All-Purpose Meat Smoking Thread

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,704
Where the action is!
This was always a hot topic at the GDP, and I think it’s come up a few times since the recent migration. I’m starting with a specific question, but feel free to post anything and everything related to smoking meats.

I’m having some people over for barbecue on Saturday, and I’ve gathered a small assortment of meats. Each of them smaller than what you might normally smoke. I have a 2.5 pound brisket, a three pound bone in pork butt, and 2.5 pounds of jalapeño cheddar sausages. I’m still pretty new to this. I did a big brisket last summer, a couple large pork butts, and a smattering of odds and ends. I’m trying to get a sense of how long to smoke each of these things. I think I’m going to run the smoker at about 225 all day. What I’m trying to figure out is how long each item is going to take so I can figure out when to put each one in. I’m operating on the assumption that the cumulative weight is not that important. I’m thinking that each piece of meat should take a certain amount of time regardless of whatever else is in the smoker, as long as it’s not too overcrowded. Agree? Disagree?

My preliminary research suggests about five hours for the brisket, four hours for the pork butt, and two hours for the sausages. Any input from more experienced smokers would be very welcome.
 

mister rain

Synchromatic
Apr 23, 2020
799
new orleans
your assumption is correct - only weight that kinda matters is piece’s.

but. just get a meat thermometer. 150 should be hot enough. i use mine at work daily.
 

RagnarHairybreeks

Gretschie
Aug 1, 2022
108
Gloucester England
I don't have a smoker so I marinte using liquid smoke.
Cold smoke here mostly (although I can hot smoke in the Kamado). The beauty of cold smoking is that you don’t need a smoker. I simply use a large cardboard box when I smoke bacon, cheese, salmon etc. Generate the smoke with one of these;

 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Nov 13, 2009
22,244
Monkey Island
Cold smoke here mostly (although I can hot smoke in the Kamado). The beauty of cold smoking is that you don’t need a smoker. I simply use a large cardboard box when I smoke bacon, cheese, salmon etc. Generate the smoke with one of these;


I wasn't even aware there was such a thing as cold smoking. Tnx for the link!
 

Shock

Synchromatic
Sep 7, 2020
608
Minnesota
I don't own a smoker, so I have been using a regular grill with charcoal. Put the meat away from heat, and a smaller pile of charcoal so it is only getting indirect heat. Every half hour or so, throw a couple more briquettes, keeping it constantly producing smoke. Every time I throw on more briquetes, checking it for done. I take it off when the meat is separating and easy to pull apart, but before it dries out. So it is a lot of work.

There has to be an easier way. Please enlighten me.
 

RagnarHairybreeks

Gretschie
Aug 1, 2022
108
Gloucester England
I don't own a smoker, so I have been using a regular grill with charcoal. Put the meat away from heat, and a smaller pile of charcoal so it is only getting indirect heat. Every half hour or so, throw a couple more briquettes, keeping it constantly producing smoke. Every time I throw on more briquetes, checking it for done. I take it off when the meat is separating and easy to pull apart, but before it dries out. So it is a lot of work.

There has to be an easier way. Please enlighten me.
OK, hot smoking. I assume you are using a kettle bbq with adjustable vents?

First find a pizza stone or similar to protect the meat from direct heat. Have the stone on the grill and ten the meat on another grill raised above that.

Next, if you are using formed briquettes to create your smoke then that will be pretty horrible oily smoke. Get in some restaurant grade charcoal ( expensive, but worth it), get the coals going as you would for a regular bbq. Then place some slightly dampened smoking chips on the fire inside a tin if you don’t have a chip holder. Mesquite, oak, apple wood and cherry wood are my favourites.

Put your meat on its rack and back all those vents down to the merest crack which will slow the fire right down.

Then, unless you want to baste you can go away for six hours or so.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,704
Where the action is!
There has to be an easier way. Please enlighten me.
I've learned my lesson about charcoal grills. I'm too lazy. Every time I've bought one, I've used it once or twice, and end up kicking it to the curb. Last summer I picked up a Green Mountain Davy Crocket pellet smoker:
61tFp1b7S5L._AC_SX425_.jpg

It's not big, but you can comfortably smoke enough to feed a decent crowd and it's only about $300 or so. Set the temp, and it feed the pellets automatically. You can manage it from your phone, change the heat, check the internal temp of what you're smoking, etc. There is absolutely no other way I would go to the effort of smoking meats for lengthy periods of time. More power to those that do it the old fashioned way, but a man's got to know his limitations.
 

stevo

Friend of Fred
May 1, 2012
7,161
Atlanta
This was always a hot topic at the GDP, and I think it’s come up a few times since the recent migration. I’m starting with a specific question, but feel free to post anything and everything related to smoking meats.

