Couldn't help it! Full Packer for Saturday's Dinner- Qview

Discussion in 'Beef' started by forluvofsmoke, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I decided I would try a whole packer with intact fat cap again, as it’s been well over a year since I’ve done one this way. Some of my methods tonight will be an experiment for me, so I'll keep things rolling into this thread on progress.

    I originally had planned on saving this second brisket of the pair my wife picked up for me to do another corned beef pastrami, but we still have quite a bit in the freezer.

    It’ll be a loooooooooooong night, but I wanted some more burnt ends after last days off's smoke, so, I couldn't resist the urge!

    My initial seasonings will be very simple...garlic and pepper only, for the exposed meat, and the same with a heavy coating kosher salt on the surface fat. After separation, I’ll re-season the flat and cube/season/sauce the point for burnt ends.

    I’m placing a second pan in this time for drippings, and will add a medium head of smoked Garlic Cloves, one halved and separated medium Yellow Onion, 3 Bay leaves and CBP along with about 2 quarts of water to start. This will be de-greased, strained and used as a base for sauce for the flat.

    The label:

    I tried my best to squeeze it into a 12” x 18” pan, for size comparison:

    I rubbed the exposed meat with CBP & Garlic only, and the same plus a heavy coating of Kosher Salt on all of the surface fat…we're ready for smokin‘:


    Drip Pan ingredients:

    Drip Pan ready for the exchange to steam all it's goodness into the brisky with the smoke, and recieve meat drippings in return...seems like a fair enough trade to me:

    Into the Vault with the fat cap down for a dose of thin blue hickory and some charcoal briquette smoke:

    And, lastly, my smoke pan:

    I started with a cold smoker, as I was resting the brisket on the rack while I finished prep of the drippings pan.

    I had to crank to burner on high for about 7-8 minutes with the cabinet door wide open to get the smoke wood started, and the coals began crackling and smoldering about the same time.

    Ambient temps had dropped to 36* by sunset when I got the brisky out to the Vault, so the same as an unwrapped fridge nap.

    Smoking @ 235~250* tonight...will bring up progress reports later.

    Thanks for peekin'!

  2. That is a thing of beauty!!! Can't wait to see the finished product.
  3. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You know that's gonna be good! I have two about that same size in the freezer. I've been debating whether or not to do both at once. I sure do like leftover brisket.
  4. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks really good so far and congratulations for taking the plunge! [​IMG]
  5. miamirick

    miamirick Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    that looks awesome, that wood tray does not look like a standard gosm what is the diff and why did you change it, more room?
  6. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great Looking Brisket you have going...[​IMG]
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is a Smoke Vault 24, my GOSM is the smallest one...would never fit a packer in that lil' fella.

  8. miamirick

    miamirick Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    sorry, the main box looks very similar even the grills look the same
  9. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks, I was overdue for this brisky burn...had to try something different.

    Oh yeah! My last brisky was finished off the next night...waaaaaaay better the next day!

    Thanks, yeah I dove right in head first...I sure do hope the water's deep enough! LOL!!!


    I think I'm about 2 hours into the smoke right now (haven't checked the timer lately 'cause everything's been going so well that I haven't been worried over I/Ts. I'm just about to pop the door to check smoke wood, etc. Maybe (OK, definately) I'll snap a quick shot while the door's open. I should get the digi-probe into meat soon anyway...make sure I'm OK on I/Ts so far.

  10. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah, they do look alot alike. Two of my my kid's picked this Vault out for me for at the local hardware store where they worked for father's day this it!

  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I added a couple more chunks of hickory and a half-dozen or so of briqs, put the probe in my beef and got a couple quick shots in the process.

    I did move the drip pan one space above the main water pan before closing the door at start-up in order to allow for better heat distribution to the brisket slab, as it covers the grate end-to-end.

    Getting some nice slow steam from the drip pan, and the brisky's taking on a nice color already:

    ITs so far...I may be stretching it a bit...I'll see:

    Got my fingers crossed........

  12. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nice looking brisket.
  13. wmarkw

    wmarkw Smoking Fanatic

    Nice looking smoke so far! I was at walmart and saw some briskets yesteday and told myslef to buy one but I didn't. Now I'm kicking myself! I will live through your smoke now. [​IMG]
  14. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Everything looks great so far and I know it will be good so lets get to the finish and eat I'm even getting hungry too.
  15. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Thanks! LMAO!!!!! Yeah, that's where my wife's been getting 'em lately...better than driving 90 miles each way to Sam's.

    Thanks...gotta be patient though...gonna be a really, really long night here. If my past experience is any indication for this one, I'll be finishing around 4:00 PM Mountain Time on Saturday.

    I'm looking forward to this one though, as it's been awhile and I need a bit more of these under my belt so I can say I've been there once again...heh-heh!


    Well, I was getting itchy for a bit over ITs, but no sweat. I was in here on the forum when it jumped over 140* at just over 4 hours. So, all is well.

    Here's a quick peek during a water add at 3:37 into the smoke...I had a temp spike and went to investigate...2/3 of the main water pan was gone so I added more cold water.

    The colder weather seems to be using up the water faster than I expected due to the higher burner setting to maintain adequate chamber temps, but then, this is my first cold weather hot smoke in the Vault, so, another thing to consider in the future. Ambient temps have fallen to 20* now, but still a beautiful night for wind, rain or snow...gotta love that!

    And, my breathing and pulse are normal again........LOL!!!!!:

    Man, I've got a really good feeling about this one tonight. Something's telling me to be ready for a special treat on Saturday.

    Gotta check my propane tank, which is really low now...filled one fresh today to finish it up with, so, we're cool on fuel.

