First time smoking. EVER. Whole packer prime brisket and pork butt

Daniel L

New member
Hey guys. This is my first post. Im from Los Angeles and hope to learn a lot from you guys. On to my smoking experience.

Just like the title says. This was my first time smoking ever. All my smoking knowledge came from YouTube university lol.

I got a 18.5 weber smokey mountain for xmas from my wife and I was super excited. There was an mma fight on tv in the next few days so I told everyone to come over for a watch party at my house with BBQ, with the disclaimer " if it doesn't turn out good, I hope you like pizza" haha.

A couple days before I wanted to start smoking, I lit up the wsm just cause I heard mixed reviews on seasoning brand spanking new smokers, so I figured it wouldn't hurt. 1st run was with a full ring of lit charcoal and the 2nd was with the minion method and a chunk of pork on the top grate. I tried to regulate the temps on the 2nd run and it was pretty easy. I didn't notice it running hot for me. Top damper fully open, and bottom 3 a little less than a #2 pencil.

A day before the cook, I went to my local Costco. 3 different costcos actually because I was looking for the perfect sized brisket. 1st two Costcos had enormous briskets and yes, I know I could have bent it or used the grate handles to wedge the brisket under it or put a SS bowl under the thing; I just wanted to try it out straight forward without any tricks. 3rd Costco I found the perfect brisket. 2.99/lb 15 lb usda prime whole packer brisket with the perfect length to just barely fit into the smoker. I also bought some pork shoulder to throw onto the bottom grate.

5:00am
The day has come. Woke up at 5am to get everything going. Doing the minion method so I poured the Kingsford original briquettes (blue bag) into the ring and removed enough to fill half a chimney from the center. I also filled the pan with water and laid out some pecan and hickory wood chunks around the center. As that was going, I started to trim and season the meat. Did exactly what Franklin did, leaving 1/4" of fat on the top and use 1:1 salt & pepper seasoning. For the pork, I also used his rub, which was salt, pepper, gran. onion, gran. garlic, and paprika. Only noticed after I opened the pork, it was boneless :( so I had to tie it up with some twine.







6:00am
The second I put the meat onto the smoker, it's started to rain and get windy..... in Los Angeles -__- wasn't to pleased about that but whatever. It passed after a couple hours. My goal was to maintain temp at 225f, but with the rain and wind, it was a little hard but the highest my temp got to was 240f. Once the rain stopped, it held at 225 like a champ.


12:00
Here's what the brisket looked like 6 hours in.
Sorry, no more pics of the pork. (Next time)



I am now spraying the pork every 30-45min with apple juice.
Also, I did not wrap the brisket or the pork the entire cook.

3:30 pm
9.5 hours in
Started to worry a little... ok. A lot. Temps were dropping, and there were barely any charcoal left inside the ring. Adding charcoal trough the door wasn't working for me cause it started to give off really nasty smelling smoke so I had to make the executive decision and do the only thing I could think of at that moment and that was to take both the brisket and pork off the smoker, set it aside, and completely dump out all the ash and charcoal on the bottom of the smoker and start a new fire, using the minion method ( without wood though). Killed about 30 min of cooking time but got temps back up to 225 and held. The cook went on. This is what the brisket looked like before it went back on the smoker.



7pm - 13 hours in
I think this is when the stall was happening. Internal temp was showing 165 on the brisket, and the pork was (160).

8pm. 14 hours in
People have said the stall could take a while so I wasn't too worried about over cooking it at that point, but I still took a temp reading and it was at 185F! I was relieved i didn't miss that small window and now I was on my toes ready to grab it in 10 degrees. BUT, the pork was still sitting at 165.

8:30 14.5 hours in

Went to spray the pork and took a reading of the brisket. Got it right at 194.5 and waited for it to hit 195. Haha. I was so excited to pull this thing off the smoker. Wrapped it in heavy duty foil and wrapped that in a pretty thick towel and put that bundle of love into the oven to sit for an hour to rest.

Let's not forget about the pork. It was a 6 lb pork by the way and that hit 195 at 11:00pm. 17 hour smoke. I don't know how or why it took that long but we didn't have pulled pork that night lol


9:30pm
Onto the brisket. The 1 hour timer went off just as the main event on tv ended. It's like it was meant to be. Open up the foil and everyone was excited to try some. Also. I have never been to any states that are known for their BBQ, so I can only compare it to what I have tried here in Los Angeles. This is hands down the best brisket I have ever had and also every one was in shock with how amazing this brisket turned out with some saying it's the best they've ever had. Maybe I got lucky with the cut of meat I got, or the way the charcoal burned or whatever, or maybe we just have really bad BBQ places in la to compare them to haha I don't know. But in the end, to me and my guests, I think it was a great success.







I learned ALOT during the whole bbq process and I'm glad I jumped right into brisket. It was very fun and in the end I was very happy and very tired lol but I don't think I'll be doing brisket often. Only for special occasions. Sorry for the very long post, but since it was my first time smoking, I thought I'd share. :)
 

Enrico Brandizzi

TVWBB Honor Circle
Daniel
That is a super looking first brisket. Complimenti.
How (where) did you measure the T? I can't see any grate probe ?!?!?
 

Daniel L

New member
Daniel
That is a super looking first brisket. Complimenti.
How (where) did you measure the T? I can't see any grate probe ?!?!?

