I'm happy to give tips to anyone that wants them. But I can only tell you what I do; there are a million ways to make good bbq, and no one way is "correct".

Briskets are probably the toughest things to do well consistently. Very few people can, and they are almost all on the professional BBQ circuit. I think the trick is finding a good supplier and getting a consistent product, like Aaron Franklin does. I usually get my packers from either Cash and Carry, or Restaurant Depot. But Costco has been selling some Prime brisket packers for a pretty good price lately.
I still think one of the best I ever did was my very first one, and I've smoked dozens since.
One quick tip on brisket; it is done when you can slide a toothpick into it with little resistance. It should go in like warm butter. Internal temp for slicing should be around 195°, but again, every piece is different. And with packers, you're in it for the long haul. I've had many go over 24 hours, smoking at 225°.
quote:
Originally posted by Red guy in a blue state:
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
quote:
Originally posted by mneeley490:
I'm happy to give tips to anyone that wants them.


Tips, shmips. I say... BBQ and IPA offline at mneeleys. Wink

If an offline at Mneeley's with cooking tips included ever gets set up, I'll fly out with a bottle of Screaming Eagle (seriously). Would be a lot of fun and the hands-on learning would last a lifetime

That all said, agree with MNeeley's comments about brisket being different every time

This is actually the one cut of meat I've done pretty well with but it's incredibly effortful IMO. On my BGE, I have had whole packer briskets (about 11-13 pounds) go as little as 15 hours and as long as 26+. I rarely use the "Texas crutch" foil-method but that's only because I am still experimenting and trying to learn through doing. Greatest difficulty for me is trying to maintain a consistent temp (within ~25 or so degrees) on the BGE. I use the Maverick dual thermometer and have on probe in the brisket (shooting for anywhere between 190 - 203 depending on what I am going to do with the brisket) and one probe hovering ~1 inch above the grates. I have the grate thermometer alarm whenever the temp goes below 205 or above 250. The results in maintaining this stable temp are always great but makes for some horrible interruptions to my sleep . . . and my wife now makes me sleep in the basement if I am going to have the grill alarm going through the night!

PH


In! Cool
Well after many years of running a smoker I did my first overnight smoke Friday night. I put a pair of 9 lb. butts on at 9 pm and took them off at 1 pm the following day. They held temp in a cooler until we pulled them for dinner and man they turned out good.

Ended up doing pulled pork tacos on corn tortillas. Excellent all the way around.
quote:
Originally posted by snipes:
Well after many years of running a smoker I did my first overnight smoke Friday night. I put a pair of 9 lb. butts on at 9 pm and took them off at 1 pm the following day. They held temp in a cooler until we pulled them for dinner and man they turned out good.

Ended up doing pulled pork tacos on corn tortillas. Excellent all the way around.

Cool Love pulled pork tacos.
Tonight I'm using some of the pulled pork from earlier and trying out a recipe for Bitterballen. Sort of a Dutch croquette.
Cooks illustrated has a great recipe for smoked pork loin this month

Pretty basic recipe:

Overnight dry brine in a 2:1 light brown sugar/kosher salt rub. Cook at 300 degrees on whatever grill you like with some type of non-mesquite wood (I used hickory). Done!
(I tweaked by cooking at 250 to an internal temp of 131 -and not the 140 CI suggested- and then seared on a searing hot grill for a total of 2 minutes bringing internal temp to ~135)

They have a nice chutney recipe to go along with it

Made some Cuban sandwiches with the left-overs today, again courtesy of a Cooks-illustrated suggestion
I've been using the smoker for about a year. Love it, but I'm still a newb. Overnight last night I did brisket for the 2nd time. I was surprised both times about how quickly they were done. The first full brisket was 13 lbs and this one was 15 lbs, both before trimming fat. Both were done in about 10 hours with the temp in the WSM around 230-250 the whole time. I would have expected it to take a lot longer.
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
do you guys wet brine or dry brine?

