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Old 10-18-2008, 11:37 PM   #21
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pacanis
I call cookers pit, smokers or by their name depending on my mood, but then I'm a yankee.

Been known to cook on a WSM a little, some of the best advice I can give you is keep it out of the wind. The wind will shorten cooking times and use up a lot of charcoal. There is a fireup method you want to look up, google "minion method" it will make your cooking experience much easier.

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Old 10-19-2008, 05:50 AM   #22
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Thanks Jim.
I notice now that even on the smoking sites, it is OK to refer to them as smokers. At least nobody seems to mind because they know what you are talking about.
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:02 AM   #23
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good luck on that briskett today , pacanis ..
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Old 10-19-2008, 08:14 AM   #24
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Thanks Q.
My trial burn didn't go very well yesterday, so I'll need it.
Tonight's dinner will either be brisket...... or frozen pizza (lol). The coleslaw I made a couple hours ago should be good though.
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Old 10-19-2008, 04:35 PM   #25
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I'm jealous.
I was REALLY hoping the trash can version would work!!!!

DH still wants to build one...... but when this gets in his brain we spend lots of $$ on "NEEDED" tools for said project....
and would've spend less buying said piece of whatever we have to build....
Don't get me started on the aquarium..... the new motor in the car...... the front steps at the old house.....
Ok. Shutting up now.
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Old 10-19-2008, 04:52 PM   #26
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Believe me Suzi, for the fiasco this has been turning into, right now I am really wishing the trash can version would have worked. I could have upended the whole shebang and set it out with the garbage tonight.

I've been going back and forth on a Q site and all I keep getting is "relax", it will turn out.... ask away, someone will answer your questions.... I'm getting close to this belonging in the vent thread, but for a first time charcoal user/smoker, this is getting pretty frustrating. My meat didn't even hit the stall period temp when it started cooling down I've been friggin with this tupid smoker trying to dial in the target temp, only to find out 5 hours into my burn that I can be off by 30 degrees
OK, maybe this does belong in the vent thread.
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:12 PM   #27
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Hi pacanis!

Working with a WSM is far from exact - being off 30 degrees in the cooker is not really a big deal. The internal temp of the meat is a better indicator of done-ness.

Briskets take a long time - at least 8 to 10 hours, depending on the size of the brisket, the temp of the cooker and the air temp.

If you started with a full ring of charcoal, you should be able to go about 8 hours without refueling, if you've been able to use the air vents so she cruises at 250 or so.

If you want to speed it up a bit, wrap the brisket in double foil and put it back on. Pouring in a little beef broth will ensure it's being moist and tender.

Don't get discouraged, Fred - there's a learning curve with using the WSM, but once you get it down, it's remarkably easy to maintain!

Lee
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:16 PM   #28
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Fred I really hope it works better for you!!!
I know trying it on the charcoal grill was not a calming experience....

Boy I hate to make you my guniea pig....
:)
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:37 PM   #29
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Hi pacanis!

Working with a WSM is far from exact - being off 30 degrees in the cooker is not really a big deal. The internal temp of the meat is a better indicator of done-ness.

Briskets take a long time - at least 8 to 10 hours, depending on the size of the brisket, the temp of the cooker and the air temp.

If you started with a full ring of charcoal, you should be able to go about 8 hours without refueling, if you've been able to use the air vents so she cruises at 250 or so.

If you want to speed it up a bit, wrap the brisket in double foil and put it back on. Pouring in a little beef broth will ensure it's being moist and tender.

Don't get discouraged, Fred - there's a learning curve with using the WSM, but once you get it down, it's remarkably easy to maintain!

Lee
Hi Lee

Everything I have read up to now said 12-18 hours on a ring. 4-6 just on a chimneyful.
Also, very general but, 1-1/2 hours per lb of brisket. I've got a brisket on that weighs 2.6 lbs and isn't more than an inch thick anywhere. It's been on for 13 hours now..... Just hit 160.
I was shooting for a target temp of 225 at the grate, again, something I read in a smoking forum.

