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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 06-18-2011, 11:38 AM   #1
habaneromike
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Default what is best 1,2, 3, or 4 pits at a Cookoff?

I am not new to Cookoffs but timing and temp control is my biggest problem. One of the main factors is... different temps for different meats as well as capasity.
Example If I had my way... I would cook:
- Brisket at 350
- Butts at 250
- Ribs at 275
- Chicken at 300
Due to holding time and space on my two 18” WSM's this becomes challenging.
I would like to buy a nice smoker that will provide a better crust in a more humid environment.

So here is my question: If I buy one nice cooker will this be enough to cook everything at different temps and improve on holding times?

OR would I have to learn how to cook everything at one temp in order to make this work?

AND lastly do you need to have several cookers based on cooking at different temps for each category?

Many Thanks
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Unread 06-18-2011, 12:00 PM   #2
Jorge
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If you time it right, I don't see why you can't do what you are talking about with your existing equipment. Butts and brisket each in a cooker. Pull and cooler/Cambro, then cook chicken and ribs after reloading fuel as needed.

Am I not understanding your question?
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Unread 06-18-2011, 12:10 PM   #3
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We have 4 cookers, but that works for us. There is no right or wrong answer. It depends on timing, and your cooking methods.
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Unread 06-18-2011, 12:30 PM   #4
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These are decisions only you can decide on. I cook all 4 on one cooker (my BWS Fatboy), and have a WSM with me in case it is needed, but haven't used it yet. It is all about your own cooking style and timing schedule. Do whatever gives you the best shot at winning.
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Unread 06-18-2011, 12:30 PM   #5
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As Tom above pointed out. It depends largely on your cooking methods.
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Unread 06-18-2011, 12:32 PM   #6
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Well yes, I could cook chicken and ribs in the same WSM but they would need to be cooked at the same temp and I would need to open the hood several times and testing for doneness on meat cooked on lower rack would be tough. Lastly opening the hood several times will raise the temp and if you are using a stoker… it will be really tough, as you will never have a chance to stabilize the cooker temp.
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Unread 06-18-2011, 12:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge View Post
If you time it right, I don't see why you can't do what you are talking about with your existing equipment. Butts and brisket each in a cooker. Pull and cooler/Cambro, then cook chicken and ribs after reloading fuel as needed.

Am I not understanding your question?
Quote:
Originally Posted by huminie View Post
These are decisions only you can decide on. I cook all 4 on one cooker (my BWS Fatboy), and have a WSM with me in case it is needed, but haven't used it yet. It is all about your own cooking style and timing schedule. Do whatever gives you the best shot at winning.
So how do you cook on one cooker? This is what I am trying to find out, I am open to any method at this point. I am just weighing my options.
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Unread 06-18-2011, 12:53 PM   #8
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We cook everything on one smoker, except for whole hog which goes on another...

We do cook everything from 245-265.
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Unread 06-18-2011, 01:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habaneromike View Post
I am not new to Cookoffs but timing and temp control is my biggest problem. One of the main factors is... different temps for different meats as well as capasity.
Example If I had my way... I would cook:
- Brisket at 350
- Butts at 250
- Ribs at 275
- Chicken at 300
Due to holding time and space on my two 18” WSM's this becomes challenging.
I would like to buy a nice smoker that will provide a better crust in a more humid environment.

So here is my question: If I buy one nice cooker will this be enough to cook everything at different temps and improve on holding times?

OR would I have to learn how to cook everything at one temp in order to make this work?

AND lastly do you need to have several cookers based on cooking at different temps for each category?

Many Thanks
Cook your briskets in one cooker and your butts in another. Finish them early and put them in coolers or cambros. Change your temps and cook your ribs in one cooker and your chicken in the other.

Simple.
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Unread 06-18-2011, 02:38 PM   #10
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I cook butts and brisket at the same temps...low overnight and then foiled and cranked up in the morning. I get additional temp variations by careful placement inside the cooker. They are usually done before ribs go on, although sometimes the brisket needs a few more minutes, but that isn't an issue. I start my ribs and position them in the middle of the cooker. Chicken goes on at the top shelf giving it a higher cook temp.

One lesson learned is that with my stoker I have to shut the blower off when I open the door for more than a few seconds. Since my cooker is insulated it holds temps and the blower will cause a raging fire if I don't do this. That day sucked.
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Unread 06-18-2011, 02:49 PM   #11
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We use two but could do them all on one if we had to.Like everyone else has stated it's really what works for you..and more importantly what affords you the most sleep!
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Unread 06-18-2011, 03:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmista View Post
Cook your briskets in one cooker and your butts in another. Finish them early and put them in coolers or cambros. Change your temps and cook your ribs in one cooker and your chicken in the other.

Simple.
Well not so simple, as I am working on holding my brisket for hours, not sure if you saw my post from two weeks ago but... holding a brisket for4 hrs can be tough, at least for me.

This started a huge conversation based on “you should not hold a brisket for 4 hrs and Cambro’s are made for catering not competition”. Ribs take 3+ hrs and I like to have an hour leeway to be safe.

How long do you hold your brisket and do you pull it early so it goes in hot
or do you vent and reheat etc,?

Thanks,
Mike
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Unread 06-18-2011, 04:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huminie View Post
I cook butts and brisket at the same temps...low overnight and then foiled and cranked up in the morning. I get additional temp variations by careful placement inside the cooker. They are usually done before ribs go on, although sometimes the brisket needs a few more minutes, but that isn't an issue. I start my ribs and position them in the middle of the cooker. Chicken goes on at the top shelf giving it a higher cook temp.

One lesson learned is that with my stoker I have to shut the blower off when I open the door for more than a few seconds. Since my cooker is insulated it holds temps and the blower will cause a raging fire if I don't do this. That day sucked.
Thanks for the good insight to your method!

I have been using the stoker for 4 years now and I have had the same challenge with the blower and constant hood opening. I assume you know about the Blower “off for 5 minutes” feature?
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Unread 06-18-2011, 04:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big matt View Post
We use two but could do them all on one if we had to.Like everyone else has stated it's really what works for you..and more importantly what affords you the most sleep!

I know you guys took Myron's class, uses his pie and power cook at least your brisket so if I could ask...what is your cooking method/schedule? I am trying to come up with a new one as mine is not working for me!

Thanks,
Mike
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Unread 06-18-2011, 04:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habaneromike View Post
I know you guys took Myron's class, uses his pie and power cook at least your brisket so if I could ask...what is your cooking method/schedule? I am trying to come up with a new one as mine is not working for me!

Thanks,
Mike
No problem Mike!..our butts and brisket go on at 5 am,pit temp is 350 to start,we cook until our bark is set and our color is where I like(about 3 to 4 hours)then we pan and cover with foil,let them go another hour and start checking for probe feel.at this time our temp is 275 and our ribs are on,our cook runs 7 hrs max sometimes less..hope this helps.
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