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fbov last won the day on April 18

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    Bushnell's Basin, NY
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    Kamado Joe

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  1. I find brisket has a unique taste. Cook it like pot roast and it will still taste like brisket... bland brisket, but brisket nonetheless. How you foil matters. Foil the way I see Aaron Franklin using butcher paper, and you're wasting your money on foil. Flipping the meat while wrapping makes for a leaky wrap... and that's one goal of paper wrap. I have different goals. - use the good stuff... extra wide, heavy duty - use enough of it, about 5x the length of a brisket, 8-10 ft. - fold in half so it's double layer 4-5 ft - at about 165-170 F, put the brisket in the middle, long sides aligned. - bring ends together above the brisket and fold together to seal. - leave the sides open - form a little cave - but bend up the bottom a little so fluids don't leak. ... finish cooking. I like 200-205 F with a long dwell time there. - close up the sides when the brisket enters the rest phase, to hold in heat. This gets me several things. Juice is the most obvious. A wonderful, thick, unctuous jelly full of gelatin and rub. Slower cooking isn't as obvious; evaporation from the meat cools the air under the foil, but open sides prevent steam collection. It may only be much cooler, but that's enough to prevent braising. This approach won't help a long stall, and may prolong it, although it can be hard to tell when a stall is about to end. It will also soften the bark on the bottom... but not the top, since that's open. I read a lot here, learned a lot, tried a lot of things. This works for me. Have fun, Frank
  2. Kits? Battery life? I've gone through a half dozen Maverick probes (large, fast temp changes), but I'm still on the original batteries. I recently switched to Thermoworks Smoke, which has less-expensive, better-executed probes (wire interface and strain relief). Both Maverick 733 and Thermoworks Smoke did the job when the probes worked. Both are still on original battery, albeit with one two years, the other two months of cooking. The main difference is the location of controls. 733 has a dumb thermometer transmitting to a smart remote. Smoke has a smart base station and a dumb remote. No issues unless you want to turn the alarm off without getting out of your easy chair. I also looked at Thermoworks Signals, a new 4-probe unit, and I really wanted 4 probes. Battery specs killed my interest. I've forgotten to turn the ones I have off many times, and they're still on the original batteries. Battery Life: about 16 hours Charging Time: 12 hours. They need to add a zero to the life before I'd consider it. I don't want to delay a cook a half day so the thermometer can charge, and I'm not so device-happy that USB charging is convenient. I want a 5-minute charging time (battery swap) every 100-1000 hours. You may feel differently. Why 4 probes? Two for temperature control (exit vent and grate level), two for different size cuts, different locations, and sometimes different cooks, say ribs and pork butt, that cook at different rates. I went with a second Smoke unit after using both the Smoke and 733 on a 5-brisket cook. You may cook differently. Have fun, Frank Dang, I was just reminded to turn it off from Monday's cook.
  3. 1) normal serving size estimate is two 1/4 lb. servings per person, a half pound raw weight. That's 20-25 lb. of raw pork for 40-50 people, but it's good to err a little on the high side, so 22-27 lb., about three butts. Try to get similar weight butts, so you have similar cooking times. 2) I have a Big Joe (24" grill) and three butts work well in a triangle, turning them to alternate the inner side. The issue is heat uniformity, lots of hot air coming up the sides, but also lots of heat radiating from the deflector. Put a fourth in the middle and it will cook differently if you don't rotate them periodically. Be wary of the extension grill; it doesn't get heat from the deflector, so things cook more slowly. Again, rotate locations and things will come out even. Have fun, Frank
  4. I resemble that remark, so I'll comment a little. 205 F is the goal for my brisket process. It's one part of an overall process that insures the meat spends many hours with an internal temperature above 195 and an external temperature below 210, typically about 1/3 of the total cooking time. I love the Kamado, because with a 230 F fire, I just shut the vents when the meat hits 195 and let the grill cool as the meat peaks. They cross at 205, and it's impressive how low the grill temp can get before the meat starts to drop. I also use foil to collect fluids, and protect the meat. At 165-170, I wrap but leave the sides open, then seal it up at 205 for the rest period. About 8' of wide, heavy-duty foil, double layer, wrapped around the long dimension and sealed so the sides are open, but the meat is tented while the fire's burning. The fire's out during the rest. In my experience, it's heat soak that makes for tender brisket, and foil that makes for juicy brisket. YMMV. Absolutely true. When smoking, it's not about carryover, but rather heat soak (time at temperature). Have fun, Frank
  5. I make three, a Big Joe with very little left after 14 months. No issues, just no gasket left, either. Cooking next week, and I have the gasket... Frank
