Friday, August 17, 2012

And yet another butt over brisket

The previous smoke was for the purpose of convincing my neighbor to go with something off the smoker for their after race party. No convincing was needed after she had some of my ribs. She said "Yes, brisket and pulled pork would be fine." So I got another 10 pound brisket and a pair of butts to smoke. My pan is to smoke overnight, starting about 10:00 PM. That should pretty much have the meat done by noon (provided I drop the temps a little bit.) Then I'll foil and put in a cooler to hold the meat until I need to prepare it for serving. that should duplicate the results I had with the previous smoke. I'll hold the meat in Dutch ovens and serve in a Sterno fueled chafing dish.

Outside temperature is about 66°, sky is dark and wind is pretty flat (reported at 3 mph.)

See previous post. I'm using the same rubs. The only difference is I have the rub son by 10:00 PM so they have a couple hours to marinate before they go in the smoker.

Again, I'll be duplicating the smoker setup and smoking woods I used last time. Hot coals on the Minion lay at 9:35 and the cooker closed up. Top vent full open and one bottom vent full open. I'm going to let it settle a bit before putting meat in. OK, by 9:40 the grate temp reads 261° and I think that's settled enough! Brisket will go on the bottom with the meat probe and butts will go on the upper rack.

timetemp comment
9:45 PM261°/205°/?
(grate, dome, meat)
Meat on the smoker.
10:00264°/200°/56°Close the single open bottom vent to about half.
10:43266°/220°/95°Closing a little more.
11:28269°/220°/128°Closing a little more - barely open now.
5:25 AM155°/150°/150°Need more fire! Open one bottom vent full and fan the coals a bit.
8:00194°/?/153°Added some charcoal.
10:22240°/?/167°Repeated charcoal additions are finally having the desired effect.
11:19271°/240°/177°One bottom vent back to half open.
Pork feels done - off to rest!
2:15278°/°/190°Beef coming off now.

It worked well again. The entire smoke was consumed at the party and I had to dip into my reserves for a few more pound of beef and pork.

What to do differently next time - don't let the temperature drop as much overnight. Of course the drop was better than a runaway smoker.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another butt over brisket

Just because. We've finished our brisket before vacation and have no more pulled pork left. We do have some back loin ribs, a little more than one rack left. That's all the reason I need. OK, there's another reason. My neighbor runs the Winfield Criterium which is coming up this weekend. I gave her some of the back loin ribs (it was her husband who watched our house while we were out of town.) Last year I cooked for their after party (for everyone who helped put it on) and made - by their request - fajitas. They bought onions, peppers and beef brisket. Oy! I almost panicked when I saw that but quickly researched marinades and settled on one that included lemon juice and vinegar (IIRC) with the hope that it would tenderize the beef a bit. I also sliced the brisket up for maximum exposure. It marinated overnight and was good but still a bit on the rangy side. I think that's just not the right cut of beef for fajitas. This year I'm hoping to convince them that something off the smoker would be better. I hope some brisket and pulled pork talks for me. ;)

I picked out the biggest brisket at Sam's which was just shy of 10 lb. The brisket is a two pack that ran about 16 3/4 lb.

I'm starting this late afternoon so it looks like it will be a long night or an early morning. Plus it will have to go for several hours on its own while we head off to hot dog night.

Weather is hot at 90° and sunny. There is a light of wind reported at about 5 mph but feels like a bit more. Temperature down to 67° by the time the meat came off in the wee hours.

I'm using pretty much the same recipe as last time I did butt over brisket with some modifications as listed below. (I have fresh rosemary but forgot to buy garlic.) The Coffee rub recipe is not worth repeating. You can see it at Raichlen's Primal Grill web site. For the pork, I went with:

  • 1 Tbsp black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Rosemary
  • 1/2 Tbsp Coriander
  • 1 Tbsp Hungarian Paprika.
  • 1 Tbsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1 Tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 Tbsp powdered garlic
This is going on the WSM where I'm using Royal Oak lump and for smoking wood, mesquite, hickory, apple, black walnut and box elder. I started with about a gallon of hot tap water in the bowl. The meat probe of the ET-72 is in the thickest part of the brisket on the lower grate.

timetemp comment
3:15 PM
Lit coals on, meat on and buttoned up with one bottom vent half open as seems to work well for me..
Temps spiked a bit due to a well lit fire but is settling down a bit after closing up the smoker.
5:16263°/250°/136°closed the vent a little bit - hardly at all.
10:19219°/215°/172°That's pretty good for 5 hours of inattention. I'll open a bottom vent a little bit more and stir the coals. Whoops! I fond that one of the bottom vents which I thought had been closed was actually open about half way, so to this point 
12:54220°/215?/185°Threw in some more lump. Pork is at about 172°.
2:30230°/225°/195°Beef off and meat probe switched to pork (now 184°.)
Decided to take the pork off s well. It looks done.

I wrapped all pieces of meat in foil and put in a cooler for an extended rest (til morning) prior to slicing and pulling. They both turned out to be the tenderest pieces of meat I have ever smoked. The pork was almost too tender. I think that the extended rest was the reason for this. The beef was also very juicy.

The only thing I might do differently is double check which vents are open to keep the fire better controlled. I would have liked a slightly lower smoke temperature but the results were great!