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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 08-12-2012, 06:34 AM   #31
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Looks good
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Unread 08-12-2012, 08:25 AM   #32
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That's the most amazing smoke ring I've ever seen (from the pictures I've seen).
My first brisket came out fantastic. ALthough I have zero smoke ring.
As was said earlier, I think I got ripped off too. I paid $28 for a 6.2# piece. What was yours, $21 for 8#? Wow. Plus, I tossed about a third of it away as fat (maybe that's where my smoke ring went?)

Anyway, nice job man!

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Unread 08-12-2012, 08:50 AM   #33
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Thanks everyone! I'm glad my first showing didn't disappoint!

Tom72 - I'm still a little confused about the charcoal consumption too. The only thing I can figure is that I'm wasting a LOT of energy bringing the smoker up to temp. I've done 2 cooks and both times I've used a propane torch to lite 2 opposite corners of the basket, let is sit until there's an area about the size of a softball going at both ends, then put the basket in and add (HOT) water to the pan but leave the diverter out until it's up to temp. I think that a lot of energy is going into heating the cold space of the cooking chamber slowly around the water. On my next cook I'm going to try putting the charcoal in and leaving the water tray out for a few minutes to see if it'll heat the chamber more efficiently. When I started this cook it was 8am, and the smoker had been sitting in the cool night air (relatively cool - it is summer in Georgia after all) all night long. The smoker hadn't been out warming in the sun or anything. I'm also going to get to work on modding the basket to hold some more charcoal. You can definitely pile on the briquettes and make it work, but I do enjoy my lump and have about 10 bags to burn. I also enjoy not having to clean up enough charcoal ash that it could be measured in pounds. By the end of the cook, the ash had nearly choked out the bottom of the basket.

Bob - I'm not thrilled about the amount of fat that I have to pay for either. Everything I've seen indicates that if you buy the flat by itself you pay double by the pound compared to the packer. It looks like the butchers basically consider the fat and point to be wasted weight. I'm fairly ok with that considering that fatcap does help protect the underside of the flat, and I'm sure those burnt ends would've been good too if I had the time to cook them. Check out Wal-Mart for your next packer. I hate to say that; I've definitely been one to bad-mouth their meat in the past, but this packer was pretty nice. The local grocery (Kroger) only had 1 full packer. The price was within 10 cents per pound to Wal-Mart's, but it didn't look too nice. Wal-Mart had about 12 packers ranging from 7 lbs to 17 lbs, and they all looked pretty well cut.

I'm not sure how I got the smoke ring. I was pretty happy with myself on that one too. All I know is that I set the packer out first thing, lit the charcoal, seasoned the packer, and let it sit until the smoker came up to temp. All in all it was out for about an hour before it hit the smoker. There was still a little bit of white smoke when I put the packer on, but most of it had settled way down at that point. I had about 4 chunks of apple wood in the basket to start as well.

Again, thanks everyone for the remarks!
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Unread 08-12-2012, 08:56 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarter View Post
I've done 2 cooks and both times I've used a propane torch to lite 2 opposite corners of the basket, let is sit until there's an area about the size of a softball going at both ends, then put the basket in and add (HOT) water to the pan but leave the diverter out until it's up to temp.
Next time try lighting just one corner. I would also consider getting a DigiQ to manage the temp.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 08:57 AM   #35
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I'd be happy with the fat cap being part of the price, because it's beneficial to the process. But in the case of my piece, it was mostly the fat inside the hunk that I threw away. I just ran across the tutorial here (and 'bumped it'). But now that I've seen that, I now know the piece of meat that I bought was the area where the point and flat converge. So my piece what cut in two by the line of fat that run between them.

I did get mine at Walmart, and it was the only thing they had in the way of Briskets.
Next time, I'll be a choosier shopper.
(But it was yummy, so I"m not complaining too much) ;)

Bob
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Unread 08-12-2012, 10:07 AM   #36
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Some folks use a weed burner to preheat the cooker so they use less charcoal at the start up.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 12:09 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
Some folks use a weed burner to preheat the cooker so they use less charcoal at the start up.
Interesting. I guess if you're going to do that, a fellow could also put his charcoal in there to preheat as well.

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Unread 08-12-2012, 12:49 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarter View Post
Thanks everyone! I'm glad my first showing didn't disappoint!

