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  1. Costco carries full packer primes, though they're up to $3.99/lb from usual $2/99-$3.29 at Maplewood. The quality of the brisket is one of the only reasons I still have a Costco membership.
  2. I've had briskets that look like this. Sometimes it's just a sloppy cutting job at the plant, sometimes it's just a weirdly shaped cut with a significant difference between the flat and point. It hasn't been a problem for me. I have sometimes cut those myself getting a big chunk of deckle fat out. As long as you don't do something like pack it full of rub like turkey stuffing you should be fine. Since it's your first brisket don't get too hung up on it. Every brisket is different. I trim pretty aggressively but for your first err on the side of leaving too much fat on.
  3. Tip Top Temp (mechanical vent controller)
  4. All veggies including cauliflower soak up a lot of smoke and can get bitter quickly. I've taken to completely foiling them, or only cooking them on clean burned-off charcoal or lid-open (wok/shishkebab). Great find on the $70 Akorn though!
  5. Had similar problems when I started with full size Akorn. This is what worked for me: KEEPING THE FIRE LIT: When you build your fire, make sure you have an air channel from the bottom up. This means put your wood chunks and biggest charcoal pieces on the bottom of the firebox, especially in the center. When you put in the little pieces over this, make sure you don't clog up the air channel. This was a big problem for me at the beginning because I had a big bag of tiny pieces of lump and didn't know any better. I also like to keep the top vent a little more open than the bottom to keep a light vacuum happening to draw in more air. If the top is too shut you can snuff your fire. Be careful here; the Akorn is so efficient that you're dealing in millimeters or less of vent gradations. SMOKING TEMPS: Be more conservative than you think you should be when deciding when to close the lid. I know there are a lot of videos of people starting eggs and KJs with happy crackling fires with the lid open, but steel kamados reflect heat instead of soaking. If your starting fire is too big you will never wrestle it down to smoking temps. Do some practice runs. I find things work for me if I start one 91% alcohol cotton ball in the middle and close the lid after about 10 mins or less, vents open until I'm halfway to target temp (around 120ish), then keep shutting vents as temp rises until I reach my target temp of around 250. I like to let the grill stabilize at my temp for about half an hour or more, which is coincidentally also a good way to burn off the VOCs and get the kind of smoke you want for cooking. Finally keep a log of your experiments. This helps with building your fire as much as it does for cooking. I kept one on this forum when I first got my Akorn and ran into a bunch of problems like you're having, and found documenting my problems was a great way to figure out what works, as well as getting some great advice.
  6. I might spray it with some ACV or whatever I've been using to spritz but since I use paper adding broth would be a waste. By the time it's done the thing is swimming in fat anyway. Moisture has never been a problem in a kamado as opposed to a stick burner.
  7. I wrap in butcher paper once the bark is a reddish mahogany color and doesn't fall apart when I scratch it with a fingernail. This usually happens during or right after the (first) stall. Comes out very moist at the edge of falling apart with tacky non-crunchy bark if I time everything right.
  8. Regarding stacking: when I started with my Akorn I had constant problems trying to maintain low temps without the fire going out. These problems went away when I started building the pile with large pieces/wood chunks on the grate, smaller stuff on top of that, to maintain an air channel. If you're using lump you shouldn't ever have to clear ashes mid-cook, plus it's possibly a fire hazard if the ash catcher has live embers hidden inside.
  9. I brine chicken legs for smoking but that's mostly because I tend to take my temps higher than average and brining is an overcooking insurance policy. No more than a couple hours for small pieces. However I'm admittedly not a great chicken cook so I'm sure I could go without with some practice. Back when I cooked turkeys I would brine those since I just find them to be uninteresting otherwise. Overnight in a food grade bucket. I don't buy preinjected meats.
  10. I haven't encountered this; actually I found water pans made everything a bit mushy. Part of that is how you're cooking (temp, how long) and what kind of stuff you start with. Can you add some specifics?
  11. Fahrenheit, since at 400 Celsius (about 750F) the fats cook right out of the cast iron and you have to reseason. Personally on my Akorn I first did a pretty hard burn at around 550-600F to burn out resudial oils (especially that gross stuff they put on the Weber grate I used on the lower tabs), then cooled it down to around 350 and seasoned with canola oil all over and some tallow on the iron.
  12. Maplewood had plenty in yesterday at $499. I'd grab one to replace my Akorn but I figure I can fight with it for another couple years before it rusts out.
  13. Where do you find prime points? I never see the point by itself out here, just flats and full packers.
  14. That looks like maybe it's a plate cut with cartilage. I don't know if it has enough connective tissue to smoke like a brisket. Maybe cook it like plate ribs? Could be interesting.
  15. This is strange; I normally do full packers around 16 lbs pre-trim, maybe 13.5 post-trim. Sometime I might have just tuck up the flat end just a tiny bit to get it to fit, and the packer will shrink and flatten out normally during cooking. Where are you getting your packers from? Maybe they're being cut differently. In any case propping it over a foiled fire brick or wood chunks should work just fine for the beginning of the cook. I personally wouldn't separate the point before cooking although I have seen people with very small cabinet smokers do this.
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