View Full Version : First Smoke Coming Up This Saturday - Input Appreciated

08-26-2013, 04:01 PM
I plan on trying out my freshly restored/modded Bandera this weekend and have a couple of questions.

To start, taking everything that I have read, I want to get "good" at smoking pork shoulder before I try to get "good" at smoking anything else. I understand it is the most forgiving in terms of still turning out quite good even if I don't quite get it to perfection. That said, I have a brisket in the freezer that I'd like to throw on at the same time if it isn't the worst idea in the world. I will be setting the smoker up to optimize the pork shoulder and will not be "splitting the difference" in temps or altering the pork cook in any way to accommodate the brisket. I like brisket better than pork, but I'm committed to getting the pork shoulder right before trying to really work on being a good brisket smoker.

I was going to start with the recommended temps/times from a general guide I found which puts pulled pork at 225 degrees for 1.5 hours per pound. It recommends 240 degrees for brisket, so at 225 degrees, the brisket will, obviously, take longer (which is fine). I'll monitor the pork first and foremost and pull it when I feel it is ready. The brisket can stay in for as long as it needs. I haven't bought the pork shoulder, yet, so I may get one slightly bigger than the brisket to bring cook times closer together.

I have a few reasons for experimenting this way. First, the brisket was bought on the cheap and if I don't particularly care for the results, I'm okay with that. Second if, somewhere down the line, I will benefit from "experimenting" at 225 degrees, then I'm okay with trying that experiment now. I intend to take detailed notes on the pork shoulder and will just add a column for the brisket. Third, there is the outside shot that I turn out two pretty decent pieces of meat on the same cook. I'll find the mouths to feed if I do.

Is it worth trying a brisket at 225 degrees? Will having it in the chamber with the pork add unnecessary challenges to getting the pork right?

Thanks for everyone's help. I'll be learning to control temps this week in prep for the cook on Saturday. Expect plenty of pics when I'm done....good or bad.

08-26-2013, 04:06 PM
keep it simple

leave the brisket in the freezer until you know your pit!!!

08-26-2013, 04:56 PM
^^^ This. The first thing I tried to smoke was a brisket. I was so disappointed that I quit for a time. I switched to Butts and Chicken and am very happy. I just got done doing two butts and the lesson I learned was to turn the meat once in a while to make sure I don't have a hot spot or cook unevenly. Also, use your probe to check for tenderness, never go by temp or time.

08-26-2013, 05:07 PM
I agree with sticking with the pork butt for your first smoke. You eliminate the extra variable (brisket) from the cooking method and how long it will actually take too cook.

I'd also recommend paying attention to the internal temp of the pork butt. See if pulling at 195 works for your tastes. I think Wal-Mart carries digital instant thermos for about 8 bucks.

Most importantly - enjoy the process! It's not always about the end result :)

08-26-2013, 05:14 PM
Don't over think it.
Put your brisket on, put the butt on the rack over it, cook them both at the same temp till they are done.
Let them rest.

08-26-2013, 07:00 PM
I have cooked brisket and butts at 275-285 in my uds and have gotten great results, i go buy my Signature all the time simple is good:biggrin1:

08-26-2013, 08:52 PM
Throw em both on there! You can cook both at the same temperature. Pick a temp between 225 and 275, and roll with it! If your worried about them being done at different times, throw the brisket on there two hours earlier. Keep the lid closed except every hour or so to spritz with apple juice or some bottled butter. Pull them both when they probe tender, let rest for 30-45 in foil and bam, have some brisket and pulled pork sammiches!

08-26-2013, 09:10 PM
Don't over think it.
Put your brisket on, put the butt on the rack over it, cook them both at the same temp till they are done.
Let them rest.

I agree.. Put both the brisket and butt on, cook them until they are done (Probe tender), Dont stress... let them rest and Enjoy.

08-26-2013, 09:16 PM
I would run the pit at 250F to 275F. No need to go as low as 225F. However...

In keeping with your original post, you can most certainly cook both the butt and brisket at 225F, and there is no reason that you will not have good, or bad, results based upon your cooking skills. Give them both a rub, get the smoker going at a clean heat, whatever you choose, look for light blue or non-visible smoke, and get the meat on there. 1.5 hours for a pound is a good estimate for either cut of meat. Important thing here, do not crowd the meat, if there is not at least 2" clear around the meat, then you are crowding the meat and will not get good air flow around the meat, that slows cooking a lot.

on edit: do not cook by time or internal temperature, the only way to cook is by feel, I use the probe method for brisket, a metal probe, skewer, ice pick etc...goes into the flat of the brisket very easily, pull the meat. For pork, if there is a bone, cook until it wiggles easily, if no bone, cook until the meat starts to pull apart when you lift it. Always rest the meat for an hour at least.

