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My First Brisket (and therefore My Best)

I adopted a large BGE mid-summer this year and only had done grilling up until last week.

I was eager to try to smoke something and spent a lot of time online reading everything I could google on smoking ribs and brisket.

Last weekend I thought I'd start with some baby-back ribs. They turned out well so this weekend I tried a brisket.

I picked up a 13 pound whole Prime brisket at Costco Thursday evening. It wasn't much more in price than the Choice and looked good from what I could tell.

I hurried home, rinsed the brisket, padded dry, and trimmed the excess fat.

I decided to keep this first one simple. I covered the brisked with olive oil and added the BGE Dizzy Gourmet Cosmic Cow rub, wrapped it in Saran Wrap, and stored it overnight in the refrigerator with the intention to smoke it about 18 hours over Friday night/Saturday morning. I planned to keep it on the BGE the entire time with no foiling.

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Friday after work, I started up the BGE and added 5 chunks of Hickory and some smattering of Apple wood chips.

At 4:52pm, I put the brisket on the grill, fat side down, above a disposable drip pan containing about an inch of water.

I set the DigiQ to 225 for the pit temp and tried to stablize.

At about 9pm and with the temp supposedly stablized, I went to bed with alarms set to go off periodically to do a temp check. At about 10:30pm the temp had dropped to 192 so here I go again messing with the vents. The DigiQ fan did not seem to adequately stoke the fire (found out later why).

Most rest of the night I kept adjusting the vents opening and closing looking for that sweet spot which really never came. At about 4am, the pit temp was down to 181. My fire was going out. I thought I had added plenty of charcoal but apparently not. I had to take the brisket off, add more lump charcoal, and restart the fire. I added more water to the drip pan and put the brisket back on the grill. I also insert the food probe at the time. The meat temp was 161. The BGE quickly attained the target pit temp but continued having to make slight vent adjustments when the pit temp would significantly rise or fall.

At about 9am the meat temp was at about 181 and about an hour later, it was 187. At 11am it was 188. With it not changing appreciably, I checked for tenderness with the food probe. It didn't seem quite ready. At noon it was still at 188 and again checked it with the food probe, this time it seemed ready. I was shooting for 195 but didn't think I was going to make it.

I took the brisket off at about noon after about 19 hours. Parts of the brisket looked like it was falling apart, obviously overdone in parts, but it looked and smelled awesome! I rested it for 2 hours in an ice chest, fat side on top.

What a wonder to be hold at first slice! The meat was tender, flavorful, and had an amazing smoke ring. What else could I have wanted? Well probably better temperature control and more sleep!

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Lessons learned:
#1 The meat temp is only a guide and the real test is the probe test.
#2 Regarding temperature control, read the owner's manual more closely. I finally realized the damper was closed on my blower. I need to keep that wide open for smoking at 225.

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