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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 04-14-2013, 11:12 PM   #1
Greulsd
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Default Just bought smoker, hosting party!! Please help!

So I just committed to hosting a party this Saturday (6 days) and I'm pretty sure I want to do a pork shoulder and a brisket. I'm going to dry rub both and let them cook Friday into Saturday. I don't have my cuts of meat yet, but what kind of cooking time am I looking at with a good sized shoulder and a good sized brisket?

I have a a Weber 18.5 inch smoker I just bought. I've been reading and researching a ton. Been a lurker here for months. Really looking to nail this the first time around. I'll keep practicing if I don't, but I'd like to know if there are any secrets you could provide in terms of the best rub, best wood, or anything else I should look out for.

I honestly appreciate any help. Really trying to make this some great food for friends.


Thanks!
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Unread 04-14-2013, 11:32 PM   #2
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I understand you want some pointers or quick tips, we need to know where you stand now.. Have you Q'd before, some, none, chicken only, some fatties?

Where you at brethren,?

I love apple wood as a secondary but my go to is hickory.

Give yourself an extra hour or 2 for unexpected bumps in the road, you can keep it hot in a cooler before you can serve undercooked meat.

My rub has been garlic salt, layer of* fresh cracked pepper, then my special mojo, add your mojo, KISS



This is your craft, your hobby, your fun, if* the meat is done you can't lose brether
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Unread 04-14-2013, 11:44 PM   #3
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the butt will be easy as they are very forgiving....but for the brisket I recommend buying 2 and doing a practice cook with one to learn a few characteristics of your smoker...its better to practice in advance than to flop at party time
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Unread 04-15-2013, 12:18 AM   #4
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I did a butt over brisket on my 18.5 WSM and it took about 12 hours. A lot depends on the temperatures you cook at and the size of the butts and brisket you get. You can see a detailed description of what I did at my blog: http://smpoke-on.blogspot.com/2012/0...r-brisket.html.

Do be aware that most would probably leave the brisket on longer than I did.

Good luck!
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Unread 04-15-2013, 12:55 AM   #5
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Hmmmmm, for some reason this computer will not let me cut and paste.
Do a search at the bottom of the page here for "brisket instructions" and you'll find some good tutorials done by many of our fine friends here.

KC
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Unread 04-15-2013, 05:54 AM   #6
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You are really cutting it close on being able to get rubs or more importantly......PRACTICE.

Unless you are Allen Iverson and don't need practice. :)


I'd use a butt vs shoulder.....much easier to prep and cook (for me, at least).

My favorite butt rub is Bad Byron's Butt Rub & my favorite brisket rub is OakRidge Black Ops. The good news is that both can be cooked at the same session. I'd try to target 250 degrees as a safe temp to keep the grill. Not sure how many you are cooking for....or the capacity of that smoker.


Probably only have room for an 8-9 lb butt and a 6-7 lb brisket flat. Allow around 2 hrs per pound (not total meat weight, but of your largest cut) plus an hour of initially grill set up & stability run time.


Start the day before and be willing to loose sleep to watch this cook carefully.


I'd wrap the brisket in foil after ~4 hours. It'll make it more juicy.

Start probing them when their internal temps get up over 194 or so. When they each probe tender all over.....take them off and wrap them tightly.

The pork pulls apart much easier after resting an hour. The brisket slices better after at least that much time.

Getting done too early is much better than being late and stressed out with hungry and disappointed guests. You can always put it in the fridge and reheat later in the oven.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 06:33 AM   #7
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Plan on at least 12 hours, plus an hour of set up time to get the smoker up to temp. I would shoot for a target time of two hours before you plan on serving. Assuming you hit your target time, you can foil both cuts of meat and put them in a cooler filled with towels. This will keep them hot for at least two or three hours without an issue.
Both cuts of meat need to rest for at least an hour anyway, to ensure the juice stays in the meat.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 06:39 AM   #8
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You'll find lots and lots of techniques, tips, and recipes here to help you get started. Search on. However, I've always been of the opinion that the first few (yes, more than one) should be without "hosting a party", so I suggest having your local pizza delivery on speed dial. I dont want to sound defeatist, but the first few cooks you're going to spend lots of time and effort learning fire and smoke control. Sounds simple enough, but honestly, the devil is in the details. Otherwise there would be no bbq-brethren; there would be no competitions, etc.

I would stay away from unnecessarily low n slow as it tends to smother the fire, makes it tougher to get sweet blue smoke the whole way, could have creosote laiden meats, and just take longer than necessary. Let you smoker find it's sweet spot and cook there; most are in that 240 to 280 range, give or take...

When we talk cooking temperatures, know that we're talking about cooking surface temperatures; not the temperature shown on your external mounted thermometer; they need to be as much as 50 degrees high or low... If you want to know what temperature you're cooking at, get you a $5 oven thermometer at Wally World and set it on the grate next to the meat.

Put only small amounts of wood on your fire, and not wet or soaked wood. Think hot clean-burning fire. White billowy smoke IS NOT good smoke.

If you are trying this, I HIGHLY suggest that you smoke your meats for 3 to 5 hours in your smoker, then remove them, foil them, and put them in the oven for the remainder of the cook (in a pan deep enough to capture their juices). By putting them in the oven you've reduced the likelihood of a flame flair-up or a flame out scenario and you're not constantly trying to adjust intakes, etc. trying to maintain some temperature as you're learning your smoker.

