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Smoking Overnight?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by baumgar, May 8, 2018.

  1. baumgar

    baumgar Newbie

    I've now successfully used my WSM 22.5 with my new Flame Boss 300 and I'd like to try to do another first for myself - an overnight smoke. The big reason is that I have a picnic I'm going to in a couple of weeks and need to be there by noon. I'd rather not be up at 3 or 4am, so I'd like to see how I can do much of my smoking overnight. The question is how do I stagger my meats?

    I think I'd like to do pulled pork and brisket. The timeline for pulled pork seems to line up nicely enough - but the butt on before midnight, foil it in the morning, start resting it an hour or so before the picnic - although I wont be able to put the wood chunks on every hour overnight...

    The brisket seems trickier since it has a shorter timeline (but too long to try to squeeze in in the morning) - normally the initial pre-foil smoke is 2.5-3 hours, followed by 2-3 hours in foil, and 1-2 hours resting. Could I just put it on the smoker at the same time as the butt and just let it go overnight? Or should I am to foil it before going to bed?

    Or do you recommend doing all the smoking the day/night before and use the smoker & Flame Boss to "rest" the meat (at what temp?) overnight?

    Would appreciate any advice & recommendations.


  2. jbellard

    jbellard Smoking Fanatic

    I’ve definitely had briskets go longer than a butt would. To me it depends on your temp that you want to cook at.
    I cook my butts on the higher end (275-300), have also done them at 225 when I have the time to. I would put both on at 275 and shoot for the same time. Maybe have them finishing 2 hrs before you need to go so that if you had to you could throw them in the oven to finish them up.
    bdskelly likes this.
  3. buckaholic84

    buckaholic84 Fire Starter

    what temp are you cooking at? 6 hours for brisket would have to be hot and fast not low and slow in my experience....never done them at same tim, but I would put them on at same time.

    You shouldn't need to put chunks on every hour with WSM. Load up 3-6 (depending on how much smoke you like) chunks spread in and around unlit coals if your using minion method and your good to go.
  4. baumgar

    baumgar Newbie

    I'm aiming for 225-250. In practice my smoke times for brisket have been longer.

    Thanks for the advice - I'll give it a go smoking them both overnight and foiling in the morning.
  5. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi there and welcome!
    Start as early as you can so you have plenty of time for the meat to finish before your need it to be eaten. If the meat finishes hours early you just wrap in double foil and then wrap in 3 bath towels and I promise the meat will hold temp for 4 hours no problem.

    Another option is to simply smoke the meat a couple of days before and then wrap and put in the fridge. Bring back up to temp in the oven before you need to go eat and you are ready to rock! Both pork butts and brisket do very well when treated this way. Hell sometimes they taste even better since all that wonderful smoke flavor gets to sink in. You know how bbq often taste better the next day, well it holds true for this approach as well :)

    Best of luck!
    CharlotteLovesFood likes this.
  6. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The OP doesn't mention how big the pieces of meat are going to be. Based on 6 hours max for a brisket, it sounds like a 4-5 lb flat, not a 12-16 lb packer.

    How big is the butt going to be? How big is the brisket going to be? Necessary information.
  7. SmokeHarry

    SmokeHarry Newbie

    Thanks tallbm - i also have a timing issue for a 10lb+ butt i am smoking this weekend, want to go at 225 degrees all the way so anticipating a total smoke/foil time of 14 or 16 hours. Hadn't considered smoking it well beforehand and then chilling it in the fridge. I am assuming that the smoking process must be 100% complete before you chill it (rather than smoking it in two sessions for example)? Thanks for the guidance
  8. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    3 or 4 chunks of wood should get you through your smoke. I don't do overnight smokes because I worry to much and would be up every hour checking on it(not that I don't trust the WSM it's the wild animals that live in the area). I usually run my WSM at 260* and can maintain that temp steadily for about 7 to 8 hrs.. After that I have to tap the ash off the coals and rearrange them to keep it going. My thoughts would be to start around 9 or 10 and smoke at 225*. You should be at foiling stage in the morning. Then crank up the heat to 275 until done. And like noboundaries said it's dependent on the size of the meats involved.

  9. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi there and welcome!

    Correct, you cook completely. No two cooking sessions just a Complete cook and then a reheat.
    Also I pull/shred my pork after the reheat. Just know that on the Reheat you need to hit an IT of like 175F+ on the butt or so for it to get warm/hot enough to be easily pullable/shredable.

