Next day after the first big smokin day ....

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jun 25, 2006
Yuma, Arizona
Let me start by thanking all y'all with your numerous posts, great hints and more info than I could gather in this forum in my research to smoke my first brisket. (I spent 45 minutes just reading on fat cap up/down alone!!) I got a smoker by request (Can you imagine that – no ties!!) for Fatherâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s Day. Seasoned it and ran some split chicken last weekend. That was yummy! Course after that, I had to jump right to the top and try the black diamond run…. So, brisket here I come.

Equip: Char Broil off-set smoker (El cheapo from Wally World- but it's mine!)
Fuel: Kingsford briquets
Mexican mesquite lump charcoal – Live in Yuma, Az, can see Mexico from my window....
Mesquite wood chips
Intended victim: 9.36 full packer from local Grocery. Slathered, rubbed and fridged the night before with a mustard/salsa and a basic rub …. Looking at a 12 hour smoke.

Here's my ordeal up at 0530 and laid the fire box out. After reading, chatting with others and much internal debate, went with a 'minion' alternating layers of Kings, Mesquite and chips. First problem is that the fire box isn't very big on this model so ran into space problems right away. I decided to persevere regardless . Got that sucker aâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]burning with a cut up coffee can as a chimney and let it hit the bed on the side next to the firebox damper. Let it settle for 30 minutes rising to 250 and then the meat hit the smoke at 0645 fat side up. Let it heat thru and flipped it fat side down with the point toward the fire after the first hour.

First problem …… had to take the daughter to meet grandma 120 miles away. Bad planning, but the fire looked good, it was creeping across the box slowly and I knew I could get back in less than 3.5 hours. (Gotta love those flat desert highways at 85.) Box seemed to have enough fuel. So I left the fire in the hands of my lovely, talented wife who has never even grilled a burger before. (A whiz in the kitchen but her idea of open flame is natural gas). Told her the best thing was to do was to do nothing at all. Called a couple of times to check on temp, it went up to 275 and had dropped to 200 by the time I got back. Reloaded the charcoal the same way quick, got temp back up to 250/260 and left it alone. Had to empty the box, clean ashes and totally re-build the fire after about 8 hours, didnâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t seem to lose much temp.

Flipped the meat 3 times end to end. Started checking internal temps around 4:00. 140…. …..140 ….. Okay, I read about this plateau, here I am ….140…140 …150 in the point …. 145 in the flat ….150 …. Wife went to buy chicken to feed the screaming teenagers at 7:30….. ….. 160 in the point …. 150 ….. At 8:45, after 14 hours, I got 170 in the point and 155+ in the flat. Wrapped in foil and towels, stuck it in a unheated oven and let it sit for 2 hours. Separated the point and flat. Wrapped the flat back up and carved the point.

Damn, that looks almost gray, and dry. Nice ring and crust but pretty bland tasting. Maybe I should have made some sauce after all. I just wasted a day and my hopes and dreams on this? My dogs chunky meaty treats taste better than this (Donâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t ask me how I know – Mescal was involved). Threw that in the fridge, left the flat wrapped and hot in the oven and went to sleep all bummed out.

Got up early this morning and something was buzzing around in my brain; something about points and cubes with barbeque sauce and re-cooking and flats sliced thin. Made some coffee and thought …. Got that flat out, still nice and warm, sliced across the end, hmm nice ring, pinkish tinge to the meat and lifted a piece to my mouth……

Now thatâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s what Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m talking about! Great flavor, moister, tender, Fried up some eggs and potatoes, heated some Rayâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s sauce and had the best breakfast Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]ve had in a long time. Family will get it for lunch today. I could sell this stuff!!! I re-read and see where some suggest chopping up the point and using it in sandwiches … I get it now.

Final thoughts: I donâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t trust the thermometer that came with this unit. I was hitting between 250 and 275 the whole 14+ hours. No way was that accurate. Even with a temp drop nearer the meat, It must have been 30 degrees off. I need to get something accurate, and I need to allot more time to smoke I guess. I thought 12 hours would have adequate, but it was not close. Plus, now I see why everyone says use an internal. I choose not to baste or mop, I was concerned with blowing my heat load with the small smoker. I didnâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t want to crash the temps every hour or so. I was wrong in that. I need to buy a better mesquite charcoal, that Mex stuff is dirty as heck. Or maybe the chips are enough …. Have to ponder that. The wrapping and setting time is crucial, I see that also now.

Again, thanks for all your wisdom, I couldnâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t have achieved even my mixed results without lurking thru your forums and resources. I have alot to perfect, but I need a new hobby and ….

See ya!
Welcome to the dark side of the brisket cookers. You must take your new found knowledge and pass it on.

Glad it all turned out so well. Hope the family is stuffing themselves now.
Thanks Gary ....

Not so sure about the knowledge though, think I just changed my diaper and made it to kindergarten. LOL I may have to stay on the dark side....

And yes, I just chopped up the point, stirred in some chop sauce, Ray's and tabasco and we are munching away on some nice big old sammies .....

I forgot the most imortant thing in my legthy post however,

Any hints for the next time?

the 1st thing I tell people new to smoking...Get a Notebook. Take notes. If a cook comes out the way you want it to, then the real secret is to be able to do it again and again at will.

Since you jumped on brisket try pork butt, pulled pork sammies are the best, store well, and very good for warming up in the company lunch room during the week.
Will do .... Already jotted some things from yesterday down.

Going for some spare ribs next, then I'll try the butt.

Will the pork dry out faster than beef?

