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When to start a smoke?

Old-Man-Matt

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Hi everyone
I'm new to smoking as I've just finished building my first offset smoker as a Christmas gift to myself. Trying to work out when to start a smoke to make sure I'm not leaving guests hanging till 9pm dinner.

I've got myself a 7lb blade roast (all the briskets were sold out as well as most pork) what time should I start the smoke to ensure a 5.30 dinner . I'm mentally prepared if someone says midnight lol.
Thanks guys
 

forktender

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I smoke things plenty early, then either reheat or hold it in the oven at 140* until it's time to eat.
 

Alsta

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I'm learning much from this site, and 2 things that I have picked up on so far that might help -
1) its not so much about time as it is temperature - You want to make sure you get the meat to right temps so that its cooked properly.
2) Smoked meats taste better when made in advance - If you can, smoke it the day before and wrap well and reheat in time for dinner - that will save alot of stress the day of and if it does roll long, you have the extra time to work with it.
 

RickNess

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just my two cents...

1 - it's done when it's done
2 - because of #1, I aim to get briskets, ribs and butts done about 4 hours before dinner. I wrap the meat in foil (if it's not already) and throw it in a cooler packed with towels. It only gets better in the cooler, it's never been less than hot and I've gone over 4 hours without a problem.

if the meat runs a few hours too long...I'm still good. I like to have at least one hour in the cooler.
 

zwiller

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I smoke in a week or so advance, chill, and, reheat and serve when I want. There are some of us that think that it actually tastes better done this way. That said, you will get better at estimating the cook with experience and for me I'm like 90m per lb at 275F.
 

tallbm

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Thanks guys.
I decided to start it at midnight to give me enough time of it takes a few more hours. I'm now 3.5 hours in and I am tired af. Look forward to eating it though
Hi there and welcome!

You 7 blade roast is a Chuck. I would definitely aim to finish 4 hours before you want to eat and tightly double wrap in foil and then tightly wrap in 3 bath towels. That will hold it for 4-5 hours no problem. RickNess RickNess had a similar suggestion as well that works no problem.

Main thing to know about your cut of meat is that it is done ONLY when it is tender. Not by time or temp with your cut of meat. Now, temp will tell you when to start checking for tenderness.

At about 200F Internal Temp (IT) of the meat you can stab all over with something like a kabob skewer and when it goes in all over like butter then it is tender and ready. If not tender ALL OVER then let temp rise another 2 degrees or so and check for tenderness again. Done when tenderness tests pass :)

With chucks I smoke to 180F IT and then I wrap in foil with about 2oz of water/beer/wine/broth or whatever liquid I want to add. Chucks can dry out on you so I do this.
***(Important) Why 180F IT??? Because if you wrap beef too early it comes out tasting like roast beef rather than smoked beef BBQ. This is extremely disappointing given how much money, time, and effort went in to trying to make BBQ beef and not oven roast tasting beef.
Smoking unwrapped to 180F IT will ensure you get BBQ smoked beef and not roast beef.

Why do people say to wrap at 160F IT then? They do this to speed up the "stall" where the rise in meat temperature slows down due to the meat sweating.
To me flavor is all that matters. I'm not trying to speed up a stall, I'm trying to make the best BBQ I can enjoy. My solution is to just add more time to the smoke to deal with the stall, simple.
I wrap at 180F on a chuck because it ensures amazing smoked BBQ beef flavor AND keeps it from drying out. Nothing to do with the stall or speeding things up.
With a whole packer brisket I don't even wrap the thing I smoke unwrapped the whole way. A chuck and IMO a brisket flat both benefit from being wrapped due to drying out.

I hope this info helps you out with your smoke there. Each meat has it's quirks and you just have to prep and experience it to adjust and make it better each time until you nail it consistently :)

Best of luck on it, I think you got a good jump on time :)
 

Old-Man-Matt

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Hi there and welcome!

You 7 blade roast is a Chuck. I would definitely aim to finish 4 hours before you want to eat and tightly double wrap in foil and then tightly wrap in 3 bath towels. That will hold it for 4-5 hours no problem. RickNess RickNess had a similar suggestion as well that works no problem.

Main thing to know about your cut of meat is that it is done ONLY when it is tender. Not by time or temp with your cut of meat. Now, temp will tell you when to start checking for tenderness.

At about 200F Internal Temp (IT) of the meat you can stab all over with something like a kabob skewer and when it goes in all over like butter then it is tender and ready. If not tender ALL OVER then let temp rise another 2 degrees or so and check for tenderness again. Done when tenderness tests pass :)

With chucks I smoke to 180F IT and then I wrap in foil with about 2oz of water/beer/wine/broth or whatever liquid I want to add. Chucks can dry out on you so I do this.
***(Important) Why 180F IT??? Because if you wrap beef too early it comes out tasting like roast beef rather than smoked beef BBQ. This is extremely disappointing given how much money, time, and effort went in to trying to make BBQ beef and not oven roast tasting beef.
Smoking unwrapped to 180F IT will ensure you get BBQ smoked beef and not roast beef.

Why do people say to wrap at 160F IT then? They do this to speed up the "stall" where the rise in meat temperature slows down due to the meat sweating.
To me flavor is all that matters. I'm not trying to speed up a stall, I'm trying to make the best BBQ I can enjoy. My solution is to just add more time to the smoke to deal with the stall, simple.
I wrap at 180F on a chuck because it ensures amazing smoked BBQ beef flavor AND keeps it from drying out. Nothing to do with the stall or speeding things up.
With a whole packer brisket I don't even wrap the thing I smoke unwrapped the whole way. A chuck and IMO a brisket flat both benefit from being wrapped due to drying out.

