Smoking Meat Questions and Discussion

Agclone91

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Beautiful thing about brisket is it only NEEDS to rest an hour or two after finishing, BUT it can rest much longer than that. Just time it so its done in the morning and let it rest in a cooler until lunch.
See that's where I'm struggling a little bit as I've never done one before. I figure I'll probably have to set an alarm on my probe to get up in the night and wrap it which is fine, but I don't really want to be up any more than I have to. Do I just wrap it, set the alarm to 200 and let it roll till I get up? Not entirely sure how much babysitting it really takes after the wrap. Once I wrap a pork butt I don't even think about it until it gets at least to 200 because they're pretty impossible to screw up, but with a brisket I feel like there's more on the line.
 

dmclone

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See that's where I'm struggling a little bit as I've never done one before. I figure I'll probably have to set an alarm on my probe to get up in the night and wrap it which is fine, but I don't really want to be up any more than I have to. Do I just wrap it, set the alarm to 200 and let it roll till I get up? Not entirely sure how much babysitting it really takes after the wrap.
Probably just me, but I'd never do my first brisket with a hard deadline in place. There have been times when a brisket went 3 hours longer than I had planned. When you have a deadline, it becomes very stressful for everyone involved.
 

MustardTiger

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See that's where I'm struggling a little bit as I've never done one before. I figure I'll probably have to set an alarm on my probe to get up in the night and wrap it which is fine, but I don't really want to be up any more than I have to. Do I just wrap it, set the alarm to 200 and let it roll till I get up?
Yeah, if it were me, I'd set my traeger app to alarm at 170. I'd get up and wrap it and throw it back on and set a new alarm for 200. at that point I'd get up, make a bloody mary and drink half. By that time brisket should be 205ish. Pull it out, set on a cookie sheet, pour the tallow from all the trimmings over top of the brisket and slide it into the oven. Let it rest in there until lunch.

Most ovens only go as low as 170, so I wouldnt turn it on. Just use it as a big cooler. Maybe an hour before lunch I'd turn it on to 170 and let it warm up a little.
 
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MustardTiger

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Probably just me, but I'd never do my first brisket with a hard deadline in place. There have been times when a brisket went 3 hours longer than I had planned. When you have a deadline, it becomes very stressful for everyone involved.
Brisket can rest for several hours. Just start it with the intent for it to be done at 6AM and you should be safe.

The longer you rest it, the better it will be.
 

Agclone91

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Probably just me, but I'd never do my first brisket with a hard deadline in place. There have been times when a brisket went 3 hours longer than I had planned. When you have a deadline, it becomes very stressful for everyone involved.
I wouldn't say it's a hard deadline, per-say. I'm good with it being done early and resting, just trying to get a feel for what that looks like and how much sleep I'm going to lose in the process.
 

ScottyP

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Going to try a brisket over Memorial Day weekend for the first time - Problem is that the wife wants it done for lunch. Most of the information I've checked out says to throw it on early evening , let it run all night and it should be about time to wrap first thing in the morning, but that is for a dinner time finish. Any suggestions on timing for a lunch brisket without staying up all night long?
Plan to have the brisket be done in more than plenty of time. (3+ hours ahead at least). One poster mentioned plan on it being ready by 6am and that would be good advice. keeping it wrapped and in a cooler will keep it plenty hot. I've also thrown and old towel over the top of the wrapped brisket to help. Even after a few hours, it was still steaming hot when I opened it up to slice.
 

Gonzo

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Probably just me, but I'd never do my first brisket with a hard deadline in place. There have been times when a brisket went 3 hours longer than I had planned. When you have a deadline, it becomes very stressful for everyone involved.
Agree, especially with a brisket. Even when I smoke ribs or pork shoulder, which have more reliable timetables than brisket IMO, for a big family gathering I make it a point to tell everyone "we'll plan to plate around 6 pm" making it clear that dinner time could wobble based on how the cook is going.
 
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CYdTracked

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Anyone smoke whole chickens? Need some tips on how long at what temp works best and any other tricks. I've done beer can whole chickens before but want to try just a regular whole chicken and get a nice looking brown skin look with it.

