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Plan for company pot-lock Thanksgiving lunch brisket cook

I'm looking for some comments and suggestions for an upcoming brisket cook.  I've had my Egg for 4 months and have cooked a brisket, a pork butt, and St. Louis spare ribs twice.  I've also done numerous (70?) steaks, spatchcock chickens, chicken pieces, burgers, pork chops, brats, hot dogs, etc.

My company is having its annual Thanksgiving potluck lunch in 10 days.  Turkey is provided but since we're in Texas it's become a tradition for someone to bring in some brisket for those that prefer cows to gobblers.  Since I've been talking practically non-stop about my Egg I volunteered to do the brisket this year.

I'll be using a 12 lbs packer that I trim so it'll probably end up in the 10 1/2 lbs range when I'm done trimming.  My question is about planning.  Lunch is at 11:30 AM so I'll have to pull the brisket no later than 10:30 AM in order to wrap it, put it in the cooler, and then drive it to work.  I'll be running a Stoker controlled 250 grid temp.  I'm hoping that I won't have to get up and check for doneness before 6:00 AM.  If it's done at 6:00 AM then I can always FTC for 5 1/2 hours and that's OK.  If it's only at 175 at 6:00 AM I can always employ the "Texas crutch" to help speed things along.

1 - Is a 4 1/2 window (6:00 AM - 10:30 AM) a reasonable estimate for a 10 1/2 lbs. brisket?
2 - Should I use an hour and a half per pound for planning and start the brisket 15 hours before my 6:00 AM target (i.e. 3:00 PM the day before)?  I'm a little worried because I've heard people say their briskets have been done at 1 hour per pound which would mean it's done at 3:00 AM.  Not only would it be a long time to FTC (8 1/2 hours) I'm worried that I'll sleep through any alarm that the Stoker sounds because it will be outside with the Egg and I'll be inside in my bed. :)

Any comments you have would be most appreciated.

Comments

  • calikingcaliking Posts: 5,226
    I've already said this once tonight, but ping Cen-Tex. Best brisket. Evah.

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • New2QNew2Q Posts: 164
    Thanks caliking - I went ahead and sent Cen-Tex a PM.
  • BYS1981BYS1981 Posts: 1,484
    dude, in 5 months you have done 70 steaks? holy shit
  • New2QNew2Q Posts: 164
    BYS1981 said:
    dude, in 5 months you have done 70 steaks? holy shit
    What can I say, we eat a lot of steaks. :D  Just kidding - the total of everything (steaks, chicken, chops, etc.) is 70.
  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,483

    I'm not as experienced with brisket as Cen-Tex, but I've had a "worst case scenario" with a similar situation so I might be able to provide some guidance.

    I started a 14 lb brisket about 11 PM one night in preparation for a 6 PM meal the next day.  The grid was at 230 and the dome was at 260.  I went to bed and woke up at 6 AM.  At that point the grid was at 245, the dome was at 255 and the brisket was at 202 and was perfect.  I foiled it and put it in the refrigerator until 4 PM then I reheated it in the oven at 275 for a little over an hour.  I FTC'd it and took it to the party and sliced it there.  People at work still rave about it.  I wish I had warmed it a little longer because it was barely above room temperature when I sliced it, but otherwise it was a great success even in the face of an unexpectedly fast cook.

    So, with that being said, the only downside to your plan of starting at 3 PM is the potential for being done too early.  If you have a good thermometer with an alarm, or you are planning to check it every couple of hours through the night then that can work. 

    Personally, if I were working on your timeframe I would put it on about 10 PM and sleep until about 5 AM (6 AM is probably OK) and check it, then adjust the plan as needed to get it done by your 10:30 AM target.  At the morning check, unless it is nearly done, I would plan to crank up the temp into the 280 - 300 range and power it home.  I've done several on this time frame and I've never had one last past 11 AM unless I specifically want it to (meaning I don't crank up the temp after the morning check).

    I know people talk about briskets taking 2 hours per pound, but my impression is that that only happens when one is cooking in the 220-230 range.  I think most of the gurus (including Cen-Tex and Travis if I'm not mistaken) seem to cook them in the 270-300 range.  I do a hybrid.  Lower temp while I am sleeping and higher temp while I am awake and monitoring.  It allows me to sleep well and also guarantees that I can get it done on time.  YMMV.

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,753
    @Foghorn-great assessment and summary.
    Louisville
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 5,226
    Getting done early is better than late, but if its several hours early, it can still be a problem. Cooked a brisket for my 12yo nephew's birthday this summer (its his favorite) but it was done too early. i foiled and put it in the oven at the lowest setting (170?) and then though I would reheat it on the egg which was cooking the mac and cheese. Shouldn't have done that - grid temp was probably 325ish and the brisket dried out a bit. The point was okay, but slices of the flat were starting to dry out by the time seconds were served.

    Next time I would just leave it foiled in the oven at 170°F for however long it needed. Anybody think it would need any liquid in the foil to keep it moist? Should be safe to keep it like that for a good while I think, since it would be out of the danger zone temps.

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • New2QNew2Q Posts: 164
    @Foghorn - thanks for the advice.

    Thanks guys - after reading your comments and getting a reply from Cen-Tex I'm gonna start the cook at 8:00 PM and trust the Stoker will wake me with its alarm if the target temp is reached before I wake up at 6:00 AM.  Then I can make adjustments as necessary to ensure the brisket is done before FTC and bringing it in for lunch.
  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,483

    @lousubcap, thanks.

    @New2Q, that sounds like a great plan.  I don't have a Stoker so I worry more about overshooting as I sleep.  With any more cooks like this, you will have to change your name.

    :)

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • New2QNew2Q Posts: 164
    Foghorn said:

    @New2Q, that sounds like a great plan.  I don't have a Stoker so I worry more about overshooting as I sleep.  With any more cooks like this, you will have to change your name.

    :)
    @Foghorn - I think no matter how many low and slows I do I'm still gonna be a newbie compared to many of the rest of you on this forum. :)
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