I'M BACK! Daughter's Wedding - My 1st to cook for: Planning, Smoking, Q-View (HUGE success)

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Everything looks awesome so far! Congrats to you and to you, Sam.  Hope you all have a very happy day!
Thank you!
Eric that is one heck of a smoke you got going on. I know everyone will love it.

On the Mac and Cheese if you do the No boil it will reheat great and you will have no problem with it. Just sayin = )
Thanks Brian! Yeah, I'm still considering the mac & cheese...mentioned it to my wife a bit ago, and she didn't say much of anything, but I quickly noticed that look in her eyes, as if to silently say " What, you don't think you have enough to do? You don't think we'll have enough food?" You know the look...the one that shuts you up and makes you rethink your statement to possibly get a better response, including some vocalization...LOL!!!

I may cut something back a little on sides, or just add a good size portion of mac & cheese, get an extra roaster oven to handle the reheat, and just go with flow and let it happen...she won't mind. If it ends up being a larger amount of leftovers, I'm cool with that because I'll know for sure that if anyone leaves hungry, it was their own fault...too many different meats and sides planned for this for anyone to not find several things they like to eat. I think she's just worried I'm over-doing it...putting too much on myself, but I seem to thrive on, and enjoy, occasional controlled chaos (not habitually or frequently), and I have plenty of time to bring quite a few changes on board if I need or want to.

Coordinating and project planning is something that was part of one of my former jobs, and I was quite capable and enjoyed doing it...give me paper and pen or a computer and just step back and watch me go to work...I know how to make things happen when I want them to. This event is really not much different to me...getting things rolling from the start is the tough part...once a few things begin to fall into place, the rest seems to come easy for me...making a plan that's reasonably flexible while achieving your main goals is the key, IMHO. For me to get this much going this soon is actually a great start, and I even put off the trip to buy meats for 6 days just so I could take care of other things I needed to do on the same trip, all in one day. I have little else to purchase, except roaster ovens for reheating. I have a good source with plentiful supplies of the exact roaster ovens I want at reasonable prices, and I plan to order these in April. A few items that can't be stored long-term like fresh vegetables will come later in the game, but no worries there, either. It will all fall into place when the time comes...one piece at a time, the puzzle will be complete, and on time.

Thanks again, Brian...I just may go for it (mac & cheese).

I understand what your saying about the mrs thinking you are doing too much already but I agree with you about having more than enough so that people don't leave hungry.

I know you mentioned "Roaster" for reheating. Have you considered getting chafer dishes for serving. Then all you have to do is put the finished product in Catering trays and warm in the ovens at the venue. This way you don't have to worry about electrical cord from the roasters. Just a thought. Also the ovens will prob give a more consistent temp for the warming.

I can't wait to see this all unfold. Also Congrats on your Daughters wedding. I know it will be a special time. With I was closer because I would offer to help you with it. I have 2 little girls that I will have to do the same thing for one day and hope I put it together as good as you have already.

You know, I did consider chafing dishes at one point, before I knew we had a venue with a kitchen, but this kitchen may already have them...I'll have my daughter check with them about that...would be a lot easier without power requirements for the roaster ovens. Buy a case or 2 of chaffing fuel and that would set me up for the buffet. I'll also need to know how many/size/type of ovens they have (convection, regular electric or gas, so I know if I can use multiple racks for reheating) so I can figure out if I can reheat everything in their ovens at the same time, and maybe I can get by with just 1 or 2 roasters instead of reheating everything in the roasters. I agree on more stable temps in an oven...roasters aren't much different than an electric skillet or even a smoker, as they cycle on and off...temp differential between power-on and power off is the issue...if the thermostat is not designed for close tolerances in the roaster, they will have wider temp swings...that's where food scorching can occur more easily. I know you can use multiple racks with convection ovens, but I don't know of any professionally equipped kitchens with anything other than gas ovens and range-tops....we'll know what we're dealing with soon, I hope.

Thanks, yeah, this will be a fun time for all, I'm sure. Thanks for the offer, as well. Hey, when you get around to putting your 1st wedding meal together you can fall back on this thread for some ideas and tips on what to check on or watch for without any hands-on experience, though, that's part of the reason why I'm posting all of this, so others can get their larger meal planning for a similar event up and running. This one will be a lot different for me than my family's 1st family reunion back in 2010,as that was out doors with limited electrical, under a pavilion for food service, so this wedding will bring a bit of a learning curve for me, as I still have some unknowns to deal with. Before this is all over, I'll have a list of things that went well and those that did not, and what I would do differently on the next round, so, you'll have some more info on the specifics in the end.
Looks good!

Is there an abridged version?