been hearing from folks there's really no point in wet brining anymore

I would say it depends on what you're brining, and your level of expertise, or comfort level. Also, are we talking about brining or curing? There is a big difference.
I wet brine chicken for a few hours, and turkeys up to 2 days. But if you're curing something like bacon, it can be done either wet or dry.
I've done both, but I still use a fool-proof wet cure for bacon and always get good results. I also like the texture of the finished product a little more, but many people swear by dry. However, imo, working with nitrites (cure) in dry brining is generally not for first timers. You need to pay close attention to weights and percentages. Too little, and your bacon can grow toxics and kill you. Too much, and you can die from nitrite poisoning. You need some experience to know what's "just right".
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
do you guys wet brine or dry brine?

been hearing from folks there's really no point in wet brining anymore


Both, I think wet works best for fowl and salmon. I prefer dry for beef and pork. Every time I dry-brine salmon it is too salty for me.
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
do you guys wet brine or dry brine?

been hearing from folks there's really no point in wet brining anymore


So, I'm going to speak to brining only and not curing. Other than using Prague Powder in very small quantities using a time-tested recipe with very exacting quantities for a week long brisket brine (to make corned beef or pastrami), I have not touched curing for the reasons Mneeley mentioned. I do not feel like I know enough about how to do this properly for uncooked meats to do it safely.

That said, here goes:
-Fish: wet brine in a 3% salt solution for 15 and no more than 30 minutes
-Chicken / Turkey: Used to wet brine, but I have found that dry brining produces what is to my palate similar results without the space and time requirements of wet brining. For chicken I rub the chicken with ~3% salt by total bird weight and let this dry brine in the fridge for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight. For Turkey I like to get this dry brine on for at least 1 day and preferably 2
-Beef/pork/lamb/duck: dry brine with salt (again ~3% by meat weight) for at least 1 hour and up to overnight
-Pork: sometimes I dry brine with a 2/3rd to 1/3rd brine of brown sugar and salt again trying to ensure that total salt does not exceed 3-5% of total pork weight. In this instance, I wrap the pork tightly in plastic wrap while brining (or will vacuum seal if I have the time) to prevent all the moisture from just spilling on the plate holding the meat

There are some pretty good articles on wet vs. dry brining on seriouseats.com and on amazingribs.com

I do think that ultimately your preferred method will depend on your tastes and the different textures these different approaches may produce for you
quote:
Originally posted by mneeley490:
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
do you guys wet brine or dry brine?

been hearing from folks there's really no point in wet brining anymore

I would say it depends on what you're brining, and your level of expertise, or comfort level. Also, are we talking about brining or curing? There is a big difference.
I wet brine chicken for a few hours, and turkeys up to 2 days. But if you're curing something like bacon, it can be done either wet or dry.
I've done both, but I still use a fool-proof wet cure for bacon and always get good results. I also like the texture of the finished product a little more, but many people swear by dry. However, imo, working with nitrites (cure) in dry brining is generally not for first timers. You need to pay close attention to weights and percentages. Too little, and your bacon can grow toxics and kill you. Too much, and you can die from nitrite poisoning. You need some experience to know what's "just right".


only talking about brining

been curing for the past 2 years and havne't killed myself yet ;-)

the idea is, wet brine you waste alot of water and salt and space in the fridge

dry brine you just slap it on, wrap in paper towel, let it come to room temp and put it down to the smoker.

was curious about people's experiences

I think i'm in agreement with galvezguy, I'm just not good at dry-brining salmon, comes out way too salty

looks like teh lowest published lethal dose of sodium nitrite is 71mg/kg . so fat person like me needs 6.4gs of immediate consumption before it'd kill me =)
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
only talking about brining

been curing for the past 2 years and havne't killed myself yet ;-)

the idea is, wet brine you waste alot of water and salt and space in the fridge
This is true. I've outgrown my mini beer fridge, and am looking at buying a used, full size for the garage, if I can ever clear enough space.

dry brine you just slap it on, wrap in paper towel, let it come to room temp and put it down to the smoker.

