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Starting a brisket tonight. Couple of ?s

TexifornianTexifornian Posts: 23
edited 6:50PM in EggHead Forum
Putting on a 16lb whole around 8pm for an overnighter. Still new to the BGE. First of all, I'll be using 4 hickory chunks with a full load of lump in an XL. Should I soak the chunks, or not? And should I place the chunks on the coals right when I light them and toward the outside? Also, I'm going to try and stay around 225 temp at the grate (maintaining temp is still a little challenging for me) and take it out at 190 degrees meat temp, then foil it up and stick in the cooler for a few hours. Fat side will be up during the cook. I would like to get a smoke ring if I can, but not mandatory.

Anybody see any issues with my game plan?

This is a great forum and I'm looking forward to dishing out some advice as I get more experienced.



  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,519
    My hunch is that most would say fat side down over a drip pan (with liquid) nestled in the plate setter (legs up) for indirect heat. I'm sure you'll get lots of advice!
  • Do not soak the chunks. Place one chunk in the middle (if thats where the fire is, but can differ based on your lighting method) and bury the rest in the lump in a circle around the middle...say maybe 12, 4 and 8 o'clock.

    Don't automatically pull at 190 degree internal. Start checking for doneness with a fork (i use a metal bbq skewer) at 180 in the flat. The point and the flat will be a two different temperatures (usually). Wrap in HDAF then a towel and let it rest for a few hours in a cooler.
  • Have done a few nice briskets on the XL - My thoughts

    Clean out the egg real well
    You can soak the chinks if you want but don't have to - I don't

    I like to light and stabilize temp with platesetter, then put chunks and wait about 15 more minutes

    I find the dome temp and grate temp aren't as far apart on the XL as compared to the large. 225 grate will be about 240 dome.

    I smoke fat side down over a drip pan that is supported off of the platesetter with some wads of HDAF

    I start checking for tenderness with a probe around 190 (probe should go in like butter) I have gone close to 200 before taking off but normally between 190 and 195.

    Double foil with with fat cap up and into the cooler covered with towels for a few hours.

    We carve and eat or carve and foodsaver. We don't carve and let sit on a platter to dry out.

    Good luck with it.

    Two butts over a brisket

  • BBQMavenBBQMaven Posts: 1,041
    As stated above, start with a clean load of lump... put one chunk in the middle of the grate and pour lump till it is covered by an inch or two of lump.... put another chunk at 12 and 6 o'clock about 3 inches from the center... pour another layer of chunk... put the 4th piece on this (again in the middle) and fill the firebox and fire ring up with lump (know that's a big load on the XL)....

    Now start the fire in the middle and wait about 5 mins, drop in the platesetter, drip pan, rack, and anything else your going to have on the inside... let the temp creep up to your mark .. don't put the meat on until the Egg is holding the temp without any adjustments for at least 30 minutes....

    Now don't move the adjustments and put the meat in- close the lid - don't move the adjustments for at least two hours..... it will recover.... key is to stabilize and don't adjust, let it overcome the cold mass of meat...
    Kent Madison MS
  • 61chev61chev Posts: 539
    you wont get a smoke ring with fat cap up
  • Ok, we have liftoff. Thanks for all the great feedback. I took everyone's advice, and the only thing I did a little differently, based on some other posts I read, is I lighted the coals in 3 different places (toward the outside and somewhat close to the wood chunks). The grate temp is gently climbing and currently around 220. I'll leave everything alone for a couple of hours and we'll see where we're at.
  • So far, so good. I took BBQMaven's advice and put the meat in when the grate temp was holding around 225 and didn't touch it for a couple of hours. It cooled to 198, then went back up to 221 and stayed there for about a half hour. Then after two hours it started cooling again and at 208, I opened the daisy wheel just a hair, and it's creepin' back up again, currently at 220. Time to call it a night. Hopefully it will stabilize somewhere between 220 and 250.
  • Ok, I got woken up at 3am by the max. temp alarm on the probe. It was holding steady at 220 for a while when I went to bed, but now shot up past 250. Not sure why. I closed the daisy wheel to about half of what it was opened to. Any ideas why it did that?
  • BBQMavenBBQMaven Posts: 1,041
    Because you opened the daisy wheel!!!!

    When the Egg is set, temp is stable, and it is crusining... you never have to adjust...

    Before I go to bed on a long low/slow... I take my wiggle rod and clean out the grate on the bottom to keep ash from building up... and put the lower setting back where it was...
    Kent Madison MS
  • PhilsGrillPhilsGrill Posts: 2,256
    Agree, stop playing with the temp control. +/- 20 degrees is just fine when cooking!
  • ...which I finally did earlier this morning :P We've been coasting for the last several hours now. I saw that the meat temp had also dropped about 6-7 degrees early this morning and I didn't know if that would be a problem, so that's what made me want to tweak the daisy wheel.

    Thanks again, everybody. We'll get this thing conquered!
  • BBQMavenBBQMaven Posts: 1,041
    I've watched my meat and dome temp increase and decrease during a cook by a few degrees... this is normal.. if you have enough lump, airflow, and patience .. the Egg will do its job... we tend to screw it up more often than the Egg does...

    When the meat temp gets to 175-180 it will start moving fast to the pull temp...

    Show us some pics!!!
    Kent Madison MS
  • I will post some pic if/when this thing ever gets done. Egg temp was at 230 when i left the house at 10:30 this morning and the meat temp was at 182. I came back around 1PM, the egg was at 198, and the meat temp was 179. I opened the vents a little bit top and bottom this time and the Egg temp is climbing back up again. We may be looking at 22-23 hours total cook time, which seems unusual to me. Should I have lit the coals in 3 different places and did it cause the coals to burn down too fast maybe? I started with a full firebox full of lump.
  • BBQMavenBBQMaven Posts: 1,041
    I feel your pain... a 230 degree cook is a long one... I keep mine between 250 and 275 dome (that's 220-240 grid) when I'm doing a big piece of meat - never had an issue...

    At for the temp drop - the lower grate will stop up with ash and reduce air flow - just like you close the lower vent - every 4-5 hours, open it up and "wiggle rod" the holes and then close door back where it was...

    Can't wait to see the pics... hang in there, it's worth it!!!!
    Kent Madison MS
  • A happy ending!!
    Flavor = Check
    Moistness = Check
    Smoke flavor = Check
    Smoke Ring = Check


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