Thanks Martin! Unfortunately, when I'm posting all the gory details, I don't leave much out. But I might condense this down when it's all finished with the highlights and key info and post that as a separate thread, maybe a Wiki...that way just the pertinent info could be read and used for reference if others would like it that way. This thread is bring up some good discussions and offering me some options that will help me, so I'm happy to have everyone along for their input as well...first time for anything always leaves room for improvement, and anything I can catch early will make the day of the wedding that much easier. I guess I never looked to see if anyone has done something similar to this in a thread here on SMF...something which would provide a good baseline of do's and don'ts for an event such as this, but I can pull a lot from this thread for just that when it's done.
Hey Eric, evening and congrats.... Sounds like this shin-dig will be a lot of fun......   enjoy....  Dave
Hi Dave! Thanks! It should prove to be a great day for a celebration!
I know you mentioned "Roaster" for reheating. Have you considered getting chafer dishes for serving. Then all you have to do is put the finished product in Catering trays and warm in the ovens at the venue. This way you don't have to worry about electrical cord from the roasters. Just a thought. Also the ovens will prob give a more consistent temp for the warming.

I know from experience you will find out how well the place is wired when you plug a few roasting ovens in. Often it ends up that you need extension cords to break up the draw from more than 2 roasters per circuit.
Oh yes, that was one of the first things that went on my list when I first decided to go with reheating on site...plenty of length of extension cords in heavy gauge as well...I have lots of them. I do have concerns about the cords being strung along a wall to different circuits though, and I figured no more than 2 roasters per circuit, but I'd still have do do circuit tests while cutting breakers to find the individual circuits in the banquette room...PITA, but would need to be done in order to not come back from the ceremony and find half or more of the roasters were dead, and that food would be trash-can material IMO, because even with probing for temps, you'd need a data-logger to determine if the danger-zone time/temp was in line or not. I don't want to take that chance.

Thanks again, everyone, for your responses...much appreciated!

Eric, Congratulations on the Wedding and I wish all the best to your daughter and your son in law!

This is one heck of a write up and I'm sure can really help others who are planning their first big party!

The butts look Awesome!!! That is some incredible juicy pork and amazing bark!!!

I can't wait to see the briskets and ribs and see it all come together for the Grande Finale!!!
Eric, Congratulations on the Wedding and I wish all the best to your daughter and your son in law!

This is one heck of a write up and I'm sure can really help others who are planning their first big party!

The butts look Awesome!!! That is some incredible juicy pork and amazing bark!!!

I can't wait to see the briskets and ribs and see it all come together for the Grande Finale!!!
Thanks Dave! They'll appreciate that!

I hoped I could put something together from this that would be helpful for others to kick off an event like this.

The pulled pork came out as I expected, with a dry smoke chamber...between that and 240* temps, man that bark kicked into over-drive. It's a little darker than I wanted, but it isn't scorched at all. The smoke is lighter than I like, but I wanted it lighter so the guests don't think it's over-powering. Using a dry smoke chamber from the start helped me keep the smoke flavor lighter...always works that way, but if I want a heavier smoke I run a wet smoke chamber for at least several hours on larger cuts of meat, then let the water evaporate out of the drippings foil catch, and it rolls right into a dry chamber to do all the great things I like to see in/on my meats.

The briskets will go in on the evening of the 1st of April (no foolin' for me on this one...LOL!!!), or the afternoon of the 2nd. I still have a couple more butts to smoke to get my full 25lbs of pulled pork, so that will come in a couple weeks, then the birds for pulling and baby backs. May seem like a lot to do, but I have a couple months of breathing room, so no worries from me. Hopefully my brisket smoke will yield closer to what I want and not fall short on cooked weight. That's where starting all of this early is to my advantage...if something doesn't work out quite like I planned I can make changes accordingly, and still have time to do it all. Same thing goes for the ribs...if it looks like there will be quite a few more than 100, I can grab a couple more slabs of BBs and smoke 'em up to go with the original 15 slabs....pulled chicken as well.

I'll do my best to get some pics of the appetizers and dinner buffet before we dine properly on all of this the afternoon/evening of the wedding. Maybe I'll get pics of each dish in the kitchen, then a couple from a distance of the whole buffet layout...that should give everyone a good perception of the food and set-up. I'll probably get some of the reheating process, equipment, etc, so others will know what they can get away with if they have a full kitchen to work with like we'll have for this new adventure. I've never been in a professional kitchen before, so this will be very cool!!!
WOW what a thread. It would take me a week to type that much....lol
Thanks, yeah, I only type with 2 fingers per hand, so I'm not quick either! LOL!!! Believe me, I make more mistakes in one sentence than I care to see...I probably spend more time fixing typo's than actually typing...ha-ha-ha!!!


At this point, you are the bravest SOB I know! HUGE responsibility!

Props to you for having the cajones to take on such a monumental task!  Awesome!
Eric, WOW!!!! Congrats on your daughter's wedding. I am sure everything will be awesome.
Thanks Toby! The food should be great eats for everyone,,,lots of variety to choose from, and I'm probably not finished with the list yet either...thinkin' on adding some steamed veggies just for what if, but we'll see...the garden salad will have lots of fresh veggies in it, so maybe not. Gotta wait 'til I know for sure what the kitchen at the venue has for equipment before I plan too much more. For now, I'll just be smokin' up my meats and cheeses until I know more.