    This approach makes life quite easy. You warm up the day of, or if taking to a lunch/dinner event that has an oven you just take there and warm up onsite. Just make sure they are good and foil wrapped so you don't allow for any dryness and it helps for the rewarming. Another bonus is the extra awesome smoke flavor getting to penetrate and meld even more into the meat!

    I hope this info helps :)
    SmokeHarry likes this.
  10. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I LOVE overnight smokes. That's the only way I do full butts and packer briskets nowadays on my WSM. I smoke overnight at 225-250F, then crank the temp up in the morning to 275-300F. A 9 lb butt will take longer than a 14 lb brisket, usually 20-25% longer, so that is your answer to the stagger question. At 225F a 9 lb butt usually takes about 19 hours with the process I outlined below. At 250F about 16 hours. Keep in mind that I do not wrap my meat. Wrapping shortens the time again by 20-25%.

    Here are a few lessons I've learned so I sleep like a baby, or as well as any 60+ year old baby can sleep.
    1. Start with a clean ash bowl. A long smoke can put a lot of ash in the bowl, so empty it before you start.
    2. Use a denser charcoal briquette. Use RO Ridge (Embers is the exact same stuff), Weber, or Stubbs. Lighter briquettes like Kingsford will work, but I had greater temp fluctuations using them. I can get rock solid temps for 12-14 hours, or longer, using the denser briquettes.
    3. Know your vent settings. I know you're using a temp controller, but I use my vents as the primary air feed with my temp controller as a backup in case the chamber temp drops. By doing so it prevents the temp controller from overstoking the fire. I hook up my temp controller to the WSM but do not plug it in until later in the smoke.
    4. Depending on when I need the meat the next day, I start my fire between 4 and 6 PM if smoking at 225F, 6-8 PM if smoking at 250F. Don't be in a hurry to reach your target temp when you first fire up your WSM. When I'm setting up a long 225F smoke, I fill my charcoal basket with layers of charcoal and wood chunks until the top of the charcoal pile is about 2-3 inches above the top of the basket. Then I make a little crater in the middle of the pile and add 8-10 hot briquettes. I leave my bottom vents closed, top full open, until the chamber temp appears to stabilize, usually around 190F. Then I crack two bottom vents about 1/16" open. The chamber will stabilize around 225F. Your vent settings might be slightly different because no two WSMs are the same, but they should be close. It can take up to 90 minutes for all the above to happen before it is time to load the meat.
    5. Quickly load the meat and put the cover back on. Just the act of taking off the lid will stoke the fire and can add 25F to the chamber temp in no time at all.
    6. Once everything has stabilized, I'll plug in my temp controller and set a catch temp, usually about 10F below my target temp. I tend to wake up every 2-4 hours during the night so I don't set any alarms on my Mav. I've done enough overnight smokes that I trust my process. Most times when I wake up the chamber temp is exactly where it was when I last fell asleep, or within 5F. I've done overnight smokes where the outside temp was in the high 20s to low 50s. Didn't seem to make much difference.
    7. When I wake up in the morning, I open the side door and use long tongs to knock ash off the coals. That will also stoke your fire. I fully open all the bottom vents and crank my temp controller up to 275-300F. If the chamber temp climbs to 325F or higher, I don't worry about it. Since you are going to be wrapping, the act of taking off the lid will also stoke the fire.
    8. Meat temp is usually around 175-185F when I wake up in the morning. After I crank the chamber temp up, it will finish in about 3-4 hours, less time if you are wrapping the meat. When taking the IT of the brisket, use the flat, not the point, even though the point is thicker. The point is full of fat and VERY forgiving. The flat, not so forgiving, so that's what you want to get right.

    I strongly suggest an overnight test run before the picnic. Butts are cheap this time of year, so practice an overnight smoke with a 9-10 lb butt. Here's another suggestion: don't use your meat probe to monitor IT on an overnight smoke. Let the meat do its thing while you sleep. Because it is a long smoke, you won't worry when it is stalled for 6 hours, or the meat temp drops, etc. Insert your meat probe in the morning. Heck, I don't even use my meat probes any more. I just use an instant read.

    I've said this before on other posts: once you have your process right on an overnight WSM smoke, the smoke feels like it only took 3-4 hours, not 16-19. The sense of smoking accomplishment is incredible once you master overnight smokes. The WSM makes it easy to get there.
    ChrisStef likes this.