Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby CaptJack » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:33 am

Susan, the first rule of an offset is to learn IT's happy temp - NO FOOD
this is just a "learning my smoker" experiment
start a charcoal fire then add two logs of oak and let it settle in
exhaust stack is always wide open
then you need to learn the intake vent settings
at about 45'mins, if it looks like it, add the next log of oak
as said above you need a temp gauge set on the grate where the brisket will be
preferably at the end closer to the fire intake where the point of the brisket will be
NOTEPAD- and start writing down temps at 30'mins, 45'mins
then every 45'mins when you go out to add the next log
I wear a digital watch that has a countdown timer built in with alarm so it reminds me when to go add fuel
after about two hours you'll start to see an average temperature every time you add a log.
I know most folks actually prefer to run around 275. 225 just takes too long
all smokers run at an average temperature once you get the fuel intake down to a routine
but what is most important is that you learn your smoker's routine
it is possible that a tuning plate might help you? i'm not familiar with your smoker model
if you do add a tuning plate, do another test burn without food to find the smoker's routine and average temp again
Last edited by CaptJack on Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby Grubby » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:11 am

Welcome Susanhoo!

First off, I think txsmkmstr's advice hit the nail on the head.

I am new here but have been cooking briskets for too many years :D .

I would only recommend that you take a deep breath before your next attempt and try very hard to keep it as simple as you can.

1. Don't worry about buying a prime brisket. Choice is fine. Try to pick one that is uniform fat / lean and has a thicker flat than the others in the case.

2. Don't trim it at all. Don't inject it or worry about secret rubs. Put it on the grate neekid fat side up or down. Your wood will do all the seasoning for you. I like hickory. I know this goes against what you read and see on TV these days, but trust me, I have cooked many briskets this way and it will turn out great. Yes you will need to scrape the fat off after it cooks, but that is OK. The BBQ "Bark Police" will not show up and arrest you. You will have a juicy and tender brisket that your friends and family will love and you can experiment with trimming once you have a little more confidence in your technique.

3. Don't worry so much about your smoker temps. You have a great smoker and it WILL work great! It is OK if the temps fluctuate, even quite a bit. I cook my briskets somewhere around 275 degrees, but it's not a big deal if the temp goes below or above for a while. Just start with a bed of coals from charcoal and add wood as needed to keep your smoker in it's sweet spot.

4. Plan on cooking your brisket for at least 10 hours no matter what any thermometer says. Some finish a little earlier, some take a little longer. You brisket needs time to become tender. Pull it when you can insert and remove some kind of probe with little to no resistance. I use a 2 pronged fork. Let it rest for a while on the counter before slicing and eating.

There you have it! Keep going and best of luck! Please let us know how you are progressing!
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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby CaptJack » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:14 am

Susan especially with brisket!
"it ain't done till it's done"
and the "poke tender test" is the only test for done
there is no correct internal temperature
think of boiling cut up potatoes for mashed potatoes
we were taught to poke the pieces with a paring knife
when the knife went in and out easy and the potato piece was soft to the middle
the potatoes were done
a brisket is just like that!
temp does not count
i even have a fancy plastic chopstix that i put in my electric pencil sharpener that is my official brisket poke tool
although, these days i just use the point of my Thermapen digital thermometer to poke with
I am using my 2nd Maverick ET-732. the first one lasted about 5 years. the ET-733 is the newer model
and a Thermapen- the best instant read digital thermometer made = the tools
and... go on Youtube and watch Aaron Franklin's vids on brisket. there are a few of them. his book is excellent too
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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby txsmkmstr » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:33 am

Grubby wrote: Let it rest for a while on the counter before slicing and eating.


Ah yes, it's very critical the brisket be rested. My personal guideline is a minimum of one hour (really 2) and up to a point (no pun intended) the longer the better. There are a variety of resting methods but mainly you want to stop the cooking process (let vent for 15 minutes uncovered) and then hold so the internal temp stays in the "safe" zone - minimum of 145*. This can be done with a cooler, an oven (lowest setting) or simply slice when the internal drops to about 160*. It all depends on when you're planning to serve.
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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby CaptJack » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:38 am

to add
all briskets hit the "Stall" which is usually around 160°
this is that point when the collagen (hard fat) is starting to melt
this is when most wrap. the "IN" wrap today is uncoated butcher's paper
the reason is that butcher's paper breaths and keeps the bark from getting soggy
like it will if you use foil
my grandfathers used a clean brown paper grocery bags (I don't want to hear it!)
it breaths better than the butcher's paper and is FREE at the grocery store
what the wrap does is hold in the majority of the moisture = semi braise to "tender done"
I REALLY cheat! when it hits the stall at 160° i quit tending fire and just stick it in my electric roaster at 275°
it isn't going to take any more smoke and i'm tired of going out there to burn wood i don't need to!
I also have the roaster that came with my oven
if you use a roaster you don't need to wrap
and you can also finish it in a Reynolds oven bag
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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby bondobill » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:47 am

All great advise here.
I'm no expert on briskets but my last 4 or 5 have turned out awesome.
I too use Costco prime packers only cause no one else in my area carries any packers.
I cheat tho and do them in my pellet smoker. I run the pellet set at like you 225. I've had 12 lbs take as long as 17 hours to probe tender and I've had 17 lbs take as little as 13-14 hours.