At this point, you are the bravest SOB I know! HUGE responsibility!

Props to you for having the cajones to take on such a monumental task!  Awesome!
   Thanks! Ah, it's not too bad to put together, but then I do have a family reunion under my belt already from 2010...around 45 the first day and closer to 55 or 60 the second day...3 meals/day...that was a chore, but it worked out nicely. I coordinated the event and had some help from siblings to get things rolling for the site (out of state from my current residence) and some of the food prep/cooking...I did most of the meats. Planning for another in July this year as well, but I'll be doing meal items which won't require quite as much attention so I can mingle more...didn't get much time for that in the 2010 reunion, so I'll play things out a bit differently on this next round...live and learn, right?.

For this wedding, with doing all the meat cooking in advance and prep of sides, the bulk of the work will be out of the way. Setting up for the meal at the venue will be easier to plan once I know pretty much what I have to work with there...shouldn't be too bad to put together the buffet, though. I figure a couple hours to get all the food stored in the fridges and the reheating started...figuring out times/temps in the cookers so everything comes out about the same time will be a little tricky due to the larger amounts of food to reheat, but I'll figure it out. Clean-up when the guests are gone won't be my idea of fun, but it will be worth it.

Thanks again!


I had a slight dilemma to overcome this morning...how to fit 3 med/large briskets into the Smoke Vault 24. I had decided that cutting the flat off of the point so I could place 2 points on the bottom grate, then a third point on the 3rd grate position with another heavier flat, then, 2 flats on top grate position would allow enough space for shrinkage without grate contact from the meat below...should work our pretty well. I trimmed the first packer pretty lean, along with the second flat, which both went on the top grate. The remaining 2 points were trimmed lighter along with the 3rd and final flat, so there will be some leaner meat with more smoke flavor, and some with more fat, although I can trim the fat off easier after smoking as well.

Weather is great today, with calm winds. It was a windy bugger last night when I planned on starting this, but had some pressing issues to tend to and put off the smoke until this morning. The first brisket went in around 9:45 AM, the 2nd @ 10:20, the 3rd @ 10:45. I did not prepare or rub before firing up for the smoke...hitting it on the fly this morning, as it worked out easier that way for time and work space...prep one, rub it, get it into the smoke...now I'm just dialing temps back for thermal absorption drop-off and keeping tabs on smoke output.

Smoking @ 225 with water in my foil drippings catch, pea-gravel filled water pan, cherry and mesquite chunks, and hickory chips. The hickory chips should be the dominant flavor due to higher smoke output from them up front, and I'm adding some fresh hickory chips periodically. I'll give 'em about 6 hours of smoke before I let things settle in for the evening. I have one more day off, so a late night to get the last point out for resting and pulling won't be an issue. Oh, and no-foiling to complete cooking...want some bark on that meat...it will soften from reheating, but will still offer that texture variation.

Dry rub is SPOG, with ratios of 1 part each of dried minced garlic and course ground onion from chopped/dried, then 1/2 part each of course ground black peppercorn and kosher salt. KISS should work well, and I don't want to alter the already great, strong flavors of the beef brisket...lots of older folks will be attending this event and I'm sure they will appreciate this being simpler, as not many get to eat brisket often...it's like a delicacy around here. I will add Au Jus during reheating for the meal, so that will offer a more natural flavor to the beef as well...should make for some great eats!

Oh, due to reheating, I'm going to yank 'em out a bit lower temps than if I were serving straight out of the foil. So, for the sliced flat, I'll probably be shooting for closer to 170-175* internal temp, but also probe for tenderness before foiling to rest...same for the point for pulling, only these will go to around 185* or so instead of 200*...pulling won't be as easy, but I don't want the meat to get mushy after reheating...I want that nice tender chew when serving...my first time to attempt this, so I'll let you know how it all works out in the end.

I had a bag of approx. 12lbs of trimmings when I finished dropping 'em all into the smoke and got started cleaning up my kitchen, but that's to be expected.

Rubbed and ready...the first point, with a light fat-cap...should get some nice crispy bark on this fella:

The first flat...pretty lean for deeper, more uniform smoke penetration and less to trim off for packaging to freeze it all up...should have a nice bark as well, especially with a dry smoke chamber and no-foil cooking to finish it all up...can't wait to see the smoke ring on these sliced flats...the fat-cap generally reduces smoke reaction quite a bit...we'll see later:

Here's what my cut-up briskets look like loaded into the Vault...didn't really want to go that route, but I needed a way to fit it all in at one time. The presentation won't change, as it will all be in pans when served, so nothing is lost to looks when it's all ready to eat:

Should be a pretty easy smoke today for the briskets...the prep wasn't bad, either. I would have liked to do a full point/flat separation vs cutting through the slab in half...it would have yielded slightly more sliced flat, but fitting on the grates was the issue here, and this should provided a bit more even cooking than a full separation can give, short of playing with hot/cold spots on the different grate positions in the smoker...been there, done that, too.


