Brisket Smoking Questions

After asking the question, “What is the best method for smoking a brisket?” something funny happened. Arguments quickly developed around the question, “How do you smoke a brisket?” How does the best available research related to brisket smoking answer the question? Apparently, barbeque/barbecue/BBQ represents a unique epicurean art form defined by a combination of practice and patience.

Now on to an even bigger and probably more important question, “How do you make burnt ends?” Burt ends could be a part of a smoked brisket. Burnt ends typically describe the edges of the bridges. However, in theory any part of the brisket could be cubed and returned to the smoker with additional sauce for extra smoking.

Today for example, as an experiment a few large and small cubed pieces of brisket went into the oven with a small amount of sauce. After about an hour at two hundred and twenty five degrees Fahrenheit, the brisket pieces reasonably resembled burnt ends. Proper burnt ends involve a simple preparation technique involving careful preparation including initial smoking, cubing, storage in a pan, and a return to the smoker.

Unresolved BBQ smoker related questions…

  1. How often do you add wood to a vertical smoker? (BBQ smoker wood addition frequency) Should a barbeque enthusiast add wood to a barbeque every hour or every half hour? During the initial barbequing endeavor, about five small chunks of hickory wood went on the coals every thirty minutes.
  2. Do the smoker temperatures matter with respect to the smoke ring?
  3. How many ingredients are included in the most complex barbeque brisket rub?
  4. How often should barbeque enthusiasts replace the charcoal when using a vertical barbeque smoker?
  5. What temperature should a vertical smoker sustain when cooking brisket?
  6. How should a brisket be cooked in a smoker to avoid having to finish the brisket in the oven?

Brinkmann Smoker Project 2.0

Saturday June 27, 2009 will mark the second attempted barbeque project using the Brinkmann square vertical smoker purchased from the Home Depot. During the previous Saturday June 13, 2009 Brinkmann smoker project significant problems occurred. Mastercool infrared temperature monitoring suggested the Brinkmann smoker failed to reach an appropriate internal temperature for smoking a brisket. Several internet forums devoted to Brinkmann smokers discuss temperature problems in detail. After significant consideration of the problem, the only solution appeared to be modifications to the charcoal pan. A larger number of specially drilled holes in the charcoal pan will allow ash to drop away from the charcoal. Charcoal ash collection will require storing an additional aluminum foil pan inside the smoker under the charcoal pan.

In preparation for the project, a combination of spices from the kitchen cabinet built a traditional style Texas brisket rub.

Traditional Texas Style Brisket Rub Recipe

  • 1/2 cup Paprika
  • 1/3 cup regular brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoon dried oregano flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

After the application of the traditional Texas style rub the brisket will rest carefully packaged in the refrigerator overnight. In the mourning, during the charcoal ignition process the brisket will rest outside the refrigerator returning to room temperature.


June 27, 2009 live blogging notes

Developing a deep level of understanding related to the fine art of barbeque will require taking and reviewing notes during the entire June 27, 2009 live blogging session. At some point, the process of utilizing the Brinkmann square vertical smoker will improve. The result of the process will be amazing delicious epicurean adventures into the world of BBQ (barbeque/barbecue).

0640 —– The Brinkmann Smoker is coming up to temperature for the big nine hour brisket smoking session today in Colorado Springs. In preparation of the barbeque session, Joni purchased a digital cooking thermometer/timer from the local hardware store. Acquisition of all brisket temperature data will involve using the digital cooking thermometer. Temperature readings taken from the smoker will involve using the Brinkmann internal thermometer.

0715 —– To keep the charcoal from smothering itself in ash the charcoal pan now has a significant number of holes. Additionally, one of the bottom vents has remained closed to control the airflow across the top/bottom of the charcoal.

0818 —– The Brinkmann Smoker has reached brisket smoking temperature. Only seven more hours of brisket smoking left. Modifications to the charcoal pan have proven to increase the smoking temperature. If the Brinkmann Smoker only reaches an internal temperature of 175, then the brisket will have to be finished in the oven before dinner.

0834 —– Somehow the water pan for the Brinkmann Smoker was almost empty requiring the addition of an entire pitcher of water. Hickory wood has been providing an excellent and consistent smoke. With any luck, this brisket will take on a degree of most excellent flavor.

0945 —– Perhaps now would be a good time to work on developing a new article entitled, “Zen and the fine art of BBQ: How I learned how to stop worrying and love the smoker.” After about three hours, the initial batch of charcoal had diminished. A second round of charcoal briquettes reduced the overall temperature of the smoker, but the brisket temperature remained relatively constant.