I’m having some people over for barbecue on Saturday, and I’ve gathered a small assortment of meats. Each of them smaller than what you might normally smoke. I have a 2.5 pound brisket, a three pound bone in pork butt, and 2.5 pounds of jalapeño cheddar sausages. I’m still pretty new to this. I did a big brisket last summer, a couple large pork butts, and a smattering of odds and ends. I’m trying to get a sense of how long to smoke each of these things. I think I’m going to run the smoker at about 225 all day. What I’m trying to figure out is how long each item is going to take so I can figure out when to put each one in. I’m operating on the assumption that the cumulative weight is not that important. I’m thinking that each piece of meat should take a certain amount of time regardless of whatever else is in the smoker, as long as it’s not too overcrowded. Agree? Disagree?

My preliminary research suggests about five hours for the brisket, four hours for the pork butt, and two hours for the sausages. Any input from more experienced smokers would be very welcome.

2.5lb brisket? That's blowing my mind how small it is. Are you sure it's a brisket? Maybe it's a small / trimmed flat piece I guess? Points are more fatty, flats are more lean.

But the bottom line to all of it is reaching the proper internal temp. And that doesn't mean "edible" or "safe to eat". With brisket and pork butt, we're going beyond that because these are kind of tough cuts unless you take the time to render out the collagen. The reward for patience is beyond wonderful.

For cooking brisket, you need to cook long enough to render the connective tissue away and I don't think it's linearly size dependent. Low and slow (220 cooking temp until you reach around 210 fahrenheit internal temp). If you don't reach 210, you'll have rubber. If you cook too hot too fast, you'll have dry, tough meat in general. I don't know how long it will take for a 2.5 pounder, but I doubt it will be done in five hours. You just have to go by the internal temp and don't get impatient and try to speed it up. I usually start at 6am and I'm good by 10pm. You'll have one or more "stall" points where the internal temp is flat and you'll be tempted to increase the temp to break that stall. Just be patient and keep it steady.

It's also super important that you slice across the grain with beef cuts.

With pork butt, similar situation although your perfect internal temp should be 205. If it pulls apart easily, you're good. Literally, almost falls apart as you take it out and gives very little resistance when forking it apart. Pork butt usually takes 12-15 hours, even the small ones.

Also - time in smoke is something people talk about. I don't usually apply smoke for more than 5 hours or it starts to taste like a stick of wood. Mine is a Bradley that uses pucks and that could have something to do with it. "Real" smokers that use actual wood are a completely different deal and I have no idea on that. But I would love to have one and do it "right".
 

stevo

Friend of Fred
May 1, 2012
7,161
Atlanta
I've learned my lesson about charcoal grills. I'm too lazy. Every time I've bought one, I've used it once or twice, and end up kicking it to the curb. Last summer I picked up a Green Mountain Davy Crocket pellet smoker:
61tFp1b7S5L._AC_SX425_.jpg

It's not big, but you can comfortably smoke enough to feed a decent crowd and it's only about $300 or so. Set the temp, and it feed the pellets automatically. You can manage it from your phone, change the heat, check the internal temp of what you're smoking, etc. There is absolutely no other way I would go to the effort of smoking meats for lengthy periods of time. More power to those that do it the old fashioned way, but a man's got to know his limitations.

Have you settled on a period of smoke? IE, do you let it smoke the whole time or stop the smoke after a few and let it just continue to cook?
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,704
Where the action is!
2.5lb brisket? That's blowing my mind how small it is. Are you sure it's a brisket? Maybe it's a small / trimmed flat piece I guess?
That's exactly right. I suppose when I call it "a brisket" it implies the whole thing. It is a 2.5 lb. chunk of brisket flat.
I don't know how long it will take for a 2.5 pounder, but I doubt it will be done in five hours.
Care to hazard a guess? It's not an ideal cut, but it's what I could get for the weight I needed. It's probably no more than a couple inches thick at any point without much of a fat cap.
Pork butt usually takes 12-15 hours, even the small ones.
Well, I'm glad you chimed in. I'll adjust to 220 per your comments above and budget 14 hours. I could swear it didn't take that long when I did a 4-5 pound chunk, but I don't remember exactly what temperature I cooked it at. It might have been higher.

I suppose the bottom line is better that it's done early that not done enough.

Also - time in smoke is something people talk about. I don't usually apply smoke for more than 5 hours or it starts to taste like a stick of wood.