Back later as this progresses!

Last edited:
7:30 PM Update...

I did a grate rotation on everything, except the 2 flats on the upper grate, to even out cooking a bit. The first flat to go in on the upper left is sitting in the lower 140* range @ 9.75 hours in...slow going...I did let the foil drippings catch run dry after about 7 hours (only had to add to it once) when the smoke was starting to thin out a bit, so with a humid smoke chamber for smoke reaction, then dry for moisture retention in the meat and development of bark, this should be one of my best brisket smokes for a very long time (I just learned about changing the smoke chamber humidity last spring). Lookin' tasty already, and we're a LONG way from finished..still red juices on the top of the points, so they'll be riding it out for many hours...sometime in the early AM, I suspect:

Easy does it from here on out...the Vault's been chuggin' along with a nice and smooth 225* chamber temp all day, with only one tweek when I had sunshine hitting the cabinet...I'll be bumping it back up now as it's cooling down outside...hit a high of 74* today (about 15* above the forecast). They're browning up nicely, but I don't want to push temps higher and get these too dark, as they have quite a while until they're ready to come out and rest.

Wish I could have started this last night, but either way, it will work out for another great brisket smoke.

Back later with more!

Last edited:
Update...flats are out, rested and two are sliced...sorry if you experience a long page upload on this segment...it's a doozer...pics, tips and where I'm taking you with the sliced flats...it'll be worth it.
Looks awesome DAD!!!!!! :)
 Good, glad you're enjoying the ride...been a blast for me, so far...wait until you see THIS!

I had one of the upper grate flats (right side) come out @ 170* with 12 hours into the smoke...probed semi-tender, just like I wanted for the reheat, so it came out for foiled.towel-wrapped resting.

Nap-time, little friend...this one had the least amount of the point muscle still attached from when I cut the whole packer in two...pretty uniform in thickness:

The 14-hour mark rolled around to greet me with the second and  third slicing subjects both at/near 170*, probing felt like where I wanted as well, so they into the foil for their nap.

I moved the upper-left flat towards the right, as it seemed to be a bit warmer on that side...remember, the upper right was the first to go in and one of the last flats to come out:

Second slicing subject:

A look at part of the point muscle here @ 4-5 0'clock:

...and again, @ 6 0'clock...the fat layer between top and bottom is the give-away:

And, the third and final slicing subject...a little less point muscle still attached, but relatively uniform in thickness as well:

Overall, I feel all three cooked very evenly throughout, so the slices should be very uniform after reheating, and should get slightly more tender, given a couple hours reheating time...couldn't have came out much better for I was shooting for on the flats. As long as I do the reheat as planned, this should be as good of texture for serving as I can get the sliced flat from this brisket for this reception dinner. I'll have to remember this method for smoking (cutting the whole packer in half), because it looks like it worked perfectly for what I wanted. If the fat layer between the point/flat rendered out a lot, I may not even trim any fat away...we'll see.

Here's your DROOL ALERT...cover the keyboards and grab your paper towels again...just gotta do that so the rookies here don't trash their gear and blame me for it...LOL!!!



The moment of truth...watch for the smoke ring (or minimization under any fat...another reason to trim lean) and glistening juices when you open pics to a new tab to zoom-in.

Nap-time's over (2 hours resting)...meet my favorite carving knife...orientation of the flat is the point-end, or where I cut the point/flat apart, being on the right...to find the muscle grain, knowing that the flat grain runs lengthwise the whole packer brisket (point runs across), was simple...start slicing where I cut the point/flat apart by cutting that heal off first and following the same line of cut to the opposite end for a cross-cut giving the most tender bite and chew...when in doubt, just look for the small fat layering which separates the two muscles where you cut the packer apart (it may not be easy to find the cut after smoking/shrinkage from cooking)...how much easier could it be though, right?:

The heal (top slice) shows the fat layer separating the point and flat muscles down lower in the slice...flat muscle grain running with the slice...think I'll just leave it as is, and the next couple slices had even less fat, of course...happy with this, so far:

View from heal-end (where the point was cut off) towards the flat...second and third slice showing their slight fat layering:

Opposite heal-end...lighting/color showed up better to see the smoke ring here...happy with this as well:

Well, my carving knife and skills have served me well, yet again...nice, even slices @ 3/8-1/2" thickness...again, just the way I wanted for reheating and serving purposes...:

Did I mention JUICY? (just in case you forgot to zoom-in...LOL!!!) I found very little, if any, juices on the board, so the resting time and rate of temperature drop was adequate in all respects...not super-hot for handling, but pretty warm still. I found a small amount of rendered fat on the board when I cleaned it up to wait for the second flat for slicing. I did take a part of the left heal that fell off when I was bagging to weigh and freeze...the thicker portion of it...smoke is dead-on...great match for the simple rub and the stronger flavors of the brisket...not overpowering, so those newer to Q won't be shocked and want to never eat Q again (I like to go easy on the newbies if I think there will be any dining on my eats). GREAT bark, and moderately tender chew beyond the bark. The rub has a nice little kick from the extra dose of garlic, while the pepper is right there behind it, then, the subtle and slightly sweet flavor of the onion bringing in it's share of the profile, and just a slight hint of salt...with a AU Jus drenched reheat, the overall flavor profile will be slightly saltier...dare I say this rub is perfect at this point in time for my overall plan to serve it?...I think everyone who has had brisket, and most new to it as well, will enjoy it! Another big hit is near completion, and my smoking list is shrinking.