Tom72 - I'm still a little confused about the charcoal consumption too. The only thing I can figure is that I'm wasting a LOT of energy bringing the smoker up to temp. I've done 2 cooks and both times I've used a propane torch to lite 2 opposite corners of the basket, let is sit until there's an area about the size of a softball going at both ends, then put the basket in and add (HOT) water to the pan but leave the diverter out until it's up to temp. I think that a lot of energy is going into heating the cold space of the cooking chamber slowly around the water. On my next cook I'm going to try putting the charcoal in and leaving the water tray out for a few minutes to see if it'll heat the chamber more efficiently. When I started this cook it was 8am, and the smoker had been sitting in the cool night air (relatively cool - it is summer in Georgia after all) all night long. The smoker hadn't been out warming in the sun or anything. I'm also going to get to work on modding the basket to hold some more charcoal. You can definitely pile on the briquettes and make it work, but I do enjoy my lump and have about 10 bags to burn. I also enjoy not having to clean up enough charcoal ash that it could be measured in pounds. By the end of the cook, the ash had nearly choked out the bottom of the basket.
I don't know if this will help you or not....this is just what I do. I have the water pan filled with lava rocks and balled up foil all the time. I cover the top of it with new heavy duty foil before each cook. I don't like to use water throughout the entire cook; I put in a foil pan with water when I get to where I feel I'm past the halfway point.

I leave the heat diverter in when I start, and I light the front right corner...probably about the size of two softballs. It usually takes me about 35-45 minutes to get to temp, and then I throw the meat on.

I typically will fill the charcoal box, but not to overflowing. I usually don't have to add any more until the 10-12 hour mark. I just have to shake the charcoal tray after five hours or so to get the ash to fall to the bottom and not choke out the coals. I definitely don't have everything figured out, but I hope that helps some...
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Unread 08-12-2012, 12:55 PM   #39
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Of course, you have to consider, I live in Phoenix, so I'm pretty close to smoking temps before I even light anything!
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Unread 08-12-2012, 01:01 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom72 View Post
of course, you have to consider, i live in phoenix, so i'm pretty close to smoking temps before i even light anything!
ha ha ha !!!!!
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Unread 08-12-2012, 01:13 PM   #41
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You mentioned that you fill the water pan with HOT water. Is that HOT as in BOILING HOT. If not then you are using much of your heat energy further heating the HOT water that you start with to boiling. That could be why your fuel consumption is so high at the beginning. If you are going to use a water pan then you should start with boiling water and if you need to add more you should use boiling water for that also.

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Unread 08-12-2012, 02:29 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyley View Post
You mentioned that you fill the water pan with HOT water. Is that HOT as in BOILING HOT. If not then you are using much of your heat energy further heating the HOT water that you start with to boiling. That could be why your fuel consumption is so high at the beginning. If you are going to use a water pan then you should start with boiling water and if you need to add more you should use boiling water for that also.

Paul

I've heard that a few times now, but it hasn't quite clicked for me. I used cold water when I started my WSM, and it was up to temp very fast - everytime.

I understand that it takes energy to heat the water. That's the whole point of adding the water: it acts as a damper to the fluctuations of the cooking chamber temp. My 18" WSM has a 3 gallon bowl in it, and the Backwoods Party takes about 3 gallons as well. I don't see it taking longer to heat 3 gallons of nearly scalding hot water in the party than it takes to heat 3 gallons of cold-to-luke-warm water in the WSM. I think it has to do with the insulation of the Backwood's chambers.

I agree absolutely that the hotter the water is when it's added, the quicker the chamber will come up to temp. I'm sure you guys have way more experience with these smokers than I do. I just have to get it to make sense for me. I'm sure in a few more cooks I'll start to see how the process is really working.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 02:49 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarter View Post
.... I just have to get it to make sense for me. ........
Just for grins, you could dangle a temp probe halfway into the water (not laying on the bottom of the pan) and see how long it takes to heat 3 gallons of water to the point where it stabilizes. You could do this the next few times you smoke.
Once with cold water, once with hot tap water, then once with boiling water.

Just a thought.

Bob
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Unread 08-12-2012, 03:32 PM   #44
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What a great looking brisket!! IMO, I would experiment w/out water and try some lump. I think your fuel would go much further. Are you using an ATC?
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Unread 08-12-2012, 09:58 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob in St. Louis View Post
Just for grins, you could dangle a temp probe halfway into the water (not laying on the bottom of the pan) and see how long it takes to heat 3 gallons of water to the point where it stabilizes. You could do this the next few times you smoke.
Once with cold water, once with hot tap water, then once with boiling water.

Just a thought.

Bob
I do actually have a spare probe I could try that with (it's a spare as long as I'm not doing multiple meats), so that's definitely something I could try. And science while drinking and smoking food... Well, I don't see what could go wrong! :-)

TS - thanks! I do have a stoker that I haven't hooked up to the backwoods yet for a few reasons 1) I wanted to get a feel for it without the gadgets, 2) that stuff can be a pain at times (but still worth it in the long run), 3) I haven't gotten the adapters for it yet, and 4) the blower has died (about 3 years of use on the WSM) and I need to have Rock's breathe life back into it.

I think that it would be worthwhile to extended the basket just a little so that lump can be packed it a little better, modify my startup a little, and get the stoker going again. Those things will probably have a fairly significant impact. Don't get me wrong, I am LOVING the backwoods! But just like every grill/smoker there's a learning period.
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