1000 —– Can the process of smoking a brisket be defined by a single algorithm? Researchers could easily define the temperature range, timeframe, and fuel supplies as variables. Perhaps at some point this week deriving an algorithm would be a prudent investment of time and energy. Applied mathematics in this case would allow for numerical optimization of the brisket smoking process.

1100 —– The brisket seems to be smoking correctly. Getting the internal brisket temperature up will probably require removing the water pan toward the very end of the brisket smoking process. Alternatively, completing the brisket smoking could occur within the oven by wrapping the brisket in aluminum foil. Some people strongly advocate finishing briskets in the oven. Andy even advocates completing the brisket cooking process on a traditional Weber kettle style grill.

1135 —– A decision has finally been made about the brisket cooking procedure. At about 1300, the brisket will be removed from the smoker and wrapped in aluminum foil for the oven finishing procedure. Seven hours of smoking will probably give the brisket the desired flavor.

1300 —– Smoking using the Brinkmann is now complete. All of the remaining brisket cooking will occur in the oven. Heavy-duty aluminum foil will ensure the brisket cooking occurs properly.

1600 —– The brisket finished cooking to an internal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven. The brisket has started the one hour resting process under a towel in the kitchen.

Brinkmann Smoker Temperature Readings (DATA)

0615 —– Grill 050 —– Brisket 038 (Charcoal)
0700 —– Grill 100 —– Brisket 048 (Hickory)
0715 —– Grill 120 —– Brisket 055
0730 —– Grill 155 —– Brisket 073 (Hickory)
0745 —– Grill 165 —– Brisket 085
0800 —– Grill 170 —– Brisket 095
0815 —– Grill 175 —– Brisket 105 (Hickory)
0830 —– Grill 200 —– Brisket 115 (Water)
0845 —– Grill 175 —– Brisket 116
0900 —– Grill 175 —– Brisket 120 (Hickory)
0915 —– Grill 175 —– Brisket 125
0930 —– Grill 175 —– Brisket 125 (Charcoal)
0945 —– Grill 150 —– Brisket 127
1000 —– Grill 154 —– Brisket 128
1015 —– Grill 160 —– Brisket 131
1030 —– Grill 175 —– Brisket 134
1045 —– Grill 175 —– Brisket 139
1100 —– Grill 175 —– Brisket 139
1115 —– Grill 175 —– Brisket 141
1130 —– Grill 160 —– Brisket 143
1200 —– Grill 150 —– Brisket 145 (Charcoal & Hickory)
1230 —– Grill 150 —– Brisket 145
1245 —– Grill 155 —– Brisket 145
1300 —– Grill 160 —– Brisket 146

BBQ Temps
BBQ Temps

Best Kansas City BBQ Sauces

The following list of “The Best Kansas City BBQ Sauces” represents the personal barbeque sauce preferences of Nels Lindahl as of June 14, 2009. Moving from Kansas City to Colorado Springs has provided an ideal environment to research Kansas City BBQ sauces. For consideration in this unscientific study of personal taste preferences, the restaurant has to be located in Kansas City and commercially bottle the sauce for distribution. Transportation of each bottle of sauce involved an automobile trip from Kansas City to Colorado Springs.

  1. Hayward’s Pit Bar-B-Que sauce
  2. Fiorella’s Jack Stack barbeque‎ sauce
  3. Zarda BBQ sauce
  4. Gates Bar-BQ sauce
  5. KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce

At some point, all of the BBQ sauce research will probably result in the creation of a unique homebrewed sauce. The homemade sauce will include only organic ingredients without any prepackaged components.


Special weblog post update: Reader comment, “Jenifer: I heart your webpage. I just want to know if you like spicy Jack Stack better than the original or if it is original Zarda and not spicy or hickory that you most enjoy.”

Dear reader, the following revised and reconsidered list of “The Best Kansas City BBQ Sauces” represents the personal barbeque sauce preferences of Nels Lindahl as of June 16, 2009.

  1. Original Hayward’s Pit Bar-B-Que sauce
  2. KC Spicy/Hot Fiorella’s Jack Stack barbeque‎ sauce
  3. Zarda KC Classic Original BBQ sauce
  4. Original Fiorella’s Jack Stack barbeque‎ sauce
  5. Gates Bar-BQ sauce
  6. Bold & Spicy Zarda BBQ sauce
  7. Original KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce
  8. Extra Hot Gates Bar-BQ sauce
  9. Gates Sweet and Mild Bar-BQ sauce

The list only contains preferred barbeque sauces. Consideration of other barbeque sauce variations occurred. Only sauces on the list received elevation to most favored barbeque sauce status. Naturally, further consideration through exposure to other barbeque sauces could substantially change the list.

