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  1. I've seen this video before and like it. Yeah, brining is for simple seasoning and preserving moisture. Marinating changes the character of what you get from the maillard reaction. There's a lot of crap about marinating not doing anything because it doesn't magically transport pieces of onion and sage directly into the center of a 2" steak. I think anyone who doesn't think marinating does anything should be forced to take a class in jerk cooking.
  2. I'm not saying this cook is any good, but I'm happy something like this exists and was aired on TV.
  3. FWIW it's not necessary to do briskets at 225; actually, lots of posters on here prefer 275, which is just before you get into hot & fast. I like to shoot for 250, with the idea that I don't care about temp changes from 225-275. On the Akorn in particular, it's harder to hold 225 without some modification just because it's much more efficient than most kamados and so the tiny fire required for 225 has a tendency to die out. The counterbalance to this is that you'll use way less charcoal. My last brisket took about 16 hours to finish, started with a full box of Kamado Joe XL Big Block, and I guesstimate I used maybe 15-20% of it.
  4. I haven't done a pork butt yet on my Akorn (just seem to prefer brisket these past few years) but I used to rub as heavily as possible, sometimes marinating the butt pre-rub in fruit juice, and cook it the whole time in a pan with a wire rack to keep it out of the liquid. After pulling, I sat the butt to rest/cool and separated the fat out of the pan liquid to discard. Then I put the butt back into the pan without the rack and pulled it there, added any extra rub I might have left over, then put it back on the smoker covered tight in foil to steam in the jus for 30m or so, like a burnt ends process. IIRC the skimmed jus in the pan and a little extra rub was enough without adding sauce at this point, but I have to admit not liking sugared rubs or sauces so I tend not to use sauce when finishing.
  5. The actual Akorn gaskets are great, probably the best thing on them from a design standpoint. Pinch them around to puff them up a bit and look for spots where the metal pins might have come out of the housing, causing a leak. I never had to do any actual mods on my Akorn for leaking until I burnt out the top O-ring a couple of times and just sealed it up with RTV. Mostly the Akorn is just a bitch to control compared to ceramics. You'll definitely learn a lot about laying a proper fire and fine vent setting. Meantime for initial sealing, my favorite mod is to cook a whole lot of greasy burgers.
  6. So I picked up some cheap ($2.99/lb) corned points at the supermarket, figuring I'd like to try to turn it into pastrami. I know the last stage at a lot of great delis I used to frequent is steaming. Now I know the kamado is a moist environment and I never use water in my drip pan for regular briskets as it just mushes up the bark, but what's the best way to finish a pastrami? Foil wrap after the crust sets? Add water to the pan to turn the chamber into a steamer? Some combination? Or is it totally unnecessary? FWIW my plan is to desalinate the point (they're only around 3 lbs each so shouldn't take long), trim fat cap if necessary, rub with mostly pepper and coriander, smoke with apple around 250 until the bark sets, and then... well, whatever seems right to finish up. Thanks.
  7. I don't know, but a similar thing happens at the end of cooks. My only guess is that as the meat gets hot and the exhaust heats, it's tricking the TTT into thinking the ambient temp is hotter as well so it opens up to maintain a temp difference. Maybe it's the amount of steam in the exhaust since the stall started about when the alarm went off. I can't answer for sure since I don't have the gear to measure enough points during a test run.
  8. Started another cook last night. This time I had a 17 lb brisket, but I trimmed a LOT of fat away so it's about the same size as the last one. I was thinking of bringing the cooker up to temp before adding the TTT, but the plate hanger is a little finicky and I didn't want to wrestle with it on a hot cooker. Tip: the plate hanger legs get bent out quite easily with normal use, and can require some bending inwards to catch the lip of the vent again. Laid out fire as normal, brought cooker up to about 270 and stabilized without meat. Added meat, dropped the grate temp/TTT stable temp to about 210 so I manually adjusted back to around 250. Things went okay. I got woken up 5 hours later by my grate temp alarm exceeding 285 so I readjusted and went back to sleep. It's still cooking now, in the stall at 154-157 for (as far as I can tell) the past 5-6 hours. I opened up the bottom vent another mm and adjusted the top a bit and it's holding at 252 now. Not ready for wrapping quite yet. I'm finding the device is REALLY good at readjusting the Akorn back down to a set temp after opening the lid, which is another big problem with the Akorn. I'm still having to chase temps a little bit, but less than I normally do.