was curious about people's experiences

I think i'm in agreement with galvezguy, I'm just not good at dry-brining salmon, comes out way too salty Also true with me. I've had many people rave over my smoked salmon, but it never seems quite right to me. I like a harder, sweeter version, as opposed to something like lox. Sometimes called squaw candy around here.

looks like teh lowest published lethal dose of sodium nitrite is 71mg/kg . so fat person like me needs 6.4gs of immediate consumption before it'd kill me =)
~7.5 lb pork shoulder just went on with apple wood, will brush every 45 mins with an apple cider vinegar based liquid, for pulled pork tonight

Plan on brining to ~195, which apparently is best for making the pork pull easily. Any other advice is appreciated, have about 8 hours to make adjustments Smile
quote:
Originally posted by sarbuze:
~7.5 lb pork shoulder just went on with apple wood, will brush every 45 mins with an apple cider vinegar based liquid, for pulled pork tonight

Plan on brining to ~195, which apparently is best for making the pork pull easily. Any other advice is appreciated, have about 8 hours to make adjustments Smile


opening the wsm every 45 minutes will have you hitting the stall for alot longer.

i'd highly recommend injecting the pork shoulder with your liquid then covering it and just walk away for a few hours

or, texas crutch it.

the science behind it is that the meat sweats as you cook it. like when a person sweats, it cools off the temperature of the meat. you'd need the humidity of the WSM to match the liquid on the meat otherwise you'd hit the stall (a very long one too if you're just opening and letting humidity out every 45 minutes)
quote:
Originally posted by sarbuze:
~7.5 lb pork shoulder just went on with apple wood, will brush every 45 mins with an apple cider vinegar based liquid, for pulled pork tonight

Plan on brining to ~195, which apparently is best for making the pork pull easily. Any other advice is appreciated, have about 8 hours to make adjustments Smile


I have terrible luck trying to get my butts to cook at an hour a pound. I do something similar, but baste every hour. It's easier for me to keep track if it's the same time every hour. I prefer a spray bottle to a mop/brush, but in the end they both work.
Keep the tin foil wrap trick in mind if you think you are going to overshoot the mark by several hours as in, if you aren't at 160º AT LEAST three hours before you want to eat I'd start contingency planning. 195 is a good minimum and all the way up to 205 doesn't hurt either.

Enjoy. I'm sure it will be fantastic
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
quote:
Originally posted by sarbuze:
~7.5 lb pork shoulder just went on with apple wood, will brush every 45 mins with an apple cider vinegar based liquid, for pulled pork tonight

Plan on brining to ~195, which apparently is best for making the pork pull easily. Any other advice is appreciated, have about 8 hours to make adjustments Smile


opening the wsm every 45 minutes will have you hitting the stall for alot longer.



I never start spritzing until after the three hour mark, and then only if the bark is set. If you spray or mop before bark set, the crust, rub and the all important Maillard reaction will fall off when you foil. I almost always foil - don't give me any of your Texas crutch crap. Razz

Once I put the pork butt on the smoker, I don't open the lid for three hours. If the bark is set sufficiently at that point, I will spritz every hour until I hit the stall. Once it hits the stall, I foil with some liquid (apple juice or beer or whatever is on hand), and let it go to 195 before I start checking for probe tender. BBQ is done when it's done - don't get caught up in x/lbs per hour. Once it is probe tender (be it 195 or 205), I take it off the smoker and open the foil to stop the cooking. Once the temp gets back down to 170 or so, I'll pull if eating soon, or seal in the foil to hold until pulling later. Once I've pulled the butt from the smoker, I pour off the liquid from the foil and de-fat it, using the au jus if necessary in the pulled product. I've also frozen the remaining au jus to use for injection on the next butt, but I don't always inject.
Turned out good, had a few bites of great, but overall not exceptional (though we enjoyed it).

I hit ~190 and we pulled it. 1/2 of it was perfectly tender, fall apart in your hands. The other 1/2 needed that extra hour or two to get to ~200, but we were hungry Smile

I think I would have hit the temp, without foil, had I let it go. That said, I will try the foil method next go at it and will probably use a version of the method posted by thelostverse for fun.