08-26-2013, 09:44 PM
Thanks all. I plan to use the cooking guide as just that. A guide. The ultimate indicator for pulling will be "probe tender". I know what that means by reading, but Saturday will be my first real shot at learning it in practice. I was mostly concerned that by putting the brisket it, one of two things (or both) would happen:

1. The brisket would have little chance at turning out decent if the pork was my primary concern.
2. The brisket would prevent me from learning how to cook just a pork butt.

I won't be discouraged by the brisket if it doesn't turn out that great. I am going in to it with the expectation that briskets are much less forgiving than the pork butts. My measure for success on this first cook will be the pork. The brisket is just for extra credit.

Sounds like I can get away with 250, though, and still get some great pulled pork, so I might do that. I think I will also try to get the brisket in a little earlier so that I can get the pit back up to 250 before the pork goes in. That way I'm starting at 250 like I would without the brisket and not building temp (whatever I lose putting the meat in) with both simultaneously.

To the suggestion about spacing, I will have them on different shelves in the Bandera, so I should have plenty of space between them. The pork will be dripping on the brisket and then in to a small drip pan to add back in to both later.

Patience will be available in spades. I'll have a little music playing in the backyard, a fresh bottle of bourbon to sip, and a couple stogies while waiting on the meat. For those reasons, this should be a hobby that I can get in to.

08-26-2013, 09:47 PM
If you want to cook both then go for it. I personally would try to not go lower than 225, but if it is warm out probably between 250 and 275. If its cooler 225 to 250, just see where your smoker seems to want to run then cook it there. Remember a small hot fire. I would also just do bone in pork butts they will be done when you can pull the bone cleanly and not until. With Brisket get a ice pick or some type of probe and when the thick part of the point will probe with out any real resistance then it is done. Most Brisket failures come form under cooking so don't be afraid to go a little longer. I suspect that your brisket will come off first, somewhere around the 7-9 hour range if it is a 12 plus pounder, and the pork buts will take a bit longer if they are in the 10 plus pound range. For both of them they are done when they are done.

08-26-2013, 09:56 PM
I have smaller meats. 6 pound brisket and 8.5 pound butt.

Temp should start around 80 when the smoker is ready and climb to the 90s by around noon or so. It might stay closer to the 250-275 range.

Rusty Kettle
08-26-2013, 09:59 PM
Just a tip with pork shoulder I find mine come out best when they are cooked to 205 internal temp and rested for a half hour before shredding for pulled pork not sure if that is what you want but man I LOVE pulled pork sandwiches.

08-26-2013, 10:06 PM
Thanks for the tip! The internal temperature will be what I use to double-check my work. I'm going for probe tender, but will definitely use the IT to help support my findings.

08-27-2013, 12:25 AM
you are gonna just have to see where (temp) your smoker wants to run at- don't get hung up on a certain temp - find a temp it likes and holds relatively steady at in the 240 *-280* range ( you will wanna run it and hr or two to see and also for the "season")- and put your shoulder on the rack above the Brisket and SMOKE Them.

or load that thing up and drive 30 minutes South and I'll play with it with ya. :wink: ( assuming that's HURST TX- LOL)

08-27-2013, 12:30 AM
Hurst, Texas it is ;). Might have to come visit you for a lesson.

I'll start playing with it this week. Going to light it up twice for seasoning and practice.

08-27-2013, 12:38 AM
Hurst, Texas it is ;). Might have to come visit you for a lesson.

I'll start playing with it this week. Going to light it up twice for seasoning and practice.

I'm definatley still learning myself but I been practicing EVERY weekend the last few months. LOL :wink: I pull my Shoulders - Butts or Picnic - a lil earlier than most because I like Chopped and Sliced vs Pulled- just personal preference. But we oughta do a cook - here or there. :-D

08-30-2013, 01:22 PM

I have done my butts and briskets with a target temp of "under 300" and had good results on my Kettle, though it is hard to keep at 250 for extended periods and super easy to just keep it below 300 ;)

08-31-2013, 10:36 AM