This flat yielded 2lb-5oz...the remaining flats are larger, so I should have somewhere between 8-9lb (I think), to go along with the pulled points...not sure about the yield on the pulled points yet...I'll keep a tally on it so I know if I'll have as much as I was shooting for, though...don't want to be short, but I have 2 more packers in the freezer and 2-1/4 months left to get everything in order, comfortably.

Let's see if any fat cap reduced the smoke reaction on the second or third flat, shall we?...not that it matter a whole lot, as there will be plenty of flavor to go around after the reheat mingles things up a little bit more...just for curiosity's sake so others can see what the fat cap can do to smoke reaction.

Second flat to go under the knife...approx 2.5 hours resting..OK, this one I had to inspect for a bit to find the fat layer indicating my cut for slicing...irregular shape and shrinkage had me guessing...where is that fat layer? Ah, there we are:

Oh, before I forget, I decided to get a shot of the foil right after dropping the flat onto the board...notice it's mostly rendered fat and coloring from smoke and rub, with a few small droplets of water (quite possibly only condensed water vapor during resting/cooling), if you look closely...no added liquids for this resting:

Hah!!! I nailed it! Grain is as I expected it would be after searching for the fat layer, so I just got after it...btw, orientation on the board is the same as the first so you can follow along, however, this flat was positioned in the smoker upside-down, as in the point flap is on top instead of bottom as was the case with the first sliced flat...should easier to find that flat-cap I'm looking for on this one, I think:

The irregular shape made for some interesting slicing through the heavy bark when I got to the far left end, as indicated by the crumbs you see there...not over-tender, but the transition into the heal-end at an angle was quite challenging to break through the bottom bark...the smaller crumbs at the top are from heavy bark as well...not perfect, but, not being eaten right now, either...and so it goes:

OK, looking for those thin fat-cap section and lack of smoke ring..there's some visible here, but let's move to the rest, where it really shows up...look at the top of each slice in the pics below ...you'll find several (if not many) light layers of fat, just in a short space...look under that for a smoke ring...none...period...at least I couldn't see it in my pic-viewer on my PC...open to a new tab and zoom-in on those spots...that will tell you the rest of the story:

2lb-7oz yield with second flat...the third is the largest, so maybe the sliced flat will make enough for the total cooked brisket weight (25lbs) I'm shooting for...liking what I see so far though...no serious worries about this part of the smoke.

Just weighed the third flat in foil...3lbs-2.9oz for total of 7lbs-14.9oz...I think that will fall short with the pulled points, but it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings...more packers in the freezer, thankfully.

The points (pulling subjects) appeared to be in med-low temp stalls with the mid-right being @ 151* and the two on bottom both in a holding pattern @ 155* @ 12 hours into the smoke (14-hr check is 165/165/163* and a 16.5hr check of 165/171/166*..another high-temp stall...nice!!!), so pulled point may be mid-late morning after a decent rest for them (creeping up on 2:30 AM now). That translates to a long night for me, but I'll live through it...not my first rodeo (and won't be my last), as many of you long-time members here already know.

I gotta slice, bag and get final weights on the third flat and get ready to yank one of the points foiled resting, as it probed pretty darn tender at 171*, but will it pull at that temp if rested adequately? Dunno...thinking another ~5*, though, before I go for it. Here;s the possible stumbling block with points: they have a lot of inter-muscular fat, which when still cooking, or relatively hot, will show little to no resistance to a probe when poking around for tenderness...the muscles could still have a lot of connective tissues that have not yet melted away quite as much as I want them too...could make for a somewhat tougher pull than I'd like to try my hands at, especially when it's going to be fairly hot even after several hours of resting. The side benefit of not having them all that tender is a more forgiving reheat the day of the wedding for serving...it would require a bit longer heating at a higher temp to finish cooking them, is all. Take them to 180* or so instead of the standard minimum of 165* for reheated PHF (potentially hazardous foods). Or, I could hold them at higher temps (slowly cooking the pulled point even further) when getting final preps done for serving the meal. So, as you can now see, there are several ways I could get around them being not quite as tender as I would like them to be, based on how tough the pulling is. Ah, what to do, what to do...OK, play it safe, go with the original plan of ~185*, but I may drop that to 180* and have a somewhat happy medium, without dropping off of the original target temp too much. My first gut instincts are usually correct with these types of things, so I don't want to start second-guessing this late in the game, and then later on wish I had left it alone...so leave it alone is what I'll do (almost...heh-heh).