Yeah, I'm frustrated a little. My first burn isn't going at all as planned. Not that I'm going to give up smoking entirely, but I wasted an absolutely beautiful fall day babysitinig something that I guess I could have just let go and would have been further ahead. That upsets me a little.

That and my Ducane keeps trying to trip me every time I walk by it
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:31 AM   #30
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Hey Fred,

You found a good site in Barbecue Bible, I've been hanging around there for 4 or 5 years. "The Virtual Bullet" a great site The Virtual Weber Bullet - For the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker enthusiast for novice WSM users. The Professor takes you through 5 cooks on this siteProf. Wiviott's WSM Course I'm interested in your experiences with the WSM, as I've been toying with the idea of getting one.

You mentioned that your "Brisket" was 2. something pounds. That's no brisket, it's part of a brisket, probably a "point" which is a cut off tip of a whole brisket and ABSOLUTELY the worst part of a brisket to try and cook by itself. There is no fat on a point and it's usually tougher than an old boot in January. The trick to cooking a brisket is partly the fat cap and cooking it low and slow, you can't rush it, if it takes 20 hours, it takes 20 hours, you can't do it any quicker and get it right. There is a place, when cooking a brisket, where it reaches a temperature plateau, usually between 150 and 160 degrees, where the temperature rise just stops. If you haven't experienced it, a rookie will either pull the meat off the heat, thinking that it's done, or pour the heat to it and push through the plateau. This is a very critical point in the cook, you just maintain your smoker temperature and let the brisket work it it's way through. This is where all the magic happens, the meat gets tender and juicy, the muscle relaxes, the planets align and all is good in the universe. Every WHOLE brisket you cook will be different, I've done briskets that fly through the plateau in a couple of hours, and I've done briskets that take 4 to 6 hours just to start rising in temperature again. I pull a brisket when it reaches 190 and foil it for an hour.

Remember, only cook whole briskets, usually 10 to 15 pounds, you will have much better success and you have to be patient. Let the heat do the work however long it takes. Your job is to feed the fire and keep the beer cold.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:14 PM   #31
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When cooking a very small piece of a brisket time est are no good, they are based on cooking a brisket from 7-8 to 15 pounds in size. Connective tissue needs time to break down because it is a very small brisket the time to weight ratio don't work.

I will say that 13 hours was a lot longer than normally needed but I believe that was linked to fire control problems.

Jim
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:45 PM   #32
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oops, did I say 13 hours somewhere..... It went on the grate at 11:30 and onto the gasser at 6:50. I just checked my log. It took about 1 hour on the gasser to reach 192F.

How long do you think to do a 2-3/4lb Boston Butt? That's going to be my next attempt.
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Old 10-20-2008, 02:24 PM   #33
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I use the smoker 365. Even shoveled a path of snow to use it. I keep the fire pretty hot and use the vents to control the temp. A SFB makes a great leg warmer.
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Old 10-20-2008, 02:36 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by pacanis
How long do you think to do a 2-3/4lb Boston Butt? That's going to be my next attempt.
Until it reaches an internal temperature of 190*-195* There are too many variabiles (weather related and fire control) to BBQ by the clock.....Go ahead and cook an 8 or 9 lb. butt...With the bone out... plus shrinkage...you'll eat it up pretty quickly...It freezes well.
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Old 10-20-2008, 02:48 PM   #35
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Until it reaches an internal temperature of 190*-195* There are to many variabiles (weather related and fire control) to BBQ by the clock.
I guess that's the main thing I don't understand about pit cooking.... why are there so many outside variables that affect how long it takes for the meat to reach the correct internal temp? There isn't when I cook indirectly on the gas grill.
It seems to me that these variables would affect keeping the temp of the cooker constant, but not the meat being cooked. What difference does it make to the food if it's 40 and raining or 70 degrees and sunny, as long as the pit temp is kept constant?