I dropped some german sausage in for the last 4 hours last night... Just ate one of those ...... Those I'm hooked on!
Congratulations on your first brisket. Sounds like you learned a lot and also produced some excellent chow. Now, if there are any left overs from the brisket, do the search function and look up Fl. Jeff's Chili Verde. I'll guarantee you there is not a better chili recipe. And it is a great way to use the left over brisket. (Also, if you think you are a hero now, make the chile and then check your standings.) Try it.... you'll absolutely like it. Good luck and please do keep us posted on your efforts.
Sean, Get youself a digital thermometer. You will want a Taylor or Mavrick. See the Thermo forum in the Smokers and Equipment section. I use the Maverick ET-73, it allows me to monitor the chamber temp with one probe and the food temp with the other. Another nice feature is the remote unit-you can be inside the house or out in the yard doing something else and still know what's going on with the Smoker.
As usual, Earl is right. You need a good thermometer. Without an accurate thremometer, you're leaving an awful lot to guess work. I also purchased the Taylor (two of them) and I also have the Maverick. You'll love both of them ... especially the ability to read the Maverick remotely.
Bill/ Earl-

Thanks for the kind words! I was just happy to have something edible.. I will look up the recipe but with a 16 and 13 yr boys and tall 10 yr old daughter in the house, we don't have many leftovers .... that 9 + lb brisket was gone by Sunday pm!! But I will in the future.

Thanks for the tips on the thermos ... I really see the need. I popped some chickens in in yesterday aftrnoon and had a heck of time getting that done. The dual probes are a great idea. Boy was I guessing .... alot! I'll let ya know.

But I enjoyed it. I have always grilled alot (2-4 days a week! You can do that in the desert) ... but this low/slow methods have me intrigued... I am looking at doing a pork shoulder this weekend and ribs for the 4th ....

I'll let y'all know.
I think you're on a roll! Don't let up and I hope you continue to enjoy the fine art of Q at least half as much as I have. And it was made a whole lot easier by this forum. Best of luck and do keep us posted. Also, by the way, even if it means doing two briskets in the future to have one for the chile verde, do it. You (and those growing youngsters) will love it ..... especially when the weather cools a little.
One of the benefits of making good Que. The leftovers! I also know about the hazard of having food leftover. A 12 yr eating machine, son, two grown eaters, daughters, a grandson, just getting into eating, Son-in-Law to be, Loves to eat. And the other daughter's boyfriend, 6'5" 300 lbs, and eats like it. Cooking is a fulltime event when I go to the grates to smoke meat.
Thanks guys for the encouragement. FYI ... I put on a whole chicken, beer can style (Tecate!) 2 hours ago. Going to drop some brats for the last 90 minutes or so. That's for dinner.

Convinced the wife to stay up tonight lateeeeeeeeee, to start a pork butt around 10. Picked it up at the local WalMart, nice 9.75 lbs. That'll be interesting, Gonna have a 5 hour sleep break from about 0200 - 0700. Hope my little firebox can keep burning that long.

I'm thinking of also doing a small "Corned Beef Brisket" I picked up in March after St Pat's day. It's a 6 lb flat that has 25% solution in a cryovac.... Any thoughts? I only paid like 3 bucks for the thing, have to use it sometime. I would just throw in there with the butt and let it it go. And then use for a chili verde...... Throwing a little party for the 4th, so I would have that, thawing 15 lbs of spare ribs, what's left of the butt...

I'm hooked. I'm already thinking of a bigger smoker .....

Anyways, thanks again. If and when you hit your knees, remember all those far away making it possible for us to have the life we do.

Sean, I found this post a little late, but I hope this helps. I think you have the char-broil silver smoker. The first mod you should make is moving the thermometer down closer to the cooking grate, this wont help with the internal temps of the food, but it will give you a more accurate temp of the cooker itself. While the thermometer is off of the smoker, you may also want to check it to see how accurate it is by emerssing the tip in boiling water. It should read 212. There are lots of mods this smoker needs, and you can do fairly cheap. They are posted around here some where. Just type in silver smoker mods on the search and it should pop up. If you cant find them, e-mail me at [email protected], and I will send you a pdf file showing you all the mods for this smoker. These mods really help. Ive done them on mine and they have made a world of differance. I have even done some that are not on the list, like weld a 4in stack on the right side down low to hold the heat better.I dont know how this is going to work, because I did it last weekend, and havent fired it up yet, im waiting for the paint to cure. But I will post pics soon. As far as interal temps for the meat goes, Dutch is right on. the Taylor or Mavrick thermos are your best choice. For me its a "must have " item!
See, that's why I'm hesitant to do a brisket....

My wife doesn't eat beef (damn her) and I don't want to waste a day and then some, disrupt my sleep and get crappy brisket on top of it all.

Nice writing, though.
Thx Dave ... Actually I have the smaller model than the 'silver'. I did try to mod it with some duct to kick out the heat closer to the middle ... that was a huge mistake, just burned the heck out of a brisket... Actually it works okay stock if I keep the meat back 4-5 inches from the firebox.

This model does have a separate smoke stack that comes out 2/3 off the right side not off the top like the silver model... I have been looking at upgrading already but didn't like the silver for that very reason.... As for the temps, I bought a simple oven type hanging thermo and found out that the stock temp reads about 45 degree high compared to the grate temp so I just push that reading to about 265/75 to get my target temps of 225 or so.

I've been using this every weekend and found that it's just like any grill ... you have to find the hot and cold spots ... what works and what doesn't... for example, because it's not made from very thick steel stock, every time I open, it takes a while to build back up to temp, so I mop/spritz less and just add about 25% more time to any recipie I find ...

Woody- Now my wife asks every weekend to do another pork butt so maybe there's hope for you!! :)

Thx guys, happy smoking! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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