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Need some fire advice

 
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TheShaner



Joined: 30 Apr 2010
Posts: 10
Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Fri May 21 10 10:31 pm    Post subject: Need some fire advice Reply with quote

So I just finished my second brisket last night and it came out really good and juicy. It was only a six pounder, but still took me a good 14 hours at about 220.

The issue that I had was this. My fire took constant maintenance. I was using a combination of relatively large wood chips and kingsford charcoal (Using charcoal so I dont oversmoke the meat). My grill is a pretty standard firebox combo (although the grill itself is on the smaller side but I am keeping the meat far enough that it isnt catching direct heat from the box). I have been told that people are adding to their fire every 2 hours as it starts to cool down, but mine takes about an hour if that. It seems like I could make a fire that would last a bit longer, but that would take more charcoal and wood, which would make it too hot.

So I am curious what you guys are doing. If anyone wants to detail their fire working process I would really be interested!
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Jarhead
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Joined: 11 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Fri May 21 10 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome aboard, TheShaner
First of all what kind of smoker are you using?
Offsets need babysitting every 45min to an hour.
I use a UDS or WSM for long cooks with the Minion Method.
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TheShaner



Joined: 30 Apr 2010
Posts: 10
Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Fri May 21 10 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jarhead.

Definately an offset, so it looks like I am right in line with what you are saying. I am wondering if using a log of wood might work better. Every 45 minutes is gonna make it hard to sleep! The first one I tried, I started at 9 at night, made it till about 2:30, took a 45 minute nap that ended up lasting for 2 hours, only to find my fire virtually dead! Really stunk. Revived it, and the brisket came out ok, but was a little dry.

Yesterday's though, wow, really amazing. I feel like a proud parent after nurturing this baby all day.






Last edited by TheShaner on Fri May 21 10 10:58 pm; edited 4 times in total
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NaughtyNurse
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Joined: 18 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Fri May 21 10 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple thoughts; try lump coal, and if you don't have a charcoal basket, get or make one. It sounds to me like your limited time is from not using enough charcoal. As for more charcoal making it too hot, close your air intake. The coal will only burn as fast as the amount of air it has so by limiting the air coming in you can control the speed at which the charcoal burns, as well as the temperature.
It takes some practice but sounds like you are off to a good start, and practice gives you another reason to cook Wink
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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Fri May 21 10 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No rest for a stick burner. Build a UDS and get some sleep. Wink
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Tim_Abrahamson
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Joined: 17 Apr 2010
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Location: Parkville, MO

PostPosted: Fri May 21 10 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree...thats why I retired my offset... Real thin metal offset that leaked like a seive...I replaced fuel every 45 min...made tending brisket and butts a real pain. The better insulated and air tight your smoker the more efficiant it will be in keeping heat and your fire doesnt have to work nearly so hard to maintain temps.

There are some ideas on the cooker forums on how to modify an offset to perform better but you still may be constrained by the thermal properties of your cooker.

My advice is to live with it as long as you can bear it until you buy/build a better cooker.

(BTW - I went to a BGE and havent looked back - 2 cups of lump 10 hours...no problem!)
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TheShaner



Joined: 30 Apr 2010
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Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Fri May 21 10 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two questions ... UDS and BGE? You guys are throwing acronyms around like I do at my day job. Can you spell it out for me? Smile
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TheShaner



Joined: 30 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Fri May 21 10 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, got it, Big Green Egg, and an upright.
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Tim_Abrahamson
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PostPosted: Fri May 21 10 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ugly Drum Smoker or Upright Drum Smoker
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TheShaner



Joined: 30 Apr 2010
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Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Fri May 21 10 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That charcoal basket really seems like the right way to go. I think I am going to make one of those.
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Tim_Abrahamson
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PostPosted: Fri May 21 10 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovely pics of the brisket!

Just one small comment. The grain of the point runs about 30-40 degrees off from the flat. If you want to slice the point like you do the flat I would reccomend removing the flat from the point when you slice and find the grain in the point and slice against it... that way you maximize the tenderness.