  6. There's a lot of truth to this. I got a CI grill/griddle for just this purpose. This one fits your Akorn. https://shop.lodgemfg.com/griddles-and-grill-pans/double-play-reversible-grill-griddle.asp The direct-heat alternative is the Weber grate @SmoovD mentioned. Have fun, Frank
  7. @Kamado Tom if you're a BJ's Wholesale member, try Frontier. It's mesquite from Mexico. Burns hotter, so I like it for pizza and wok cooks. It's great for low-n-slow as long as you planned on using mesquite, because everything will have a mesquite flavor, even pizza according to my wife, who is never wrong. Just be sure to let the fire mature... Have fun, Frank
  8. Not a concern. I think of it as normal critter-to-critter variation. In the end, I find trimming a matter of taste; how much fat do you want on your served meat? - perfectly lean, don't trim until after cooking. The fat nearly falls off. - thin fat layer, trim with skill - extremely fatty, don't trim I have not found a way to get a thin fat layer on a whole brisket because it's a 2-layer affair. I've always opted for perfectly lean, pulling point meat fibers out of their fatty coating and slicing fat off the flat with the blade of my hand. It's been well received when serving large groups. If you do trim, I suggest you score first, to find fat depth. I use a checkerboard pattern squared to the meat so the grain is on the diagonal. Draw a very sharp knife gently over the surface until you reach meat. I find 1/8" deep cuts into meat will disappear after cooking, but allow rub access under the fat cap. It also makes trimming fat a cinch. After many years, I can finally make juicy flats with a thin fat layer, at least thin enough for my inner Jack Sprat. Whole briskets are far more forgiving. Think of this piece of meat as your first "experiment," hopefully the first of many! And don't forget the drip pan!!! You can't catch all of it, but it makes the mess manageable. Have fun, Frank
  9. flour/water/yeast/salt The "recipe" you request is just crude proportions. Flour-to-water ratio is "hydration," typically 60-70%. 500g flour gets 300 to 350g of water. Salt is to taste, typically a 1/2 to 2 teaspoons for this much flour. Yeast depends on your plans: - use a lot (a packet is 2+ teaspoons, 7 g.) if you plan to bake within hours - use a pinch (very little, 0.07 g isn't bad) if you have time (days) for fermentation, a la @Chris Topher Yeast will "be fruitful and multiply" given time. They will also die off over many generations, leaving a multi-day dough with a wonderful yeasty taste that makes for excellent crust. 1 day is good, 3 days best according to testers. Enjoy! Frank
  10. My wife notices smokey flavor. I have only found one brand of charcoal she can spot by taste, and it's made with mesquite, a "strong" smoking flavor. Oak-based brands don't get noticed save for smoking wood, or immaturity. Learning this is an important step. Don't be surprised if you get impatient and regress. The food will always tell the truth. It's why good pit-masters are creatures of habit. You'd forget all the details otherwise. Frank
  11. Par for the course, then - food was great, but you learned something to make it even better!! Frank
  12. Do I understand you correctly that your main complaint is dryness? Cold brisket is quite dry and dense, no matter what you do. That's why I refrigerate it before slicing, so it slices easily. The secret to brisket is the juice has a lot of fat and gelatin that's solid when cold. Which is, perhaps, what I do differently. I always foil, but as a boat to collect fluid expressed as the meat moves through the stall to done. It's not insignificant, about an ounce per pound after skimming fat. Completely jellied when refrigerated, incredibly good as a dipping sauce, or pooled under slices. It really brings the rub flavors to the interior. I do the same things with pulled pork, and the fluid's completely re-absorbed. If you shredded it, I bet brisket would do the same. Have fun, Frank
  13. Try getting the dome hotter. Let it heat soak before cooking. I had an Akorn, which made pizza as you describe; great bottom but it needed 5 in the broiler. It seemed clear the metal dome didn't hold heat like ceramic, so there wasn't enough heat on top to cook at the same rate as afforded by the pizza stone on the bottom. My solution is a Big Joe, run at ~700 F with a good 30 minute heat soak at temperature. I've also been making my own dough (just flour/water/yeast/salt) and find the 2-3 days in the refrigerator do amazing things for flavor. Have fun, Frank
  14. The bad taste and ashtray smell are both commonly associated with a too-young fire. My one thought is that KJ Big Block needs to be broken up a little, so pieces are smaller than your fist. They burn a long time, but also take a long time to come to temperature. Additional patience may be needed. This is especially true if you've reclaimed a lot of it from a prior fire. The other thing is to use your nose. If the smoke smells bad, wait until it doesn't. I get acrid notes from young fires that go away in time, even with a lot of smoking wood involved. What do you smell? HAve fun, Frank
  15. The thing is, they cook differently. Ribs are only about an inch thick, so they cook in 4-6 hrs. Pork butt is much thicker, and takes more like 8-12 hrs. It's also is a bulletproof re-heat as pulled pork. Unless you're up for a challenge, I'd cook the butt anytime now, and freeze it, then start the ribs early enough for planned service time on the 4th. I do it all the time. Ribs will profit from immediate service. HAve fun, Frank
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