    Thanks all!

    More to come!

  16. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Wow, up to 140 already. Not bad but I have a feeling there is a stall coming on...
    Hope not though.
    You're there smoking up your brisket, going to enjoy those burnt ends, the smoke is flowing and here...well here the snow started coming down and already there is a good coating...
    At least I get to look at others smokes and enjoy them.
  17. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    A couple things here that I wanted to share:

    The temp for smoking seems to be right on target @ about 240* average for this weight of packer and a full fat-cap, as I cleared the 140*/4 hr mark perfectly.

    The plateau temps came on rather quickly, with temps rising through into the upper 150's within 5.25 hrs, then stalling out at 157-158*. I moved my probe just a bit closer into the point of the packer, after seeing a steady reading of 158* for over 45 minutes. The second position was reading stable withing a couple minutes @ 157*.

    I had hoped for a lower stall temp, but, with the full packer instead of trimmed and separated, I knew I needed higher initial chamber temps to cruise through the danger zone in good shape.

    So, with the higher stall temps, I decided to back the temp down to 210* to extend the plateau (do what?!?!?!?)...yes, plateaus are what melts away the connective tissues which makes for tender meat, remember? LOL!!!!! If I have the rest of my method in line for this, wet smoke and the fat cap intact with heavily salted fat, I should still be able to maintain good moisture content. A lower stall temp due to lower initial chamber temps would have been better, but we do what we must. By extending the plateau, my overall cooking time should be closer to target by weight, and moisture content should be OK. We'll see if I'm correct in about 12 hours or so.

    This packer has traveled into the plateau a bit faster than I anticipated...I just hope I'm not cubing the point into burnt ends and wrapping the flat @ 4 or 5 in the morning...this is suposed to be for Saturday dinner, not breakfast! LOLOL!!!!! Saturday lunch would be OK, but then, I'll need to rethink "what's for dinner?" Steaks, or chicken?

    Anyway, as strangely as this has started, it's all in a day's (or night's) smoke...

    Hmmm, I just re-read this...I think the 8 or so mugs of Cappuccino I have consumed in this afternoon & evening is taking it's toll! That, and, it is now coming up on 11:45 Mountain Time (6.75 hrs in) and I'm (maybe) 40% through this smoke...should be an interesting night! HEH-HEH-HEH!!!!

    Here's the rest of the story thus far:

    Shrinkage is showing nicely now, as it is no longer completely covering the grate from end-to-end...juices spurted out of the original probe hole (just to the right of the current position is a trickle of juice) when I removed it to re-insert for a second opinion:

    Back later with more...

    Thanks all!

  18. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Just thinking through my finger tips here and sharing more thoughts:

    This seems to be a bigger drop in temp than I've normally seen with any large cut of beef or pork. Maybe I messed with Mother Nature by dropping chamber temps? Not sure about this yet, but a 13* drop in temp since I cut back the chamber temp to 210* about 1.25 hrs ago just doesn't seem normal...possible, yes...normal, no. It could be a possible coincidence that the drop was ready to hit at the same time I dropped chamber's quite a drop though...

    Well, I guess I'm getting what I wished for anyway...extended plateau it is then, and in the mid 140* range, so it will climb back into the connective tissue's melting temp again! Hmm, this could make for a fork tender flat...I've got the fat cap for protection and a wet smoke chamber, so we'll see...
  19. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    No joke folks...had to double check my battery indicator on the Acu-rite to make sure it wasn't crashing.

    It does appear that the brisket is crashing though.

    I did bump the chamber temp to 225~230* after noticing the initial internal temp drop, and now it's still dropping. Man, I didn't see this one coming at all........[​IMG] I gotta do more full packers to keep sharp on these things, huh?

    I popped the door open for a quick water pan check and snapped this one just for shrinkage comparison. The shrinkage has stopped, along with the drop in temp indication, so these 2 factors correspond...anyway, waiting this out to see where it's headed.

    It still looks's just not showing it's slump on the surface:

    Hmm..I just paged back to look at the last shot of the brisket, watching the probe angle in may have slumped down (laying more horizontal) now possibly due to the shrinkage process...or, it could be an optical illusion due to a different camera angle.

    In either case, I'll re-position the probe and see where that leads me.

    I knew this would be an interesting smoke, I just had no idea what tonight would bring to the table...every smoke is a new adventure![​IMG]

    Hey, that's just one part of why I love this helps to keep your skills sharpened up like a fine hand-crafted piece of cutlery.

    More later!


  20. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That was (I should say is) a wicked plateau!!!!!!!! I'm sure it's nowhere near over yet, but it definately had me busy checking things out for awhile.

    When I went back out to reset the probe I took a couple shots of IT readings pre/post reset, and of the probe/brisket as well, for reference.

    It was definately a huge drop in IT, as you'll soon see.

    IT before moving the probe...climbed 1* in the 36 minutes since last check:

    I tried my best to get the camera angle/position the same between the next 2 shots, as I rushed it to reduce chamber heat loss...if you look closely you can see the probe angle change a bit.

    Probe position/angle before moving:

    Probe position/angle after moving:

    And the IT after moving the probe..nothing wrong with this at all:

    My initial thoughts prior to starting this smoke regard sneeking in a couple hour nap may not develope tonight...oh well, such is the life of a dedicated smoker..heh-heh!

    2:27 AM now, and no rest for the wicked....waiting to see if I will be greeted with a second plateau...I think I've heard of it a couple times, but I don't remember being tormented by one, tonight my night for the bomb? Don't know...playing with chamber temps when the stall 1st hit was probably just asking for double-trouble...[​IMG]

    Already time for another peek at temps, and in a couple more hours it will be time for more water.



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