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Before I get to describing the cook, I would like to thank all of those who have posted their experiences in this forum. I spent quite a bit of time preparing for my first cook by reading all about other people's successes and failures. To to all those people, I say thank you.
So to the cook...
When pondering what to do with my first cook, I only had one thought, I wanted to try cooking something low and slow. The perfect answer for me was a brisket. Despite being warned that a brisket is somewhat of a difficult first cook, I wanted the challenge.
In preparation for the cook, I knew I needed to do two things first and foremost: 1. Find some friends brave enough to be my guinea pigs and 2. Get some frozen pizzas in case things went bad. Mission accomplished.
Next, I went and found the brisket and chose a small flat (only about 3 1/2 pounds). The night before the cook I lightly brushed the brisket with yellow mustard, applied an applewood rub to it, wrapped it in clingwrap and put it in the fridge.
I awoke at 7:00 on the morning of a cook, I set up for an indirect cook, fired up the BGE and added applewood chips. The brisket was on the BGE by 8:00 cooking at 250 degrees.
Throughout the day I had to resist the temptation to open up BGE and take a peek. Unstead, I relied on the thermometer to do its job and leave it alone. This would work until the meat temperature hit 170 degrees. I do not have my own remote thermometer (but I've been told I'm getting one for Christmas) so I had to borrow a friends steak remote steak thermometer that only displays temps up to 170.
After the borrowed thermometer reached its maximum temp, I waited another hourt to check the brisket with my quick read thermometer and took this picture:
Not quite done so I closed the dome and waited another hour. Now its done. Total cook time: 11 1/2 hours. This caught me a bit my surprise. I had read at tops 2 1/2 hours a pounds is a conservative estimate. Oh well, I had allowed for 3 hours for the brisket to sit wrapped up in tin foil with a small amount of beef broth in a warm ice chest. I elected to cut that time down to one hour.
While the brisket sat, I had prepared poppers made of jalepenos, bacon and various types of game: duck, prairie chicken and grouse. The night before I had started marinating the game in A-1 and worcestershire sauce. I increased the BGE to 450 and on they went. In no time the poppers were done and the guests were eating. Sorry no pictures of the poppers...my hungry guests began eating them up as soon as they came off the grill.
After the poppers were consumed, time to get out the brisket and cut it up:
Verdict: I was very pleased with the results. The brisket tasted great and my guests loved it. (Maybe it helped that I nearly starved them and got them somewhat intoxicated before we began eating?) However one guest did comment "I won't ruin a good piece of meat like that by putting BBQ sauce on it."
Lessons learned: 1. Next time allow for more time. 2. I could have used some more wood chips. 3. Giving your guest some booze while the food is cooking doesn't hurt!