  9. I've seen pictures of those lines. I'm not interested in standing in a line right next to a bunch of strangers coughing on each other right now. Good on them for letting the seniors in early though.
  10. Not using a PID (currently figuring out the TTT) but I ran my Akorn for a couple of years with zero mods. Recently had to seal the top since I kept melting O-rings, so I used some RTV and noticed a serious difference in stability and low temp holding without fire snuffing. It seems any sealing mods seem to accomplish improved stability and flow control. I find that as long as the middle/bottom of the fire is laid with big chunks of charcoal and wood with a central channel and the little bits are scattered out to the sides they don't seem to matter; heck most of the time they won't even catch unless I'm high-temp wokking or something. If all the charcoal you have is gravel then it might be a problem.
  11. Kinda wish I had a Restaurant Depot membership now to see if they're better stocked, especially with restaurants being hit pretty hard right now.
  12. Picked up another brisket today; stores may be out of TP and canned soup but plenty of stuff you need to cook, which is a sad commentary in itself. Will work on it this week and see if I can duplicate the problem or if it was a one-off. Also cleaned off a fair bit of gunk from the TTT in detergent and water so there shouldn't be any risk of sticking.
  13. Do you mean the weird temp drop after adding the protein? If you could describe it I'd appreciate it. I'm in contact with the manufacturer and they're trying to help me figure out what's going on so some triangulation may help. Thanks.
  14. Chamber temp measured using a grate level probe; I set it at least 2" away from the protein and still over the diffuser. I would say probe position might be a thing to consider except this is how I've always placed probes and haven't encountered a temp change like this before when adding briskets between 12 and 20 lbs straight from the fridge. Next time I'll check the exhaust temp; good idea. 15-25 degree swings is fine with me. Without a TTT I set for 250 expecting 225-275 swings. This was the most surprising thing; I expect a climb at the end normally, but not so drastic. Without the TTT the spikes I get are from opening the lid for wrapping/replacing and the resulting increased burning surface area. In this case I could observe the TTT valve opening and closing to increase combustion while the ambient temperature did not change.
  15. Liking it a little less now, but still experimenting... Checked the burn pattern from the previous smoke. I had filled up the chamber and put about 8 chunks of post oak and apple in the bottom. For that 12 hour-ish smoke I figure I'd used about 20% of the available fuel and only caught 3 chunks of wood. For the next cook I moved all the wood toward the center of the charcoal grate so they'd all catch. I got another brisket and overnighted again. This one came in at about 16 pounds pre-trim (the last one was 12.5). Stabilized at 250 empty then added the meat. This time the chamber temp dropped to 180; I went out and looked and saw that the valve was closed. This sorta jibes with the temp drop the first time, but it doesn't make any sense since if the chamber temp went down because of the thermal mass of the meat, the valve should in theory open more to achieve a bigger delta between the interior and exterior. In any case I had to fiddle with it to hold around 250. EDIT: Rethinking this the math actually works out to the TTT trying to re-establish the same delta between ambient and chamber; I meant a bigger delta between the ambient and the new chamber temperature. The next day as the meat and the exterior heated up the targeted temperature kept climbing, to over 300F. I had to adjust it to keep it under control, which defeats the purpose of the device. It's possible the device is getting punked by the temperature of the exterior shell as the sun goes away and comes back, but it's more likely that there's some sort of recalibration happening when a large thermal mass is added. It might also just not work as well on heavily insulated cookers as opposed to Weber kettles, which is what the thing was designed for in the first place.
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