I wish i would have documented things with pics, but my parents celebrated 40 years of marriage today. I was put in charge of putting together a surprise party for my mom. A little back story, when my parents celebrated 25 years she got really upset because she didn't get a bbq. she wanted a real bbq dinner. well only a short 15 years later i made that come true. i started a different thread discussing my smoker build. Unfortunately i didn't get it complete before this so i had to borrow a friends smoker. i didn't get a change to do a test run with it so i was going in blind. But i had 2 full briskets as well as a nice pork loin and two large pans of mac n cheese. i started the briskets saturday night at 6pm leaving myself plenty of time to have them prepared for a noon surprise party. i made up my rub and put on one and then kept the other very simple with just some of the basics. the pork i knew would be good because ive done it a bunch and have gotten really good at it. the brisket on the other hand was only my 2nd and 3rd ones. I didn't get much sleep last night as i was up every half hour to an hour adjusting his smoker trying to keep it in my window i wanted. never the less about 8 oclock one of the briskets were done. i was a bit worried because i wanted them to go till around 10. i pulled it around 9 and put it in a cooler. finally just before noon i pulled the second one off and put it in a cooler. we cut up the first one and shredded the pork and was all set for the start. i opened up the smoker and pulled that pan of mac and cheese out and i had about 15 eyes staring at me and asking me what is that, it looks and smells delicious. (first time ever smoking mac and cheese) i stood back and watched as ppl went thru the line and as the line was almost thru i noticed a few relatives already sneaking up for 2nds. i grabbed a plate for myself and realized the pork was GONE. there was enough for 2 sammies and i took one of them. i pulled a few pieces of brisket out and said ahh there is still half a pan. im going to have a ton of brisket left over. it must not be any good. what did i do wrong. but then i noticed 5 or 6 relatives coming up and asking the others if they had the brisket. they were all coming to get it. i sat down and started eating and someone asked, are we out of brisket? so i jumped up and grabbed the second one and sliced it up. i took the pan out and set it down but before i did, i sampled a piece and my oh my, that second brisket was twice as good as the first one and the first one was just down right delicious. I sat down and had people ranting and raving over my brisket and pork and MAC n CHEESE. people were saying how it was hands down the best they have ever had and I AGREED. that is the only way to eat mac n cheese. WOW was it heaven. my uncle who never had brisket before and the other who doesn't like mac n cheese were sitting at the next table over. i asked how the one liked brisket. his reply was along the lines of i didn't know a cow could taste that delicious. i noticed the other had a nice big scoop of mac n cheese on his plate. i asked how was it knowing he wasn't a fan. his wife laughed and said its his third helping. i think he likes it. When word got out that the second brisket was even better than the 1st there was a rush to the pan. so i had to pull a few pieces and make up a plate for my wife who hadn't made it yet. and a few pieces for me of course. I lucked out and there is enough left overs for about 3 meals for myself. that is if i can keep the wife out of it. I was so nervous doing this because it was by far the largest crowd id ever cooked for, plus i was in charge of getting things set up and all that as well. luckily i had a great support staff to help set canopies and tables and chairs up and help with making sides and getting things done when i needed to be in 2 or 3 places at once. like i said i wish i would have taken pictures throughout the process and definately the final products but i want to say a thank you to all the great people on this site that have been nice and helpful and a really big thank you to SQWIBS for the awesome recipe. i know its a long post, and doesn't have any pictures. BUT today i was THE MAN who cooked an amazing BBQ dinner that brought tears to my mothers face for their 40th anniversary and a dad that was very proud of me on fathers day. it was a lot of work, and i didn't get much sleep and my back is sore but to see my parents happy and all the happy friends and family as they were chowing down makes it all worth it.