View Full Version : 2 hours into a brisket and...

05-19-2012, 11:20 AM
First, this site is so unbelievable handy. Iíve got a long ways to go, but I would still being eating boiled ribs if it werenít for you guys. (I knew better, but I didnít know where to begin.) So, for all Iíve learned and all I expect to keep learning from the fine folks that use this siteÖTHANK YOU.

Anyway, I've completely changed up how I'm doing things. I had been burning only cherry wood up to this point, and I mean only cherry wood. No other fuel. But the more I have read here, the more i realized I am probably in the minority. And it probably explains why I have to pay constant attention to my fire and I get temp fluctuations that range from 175 degrees to 450 degrees. It wasnít working for me. (In case you couldnít tell, Iím relatively new at this.) So I have been back at reading/studying this forum and here's what I've got going on:

ē A small brisket (about 8 pounds, but oddly includes the flat and the point)
ē An offset smoker (Brinkmann)
ē Made a coal basket using concrete lathe (about 9 inches in all directions)
ē Filled the basket about 7 inches high with Kingsford Original and dropped 12 lit coals into the center (minion method)
ē Included about 9 pieces of cherry interspersed into the briquettes, each piece being about a cubic inch

So no I am 2 hours into the process and Iím concerned about the longevity of my fire. This is my first attempt using this method and was mostly concerned about being able to get the temp up high enough. No problem there. Rock solid 245 degrees the entire time. Almost, anyway. The temp spiked very early until I closed up the air inlet. Currently, the air inlet is closed completely. The chimney is wide open. I have a water pan with maybe a help gallon of water on the fire side of the meat.

Hereís my concern. Within 30 minutes of dropping the lit coals into the basket the entire pile was lit. My understanding was that the pile would light gradually over the course of a few hours and provide me with steady heat source that would last (hopefully) at least 8 hours. Now Iím not sure itís going to last four hours.

Should I just relax, or do I have a problem?

05-19-2012, 11:39 AM
Just relax and enjoy yourself. If you notice your fire dropping below 210, light another chimney full of coals. Wait until they ash over and add them to your firebox. Your temps might shoot over the 245 range but just control your airflow with the intakes. One of the reasons your coals are burning to quick might be because of the massive amount of air leaks that cookers such as yours (and mine!) have without doing some basic mods to them first. If all else fails after about three hours of smoke you can finish your meat off in the (yikes!) oven, and still enjoy a nice dinner. Then look up on the brethren cheap offset cooker modifications. Hope some of this helps.

05-19-2012, 11:41 AM
You may need to reload. I like to fill a chimney with fresh charcoal. Grab a few lit coals from the firebox and start the chimney up. Once the top 8-10 coals ate lit, add the whole bunch to the nearly empty basket. Should take just a few minutes of firebox open.

05-19-2012, 01:09 PM
So, if I can control the unwanted air from getting into the firebox, I can extend the amount of time I can get from a basket full of coal? Makes sense. I've read up on the various mods for my type of cooker, which I wish I read beforehand. I would have bought a different type of cooker. I've seen a few custom ones on here that I really like.

Glad to know that adding fuel is the remedy because I couldn't think of anything. But, I was hoping it was the shape of my basket or something simple like that.

Captain Dave
05-19-2012, 04:02 PM
Sounds like you have too much air entering the fire box. Even just a little excess can mess things up. Temps of 450 can be a disaster to brisket.

05-19-2012, 09:56 PM
Unless your temps are not correct, don't sweat it.