Have you settled on a period of smoke? IE, do you let it smoke the whole time or stop the smoke after a few and let it just continue to cook?
I the past I have done it with wood the entire time. And it does get pretty seriously woody. I did get some charcoal pellets. I'm assuming that they don't count towards the "time in smoke", right? If I'm getting that right, then I'll follow your suggestion and limit it to five hours.
 

Uncle Daddy

Friend of Fred
Jan 19, 2012
5,921
Maldon UK
feel free to post anything and everything related to smoking meats.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,704
Where the action is!
I'll just say that if eating smoked meats is the one among my manifold vices that comes back to claim me, I will be beyond shocked.
 
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Powdog

Gretschie
Mar 15, 2012
133
Cool,CA
2.5lb brisket? That's blowing my mind how small it is. Are you sure it's a brisket? Maybe it's a small / trimmed flat piece I guess? Points are more fatty, flats are more lean.

But the bottom line to all of it is reaching the proper internal temp. And that doesn't mean "edible" or "safe to eat". With brisket and pork butt, we're going beyond that because these are kind of tough cuts unless you take the time to render out the collagen. The reward for patience is beyond wonderful.

For cooking brisket, you need to cook long enough to render the connective tissue away and I don't think it's linearly size dependent. Low and slow (220 cooking temp until you reach around 210 fahrenheit internal temp). If you don't reach 210, you'll have rubber. If you cook too hot too fast, you'll have dry, tough meat in general. I don't know how long it will take for a 2.5 pounder, but I doubt it will be done in five hours. You just have to go by the internal temp and don't get impatient and try to speed it up. I usually start at 6am and I'm good by 10pm. You'll have one or more "stall" points where the internal temp is flat and you'll be tempted to increase the temp to break that stall. Just be patient and keep it steady.

It's also super important that you slice across the grain with beef cuts.

With pork butt, similar situation although your perfect internal temp should be 205. If it pulls apart easily, you're good. Literally, almost falls apart as you take it out and gives very little resistance when forking it apart. Pork butt usually takes 12-15 hours, even the small ones.

Also - time in smoke is something people talk about. I don't usually apply smoke for more than 5 hours or it starts to taste like a stick of wood. Mine is a Bradley that uses pucks and that could have something to do with it. "Real" smokers that use actual wood are a completely different deal and I have no idea on that. But I would love to have one and do it "right".
The last “small” brisket I smoked was 12 lbs.
 

Shock

Synchromatic
Sep 7, 2020
608
Minnesota
I've learned my lesson about charcoal grills. I'm too lazy. Every time I've bought one, I've used it once or twice, and end up kicking it to the curb. Last summer I picked up a Green Mountain Davy Crocket pellet smoker:
61tFp1b7S5L._AC_SX425_.jpg

It's not big, but you can comfortably smoke enough to feed a decent crowd and it's only about $300 or so. Set the temp, and it feed the pellets automatically. You can manage it from your phone, change the heat, check the internal temp of what you're smoking, etc. There is absolutely no other way I would go to the effort of smoking meats for lengthy periods of time. More power to those that do it the old fashioned way, but a man's got to know his limitations.

Not sure about the pellets, because I have never used them. I will look into it.
 

Shock

Synchromatic
Sep 7, 2020
608
Minnesota

I have to die from something. May as well die with a full stomach.
 

stevo

Friend of Fred
May 1, 2012
7,161
Atlanta
That's exactly right. I suppose when I call it "a brisket" it implies the whole thing. It is a 2.5 lb. chunk of brisket flat.

Care to hazard a guess? It's not an ideal cut, but it's what I could get for the weight I needed. It's probably no more than a couple inches thick at any point without much of a fat cap.

Well, I'm glad you chimed in. I'll adjust to 220 per your comments above and budget 14 hours. I could swear it didn't take that long when I did a 4-5 pound chunk, but I don't remember exactly what temperature I cooked it at. It might have been higher.

I suppose the bottom line is better that it's done early that not done enough.




I the past I have done it with wood the entire time. And it does get pretty seriously woody. I did get some charcoal pellets. I'm assuming that they don't count towards the "time in smoke", right? If I'm getting that right, then I'll follow your suggestion and limit it to five hours.

Hard to say how long it will take. When I want something that small, I usually go for a tri-tip or picanha. You do want to trim all the fat cap off a picanha. But a 2-4 lb of either takes no more than 5 hours if that. And the results are great.

Charcoal has it's own smokey flavor, but if it's not actually smoking, it's not really "time in smoke".

You might try smoking it for a while 5 hours or whatever then wrap it in foil and oven finish it at 220 as well. A flat that size is going to tend to dry out even at 220. But the foil can hold in moisture.
 
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