The last installment for this segment (pulled brisket flat) appears to be on Tuesday, possibly early-mid afternoon (MDT). Time to get ready for more foiling though...slice that last point...busy smoke, with lots hitting me late tonight, but I like 'em that way when they do run late...keeps me awake so I don't botch-up something...LOL!!!


Back ASAP!

Last edited:
One last set of sliced flat pics revealing something I forgot to account for, 'cuz I'm getting rummy from lack of sleep already...a couple little lessons to learn from, anyway.

Oh, and on top it all...OUCH!!! First mistake of this smoke was just discovered when I went outdoors to drop the last sliced flat into my freezer...a CLASSIC for all of us propane smoker users...we've all done it, at least once...yeah, you know what it is...chamber temp was 110* and the probed brisket point dropped at least 5* on internal before I found that the flame was out and the tank was empty (BIG
...meant to change it this afternoon to avoid this scenario, got busy, forgot), (have two more ready to go). By the time I got the chamber temp back to 225* (about 3 minutes with a 10 second LPG tank swap), it dropped another 3.9*, so I'm looking at an extra ~hour (+) to make up the difference in temp drop and to re-establish what I had for internal temps...man, that zapped the heat right out of those points! Last dial-in of the burner a few minutes ago showed it dropped at least 10* internal.

So, this gives me some more time to post before grabbing my 500ft X 18in roll of foil again...about 3-4 more hours...but I do need to dart outside frequently to get that sweet spot again with chamber temps and dial the burner in to hold it there...over-tired means mistakes in the making...LOL!!!...live/smoke and learn.

OK, back to the final sliced flat...and why I took these pics...wasn't going to, but, thought I'd share a couple more things...dang I'm tired, too...can't type anymore, but I'll try my best.

Can you tell which way the grain runs on this flat?

Are you sure?

Here's the point's muscle grain, running against the back of the blade of my carving knife:

Here ya go...a little better view...I had to lift up the point-grain to determine it's direct, just to figure out which side to start slicing from...I'll show you why in the next sets:

This was the point which I trimmed the least...so the fat layering over the point was still there, and that caused me to look at two fat layers on intersecting sides...(which is which here, really???):

And, here's another thing I hadn't thought about doing, but because things happened this way with this flat having some additional fat, it may be just what some folks like on their sliced brisket, so I figure I'll leave this as it is, and with a little more variety, I can't go wrong with this smoked brisket portion of the buffet.

Just a couple of them have a heavy layer, but if anyone asks me for it, I'll have some for them:

Here's the rest of this flat's story...well, the rest of my story about this flat: I forgot about the extra fat, so the actual lean meat weight is a little less, plus, I didn't compensate for the foil's weight (maybe less than an ounce) which I'm not worried about, but I'm tired, and these are the kins of mistake you can make when you're tired...silly little things, but he empty LPG tank is a biggy, time-wise...could have been worse...I could have fallen asleep...
...so posting here is what saved my brisket point smoke.yet another reason to document the big or long smokes here, so I can't fall asleep.

OK, I think that's it for this whole sliced flat adventure now...LOL!!! What a ride I'm having! Ah, ya gotta love some extra challenges now and then, right?

Pulled point coming...sometime today, I hope, 'cuz I gotta get up for work @ 4:00 AM Wednesday and build up for more cash-flow so I can do my share of spending to boost the economy...LOL!!!


Pulled points at last!!!

I fell short on my overall planned yield, but again, as with the pulled pork, the pulled points are very clean, and my sliced flats (except for the last one) are very lean trimmed as well. Total for the points was only 7lb-11.9oz, along with the ~7lb-14.9oz (-the foil) = 15-lb-9oz. Knowing this now, early, I have 2 more packers in the freezer which will be very close to making my mark for desired finished brisket weight, so that will get smoked up in the next couple of weeks.

I did run out of steam late in this smoke and foiled the points a bit early, just so I could get a 2-hour nap while they rested and got 'em pulled, bagged, weighed and frozen right away when I woke up. The largest of the 3 was a bit tougher to pull, and I knew it would be, but I was done in. So, final temp for the big fella was in the lower 170* range, while the other two were just under 180*...they pulled great.

One last peek before they go into foil and towels for rest:

The remains of the first pulled point...a couple small pieces meat still in there that I missed, but it's a clean pull to dine on for everyone:

When I weighed this first pull, I knew I fell WAT short on my target weight for the finished brisket...this was 2lbs-5oz, or something like that (didn't bother to write this first weight down, knowing I had more smoking ahead of me yet). All I need to do is duplicate this smoke one more time with 2 more packers, which will be easy after doing 3, and I'll be ready with the brisket end of this project:

All three points are pulled and ready for final weights after bagging...I think you can notice the finer strands of meat on top here as well...from the tougher pulling subject, which was the largest with a lower finished temp...it worked out, but did require extra time and effort:

So, around 180* seemed to be the magic number for a decent pull...at least it's close to the minimum finished temp I feel I could get away with and still have reasonably tender, yet firm pulled point for reheating. Whether or not the smoke chamber temp drop I had early this morning had anything to do with this or not is unknown to me. It could have caused enough internal temp drop which may have allowed a bit more melting of collagen for an easier pull vs just getting straight to 180* without temp issues...dunno...you decide. I am almost convinced that it would be detrimental, if it had any effect on the outcome. The only thing I have from this which makes me think otherwise is the ease of pulling with two finished @ ~180* vs the largest one @ around 172*...doesn't really say a lot to back anything, though.

I did sample a few small, but long pieces with some bark at the very end...firm, but tender with a nice, strong, but smooth beef flavor as expected, nice smoke as well, and the rub was simple enough to go nicely with the point, as well as the flat. Some may think that the point and flat taste a bit differently and I would have to agree. When you eat enough brisket you will notice the subtle differences, and I believe it has to do with the high amount of inter-muscular fat in the point vs the leaner muscle of the point (flat, man I'm tired)...fat adds flavor...so it would stand to reason that the point should taste better. I have been doing burnt ends for so long now, and little else with the point, so I may have forgotten that flavor, but it's definitely worth not making BE's now and then to get the full experience of a packer brisket....this should make for some great eating for any brisket enthusiasts at the reception dinner.

Alrighty then, I think that's a Rap for the brisket....I'd say stick a fork in me now, 'cuz I'm done, but I'd be lyin'...LOL!!!

Cheese is smoking for the past ~60 minutes now (started @ 10:15 AM MDT)...I'll get that up when it's ready for aging to mellow out for a couple months before the wedding...Extra Sharp and Sharp Cheddar, along with Pepper-Jack...should be a great addition for the appetizer layout!

Join me later this afternoon for that...see ya then!

Last edited:
OMG!!!!----I'm glad to see you're still hammering out Awesome Smoked Goodies, Eric!!!!

You're still my Hero!!!!

This is gonna be a mess of Outstanding food at this wedding!!!

Thanks for showing all of this!!!

Update: cheese is  ready to wrap and mellow for 2-1/2 months...
One heck of a project!!  oh, my keyboard says " thx for the warning" 
Hah-ha! Thanks, man of the the "old timers" here know what to do without me saying, but the newer guys...gotta train 'em a little...LOL!!!
OMG!!!!----I'm glad to see you're still hammering out Awesome Smoked Goodies, Eric!!!!

You're still my Hero!!!!

This is gonna be a mess of Outstanding food at this wedding!!!

Thanks for showing all of this!!!

Hey Bear! Thanks for joining us on this most exciting journey! Awesome to see and read of your recovery, and see you're posting here again...missed ya, buddy!!!

I'm looking forward to this wedding with great anticipation...like nothing I've experienced for a very long time...and I'll be pulling all the stops along the way to finishing my preparations for it, that I'm sure.

Again, glad you dropped by for a visit to see what in the world I'm up to with my time lately! LOL!!!

Just in with the AMNPS and Pit Master pellet blend...love this stuff on everything!!!:

Smoke just starting roll out of the AMNPS:

Pepper-Jack on top, Sharp Cheddar in the middle, Extra Sharp Cheddar on the bottom:

I went inside and my wife peeked out for a minute while I was busy with something and said, hey, isn't your smoker supposed to be smoking? Well, of course I was dumb-founded for a second and thought, no, it didn't, it couldn't have gone out already. Oh yes it did...I forgot to open my lower vents, which I close for most every hot smoke, and just yanked the last of my briskets out several hours earlier, took a 2-hr nap, pulled the points and immediately went after this cheese smoke. So, re-lit the AMNPS and opened the intakes half-way for the remainder of the smoke with no issues...well, except for when I went out to check @ 2.5 hours and had 95* chamber temp...full sun hitting the cabinet...OOPS!!! Yank 'em out to rest for bit before packaging. The cheese did suffer a bit of texture issues, but I'll get over it.

Bottoms up here...I didn't baffle over the AMNPS, so the one bar of Extra Sharp took the brunt of what little heat the pellets generated, but it sure looks cool...a couple of the bars broke nearly in two when I tried to ever so gently lift them off the grill-topper...BTW, the aroma of the smoke is fantastic!!!:

I'll see how well it slices up in June...I know it will be a great flavor already with either of the three cheeses, but still, it still gives me yet one more thing to look forward to sharing with everyone. Bring on the smoked cheese lovers!!!

Next smoke is not scheduled just yet maybe the night of Saturday (04-06-13) or Sunday morning, but I'm figuring on more pork butts to fill my target weight for PP...then, probably back to another brisket smoke to get much closer to that target weight...busy, busy, busy...love it!!! Ha-ha-ha!!! OOOH, man, I gotta get my butts out of the freezer to start thawing in my Q-Fridge, ASAP, as in yesterday!!!

