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Thread: Second brisket (overnight) advice/tips?

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    TVWBB Member Troy S's Avatar
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    Second brisket (overnight) advice/tips?

    I just saw Taylor - Frog Smoker's post about staying up with a brisket overnight.

    Anyhow, I smoked my first 'solo' (by myself) brisket last week. It was just the flat, not even 6 lbs. It turned out great -- better than expected -- and I ended up picking up a whole brisket from Wal-Mart a couple of nights ago ($2.96/lb is the cheapest it will ever be around here). It's an 11.46 lb'er.

    I want to smoke it overnight.

    I've done one overnight smoke so far. In early August, I smoked a 8.5 lb pork shoulder. I started it at around 7pm or so, woke up the next morning at about 6-6:30 and it was done. Truly set it and forget it. However, pork shoulder is a very forgiving think to smoke.

    I don't want to ruin this brisket. But I'd also like to do what I did with the pork shoulder by setting it and forgetting it and going to sleep. Should I just get up early tomorrow morning to start it or what can I do to produce good results tonight that doesn't involve staying up all night?

    One of my cousins -- from Texas, and a lifelong BBQ'er -- has a rule where he smokes it for 4, wraps for 4, and he's done plenty of briskets. Haven't tried one of his yet.

    Edit: I learned to marinate brisket in zesty Italian dressing from my girlfriend's parents in Alabama. That's the best brisket I've ever had, down there. I did that with my flat and I'm going to do it with the whole one, needed or not.

    Also, should I use water in the pan or no and just foil it? I did for the flat.
    Last edited by Troy S; 10-11-2017 at 11:08 AM.

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    Regarding the water/dry situation, I'll only use water if my goal is to maintain about 225F. If I'm going any higher than that I run with a dry pan. Actually, of late I've run it dry no matter what the temp. But if you're having trouble maintaining a lower temp the water can be a good insurance policy against it getting too hot. Since the common wisdom on brisket is to run 275F, I'd go with a dry pan.

    If you really like the Italian dressing, you might want to consider getting an injector and shooting some right inside. Just use the largest needle or the chunky spices in the dressing might get caught.

    If you don't have a remote thermometer and aren't totally confident of being able to maintain a constant temperature, I'd baby sit it or at least do no more than cat napping while it's smoking. If you've got a remote thermometer that can alert you to problems, then the overnight cook is a lot safer. I recall one overnight cook where I thought my temps were solid and I went to bed. Happened to wake up rather early and decided to check on things with the smoker. Good thing because the temp had spiked to over 300F instead of the 225F I wanted and the butts were done hours earlier than expected. I bought a remote thermometer after that.

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    TVWBB Member Troy S's Avatar
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    I sure do appreciate your thoughts, Jay.

    I'm thinking about adding some water (not filling the pan) and smoking the brisket on the lower rack. Any thoughts on that?

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    TVWBB Gold Member Dustin Dorsey's Avatar
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    What temp are you cooking at? I generally cook lower on an overnight cook just for timing reasons. 8 hrs at 225 is just not going to happen. Do you plan on using a remote therm? I wouldn't do the marinade personally. The oil in the dressing will adversely affect your smoke ring, but that's merely cosmetic.
    22.5 WSM, 22.5 OTS, Smokey Joe, Genesis 1000, Smokenator 1000, Old Country Pecos, Thermapen, Smoke, Maverick ET-732, Igrill 2

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    TVWBB Member Troy S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin Dorsey View Post
    What temp are you cooking at? I generally cook lower on an overnight cook just for timing reasons. 8 hrs at 225 is just not going to happen. Do you plan on using a remote therm? I wouldn't do the marinade personally. The oil in the dressing will adversely affect your smoke ring, but that's merely cosmetic.
    Shooting for 225. No remote therm. Just checking it with my Thermapen.

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    TVWBB Gold Member Dustin Dorsey's Avatar
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    I find the wsm can hold pretty steady if you dial it in ,but it took me a while to learn that. I usually use a remote therm with an alarm so I can get some sleep if needed. I figure you are looking at a 16 hour cook just guessing at that temp. If you wrap early at say 150 you can cut that number substanially.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayHeyl View Post
    If you really like the Italian dressing, you might want to consider getting an injector and shooting some right inside. Just use the largest needle or the chunky spices in the dressing might get caught.
    Pour the dressing in a blender to make those larger pieces smaller.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy S View Post
    I'm thinking about adding some water (not filling the pan) and smoking the brisket on the lower rack. Any thoughts on that?
    Water in the pan will make it a lot easier to maintain 225F. That's lower than conventional wisdom, or my understanding of it, when it comes to brisket, but if that's what you want to do it will give you some insurance for an overnight cook. OTOH, you'll burn a lot of fuel turning that liquid water to steam, which may not be the best thing on a very long cook.

    I wouldn't skimp on the water if that's what you want to do. You don't have to fill the pan all the way, but don't put just a little bit in there. The energy to get the water to the boiling point is nothing compared to what it takes to turn it to steam, so it really won't matter if you've got a pint or a gallon as far as fuel usage, but it will matter when it comes to ensuring the pan doesn't boil dry. Adding water to the pan mid-cook is something to be avoided if possible.

    As for the lower rack, I don't know. I'd stick with the top rack just for the convenience of it. I only use the bottom rack if I need it for capacity. It's too inconvenient otherwise. But that's me. I'm lazy.

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    I usually put a trimmed 12 pound or so brisket on the top rack around 11 p.m the night before. Babysit the smoker for about an hour to determine the smoker is where I want it (between 225 and 275). Then go to bed. When I wake up around 6 a.m. or so the next morning it is usually time to wrap the brisket in butcher paper (internal anywhere between 160-180). Then leave it on the smoker till it is probe tender which usually takes a few more hours. Then wrap in towels and put in a cooler to rest and slice later.

    Always comes out perfect. I smoke with a full water pan and have never used a remote thermometer. When I wake the next morning I do kick the legs to shake off some ash.
    2009 Performer, OTG, 22.5 WSM, Jumbo Joe and Smokey Joe.

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    TVWBB Wizard Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    I like it Andy!
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