Well, the first big cook went wonderfully. It was for my sonís second birthday party, so all of my family that is very familiar with my barbecue was there. It was a great test for a new cooker, and I cooked everything the way I normally do and that they are used to.
I did two briskets, a pork butt, ABTís, bacon wrapped/brown sugar smokes, and two fatties. Not huge, but a decent sized cook non the less. All of the food had a great smoke flavor. I would say on a scale of pellet cooker to stickburner, the smoke flavor was on the side of stickburner. It was a very good smoke that was very present, but you never tasted the smoke when you burped later in the day. So a strong, but clean smoke. Hard to describe, but when I gave my wife the first burnt end, her comment was ďOh my gosh...thatís really good. And that smoke flavor...Wow!Ē She has had everything I have ever cooked, and she may very well be happier that I have these cookers than I am because she had been deprived of BBQ for over a month now. But we both remarked that we donít remember that much smoke flavor even with our less-than-great stickburner, and a good quality smoke flavor. We are impressed.
Cooker with raw food loaded. I had about as much room behind the flats as I did in front. Two whole packers would fit easily in those spots. I did the point and flat separated and point above the flat on recommendation of brother HoDeDo. Two butts would fit easily front to back.
The cooker and a work surface under a canopy. Iím getting soft guys. I used to stickburn, all day and night outside in 100* heat and love it. Now Iíve got a pellet pit, under a canopy, in the shade with 8 hours of sleep to my name. I feel like Iím cheating, but the results are awesome, soÖ..
Food ready to wrap.
The brisket was probably the best CAB I have cooked. It was very tender, juicy, and had a GREAT smoke flavor. It came out with a perfect balance of smoke, beef, and rub. This is the first time I would say I attained a perfect balance of those. I would have been proud to turn it in. I brought the brisket and burnt ends inside, when out to grab something and came back in, and the burnt ends were gone! I thought someone dropped them on the floor or something, they were GONE. (Sorry, no pic of the burnt ends)
The butt was very tender, lots of smoke and very juicy. We have been kinda burned out on pulled pork for a little while, but this was a great re-introduction. We were both picking through it and eating it like we used to when I first started barbecuing. It didnít get as much attention from everyone as brisket is king with my family. But I got as many compliments on the pork as I did the brisket, but everyone filled up on brisket first. Look at the color on the butt before I wrapped it! This photo is in no way edited.
This is the sides loaded, and pork butt on top. I had too much foil bunched on top, otherwise the butt would have fit front to back. Eventually the fatties got moved down to the bottom. They cooked very slowly for some reason and ended up behind schedule.
ABTís, Wow. A home run. THE best ABTís I have done by far, and they were gone in a matter of seconds. We could have cooked triple the amount and still not had enough. This picture is driving my wife nuts and sheís threatening to go to the store to get more peppers and bacon for tomorrow. I'm not going to stop her.
The bacon wrapped, brown sugar and rubbed with 3Eyz smokes were very good. Think pig candy wrapped around a smokey. The only issue was I went too heavy on brown sugar and it didnít all dissolve. But the flavor was there.
And two fatties. Nothing more I need to say.
I am VERY happy with this cooker. It cooks flawlessly, the smoke flavor is the best I have had (perfect balance of strong and not overpowering) and is dead even and I can predict how the food will come out even after only a few days. And if I want/need a hot spot, I can make two of them. I am very happy I sold my cookers to get this. My whole family noted that this was better than my other barbecue they have had, and they donít just say nice things to be nice. If they didnít think it was better, or if it was the same, they would tell me. I was told a few times that I had outdone myself. I didnít change my technique at all, so the cooker deserves some of the credit.