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Direct fire brisket?


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Has anyone ever tried doing a brisket or pork butt without the heat deflector? Would it be possible to keep the temp down in the 225-250 range? Would there be a grease fire? I thought about it after seeing the open pit at Salt Lick in Austin. Of course that is much hotter and is totally open but just got my wheels turning. 

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I don't know but that sure would be a lot of grease dripping down on those hot coals, I would be afraid of a grease fire and burning my brisket up.  Good luck and if you try this keep a close eye on it and let us know how it works.

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2 hours ago, Matt_h2os said:

Has anyone ever tried doing a brisket or pork butt without the heat deflector? Would it be possible to keep the temp down in the 225-250 range? Would there be a grease fire? I thought about it after seeing the open pit at Salt Lick in Austin. Of course that is much hotter and is totally open but just got my wheels turning. 

 

Briskets are not cooked on that open pit, they are reheated / kept warm- like most of their other offerings. Now there are many other Texas joints that cook direct over coals.

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For a grease fire, you need air. If you're keeping it 225-250F, there's not enough air to support flame. Instead, the fat is vaporized and becomes part of the smoke. 

 

"Boston" butt has a bone through the center, and loose bundles of meat connected by fat and connective tissue, which renders as it cooks. Assuming your rotisserie shaft misses the bone, it'll fall off before it's done.  Fat cap up is all you need. A whole animal would be ideal for rotisserie...

 

However, it's a great look for a restaurant!

 

Frank

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3 hours ago, fbov said:

For a grease fire, you need air. If you're keeping it 225-250F, there's not enough air to support flame. Instead, the fat is vaporized and becomes part of the smoke. 

 

"Boston" butt has a bone through the center, and loose bundles of meat connected by fat and connective tissue, which renders as it cooks. Assuming your rotisserie shaft misses the bone, it'll fall off before it's done.  Fat cap up is all you need. A whole animal would be ideal for rotisserie...

 

However, it's a great look for a restaurant!

 

Frank

 

I agree in principle but, not necessarily in practice as it would not quite explain the grease fires I have experienced in the distance past on my kamado. Granted, I believe in those cases I probably was throttling the fire down to 225° due to too many coals being lit initally. But, the grease hitting my coals caused flare ups and subsequent temp spikes to 300°+ even with minimal openings on the vents.

 

The direct smokers I have seen mitigate this by the distance from the meat to the coals and a very thin evenly spread coal bed which minimizes the size of the flare ups. I also don't think they were running anywhere close to 225° - 250° range.

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The problem is the grease. Not all of the grease dripping out is going to hit lit coals and burn up. The rest is going to end up soaking into unlit coals or collecting in the bottom of your kamado which can then cause a grease fire in a future cook. We had a few of these types of grease fires reported earlier this spring. Not using a drip pan for butts or briskets is not a good idea. 

 

For rotisserie cooks some people do a setup where there is a drip pan directly under the meat with the fire going up the side of the the firebox. Sort of the best of both worlds. 

 

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19 hours ago, CentralTexBBQ said:

I agree in principle but, not necessarily in practice ...

I just noticed that you all have very nice Kamados that aren't nearly as easy to clean as my Akorn. There are practical considerations indeed!

Frank

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I have done the grease fire "show".  In fact on my previous Akorn. After regrouping, chose to do a burn off. Forgive me if this is a rehash of what you know.  Grease in the ash pan needs to be cleaned out first. Remember to burp the lid. With an Akorn watch the burn off close,  as they are not as tolerant off super high heat as ceramic Kamados. I.e. I remember seeing pix of Akorn owners with melted handles and such-usually the Akorn got too hot on startup.

 

M.

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