Smoking a 15 lb to a IT of 205 in 8 hours at 225 just don't sound right to me. Your problem could be as simple as the placement of your meat probe or your meat thermometer is not reading right. A meat thermometer showing only 10-15 degress hotter then the actual IT will make a huge difference on the quality of the final product, especially on a brisket.

As others have said the meat thermometer is used to give you a idea of how well the meat is progressing temp wise. I start probing for tenderness in the flat when the IT shows 195. A scratch awl with a fine point works for this redneck. :lol:

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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby Susanhoo » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:58 am

Thank you all SO MUCH for your feedback - I sincerely appreciate it! I've ordered the dual probe thermometer and it should be here by Monday. I'll be the temps are off, and I think you're right that I've been undercooling the briskets. It feels like there's way too much resistance when I put the temp probe in and I've though that that meant it's not ready, but I'm still going off of a temperature reading, rather that the "feel" that I should maybe be trusting more. I'll check out the temps and see what I come up with. Thank you again so much!
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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby CaptJack » Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:06 pm

Susan remember the potatoes with the paring knife analogy
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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby Susanhoo » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:53 pm

Everything here is so helpful - thank you from the bottom of my heart! I just about cried last night and now I feel like going right back out and getting back at it. I am so touched that so many have taken time to write all of this advise. Thank you and I'll post next time when I'm sure it will be better!

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Re: RE: Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby woodenvisions » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:35 pm

Susanhoo wrote:Everything here is so helpful - thank you from the bottom of my heart! I just about cried last night and now I feel like going right back out and getting back at it. I am so touched that so many have taken time to write all of this advise. Thank you and I'll post next time when I'm sure it will be better!

SusanHoo
That's what this forum is all about :)
We're ALL equal, no judgements here and we all learn every day.
Trust me, I know I can speak for ALL of us when I say we've ALL cooked something a time or 10 that not even a vulture would eat, lol.
I once made some Bone in thighs that got LOTS of rave comments, but I came back after I took a bite and let everyone know it was HORRIBLE lol.

So, give it another go and don't give up. I'm sure ur husband appreciates everything you are doing :)
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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby Damon54 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:28 pm

What a Great thread & timely for me as well as I am suffering thru many similar issues to Susan.
The best brisket I have ever cooked were on a Johnson Pit when I had the opportunity to cook 6 Restaurant Depot Primes
for a friends Party. With that much $ on the pit I wanted to stay especially diligent and even spent the night on my friends well appointed patio. (A comfy sofa & Sat TV w a full fridge). You can imagine my unhappiness when the sprinklers started to soak the pit at 5:45am!!
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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby el luchador » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:52 am

This opinion will NOT be popular here, but I would highly recommend getting rid of the offset smoker. there is NO value added.

I recently bought an offset smoker after using a drum. I did 4 cooks on it and I have sold it. It is useless to me.

the labor level is high, and the meat produced is not better than a good charcoal vertical so why waste time and energy. the guage is not accurate but I have several grate level probes which I monitor and datalog and having a grate level probe DOES NOT HELP anything.

I got to where I wasn't looking forward to cooking so I made my decision to sell it. Im back to my drum and I look forward to cooking again.
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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby el luchador » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:53 am

regarding brisket. two things that will help you immensely.

1. wet age in the cryovac at least 30-45 days. this breaks down the meat and makes it more tender.
2. dry brine at least 4 days. the salt changes the chemical makeup of the meat and helps it hold moisture.

try it. you will like it.
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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby FAT » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:46 pm

el luchador wrote:regarding brisket. two things that will help you immensely.

1. wet age in the cryovac at least 30-45 days. this breaks down the meat and makes it more tender.
2. dry brine at least 4 days. the salt changes the chemical makeup of the meat and helps it hold moisture.

try it. you will like it.




Are you saying leave it in package and let it set in refrigerator for 45 days?
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Re: Moved from charcoal to wood, lost my mojo

Postby bsooner75 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:14 pm

I’ve started letting mine sit in the fridge 30. Like the results so far.


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