Good luck.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 06:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikH View Post
Plan on at least 12 hours, plus an hour of set up time to get the smoker up to temp. I would shoot for a target time of two hours before you plan on serving. Assuming you hit your target time, you can foil both cuts of meat and put them in a cooler filled with towels. This will keep them hot for at least two or three hours without an issue.
Both cuts of meat need to rest for at least an hour anyway, to ensure the juice stays in the meat.
12 hours? Based on what cooking temperature? What size of meat?

It all varies depending on both of those, and frankly how well your individual smoker circulates the heat & smoke. Every one is different.

I know I can cook about 200#'s of meat on my Lang, at about 265 degrees, and depending on how large the cuts are, they're usually DONE from 9 to 10.5 hours. Again, your smoker will be different, I assure you.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 07:29 AM   #10
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True. I was giving a time based on a) size of cuts that will fit in a 18.5 WSM (usually a 10 lb cut is about the limit to comfortably fit in mine) and b) a time with some fudge factor given the poster has probably never tried to maintain a constant temp in his cooker.

There are certainly too many variables to give a definite time.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 07:33 AM   #11
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Reading and researching and a doing a practice cook on that brisket ! And a few prayers wouldn't hurt either! Good luck!!
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Unread 04-15-2013, 08:59 AM   #12
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Keep it simple & listen to the meat it knows when it is done.

BBQ RULES FOR SUCCESS


YOU CAN NOT COOK GREAT BBQ ON A CONSISTENT BASIS BY COOKING TO AN INTERNAL TEMPERATURE OR BY TIME ( XXX MIN PER LB) YOU MUST COOK BY FEEL! For Brisket it must pass the poke test(probe like soft butter) Ribs pass the Bend Test, Pork Butts when the bone wiggles loose. These are the only reliable methods to ensure that your cook will be a success. There is one exception to these rules and that is Poultry which must achieve and internal temp of 170 deg in the thickest part of the thigh and 160 in the breast.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 09:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greulsd View Post
So I just committed to hosting a party this Saturday (6 days) and I'm pretty sure I want to do a pork shoulder and a brisket. I'm going to dry rub both and let them cook Friday into Saturday. I don't have my cuts of meat yet, but what kind of cooking time am I looking at with a good sized shoulder and a good sized brisket?

I have a a Weber 18.5 inch smoker I just bought. I've been reading and researching a ton. Been a lurker here for months. Really looking to nail this the first time around. I'll keep practicing if I don't, but I'd like to know if there are any secrets you could provide in terms of the best rub, best wood, or anything else I should look out for.

I honestly appreciate any help. Really trying to make this some great food for friends.


Thanks!
I didn't see if you mentioned your experience with BBQ in general. I know this won't be popular, but I would go into a party trying to serve some that I have never cooked before and on a smoker that I have never used before. If you have experience with briskets and butt then you may be OK, but if not, and can't get at least one cook in during the week, I'd order pizza
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Unread 04-15-2013, 09:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
I didn't see if you mentioned your experience with BBQ in general. I know this won't be popular, but I would go into a party trying to serve some that I have never cooked before and on a smoker that I have never used before. If you have experience with briskets and butt then you may be OK, but if not, and can't get at least one cook in during the week, I'd order pizza
or pickles
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Unread 04-15-2013, 11:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
You'll find lots and lots of techniques, tips, and recipes here to help you get started. Search on. However, I've always been of the opinion that the first few (yes, more than one) should be without "hosting a party", so I suggest having your local pizza delivery on speed dial. I dont want to sound defeatist, but the first few cooks you're going to spend lots of time and effort learning fire and smoke control. Sounds simple enough, but honestly, the devil is in the details. Otherwise there would be no bbq-brethren; there would be no competitions, etc.

I would stay away from unnecessarily low n slow as it tends to smother the fire, makes it tougher to get sweet blue smoke the whole way, could have creosote laiden meats, and just take longer than necessary. Let you smoker find it's sweet spot and cook there; most are in that 240 to 280 range, give or take...

When we talk cooking temperatures, know that we're talking about cooking surface temperatures; not the temperature shown on your external mounted thermometer; they need to be as much as 50 degrees high or low... If you want to know what temperature you're cooking at, get you a $5 oven thermometer at Wally World and set it on the grate next to the meat.

Put only small amounts of wood on your fire, and not wet or soaked wood. Think hot clean-burning fire. White billowy smoke IS NOT good smoke.

If you are trying this, I HIGHLY suggest that you smoke your meats for 3 to 5 hours in your smoker, then remove them, foil them, and put them in the oven for the remainder of the cook (in a pan deep enough to capture their juices). By putting them in the oven you've reduced the likelihood of a flame flair-up or a flame out scenario and you're not constantly trying to adjust intakes, etc. trying to maintain some temperature as you're learning your smoker.

Good luck.
^^^Excellent advice here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
Keep it simple & listen to the meat it knows when it is done.

BBQ RULES FOR SUCCESS


YOU CAN NOT COOK GREAT BBQ ON A CONSISTENT BASIS BY COOKING TO AN INTERNAL TEMPERATURE OR BY TIME ( XXX MIN PER LB) YOU MUST COOK BY FEEL! For Brisket it must pass the poke test(probe like soft butter) Ribs pass the Bend Test, Pork Butts when the bone wiggles loose. These are the only reliable methods to ensure that your cook will be a success. There is one exception to these rules and that is Poultry which must achieve and internal temp of 170 deg in the thickest part of the thigh and 160 in the breast.
As is this^^^. That said, I might consider grilling some cuts instead of doing a long smoke for your first time serving a party. Don't wanna sound negative, but the possibility for a train wreck is definitely there. If you decide to do it though, start EARLY and if you lose temps in the pit after a few hours, pull the meat and foil it and finish it in the oven. It'll still have BBQ taste.
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