Brinkmann Square Vertical Smoker Purchase

Could today be Brinkmann Square Vertical Smoker acquisition day? Does anybody have any good brisket rub recommendations? Marinade or rub? Apparently, the fine art of smoking represents an epicurean adventure that only rewards patience. Practitioners of the fine art of barbeque (barbecue/BBQ) must demonstrate patience. The Brinkmann Square Vertical Smoker project will begin with a single question. The question is very important and deserves consideration. The question asks, “How to smoke a brisket.” Thanks to the glorious public commons of the internet, people have been engaging in discourse about the various methodologies associated with barbeque for years. Some of this knowledge will dictate the project’s first brisket smoking attempt.

In reality, the process will begin with the acquisition of the Brinkmann Square Vertical Smoker. Given the weight of the smoker, delivery from an online source would be expensive. Fortunately, the Home Depot sells the Brinkmann Square Vertical Smoker for a reasonable price.

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Application of the brisket rub occurred at five post meridiem Mountain Standard Time. Tomorrow, brisket smoking will commence promptly at ten ante meridiem Mountain Standard Time. The brisket weights four and one half pounds. Smoking the brisket will take between four and one half hours and six hours and forty five minutes. The brisket will need to reach an internal temperature of about one hundred and eighty degree Fahrenheit.

Traditional Texas Brisket Rub

  • 1/2 cup Paprika
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Live Blogging Notes from Saturday June 13, 2009

The Weber rapidfire chimney starter began performing a very specific function at about eight thirty meridiem Mountain Standard Time. The charcoal will need to be ready to burn hickory wood at about ten ante meridiem Mountain Standard Time.

Brinkmann Square Vertical Smoker Measurements: For information purposes only, all brisket temperatures are external measurements taken by a Mastercool infrared thermometer. Without opening the smoker, a side vent provides access to take infrared measurements. Each measurement documents the temperature of the top of the brisket. The Brinkmann Square Vertical Smoker has a temperature gauge that provides a temperature measurement. The Mastercool infrared thermometer provides verification of the Brinkmann smoker gauge measurement.

09:15 —– Grill 054 —– Brisket 084.7
09:33 —– Grill 075 —– Brisket 090.1
09:45 —– Grill 107 —– Brisket 106.5 (Hickory)
10:00 —– Grill 108 —– Brisket 110 (Extra Hickory)
10:15 —– Grill 111 —– Brisket 115
10:30 —– Grill 115 —– Brisket 120 (Hickory)
10:45 —– Grill 125 —– Brisket 122 (Charcoal)
11:15 —– Grill 140 —– Brisket 125 (Charcoal)
11:30 —– Grill 150 —– Brisket 130
11:45 —– Grill 150 —– Brisket 135
12:15 —– Grill 175 —– Brisket 138 (Charcoal)
13:00 —– Grill 160 —– Brisket 144 (Charcoal & Hickory)
13:15 —– Grill 160 —– Brisket 147
13:45 —– Grill 150 —– Brisket 136.4 (Charcoal)
14:00 —– Grill 130 —– Brisket 130

The unmodified Brinkmann Square Vertical Smoker cannot maintain the internal temperature necessary to smoke a brisket. Charcoal briquettes and hickory chunks could only fuel a fire of one hundred and seventy five degrees Fahrenheit. In response to this problem, Joni decided to check Lowes for solutions. The Lowes employees did not have any suggestions for resolving the problem. Internet discussion forums suggest drilling a series of holes in the coal pan to allow increased airflow. Instead of drilling holes, the first course of action involved lowering the coal pan from the rack to the bottom of the smoker. This course of action raised the temperature by thirty five degrees in thirty minutes.

14:30 —– Grill 165 —– Brisket 137
15:15 —– Grill 145 —– Brisket 135

The remainder of the cooking time will involve the use of a coal pan full of about twenty holes. Each of the holes involved the use of a one fourth inch drill bit. An aluminum pan now sits below the well ventilated coal pan for trash collection purposes. Perhaps this course of action will bring the internal temperature above two hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

15:30 —– Grill 150 —– Brisket 120.3 (Charcoal)
16:00 —– Grill 144 —– Brisket 135.4

Brinkmann Square Vertical Smoker brisket cooking abandoned in favor of a wrapped aluminum foil oven finishing technique.

Future BBQ Research Questions

  1. How often do you add wood to a vertical smoker? (BBQ smoker wood addition frequency) Should a barbeque enthusiast add wood to a barbeque every hour or every half hour? During the initial barbequing endeavor, about five small chunks of hickory wood went on the coals every thirty minutes.
  2. Does the smoker temperature matter with respect to the smoke ring?
  3. How many ingredients are included in the most complex barbeque brisket rub?
  4. How often should barbeque enthusiasts replace the charcoal when using a vertical barbeque smoker?
  5. What temperature should a vertical smoker sustain when cooking brisket?