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TurboDog 10-04-2012 10:18 AM

Whole Packer Cook Time
I am cooking my first packer this weekend , I have cooked a few lackluster flats in the past , but never a whole packer. The brisket weighs 14 pounds , and searching through the forums here I seem to find greatly varying opinions on how long it should take to cook. I thought at some point I saw a post someone made in the past that was somewhat of a chart for different temps and times for cooking brisket , but I can't seem to find it. So what I'm looking for is at 14 pounds , how long should it take to cook per pound at say 250 vs 275 vs 300 vs 325. I need to figure it out so I know when to start the cook. I have some people coming over for the game on Saturday , we will probably be looking to eat around 330-400pm. I would like the brisket to rst in a cooler for at least 3 hours before I slice it so I guess I'm aiming to be done around noon on the smoker. That leaves me with the low and slow over night option or up at the crack of dawn for a hot and fast. Problem is if I pick a pit temp I still don't know how long to expect it to cook. This is the largest piece of meat I've attempted to date , second place going to a 9 pound pork butt , and I want to get it right.

NickTheGreat 10-04-2012 10:23 AM

It kinda depends. I did a 15 lb packer on Sunday. It was around 12 hours on the smoker. I was aiming for 250°F cook temp, but was probably more like 275°F usually.

I don't foil, brine, inject or anything. The temp of the meat was 212°F in the thick of it. The flat didn't probe quite as tender as I usually like, but we had guests coming. I didn't let it rest much more than 30 minutes. Still turned out very good, though

Teamfour 10-04-2012 10:37 AM

Seriously, it will take whatever time needed for it to be done. Every packer is different. Start probing at about an internal temp of 195 and take it off when it probes like buttah. If you are trying to meet a certain schedule, cook it early and let it rest for a few hours.

caliking 10-04-2012 10:48 AM

I think the overnight cook is your best option. Throw it on around 9pm. If you are cooking in a drum, you might have to check it around 3am-ish and kick the drum to shake some of the ash off the coals. Even if it takes longer than expected, you will have enough time to rest in the cooler and serve at the time you want to. Plus, you will have had a decent amount of sleep, without the stress of worrying whether the cook will be done on time.

I do an overnight cook every now and then. I like to set it up Fri night, so that when i wake up on Sat morning, get my cofee, and go out to the patio, I smell the meat and see the smoker going... its the perfect way to start the weekend!

Bartstop 10-04-2012 10:48 AM

The last 2 times I've done brisket were the best I've ever made. I put them on at 9PM, wrapped it first thing in the AM (6 or 7) and put it in the cooler at 3 pm. That's with a pit temp of 225 - 250. It seems like that long cook does something to the flavor. They were awesome.


TurboDog 10-04-2012 10:52 AM

I'm definitely not opposed to doing an overnight cook , what I would like to avoid is having it finish too early , like if I woke up at 6 am and it was finished , I would have to cooler it for 9 or 10 hours to eat for 3 or 4, which is a little too long for safety reasons.

Bludawg 10-04-2012 10:56 AM

I've never had one that didn't finish in 8 hrs or less( probe tender) I Cook at 275-325 range. The last one I cooked was 14 lb trimmed finished in 6.5 hrs.

Haveuseen1? 10-04-2012 11:04 AM

I am glad you posted this question. I have a 14lb packer that I was planning on cooking this weekend. I am cooking it on a Kamado Joe, and I have a temp controller. I completely understand the "its done when its done" statement that everyone makes. Unfortunately that makes it very difficult for anyone who has never cooked one to have an idea when it might be done. You see times like 1-1.5 hours per pound thrown around as a general guideline. Well for my 14# packer that would be 14-21 hours. That is a 7 hour window of unknown. I have cooked a bunch of pork butts, and they are also never exactly the same. But I have cooked enough of them to have a general idea, that on my cooker at 250F, I can usually count on an hour a pound to get to 195-199 internal. Sometimes it is slightly longer, and sometimes slightly less. So if I am cooking a 8 pound butt I start checking around 6.5 -7 hours to see what kind of progress I am making, and can adjust from there.

So I guess my question would be does anyone have an idea how long it would take them to cook a packer brisket ( size / temp ) on their set up?

TheJackal 10-04-2012 11:06 AM

Approx averages in my experience (cooked ~20 briskets this past year):

275 -- ~7 hours
250 -- ~10 hours
225 -- ~12-13 hours

That's grate temp as measured with a guru pit probe in an insulated smoker.
Briskets were all injected and wrapped and 13-15# on average.
estimate does not include rest/hold time.

Swamp Donkeyz BBQ 10-04-2012 11:11 AM

I do HnF. Put it on at 325 for two hours, wrap it and put it back on, still at 325, for four hours. It will be tender and juicy every time.

TurboDog 10-04-2012 01:21 PM


Originally Posted by TheJackal (Post 2234362)
Approx averages in my experience (cooked ~20 briskets this past year):

275 -- ~7 hours
250 -- ~10 hours
225 -- ~12-13 hours

That's grate temp as measured with a guru pit probe in an insulated smoker.
Briskets were all injected and wrapped and 13-15# on average.
estimate does not include rest/hold time.

If this is accurate 225 would work out best for me time wise , but I seem to remember reading in some other threads about briskets taking up to 20-24 hours if you cook them that low.

Wampus 10-04-2012 01:57 PM

If it were ME doing your 14 lb packer (and it isn't mind you) I'd put it on the pit at 225d-235d late at night. I'd let it cook through the night. When I got up in the morning, if it looked nice and dark, I'd wrap it in either butcher paper or foil, then ramp up the pit temp to 275 and start checking it after a couple of hours for probe tenderness.

I'm certainly no brisket expert, but that's what I'd do.

Even if it comes off the pit at 2 and only rests for an hour, just let it rest in the counter. Holding it in the cooler just prevents it from cooling off too fast, but an hour on the counter will still let it be nice and hot for you when you slice it.

Bottom line.....don't stress it. If it doesn't get nice and tender until 5 and you don't get to tear into it until anyone gonna be any less happy really?
Just tell em, "It's BBQ. It's done when it's done. Have another beer." :cool:

Ron_L 10-04-2012 02:21 PM

The one piece of information that didn't see, Mike, is what you are cooking on (in)? To me that makes a difference. My FEC-100 cooks faster then my WSM at the same temp, so the type of pit matters. In my FEC, which is where I have cooked the most briskets, I average about 250 degrees (Since it's a pellet smoker I start the briskets out a a lower temp to get more smoke and then kick it up after they are foiled. I average about an hour per pound for those cooks. It's been a while since I've cooked a brisket in my WSM, but at 250 my notes show about 75 minutes per pound.


TheJackal 10-04-2012 02:44 PM


Originally Posted by Ron_L (Post 2234568)
The one piece of information that didn't see, Mike, is what you are cooking on (in)? To me that makes a difference. YMMV :-D

I agree 100%. Exactly why I specified that my times were for an insulated cooker (backwoods) utilizing a guru. My grate temps fluctuate little and are very accurate (rather than hood thermometer temp). Recovery time from opening the door is also extremely quick.

TurboDog 10-04-2012 07:58 PM

I did totally omit the type pf smoker didn't I. It's a UDS , probably with a diffuser because I get a ridiculous hot spot without it. I'm thinking I'm gonna put it on at around midnight at around 250 degrees , and get up around 6am and crank the heat up to about 300 to finish it. I'm pretty sure it will give me enough time to finish and rest it properly.

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