Thank you! Lol. Since I was caught off guard with the present and wanted to use it right away, I didn't have one. I still need to go buy one. I Just used a hand held meat thermometer to check the thickest part of the flat of the brisket every time I would go to spritz the pork. I guess I was lucky that I caught it at the right time :)
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Honor Circle
Congratulations on your first cook! That's really super ambitious! I think I went for a rack of baby backs to start out. As far as that pork butt taking longer, butts do tend to be thicker and therefore can take longer than a brisket even if it weighs less. The other thing is that spritzing is can slow down the cooking process. You should probably wait until you have a good crust formed to start spritzing (you may have, I'm just guessing). I could go on about tweaks here and there, but you clearly have the attention to detail to start dialing those in.

The brisket looks really good! Outstanding work!
 

S.Six

TVWBB All-Star
Great looking pix man! That brisket is awesome! Just a couple things to comment on:
13hrs in and still in the stall is why I never cook at 225° it works, but it just takes way too long in my opinion. Experiment with different temps and methods, like foiling. I smoke at 275-300° for 8hrs, briskets and butts are almost always at 165-175ish at that point. then I wrap in foil for 2hrs then check for temp and tenderness. Usually 10-12hrs cook time with a 2-3hr rest and they come out great. It saves a lot of time a charcoal. But whatever works for you.
Also Costco has good briskets, but they only have boneless butts, which I can't stand. If you'reonly cooking 1 or 2 not that big of a deal I guess, but sometimes I cook 10+ or so and am not going to spend the time tying them up. Just my 2 cents I guess.
Again, great cook and congrats on your new wsm and your first cook!
 

Daniel L

New member
Thanks so much guys! Yes. I did wait for a good bark to form around the pork before spraying( about 6-7 hours I think).pork came out great. All for me and my wife since it finished late lol.

Not gonna lie, I was worried about the brisket finishing on time (I'm sure I'm not the first one to say that haha) but it all worked out. Beginners luck? Maybe. But I'll try to do everything the same as far as methods to see if it really was luck or not. :)

And yeah. I was pretty bummed the pork was boneless just cause almost all the videos I've watched was bone in. But for my first time, I think it turned out pretty good :)
 

Andrew F

TVWBB Super Fan
When you run low on coals in the smoker, just pull off the middle section and dump more in. Give it a min or 5 to "settle down" and plop the middle section back on. You only have the 18.5, so it is not so bad. Not as easy as the baby 14, but a heck of a lot better than trying to hug it out with the 22!
 

Daniel L

New member
When you run low on coals in the smoker, just pull off the middle section and dump more in. Give it a min or 5 to "settle down" and plop the middle section back on. You only have the 18.5, so it is not so bad. Not as easy as the baby 14, but a heck of a lot better than trying to hug it out with the 22!


Haha. I can imagine. So here's a question for you. I can still return my wsm and upgrade to get the 22.5. Should I do it?
 

Bob Ivey

TVWBB Emerald Member
How many people will you regularly cook for. My 22 is a very big smoker and cooks a lot of meat. I am currently trying to find a 14.5 WSM on Craigslist since it is now mainly my wife and I.

Haha. I can imagine. So here's a question for you. I can still return my wsm and upgrade to get the 22.5. Should I do it?
 

Cliff Bartlett

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Tremendous looking cook Daniel. That bark is a thing of beauty. Congrats on all your hard work and effort. Your research and ability to absorb a lot of information and put it in action sure paid off.
 

WilliamD

TVWBB Fan
Daniel, Congrats and Fantastic Job on your first cook....I bet those pictures don't do it justice! Looks Fantastic and bet it tastes the same!!! :)
 

Daniel L

New member
How many people will you regularly cook for. My 22 is a very big smoker and cooks a lot of meat. I am currently trying to find a 14.5 WSM on Craigslist since it is now mainly my wife and I.

I cooked for 12 people that day but I want a bigger one because finding the right size brisket to fit the 18.5 was kind of hard, but I made it work. I also found someone selling a brand new 14.5" wsm for 50 bux locally! I just wanna buy it cause it's 50 bux!!
 

Jim Lampe

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Daniel, you are AMAZING!
no one else would dive in headfirst like this... not only did you dive in, you mastered it in one cook!

Cooking brisket is like reheating a cup of cold coffee, eh? You make it look that easy.

And
You
Should
Be
PROUD!
CONGRATULATIONS!!
 

Daniel L

New member
Thank you all for the compliments :) I can't wait to start my second brisket to see if it was just beginners luck Or if I actually got something going here.
 

John Sp

TVWBB All-Star
Daniel, you stepped up to the big leagues and hit a homer on your first at bat! Nice looking brisket. Your approach to learning to control your temps BEFORE your cook was an outstanding idea. I agree that smoking brisket at a higher temp is a good idea. I target 275F when doing brisket. As for the pork butt, I think the fact that it was boneless may have contributed to the longer stall time. I suspect that the bone helps to transfer heat into the meat during a cook which would translate into a shorter stall IMO...

Regards,

John
 

Bob Ivey

TVWBB Emerald Member
Check out Smart and Final for bone in butts. They have the bone in Farmer John butts all the time. As for the brisket, You have that one covered with the Costco prime briskets. They are wonderful.
 

Rolf Jacobsen

TVWBB Emerald Member
Daniel, ANYONE would be proud of that brisket!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good for you and I wish you many more. Flippin' awesome!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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