron Franklin won’t eat his own meat, but that’s the way he cooks it. (And it really works well. That’s why an electric smoker is the bomb)
 
Smoke them to 140-150, wrap tight, cook to 180 IT and then hold at 140 for at least 8 hrs. Aaron Franklin won’t eat his own meat, but that’s the way he cooks it. (And it really works well. That’s why an electric smoker is the bomb)
Why won't he??
 
Depends upon convection.

Convection can speed cooking times. For convection ovens in the kitchen, recipe cooking times have to be adjusted. Convection is a more efficient transfer of heat.

And we get convection in our smokers with air flow. Its very possible your 82" reverse flow doesn't have the air flow of the 36" offset.
x2
 
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