Pork ribs and loins are my gotos but trying to expand to chicken which is much less forgiving especially the white meat. Hind quarters don't faze me but breast meat is tough to pull off the at just the right time it seems without over or under cooking
 

cycloner29

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Anyone smoke whole chickens? Need some tips on how long at what temp works best and any other tricks. I've done beer can whole chickens before but want to try just a regular whole chicken and get a nice looking brown skin look with it.

Pork ribs and loins are my gotos but trying to expand to chicken which is much less forgiving especially the white meat. Hind quarters don't faze me but breast meat is tough to pull off the at just the right time it seems without over or under cooking
You could spatchcock it. I normally do this with whole chickens. I would baste the chicken with butter, that's what I always do with. I've smoked whole turkeys without spatchcocking them and this is how they turn out:

Turkey1.JPG Turkey2.JPG

I also brine for around 18 hours. The dark areas under the skin is the herbed butter I used. Some of the best turkey I've ever had.
 
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tm3308

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Probably just me, but I'd never do my first brisket with a hard deadline in place. There have been times when a brisket went 3 hours longer than I had planned. When you have a deadline, it becomes very stressful for everyone involved.
For virtually any big cut of meat like that (obviously brisket, but pork butts to a lesser degree), I take the estimated time per pound and tack on an extra 4 hours. It only needs about an hour to rest, so I give myself 3 hours of wiggle room if it takes longer than anticipated. And I can always hold it in a cooler if it gets done early.
 
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mkadl

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Anyone smoke whole chickens? Need some tips on how long at what temp works best and any other tricks. I've done beer can whole chickens before but want to try just a regular whole chicken and get a nice looking brown skin look with it.

Pork ribs and loins are my gotos but trying to expand to chicken which is much less forgiving especially the white meat. Hind quarters don't faze me but breast meat is tough to pull off the at just the right time it seems without over or under cooking
I like 300° or higher for chicken after brown suger, salt garlic powder brine. Just my taste buds. If you put a 1/4 teaspoon of cure in the brine you will get a fake smoke ring. I will put a 1/2 teaspoon in a brisket rub and it makes a showy slab with a smoke ring, when you cut it.
 

Cyclones_R_GR8

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The other day I smoked a couple of flat iron steaks. You have to be careful when opening the foil because there is so much liquid in them when they are done.
I made gravy out of that. Never tried smokey gravy before.
 

JP4CY

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The other day I smoked a couple of flat iron steaks. You have to be careful when opening the foil because there is so much liquid in them when they are done.
I made gravy out of that. Never tried smokey gravy before.
Yum
 

iahawks

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Brisket can rest for several hours. Just start it with the intent for it to be done at 6AM and you should be safe.

The longer you rest it, the better it will be.
I agree. My oven goes as low as 150. I actually like mine to rest in the oven at 150 for at least four hours. No such thing as finishing a brisket too early at my house. The longer the rest, the better.
 
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BACyclone

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See that's where I'm struggling a little bit as I've never done one before. I figure I'll probably have to set an alarm on my probe to get up in the night and wrap it which is fine, but I don't really want to be up any more than I have to. Do I just wrap it, set the alarm to 200 and let it roll till I get up? Not entirely sure how much babysitting it really takes after the wrap. Once I wrap a pork butt I don't even think about it until it gets at least to 200 because they're pretty impossible to screw up, but with a brisket I feel like there's more on the line.

For me, a brisket and a pork butt are nearly identical in terms of cook, with the only difference being pull temp, and probably total length of time. I'd plan for 12-16 hours of total time for a brisket, usually around 12-13 hours for a large butt.

I'm probably only going to touch the meat once after I put it on the pit, and that's for wrapping at the stall point, which I consider to be 160F.

I also periodically check my pellet hopper to make sure it's feeding OK...so for an overnight cook I just fill it up so there's no way I can get a flame-out while sleeping. I don't empty my hopper after cooking, so normally I keep it at a lower level so I don't end a cook with a bunch of pellets in there.

