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Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
BARDSLJR

Today’s ( and yesterday’s) project....

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This started as a 15 lb prime brisket ( thank you, Costco): pretty much followed all of Aaron Franklin’s methods for trimming, slather, seasoned with 50/50 salt and pepper. Into the 32” KK at 11 pm last night, off at 10:45 this morning at a perfect 203*. Got up at 4:30 am and wrapped in butcher paper. Used large lump Komodo charcoal and post oak. Temps were 275-300 ( would have preferred 250-75, but what the heck). Impressions: I usually don’t have access to post oak and use fruitwoods. This is noticeably more of an acrid smoke flavor (in a good way) than the sweetness I get from the cherry or apple. I think it is a better match for the beef brisket, though I will stay with fruitwoods for pork. Bark was excellent, brisket completely done and tender. After really ruining the first 4 briskets I tried, the last two have been excellent...I think I’ve got this.

A53AD162-8D2E-4A59-AC02-166602ACA8C3.jpeg

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And as an observation of secondary importance, but interesting....I started this burn around 9:30 last night using huge Komodo Charcoal (chunks the size of my fist, maybe half the size of my head) and big chunks of post oak (I can seldom get post oak here in Denver, but some turned up at Walmart and I just went out and checked on the 32" BIg Boy is still pegged at 275*....very impressive!

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BTW, I should have mentioned, it is COLD here in Denver right now: mid 40s in the day to high 20s or so overnight. So the extended burn life of the 32" KK is really that much more impressive. I think I am getting the hang of using the KK, but it is so VERY efficient and well-insulated, that the challenge is to pre-heat it only to the level you want to stabelize at, because if you overshoot it, it is very challenging to bring it down again. The 32" KK is a real thermal beast.

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The beauty about the KK is that it sets it's temp with the adjustment of the top hat and the dials .to bordering on Swiss watch making precision .the trick is dial up a bit more then add your cook and set the dials .if I do ribs I ark up Ora with the two grates in to 400f then add my wood and ribs then dial it down it's amazing where it sits 250 every time

BTW, I should have mentioned, it is COLD here in Denver right now: mid 40s in the day to high 20s or so overnight. So the extended burn life of the 32" KK is really that much more impressive. I think I am getting the hang of using the KK, but it is so VERY efficient and well-insulated, that the challenge is to pre-heat it only to the level you want to stabelize at, because if you overshoot it, it is very challenging to bring it down again. The 32" KK is a real thermal beast.


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17 hours ago, BARDSLJR said:

the challenge is to pre-heat it only to the level you want to stabelize at, because if you overshoot it, it is very challenging to bring it down again.

That's Rule #1 for newbies - never chase the temperature. This observation is VERY true - once you heat soak the KK, that's the temperature it's going to stay at for a very long time! It's OK to open the top vent wide enough to make sure that your fire is going good (1  to 2 full turns), but then park the top vent at the setting for your cooking temperature before you reach it. I generally wait until the dome temp is about 50F or so below my cooking temp, then I reset the top vent. 

Nice brisket cook. I'm a huge fan of Franklin's method. One question - did you wrap the brisket in the butcher paper AFTER you finished cooking it, or during? The "standard" Franklin method is to wrap it in the paper right after it gets through the stall (typically around 170F internal) and leave it wrapped once it's finished. Just sayin'.

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Looks like another great cook Bard, glad you have the method down. Your not gonna eat that all by yourself, piece like that demands some guests to share it with and a few good brews. The road is long, the end in sight may all your cooks, be as great as last nights. A brisket toast, since it takes so long and I just happen to have a Dales Pale Ale in hand.

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Tony B: yes, I think you are quite correct about the heat setting. Dennis told me sometime back to only fire up a limited portion of the charcoal/wood reserve- he suggested "a baseball size", and then get the KK to the desired temp and turn the top vent all the way closed, then open it up maybe a 1/4 to 1/2 turn and stabelize the airflow/temp. I am still fine tuning my technique, since I am surprised at how quickly the KK ramps up sometimes. Once it gets to 300*, it is very difficult to get it back down to a 250 or so range. I would like to get to the point where I can run it at 225 (perfect for babyback ribs) but I need to improve my low-low technique.

As to the wrap: yes, I put the brisket on at 300* (here's where I wish I could have dialed it back to 250-275) at 11PM and go up around 4:30AM and wrapped it tightly in butcher's paper, a la Franklin's instructions. It was about 165-170* at that time. It stayed in the KK until 11AM, when it finally hit 203* and I took it off, left it on the cutting board to rest for 90 minutes before tried it. It was very, very good. I gave 2/3rds to my daughter and her family  (husband and 3 kids) and we had some for lunch and again for dinner. Done with brisket now for a few weeks!

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The man's a mad genius! Loved reading his book and how he learned by making his own grills and practicing on friends in his backyard. 

You'll find that super low temps (225F) are a tad tricky. The top vent is barely off the seat. I've found that windy days can play with the grill temps - vacuum drag pulls air through more than normal for a given top vent setting. That's were a Guru (or similar) can help a bit. 

Also, most of us have found, both by accident and by experimentation, that the end results are typically not super dependent upon actual temperatures (+/- 50F). You can get equally good results on a brisket/pork butt/ribs at 325F as at 250F. The only difference is cooking time. Very little difference in smoke flavor.

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Good to know (about the temps and results). My brisket cooked at 300* for almost the whole 12 hours. It is worth noting that John Mueller, who has a high barbecue pedigree, cooks his briskets at 400* (!!!) and apparently they turn out just fine.

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The benefit of higher temps like that is that you power right through the stall. That's usually where the biggest difference in cooking time comes in; you're not stuck at 150F - 160F for several hours in the stall. 

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Although wouldn't the downside of cooking more rapidly, at higher temps, be less complete breakdown of the collagens and therefore tougher meat, and the potential to dry out the meat? Isn't that why most barbecuing/smoking recipes favor lower temperature in the 225-275 range?

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I've never cooked one at 400F, but I have done "hot & fast" at 325F. The stall was much shorter and I couldn't tell any difference in the final product over doing one at 250F. My best advice is to try one for yourself and see how you like it? 

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I agree some experimentation is generally a good approach, kind of like: “ don’t just follow the recipe, taste the dish as you are cooking, as often as you can.”

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