Lots of great info in this thread!
I would add that at the end of the day you just have to do it, a while back when I was working on my brisket, I would cook one once a week to nail down the variables. I started to get consistent results at about #20 and another 20 I had my rub down pat.
Every cooker is different and while I would say that there is no bad advice in this thread there is also lots of room for finding your own way. I do not foil any of my BBQ at any point in the cooking process as an example. As my friend and mentor Tom has said many times- "Relax its just BBQ!"
I, again, second Jim's comment as to every cooker being different.
I use a Weber 22.5 Performer (original model). It certainly cooks drier than other cookers that I've had food from. I do use foil (or wrap) only for meats that really tend to dry out - brisket, frozen ribs. For other things, I don't.
And definitely find your way - I recommend finding a combination of wood and charcoal that you like and working from there. And try some commercial rubs before working on your own - I found it to be a lot easier to figure out what flavor profile I like after trying almost a dozen commercial rubs.
Good luck! I expect to see barbecue food porn and knife porn together in your future pictures!
I cook on a ceramic Kamado cooker and it favors lower temps for brisket. Since it has such substantial mass (750 lbs), if the temp gets too high, it can be tough to bring it back down. I usually cook between 230 and 250F, with a push up to 265 towards the end of the cook. I always cook briskets on the bottom grate with pork butts above. The pork fat raining down upon the brisket is a good thing.
I always cook whole briskets (13 - 20 lbs each - point still attached). I select the thickest briskets I can find. A brisket flat (like the ones sold in the supermarket) cooked alone would likely dry out over the 16 - 22 hours of cooking internal temp 195F. I inject and marinate the brisket at least 12 hours using a commercial marinade called FAB with lots of fresh garlic and black pepper. My rub is basically Montreal Steak Seasoning cut with Turbinado sugar, Chili powder, Granulated Garlic, Granulated Onion, and Roasted and freshly ground Cumin. Fresh spices make a difference -- I am a big fan of Penzey's and Pendery's for spices and ground chile respectively. I use yellow mustard to glue the rub to the meat. I usually use a mixture of Pecan and Cherry wood for smoke. Hickory can be substituted for the Pecan, but using only Hickory can be overpowering.
I am happy to share what I know about BBQ because others helped me out. This brisket took third place in a PA state competition a few years ago and won me $250. As others have said, experimentation with good record keeping will help you learn what works best. In my opinion, Brisket is the most challenging meat to barbecue--I have ruined more than a few. Best of luck with your Q. -Doug
Thanks so much guys, the advice here will save me a pile of trial and error. In the various cookers, has any one used seasoned fluids in a tray below the meat? If no, I am guessing a drip tray is needed?
I recognize your name from somewhere. Maybe either the NBQQA or KCBS newsletters? (It could also be from one of the Kamado cooker forums since I've been a lurker there for years.)
Nonetheless, I wanted to ask you if you have a Komodo Kamado (it's the only Kamado cooker that I know of that's as heavy as you described). I've been eyeing one for years now, but couldn't justify spending that much when I could also get a Cookshack FEC100 for about the same price.
But, if that's what you have, how have you liked it? I've only read rave reviews about its construction, performance and design. Geez, even Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson's has one!
Originally Posted by PierreRodrigue
In my experience, I've only noticed a nominal difference using fluids in a drip tray. While it seems to keep the cooking environment moist, I'm not sure it does much for flavor. I really haven't noticed much of a difference. I also only use a drip tray filled with fluid when I want a moist cooking environment. I never use any kind of fluid in a drip tray when I barbecue chicken. I go for a crisp skin and having the drip tray filled with water did not give me as crisp a product as when I cooked without water in the drip tray.
However, you may want to use a drip tray depending on the type of cooker you have. If you have a cooker that has something to collect the grease from the food and a means to remove it from the cooker, then you probably don't need a drip tray.
If you're like me and using something like a Weber where the grease leaves the cooker is through the holes in the bottom of the cooker, then a drip tray is convenient. It certainly helps to keep the bottom of your cooker clean. I go through two cans of Easy Off twice a year to clean my Weber. There's some nasty stuff in there after six months of cooking.
My cooker is well known as a moist one, but I add a pan with hot water just in front of the heat inlet. If I am using the weber kettle I will use a drip tray(foil pan) with water in it to catch the mess,add moisture and also hold the coals off to one side of the grill. It again comes down to experimenting and getting the most from your gear.
It could have been KCBS. We competed KCBS in PA between 2004 and 2008 under team name "Smoke Happens". I used to hang around the Kamado forum, but it has been a while since I have posted there. It is not a Komodo, but rather the "original" Kamado K9 and a K7 made by Richard Johnson's company - both in blue tile. Pics can be seen at http://www.smokehappens.com. The K9 can handle 80 - 95 pounds of meat on the 3 grates stacked. I love it, but the company can be difficult to deal with. I will relate more details privately if you like. If you can find one in a private sale in good shape, it would be worth pursuing. -Doug
Pierre, if you foil, there's no need for a drip tray. The foil will be full of juices - even if you only foil for a couple of hours.
I don't have a Komodo Kamado but I have been using my dad's FEC-100 for the last 4 years and it's a great cooker. I used it this past Sunday to do 3 racks of spares, 3 8lb butts and a 15 lb brisket. In my opinion it gives you a more subtle smoke profile compared to an offset or even something like a UDS. You also don't get a very pronounced smoke ring without utilizing specific techniques/tricks, but being able to go to sleep or even just have a little too much to drink at the party without worrying about temp control is pretty great.
Originally Posted by mhlee
I do have a Comet Kamado (BGE knockoff) and I'm totally sold on ceramic cooking and I do know that when I start my fire correctly I can get very stable temps for long periods without issue, but there's no way I could have fit 60 lbs of meat on that thing. :bbq: