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My biggest smoke coming up


Fire Starter
Joined Dec 15, 2012
I have been tapped to cook for an upcoming party. Brisket and pulled pork are on the menu. I plan on smoking 6 full packers and 6 butts. Any tips or warnings? 

When calculating approximate cook times, do I change the cook times because of multiple pieces in the smoker or just calculate based on the largest piece of meat? 

I also plan on making a homemade BBQ sauce, but I think I have that dialed in. 

How much charcoal you think I should have on hand? 

Any and all tips or guidance is welcome!


Smoke Blower
Joined May 24, 2013
Will it all fit with plenty of air flow?
Don't want to over load.
Charcoal extra unopened bags won't hurt and don't spoil like meat could if you lose heat.
Mine is a trailer stick burner so I like to keep plenty of seasoned wood on hand.
As big as mine is I don't see much difference in loading it up. But if you over load and cut air flow. I have read some on here talk about big loads of meat acting as a baffle and changing the way theirs works. I just have 2 shelves, reverse flow. I will let a few friends know I am firing up so I don't have to buy all the meat. I hate having empty space.


Fire Starter
Joined Dec 15, 2012
Yes, it will all fit and I should have plenty of fuel for a very long smoke. I am a bit short on temp probes so I will have to use instant probes to read temp with just two continuous monitoring temp probes. But I think I can manage. 


Smoking Guru
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
OTBS Admin
Group Lead
Joined Jul 7, 2005
When I'm doing a large smoke and I'm limited on probes, I'll insert the probes in a smaller piece of meat knowing that they will have a tendency to be done before the larger pieces. I'll monitor the larger pieces with an instant read themomerter and when I pull a smaller piece off the smoker, I'll wipe the probe with an alcohol wipe, dry it off with a paper towel and insert the cleaned probe into one of the larger pieces of meat and continue with the cook.

It would help us if we knew what kind of a charcoal smoker you are going to be using as different smokers will use charcoal differently.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Jan 4, 2014
Man, 6 briskets and 6 butts is certainly a big smoke.  The 6 briskets part is a challenge.

Just know that once you put all of that meat into your smoker, the masses of cold meat will cause the smoker temp to drastically drop (more than normal) and it will take some time to get the cooking chamber back up to temp since the cool meat will be radiating through the smoker.  I'd suggest that, say if you were going to smoke everything at 250 degrees, putting the meat in when the cooking chamber is about 300 degrees.  Opening the door and putting the meat in will obviously cause the temp to drop down very fast, but the variance in a higher starting temp should balance everything out.

And if the temp just so happens to stay too hot after the meat goes in, you can always adjust with dampers and control hot air flow.  That would seem easier to me than trying to heat up a cold smoker that has a bunch of cold meat in it.
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