BBQ and Grilling
A friend of mine is retiring on Friday. He sold his Veterinarian business in town. He is having an open house on Friday... food, beer, etc.
I got ahold of a 16lb Wagyu Beef Brisket that I am going to Smoke for Friday. Hope I don't screw it up, it was about $200 bucks..going to watch it like a hawk..
I have an offset box unit and the BEST way to beat the wind is use moving pads as an insulating blanket. Heat rises correct? All you got do is drap it over the top and it will retain heat like crazy. I have a pad that's 5' X 6' and folded in half works like a charm no matter what the weather. I use it year round and it cuts down on the charcoal usage too by keeping the heat.
Kyl & LZFisher
I recently consulted guys smarter than me on smoking, and I initially tried to smoke butts unwrapped to get great bark. Took 20 hours to get to 196 IT, and it would NOT go higher. An on-line expert told me you can't get a butt higher than 195-196 unwrapped....if you want it to get to 205 (like we should), you have to (foil) wrap it after about 5-6 hours (IT to 165F), then another 5-6 hours wrapped, should get you there. Smoker temp 225, fyi. Times are guesses, you gotta use a thermometer as we all know...
Bark should be plenty thick after the first 6 hours, and wrapping does not harm the bark...
Thanks Lazy. I have a weber smokey mountain myself (charcoal) so I can relate to the issues wind/weather has on efficiency. I have added gasket to all openings and doors to try to cut down on wind, also bought a temp controller/blower to help make it a bit more set and forget, but it is still a challenge to keep in the temp range.
I did 30# of butts the 3rd time I used it. I WAY underestimated time. Ended up pulling half of them off after 20 hours and finishing in the oven. Now realize that it is minimum 1 hour per pound of butt.
Appreciate the detailed write up. Fairly new hobby for me, so the analysis is appreciated.
As much as I hate to say it, I think the pellet smoker won, but not by much.
It wasn't really a fair fight though, it was very windy which caused problems for the offset. It took several hours just to get the offset up to temp. The barometric pressure was falling which also seemed to cause a problem for the offset. The heat wanted to blow out the firebox and I couldn't get good smoke/heat flow through the cooking chamber. I've have never had that much trouble with that smoker, and it has a baffle and tuning plates. Having the smoker close to the garage also created swirling winds which didn't help. After finding the exact right position for the smoker it worked good, but that took a long time and lots of babysitting. Should also note that the offset is an older smoker with heavy gauge metal. Be hard pressed to find of offset of this quality these days for under $600. It's a good smoker over all. The pellet grill on the other hand, I flicked the switch, turned the dial to the desired temp and was smoking in about 20 minutes.
Taste goes to the offset. Biggest problem I have with my pellet grill is I can't seem to get a good bark. Almost seems like it's a moist heat from the pellets. Offset had a great bark as always. Can make some mean burnt end sandwiches. Main reason for using both smokers at once was that my wife wanted the good bark. One unintended surprise was the offset meat had about an inch and a half smoke ring. My guess is that it was from the 3-4 hours at 130 to 150 degrees. Both were good but the offset was better.
Where the pellet grill won for me was in the time. Both went on at about 8am. Pellet was done at 7, the offset at 1130 and it was still 5 degrees from being done, but I was out of wood, charcoal and patience. It came to temp while resting and all was good. It has never taken that long to smoke a butt, and I have done a lot of them. Almost 16 hours is ridiculous, I could do a brisket in that time.
All in all, I will use the weather to decide which grill I use. The offset makes better tasting food, but the pellet smoker is like a smoking crockpot. Set it and forget it. Like everything they both have pros and cons but I'm glad I have both.