I hope this info helps you out with your smoke there. Each meat has it's quirks and you just have to prep and experience it to adjust and make it better each time until you nail it consistently :)

Best of luck on it, I think you got a good jump on time :)
Thanks for the help man, it's 5.30 am I'm slightly delirious from lack of sleep but the fires still burning... I think.
Time to check it again
 

forktender

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Thanks guys.
I decided to start it at midnight to give me enough time of it takes a few more hours. I'm now 3.5 hours in and I am tired af. Look forward to eating it though
When I started smoking for friends and family, I'd do the same midnight runs. I soon realized that I had to do something different, or I was gonna quit smoking things that took so long. Then someone here told me about smoking things a day, in advance many years ago, and I've been doing so ever since.
If you really want to showboat you can always throw something like veggies, beans, ABT's or a fatty on the smoker the day of your get together. Doing things that way always impresses guests and makes life a whole lot easier, and you still get that great smoker smell throughout the house.
It's a win, win because you get to sleep and people see how much effort you put into the meal and how your smoker works. Take some pictures!!!

Great job, when it comes off go take a nap, you deserve it.

Dan.
 

Old-Man-Matt

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When I started smoking for friends and family, I'd do the same midnight runs. I soon realized that I had to do something different, or I was gonna quit smoking things that took so long. Then someone here told me about smoking things a day, in advance many years ago, and I've been doing so ever since.
If you really want to showboat you can always throw something like veggies, beans, ABT's or a fatty on the smoker the day of your get together. Doing things that way always impresses guests and makes life a whole lot easier, and you still get that great smoker smell throughout the house.
It's a win, win because you get to sleep and people see how much effort you put into the meal and how your smoker works. Take some pictures!!!

Great job, when it comes off go take a nap, you deserve it.

Dan.
Oh man I'm never cooking overnight again now that I've read a bunch of threads on here about doing it days before
 

bauchjw

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Make sure to take some pictures and post them here to let us see how it went!
 

tallbm

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Thanks for the help man, it's 5.30 am I'm slightly delirious from lack of sleep but the fires still burning... I think.
Time to check it again
Oh also, a chuck doesn't care what temp you are smoking it at as long as you arent burning it so feel free to let the heat crank up if it wants. No need to fight it plus it will finish faster :)


Like forktender forktender smoking before and reheating will save your sanity hahaha.
I run a PID controlled electric smoker and I don't ever stay up messing with the my smokes. I just start at the proper time. Ensure it is going well. Then go to bed and wake up when thermometer alarms tell me to check for tenderness or tell I have a power failure/flame up heat issue. I also run an AMNPS tray so I get 12 hrs of smoke if I want.

Outside of the alarms for babysitting those issues, I sleep without issue while everything is on set and forget mode until I must mess with it again :D

I do too many whole packer briskets and pork butts too be staying up late or being up so early :)
 

forktender

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The smoke that broke me down was a huge whole pork picnic, it took me 19 1/2 hours on an offset smoker that I had to feed wood splits to every 50 minutes. Honestly, that was my last long cook on that smoker, and it just may have been my last cook on it before I sold it. I have a super jacked up spine, and getting up every 30 to 40 minutes to make adjustments to keep things running consistently just about killed me. I was so over that smoker after that HELLISH night. Furthermore, I was a grumpy dick by the time guests showed up.

I told myself, NEVER AGAIN, I was so done with long smokes on that offset cooker, so I know exactly how you're feeling about now!!!:emoji_joy::emoji_joy::emoji_joy:

Once again, great job sticking in there.
Dan.:emoji_thumbsup:
 

SolHero

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I have a question about the suggested method of smoking even days in advance. Lets say I smoke just one day in advance, do I still wrap in put in cooler after brisket is "probe tender"? or do I just let it cool down and store in fridge until the next day?
 

forktender

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No, I don't rest anything in a holding chest that won't be served with in a few hours.
I wrap them in plastic wrap then heavy foil, or a foil pan tightly covered with foil, then set them on a bed of ice to cool them down quickly. Once they are cooled down enough to handle, I place them in a foil pan in the refer so they don't leak all over everything. Buy the plastic wrap that is oven safe, then reheat in the oven at 175 to 250* until they reach an internal temp of 140*. If there is room I toss it in the smoker if I have other things smoking, if not the oven works just as good or better.

If you want the bark to firm back up, uncover it at 120-130* internal and crank up the heat to 275-300* and add some more rub to them, heat until it hits the 140* internal temp, then serve right away, no need to
re-rest things..

Dan.
 

Old-Man-Matt

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We are at ten hours now and it's stalled at 165. I wrapped in butchers paper with some apple juice and butter a few hours ago.
 

DougE

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I have a question about the suggested method of smoking even days in advance. Lets say I smoke just one day in advance, do I still wrap in put in cooler after brisket is "probe tender"? or do I just let it cool down and store in fridge until the next day?
From my personal experience, yes, I would not skip the cooler. I've done it both ways, and feel like the end product is better if given that rest time.
 

Ringer

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You can always bump the temp up some to break the stall. This being beef, it won't care a bit.
 

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