So for the overnight cook, I start the meat, set my probe alarm for 160F and set it next to my bed. I know I will get a wake-up call in the middle of the night. It'll take me what, 15 minutes to wrap that baby and I'm back in bed. Re-set the probe alarm to 200F and you are probably good to go until morning.

When I pull it I throw it on the stovetop under a towel for an hour to cool a little bit. Then I put a bed of towels in a cooler, lightly wrap brisket in foil to keep the juices inside, and put it in a cooler wrapped in more towels until I am ready to slice.

Honestly it's not that hard. I was intimidated to do my first brisket, but after that I was a little mad that I had not tried it sooner. It tasted so awesome. As long as you can wait to pull it at around 200F (203, whatever) you will be happy.

Don't forget to mark the grain direction of the flat before you cook it!
 
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Arkansas Cyclone

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For me, a brisket and a pork butt are nearly identical in terms of cook, with the only difference being pull temp, and probably total length of time. I'd plan for 12-16 hours of total time for a brisket, usually around 12-13 hours for a large butt.

I'm probably only going to touch the meat once after I put it on the pit, and that's for wrapping at the stall point, which I consider to be 160F.

I also periodically check my pellet hopper to make sure it's feeding OK...so for an overnight cook I just fill it up so there's no way I can get a flame-out while sleeping. I don't empty my hopper after cooking, so normally I keep it at a lower level so I don't end a cook with a bunch of pellets in there.

So for the overnight cook, I start the meat, set my probe alarm for 160F and set it next to my bed. I know I will get a wake-up call in the middle of the night. It'll take me what, 15 minutes to wrap that baby and I'm back in bed. Re-set the probe alarm to 200F and you are probably good to go until morning.

When I pull it I throw it on the stovetop under a towel for an hour to cool a little bit. Then I put a bed of towels in a cooler, lightly wrap brisket in foil to keep the juices inside, and put it in a cooler wrapped in more towels until I am ready to slice.

Honestly it's not that hard. I was intimidated to do my first brisket, but after that I was a little mad that I had not tried it sooner. It tasted so awesome. As long as you can wait to pull it at around 200F (203, whatever) you will be happy.

Don't forget to mark the grain direction of the flat before you cook it!
You and I are on the exact same page and I agree with everything you've said. I botched my first couple of attempts at brisket, merely because I was doing it wrong until I started smoking brisket (about a year and a half ago) as you laid out. Watching the temperature along with the use of butcher paper as well as throwing it in a cooler wrapped in towels is key. Since then my briskets have turned out phenomenal.

The rough part for me was the "overnight". The last brisket I did was for a fantasy football draft party last August and I got about an hour of sleep just from babysitting and keeping an eye on the temps. I'm about to do a brisket beginning Sunday night and ended up buying a meat thermometer similar to what you described. It has a transmitter and receiver so I set the temps and let the alarm wake me up when I hit that magical number. Can't wait to try it out!

The only other thing I might add when using a pellet stove (and may have been already pointed out by someone else) is the type of pellets to use. A lot of pellets have fillers so you can lose some of the smokiness. There are pellets out there that have no additives to get that maximum smoke.
 
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cycloner29

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The other day I smoked a couple of flat iron steaks. You have to be careful when opening the foil because there is so much liquid in them when they are done.
I made gravy out of that. Never tried smokey gravy before.
Brisket with mashed potatoes and smoked brisket gravy is incredible. After leaving the brisket rest and the take the liquid from the foil when you are about ready to eat makes some of the best tasting gravy ever!!
 

CHim

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Last brisket I did for a group I smoked it the day before and left it wrapped in the fridge. Then the day of I put it on the grill to re-heat indirectly with the wrap still on but I think you can do that in the oven as well. Worked out really well and didn't have the stress of getting the meat done at the right time for group/kids. Hardest part was not taking some chunks off early to see how it turned out.
 
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Gonzo

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Brisket with mashed potatoes and smoked brisket gravy is incredible. After leaving the brisket rest and the take the liquid from the foil when you are about ready to eat makes some of the best tasting gravy ever!!
As long as we're talking smoked gravy, here's a recipe for smoked mac-and-cheese that is really, really good.

 

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