Great smokes to all!

Catch ya on the rebound!

Update: final Butt Smoke is on @ 8:00 PM MT...
Looks awesome E!

x2 on the Pitmasters Choice pellets, I love that blend. You daughter is one lucky gal, looks like the wedding of the century!
Yeah, the Pit Master is great smoke for everything I've used it with so far. I need to do a few simple mods to my Vault so I can use the Tube or ANNPS for hot smoking, then I'll be set. Chips and chucks are pretty easy to run with in the Vault, but the pellets take a lot of guess-work or estimations out of the equation at times, and the smoke is so smooth and steady...you just can't beat it!

I have no doubt that the wedding will be one of great memories...the food will be a sizable part of the event (as it always is with a gathering of people), so I want it to be the best I can create with the tools and skills I possess. I'll have some help towards the end with side dishes, so it won't be only me doing the food...credits will be due in time. Doing the best I/we can do with what we have, I can look back on this and know I couldn't have done it any better, 'cuz I want the best I can provide for my daughter, especially for her big day. She worked hard to make it this far in life with college courses (will be moving on to University studies for 4-yr degrees), her full-time job while studying (WHAT?!?!?)...yeah, she's a go-getter.
YUMMM!!!!v So excited!!!! :) Two months lol!!!! Just two months..... seems like forever!

...the minute hands are slowly making their rounds on the clock...calendar pages are flipping over...before you know it, you'll be asking yourself what happened to the last 2 months?!?!?! LOL!!! Lots to do until then, so, take it one day at a time. I probably don't say it often enough, but you're doing GREAT!!!

I said final Butt smoke 'cuz I know this will be more than enough to fill my 25lb total quota. We kept a smaller bag (about 3-1/4lbs) for dining on when the first (6-butt) smoke was finished and I knew I wasn't at my mark yet...gotta smoke more, so why not enjoy a little of it now, right? We had to make sure the samples made a good representation of what the pulled pork should eat and taste like anyway...that's my story and I'm sticking to it! LOL!!! Anyway, I only have about 16lbs in the freezer at the moment, and this smoke should get me well above the 9+lbs finished/pulled pork needed. I didn't weigh any of this prior to smoke (approx 30lbs, so I expect another ~12lbs finished yield)...just wingin' it this time around knowing I'll have it covered for sure.

So, this round is pretty much identical to the first pulled pork smoke (rub, smoke woods, method), other than chamber temps are running about 230* instead of 240*, and, I have a bit less pea-gravel in the water pan so my foil drippings catch has slightly more water capacity for just a little longer humid smoke chamber (without adding water) before it transitions into a dry smoke chamber, just so I get a bit more smoke reaction time without tending...should be just the ticket. I decided to slow it down just a tad (lower chamber temp) so I can cruise through the night and they shouldn't be ready to wrap and rest until mid-day. I'll stick 'em for temps in the morning and I may decide to bump to 240* if they're too sluggish and let it ride from there, but I don't have time for a 24-25hr no-foil butt smoke like I've had so many times in the past...gotta make a rode-trip early Monday morning, so that day off work got shot out the window, unfortunately. But, I can get this last pulled pork off the list this weekend, and that was my main focus for this week. Two Briskets are beginning their slow thaw in my Q-Fridge since the butts went into the smoker, so they'll be ready for a smoke on my weekend off in 6 more days. That will get my pulled and sliced brisket quota in line, and then I can move on to pulled chicken and baby back ribs...I left the easy stuff for last...ha-ha-ha!!!

Just a couple pics in good faith...lot's more breathing room in the SV-24 this time around so I could lay the butts in normal orientation instead of tipped up on the cut edges. I tried to place the heaviest portions where I had known warm spots in the Vault, just to keep things cooking as evenly as possible for the duration:

One last smoker check and I think I'm off for eyelid inspections...the first two big smokes for this event kept me up and kicking with little sleep, and I'm still playing catching-up on that. When I can plan my start times better like this evening, I can usually avoid loosing too much sleep, so I'm grateful for this one kicking-off well. The weather forecast for tonight changed to no precipitation...was 30% chance of rain after mid-night, changing to snow after 2:00 AM...now, with calm/light winds and no chance of precip, the Vault should hold her own just fine through the night. BTW, ambient temps are 49*F right now at midnight...CRAZY warm weather for the first week of April here, and no signs yet of a spring blizzard, either...that will be 4 years in a row if it blows past us again...not normal at all...still have another month or so for it to show...we'll see. Oh, and I did start this smoke tonight with a FULL LPG tank...LOL!!!

Back on Sunday afternoon/evening with our final pulled pork as my meat smoking list grows smaller and smaller! Every smoke puts me closer to being ready for D-Day...er, uh, W-Day...yeah, that's it!

Nite all!

Last edited:
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts

Hot Threads