Most importantly, wife loved it! I did mention to her that there was much to improve and we'll have to experiment with it often, which she supports.

I look forward to continuing to learn from those of you who have been doing this a long time, even gman
i wont take mine off until they hit 205f these days - i find pulling at 195 leaves them a bit too 'held together(?)' - not tough, but but not that awesome fall apart if you give a dirty look glistening with glycerin I really like in my shoulder. I have never foiled, but that's on a BGE.
I have always shot for 203 (rec from amazingribs for brisket but works great for pork shoulder as well).

Like Snipes said, I don't think I've ever been able to hit temp at an average of 1 hour per pound. Last 10 pound pork butt I cooked took almost 18 hours
quote:
Originally posted by thelostverse:

I never start spritzing until after the three hour mark, and then only if the bark is set. If you spray or mop before bark set, the crust, rub and the all important Maillard reaction will fall off when you foil. I almost always foil - don't give me any of your Texas crutch crap. Razz

Once I put the pork butt on the smoker, I don't open the lid for three hours. If the bark is set sufficiently at that point, I will spritz every hour until I hit the stall. Once it hits the stall, I foil with some liquid (apple juice or beer or whatever is on hand), and let it go to 195 before I start checking for probe tender. BBQ is done when it's done - don't get caught up in x/lbs per hour. Once it is probe tender (be it 195 or 205), I take it off the smoker and open the foil to stop the cooking. Once the temp gets back down to 170 or so, I'll pull if eating soon, or seal in the foil to hold until pulling later. Once I've pulled the butt from the smoker, I pour off the liquid from the foil and de-fat it, using the au jus if necessary in the pulled product. I've also frozen the remaining au jus to use for injection on the next butt, but I don't always inject.

That's very close to what I do. Pork butt is the most forgiving cut there is. It's hard to screw it up too badly. I usually go with injection though, so I don't have to be opening up the smoker and losing heat and time, and take it to 205°.
"If you're lookin', you ain't cookin'."
Doing my first beef brisket tomorrow. Reading up on techniques. I'm not a texas crutch guy, but will do it on this thing.

Unsure exactly what I have, as the in-laws brought it with them yesterday. It's 6 1/2 lbs. and part of a butchered half a cow they purchased.

That size is right in the window between start before bed or first thing in the a.m.
quote:
Originally posted by snipes:
I'm not a texas crutch guy



I never quite understand why people are anti-foil/butcher paper. To me, it's merely a tool that makes most BBQ taste better. It also happens to speed up the cooking time on some things, but if I'm BBQ'ing, I'm never in a hurry anyway.

I'm not specifically talking about you here snipes, your post just happened to catch my attention this morning. Good luck with the brisket - I'm still struggling with that particular cut myself.
quote:
Originally posted by thelostverse:
quote:
Originally posted by snipes:
I'm not a texas crutch guy



I never quite understand why people are anti-foil/butcher paper. To me, it's merely a tool that makes most BBQ taste better. It also happens to speed up the cooking time on some things, but if I'm BBQ'ing, I'm never in a hurry anyway.

I'm not specifically talking about you here snipes, your post just happened to catch my attention this morning. Good luck with the brisket - I'm still struggling with that particular cut myself.


I foil when I do ribs and brisket only. I understand why some don't like it because I've found that if you leave the meat in the foil too long the meat gets mushy like it does when it's parboiled before being smoked, and falls of the bone when doing ribs, neither of which you want.
quote:
Originally posted by snipes:
Doing my first beef brisket tomorrow. Reading up on techniques. I'm not a texas crutch guy, but will do it on this thing.

Unsure exactly what I have, as the in-laws brought it with them yesterday. It's 6 1/2 lbs. and part of a butchered half a cow they purchased.

That size is right in the window between start before bed or first thing in the a.m.


That is probably just the flat then. We had it with a fourth of a cow we purchased. It was fine, but cooked pretty quickly - I want to say it was done in like 6 hours - and I remember scrambling to figure out how to keep it warm until we were ready to eat.

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