You all know I cook by feel, but not being able to narrow down the finish time +- a few hours.... that boggles my mind How could anyone plan on having people over for some Q if you have no idea if the meat will be done that day or not Unless you cheat and finish it like I did.
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Old 10-20-2008, 03:45 PM   #36
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Ok...at 225*-250* cooker temperature.. figure on 1.5 hours (+or-) per pound for a full size (8-10lb) butt! For partial sizes (2-3-4 lbs) I don't have a clue.

Quote:
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What difference does it make to the food if it's 40 and raining or 70 degrees and sunny, as long as the pit temp is kept constant?
To the meat..None... To you...a lot. How well you maintain a constant temperature (Fire Control) is the key. The weather affects your ability to maintain that constant temperature. You will find it more of a challenge when it's 35*, North wind at 15 MPH, and misting rain than when it's 80* Calm winds, and sunshine...HTH

PS...When it's windy move your cooker out of the wind.
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:11 PM   #37
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Thanks, that's exactly what I thought. I knew there must be a time frame or how could you ever have these competitions if no one knew when the food was going to be ready. I just need to get some consistent fuel and get a handle on my fire control.
I picked a fine time to learn how to Q.... what with the weather changing on a daily basis (lol).
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:15 PM   #38
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thats part of the fun, pacanis ..
and UB is dead on ... brisket is hard to do ..
i started out with leg quarters .. they are inexpensive
and i kept a journal .. still do .. i write down everything ..
and i look at it like this .. i spend the day outside and usually
the whole family follows and we make a day out of it ...
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:44 PM   #39
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Thanks, that's exactly what I thought. I knew there must be a time frame or how could you ever have these competitions if no one knew when the food was going to be ready. I just need to get some consistent fuel and get a handle on my fire control.
I picked a fine time to learn how to Q.... what with the weather changing on a daily basis (lol).
Pacanis, in competition, and in the backyard, we plan for the meats to be done WELL ahead of eating time.

At competitions, there are no ovens, so we wrap the meats in saran wrap and heavy duty foil and hold them in an empty cooler until turn-in. You have to keep the temp at 140 or above and this method will accomplish that.

At home the same thing will work, or you could hold the meat in the oven at the very lowest setting (mine goes down to 170).

Since I no longer like to cook meat overnight at home, I always plan on starting the big cuts on the smoker in the morning, and eating something like ribs for dinner on the nights that I'm smoking a brisket or butts. That way, we can eat whenever we want, and let the big cuts of meat go from say 10 a.m. to 8 or 9 pm., without rushing them. The butts and/or brisket are pulled and/or wrapped to be reheated for dinners another night.

Lee
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:01 AM   #40
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Pacanis, in competition, and in the backyard, we plan for the meats to be done WELL ahead of eating time.

At competitions, there are no ovens, so we wrap the meats in saran wrap and heavy duty foil and hold them in an empty cooler until turn-in. You have to keep the temp at 140 or above and this method will accomplish that.

At home the same thing will work, or you could hold the meat in the oven at the very lowest setting (mine goes down to 170).

Since I no longer like to cook meat overnight at home, I always plan on starting the big cuts on the smoker in the morning, and eating something like ribs for dinner on the nights that I'm smoking a brisket or butts. That way, we can eat whenever we want, and let the big cuts of meat go from say 10 a.m. to 8 or 9 pm., without rushing them. The butts and/or brisket are pulled and/or wrapped to be reheated for dinners another night.

Lee
I was going to do half a butt next, but I will start it a lot earlier and still shoot for eating it that day. I'll keep it warm in a cooler if I get lucky and it's done early. I don't know if I could cook something all day, only to wrap it up and stick it in the fridge for the next day. Plus I just want to stick to cooking one thing at a time until I get a handle on this.

Thank, Lee
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