if this is just your second, start out where you have a cushion and think about the slower method...However this being so big at 18 pounds you might want to start out low and start cranking up towards the higher temps...allow the heat to soak in and then the higher heat will set your bark...good luck..take some notes tracking at grate temp vrs meat temp vrs time...watch your plateau around 170* this is where tracking will hep you understand...and remember when its done its done ...my first packer 15 pounder...cooked for 18 hours and that was extremly good brisket..and I learned then that it will tell you when to take off...it will drive you nuts sometimes when they do not feel tender...
also of note, I am not one to keep looking at it, keep the door shut and watch the meat temps on a remote. Slower cooks will yeild less shrikage, nicer color, beter texture..The fast cooks I feel have better flavor, so you have to find a happy middle ground..
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Last edited by BigBellyBBQ; 02-08-2013 at 02:07 AM..