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Unread 08-07-2014, 05:36 AM   #1
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Default Wood and brisket questions

Yesterday I a bought 18.5" WSM. I will not have the time to build a UDS so I went this way. I live in Iceland so I don't have access to all the supplies you have in the US.

I plan on preparing the smoker today and on Saturday I am going to smoke brisket (probably a flat, I will find out when I pick it up tomorrow). Nobody in Iceland knows what brisket is so I had to make a special order at a meat processing company.

I just found out that my options for wood is very limited. I have hickory chips and green unprocessed birch. I thought the foresters had some old birch but unfortunately, it is all new.

So I would like to ask you guys, what would you do? Can I process a green birch in a day or so to make it usable for smoking or is there a way to use hickory chips in the WSM? I planned on using the minion method.

Then feel free to give my an advice on the cooking method. I am also thinking of smoking a pork but as a backup in case I dry out the brisket.
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Unread 08-07-2014, 05:55 AM   #2
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The chips will work fine. Just spread a hand full out and layer it in the charcoal.

You can cut green wood into chunks and dry it out in the oven. I have done this at 250 degrees F for an hour or two a couples times.
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Unread 08-07-2014, 06:04 AM   #3
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The chips will work fine, depending how quickly the charcoal completely turns orange, you may have to add another application of chips. If you are using the "Minion" or "snake" method, you will not have to add more as the chips will burn as the charcoal slowly burns.

Keep us posted...
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Unread 08-07-2014, 06:11 AM   #4
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Don't be afraid of using the birch either, just make sure all of the bark is off as it creates an oily smoke.

Fist sized chunks or smaller would work.

How long ago was the birch harvested?
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Unread 08-07-2014, 09:05 AM   #5
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Do you have access to lump charcoal?
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Unread 08-07-2014, 09:46 AM   #6
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Welcome to The Brethren Markus. Chips are fine and you won't have to add any more if you use the snake or ring method. Just mix the chips in with the charcoal. Good luck with your new WSM and your cook. Looking forward to some pics.
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Unread 08-07-2014, 04:11 PM   #7
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I test drived the WSM today and here is a pick. I tried to cook some pork belly slices and this is the outcome. I cannot complain about the taste. I used the hickory chips this time. I haven't been able to buy other wood yet, but I will do that tomorrow. I like the red internal look of the meat. Will I get that if I use e.g. birch instead of hickory?

The only thing that went wrong is that the door lock is broken, but I am supposed to get a new one tomorrow. My wife fixed it partially for me while I was trying to save the meat from burning so I was able to finish the cook.

Today I just foiled the water pan. I am not sure what I should do when I cook the brisket on Saturday.

Yes I have access to lump charcoal. Is that any better for WSM?
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Unread 08-07-2014, 09:11 PM   #8
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With lump charcoal you will get more smoke flavor since it is just hardwood that has been smoldered.

If you can get a clay flower pot base, put it in the pan and foil over the top of the flower pot base to make clean up easier. It will act as a heat sink similar to water in the pan and even out the temperature. An 18" wsm can use a 14" base. Generally can find these at a Lowes or Home Depot if you have one or just anywhere that sells the clay flower pots.

If you have a Lowes or Home Depot, grab a bag of wood chunks. Use 3-4 fist size chunks. A brisket is a big piece of meat and can take more smoke than say chicken or ribs. Pecan is a good choice if available or oak. Apple or cherry would also be ok.

I start my briskets at 250 degrees for 4 hours then wrap in foil till tender. There really isn't a correct or incorrect temperature to use. I've seen briskets cooked from 225 degrees to 325 degrees and they all were good. Cook till probe tender. Start checking for tenderness at 205 and from then on don't worry about the temperature. Probe should slide right in like a knife through warm butter.
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Last edited by Cayman1; 08-07-2014 at 09:26 PM..
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Unread 08-07-2014, 10:05 PM   #9
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I use chips in my wsm all the time. I make 2 large handful sized piles.

I think I prefer them to chunks because I get a very clean light smoke compared to chunks.

I don't normally use that much lit coal, it was more than -20* F with wind chill that day.
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