I'm new to the
egg and have used it twice now. I've been an occasional smoker as I smoke a
few times a year in my gas grill using indirect heat and a smoker box.
(pork shoulder, ribs and wings) I bought the large BGE hoping for more
"set it and forget it" results and even better tasting food.
This is a long one, but in the end, I really just want to know the best way to smoke in the BGE and and some tips on setting/maintaining a low temperature. Here we go...
the first use I cooked a chicken per the recipe/technique on the BGE
website. Came out very good. Juicy. Crisp
skin. Best chicken I've ever made (but I commented to my wife that it
wasn't better than those rotisserie chickens you buy at Peruvian
stands...man those are good.)
On Monday's snowday I decided to take advantage of the free time and make a brisket!
read a few online posts and watched some videos and decided on a 5 lbs.
brisket- at 1.5 hours per pound (some say small ones will cook
quicker!) should have taken me <7.5 hours. With a 2 hour rest in the
cooler I'd be eating delicious brisket around 7:PM with a 10:AM
start...fantastic! I bet you can guess where this is going...
I had it on the BGE I killed some time between snowplay watching more
brisket cooking videos, reading posts, and found out that for many of
you even a small brisket can take 12-15 hours. At 5:PM I decided I was
better served getting pizza for the wife & kids.
let me jump ahead...when I tasted my brisket at 5:AM this morning it
was fantastic! Cooked perfect. It broke apart easily with a fork and
it was very flavorful and juicy. That's the good part. The bad part is
11 hours after putting it on the internal temp was still hovering
around 140 degrees so I pulled it off (it was almost 10:PM), wrapped it in
foil, and put it in a 280 degree oven to finish it off while I slept. I
stuck my oven's thermometer probe in there and set things to shut off
at 188 degrees (knowing the oven would still be hot after it shut
down). I don't know when it finished, but at 5:AM the temp was 180 and
it was awesome. I pulled off way more beef than I should have been
eating at 5:AM, threw it in the fridge, walked the dog, and went off to
A couple questions here...
Smoke! While the
flavor was awesome, it did not have a strong smoke taste. It only had a faint smoke ring. It had a
little smokiness from the BGE brand charcoal and lots of flavor from the rub, but not the strong
flavor I've gotten using a cast iron smoker box in my gas grill. I
threw some smoked wood chips on the edge of the charcoal (only had small
chips, many didn't even burn) and put some foil wrapped chips (not
soaked) on the edge of the place setter. But they didn't smoke...too far from the heat I guess.
what should I do here if I want to
SMOKE in the BGE? The charcoal has great flavor on it's own, but you
know what I'm looking for. If I put large soaked chunks of wood on the
edge of the charcoal will they smoke most of the cooking time? I'm
going with the..."once you close the BGE don't open it" cooking method,
so would rather not keep opening the grill to add wood. Plus, with the place-setter in there it isn't easy to fit too much past it to add wood.
Cooking time. Holy crap that took a while! I did have a large water
pan on top of the place
setter under the brisket. I just read here that can add a significant
delay. Where does the jury stand on if I need that with the BGE or not?
also went with the low and slow method and tried to keep the dome temp
between 200-225. It was mostly at 200 the entire time. I had one spike
where it went up to 280 for a bit, I over adjusted and it was back
a hair under 200 and then I got it to normalize at 200.
do understand that very minor adjustments in the vents can make a big
difference. I think I errored on the "too minor" end as it took more care than I thought to keep it at a temperature. I didn't hover over
the thing like an expectant father, but I'd check it every hour or less
so it had time to adjust after changes.
I have not achieved the "set it and forget it" mastery yet where I
could put on the next brisket at 10:PM and go to sleep. Based on my
sample case of 1
I think it is likely the temp would drop to 150 over
the night or spike to 300.
you never open the lid...how long after you close it can you trust that
the temperature is stable? It seemed for the last few hours of my
cooking it was a little harder to maintain temperature. When I opened
things up there was still plenty of charcoal left around the edge. The
center was burning well but of course had dropped down to probably the
bottom layer of coal.
It was also19 degrees outside yesterday and snowing...so maybe that played a part in it.
based on all the feedback, I did lean on the cautious side, kept it low
and slow and the results were awesome. I just need to work on smoke
and more consistent temps...
Thanks in advance for any tips and feedback! I'm looking forward to many great meals on the egg. Some pictures below...
Here it is when I put the brisket on. Note the little bundles of chips (too high up from heat, didn't smoke)
Here it is after 11 hours of smoking...it's the first time I'd opened the grill. Internal temp was still only 140 so I used the Texas crutch and brought it inside
This is the charcoal I had left after 11 hours of a slow cook. I had charcoal originally just over the ring. It's still almost to ring level on the edge and down to the bottom layer in the center. (As you can guess, it is only glowing this hot in the pictures because I've had the lid open taking pictures...)
And finally, here is the brisket the next evening (cold, from the fridge, slicing to reheat). The brisket was very good. When fresh off the grill (and reheated) it was very tender. It just wasn't as smokey as I would have liked;