(or cook the point an additional hour or so at 300-325 and cut into chunks for burnt ends)
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BBQ is like sex...
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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Sat May 22 10 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheShaner wrote:
Two questions ... UDS and BGE? You guys are throwing acronyms around like I do at my day job. Can you spell it out for me? Smile

Here ya go:
http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=31547&highlight=acronyms
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TheShaner



Joined: 30 Apr 2010
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Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Sat May 22 10 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I have some eyes on this thread ... Where are you taking your temp readings on the meat and when are you pulling it? Are you measuring the point and the flat as separate pieces of meat, and in the middle of each? I was getting readings that varied all over the place. My flat almost seemed overdone and my point was very juicy, but fatty.

I pulled mine when the flat was around 165, wrapped it in foil and a towel and put it in a small cooler for an hour.
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BriGreentea
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Joined: 20 May 2010
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Location: FORT WORTH, TX

PostPosted: Sat May 22 10 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mix in wood chunks with charcoal as well. Problem I have sometimes with wood is when they catch on fire the pit can get 300 degrees. Even when I throw in one two many wood chunks this can happen.One of the reasons I would never even consider using only wood. Is this something that is ok and just wait it out until it smothers and gets back down to 225ish degrees?

Also I've never cooked a whole brisket before only because I don't have a large enough offset smoker but I have used over a 5 pound brisket in a water smoker and my cheapo offset smoker and those took about 8 hours I think. I'm in the process of cooking a small edge cut brisket right now that is 3 pounds and with cooking time should take about 4-5 hours and an hour or two with cooling time in my ice chest. It looks good so far!
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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Sat May 22 10 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheShaner wrote:
While I have some eyes on this thread ...
1. Where are you taking your temp readings on the meat and when are you pulling it?
2. Are you measuring the point and the flat as separate pieces of meat, and in the middle of each?
3. I pulled mine when the flat was around 165, wrapped it in foil and a towel and put it in a small cooler for an hour.


1. About the center of each piece. Take it to a least 195F.
2. Yes.
3. Hope your fire is still going. Put it back on. 195F. About your pull temp (165) it's the stall point.
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TheShaner



Joined: 30 Apr 2010
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Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Sat May 22 10 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, when you say it was the stall point ... are you talking about 165? If so, then that makes sense with what I saw.

I keep hearing people talk about bringing it up to 195. Wow, that really seems high. Wont that really dry out the flat? If I am using a cooler, should I pull it sooner and wait for it to hit 195 in the cooler?
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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Sat May 22 10 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheShaner wrote:
Thanks, when you say it was the stall point ... are you talking about 165? If so, then that makes sense with what I saw.

I keep hearing people talk about bringing it up to 195. Wow, that really seems high. Wont that really dry out the flat? If I am using a cooler, should I pull it sooner and wait for it to hit 195 in the cooler?

Bring it to 195 in the cooker. Wrap it, put it in the cooler. It will climb to ~205. Let it rest for at least an hour. Then slice across the grain.
Enjoy
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texaggie2007
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PostPosted: Sat May 22 10 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

do y'all wrap in foil after ~4 or 5 Hrs?
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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Sat May 22 10 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

texaggie2007 wrote:
do y'all wrap in foil after ~4 or 5 Hrs?

I don't, but some do. Your choice. I like the bark.
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Jason_Florida
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Joined: 12 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Sat May 22 10 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheShaner wrote:
Thanks, when you say it was the stall point ... are you talking about 165? If so, then that makes sense with what I saw.

I keep hearing people talk about bringing it up to 195. Wow, that really seems high. Wont that really dry out the flat? If I am using a cooler, should I pull it sooner and wait for it to hit 195 in the cooler?


Brisket is not like steak. It has a lot of connective tissue that needs to melt. If you cook it low and slow the connective tissue melts and bastes the meat. It will not be dry at all at 195.
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