My 3rd cook went pretty nicely..
But it started like this:
It was in the low 20's outside and sunny, not too much wind.
It didn't take too long to get to this point, all fired up, cleaned up and warming.
Using Chris Lilly recipes - I rubbed up a pair of butts and a brisket the night before and got them going.
I learned something new during this cook vs. my last cook - Position of the fire in the firebox matters it seems..
Here is the fire at the back of the box:
Looks good - small, hot - but as far as the temp gauge goes - seems to swing up/down quite a bit. I keep the sensor about a foot away from the firebox - however the swings are pretty dramatic +-30-40 deg sometimes.
This part of fire management I figured out with a little experimenting and getting a nice burn mark on my forearm. (just after the end of my welders glove)
- I moved the fire to the front of the firebox near the door and the vent openings - it gets much better flow there from below too.
- Used even smaller chunks of wood. I had been cutting my splits in half, now I'm doing 1/3rds - The smaller chunks seem to dry/warm up on the firebox better and smoke less during startup.
The added bonus was the heat is more indirect into the chamber from the door end of the firebox. The temp swings (whether real or imagined) stopped. I kept it locked in at 225, 250, 275 pretty easily.
At this point - they were ready to get wrapped up - I'm liking the color.
I even tossed a chicken that I had in there for a few hours and cooked it perfectly as far as internal temp, flavor and moisture goes.
You can see the temp probe in the foil.
That said - 225 deg chicken skin is terrible... peeled it off and gave it to the dogs. Next time I'll finish the skin up on the gasser or under a broiler. Blek!
When it was all said and done, got this:
Resulting in this:
Things I learned this time:
- Pulled pork is the favorite around here. It doesn't last long and has been coming out very good IMHO.
- The Brisket came out OK I think. Seemed a bit chewy to me. I will have to do more research (eating) on that. Learning the feel of probe tender may be part of this issue. I thought it was right, temp was at 203.. or maybe not a good cut of meat.. Supermarket choice cut.. or maybe it didn't rest long enough. But a good first effort.
- Put the fire by the door - this should have been obvious I suppose - but this was huge in terms of fire quality and control. The temps stayed so much more even. I used the extra temp probe at the far end of the firebox and they stayed +- 10deg from each other.. So this works nice.
Thanks everyone for the help along the way,