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Advice Requested: Brisket and Pork Butt At The Same Time

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    Advice Requested: Brisket and Pork Butt At The Same Time

    Christmas came early for my trashy self this year. My wife got me a pit barrel cooker early so I'd have time to practice on it for the holidays since I'm on the hook to cook a brisket and pork butt for our Christmas Eve get together. I've cooked a brisket and a pork butt separately on a weber kettle with a smokenator and they turned out great. I didn't crutch either of them, just cooked through the stall and wrapped for the rest. The family likes a good bark. Since this will be my first dual-meat cook I have a few questions for the experts here:

    1. What temperature are you all getting the best results? Following the pbc website's lighting instructions I'm getting a steady 225-235. I just read the thread here about lighting the cooker and getting a temp spike to maintain 270-290.

    2. Reading Jerod's brisket posts I notice he hangs the briskets for a while then puts them on the grates. What does this do? What happens if you hang a brisket or a butt the entire cook? If it barks up better on the grates, how long do you hang and how do you know when to put it on the grate?

    3. Is the difference in cooking time such that I'd need to start the brisket ahead of the butt or is there enough leeway in the time you can rest the butt that you all put them on at the same time?

    4. Have you ever had to add charcoal on the pit barrel during a cook? If so, did you just add unlit coals to the basket or did you remove everything and go through the entire lighting process again?

    5. Any guesstimates as to what time to start this shenanigan for a 6:00pm mealtime? Using the weber kettle I'd probably have start at 10pm the night before.

    So far I'm loving the pbc's capacity. I did four chicken halves as soon as I pulled it out of the box. Did two racks of St. Louis ribs the next day for practice everything turned out pretty good and man oh man the smoke. I didn't use any wood and the smoke smelled so good I had neighbors out there nosing around.

    Depending on the size of each they should cook in around the same amount of time. I try to stay above 270 personally, though it is a little more difficult to do with that much meat (and by difficult I mean more work than the usual which is doing nothing). I hang briskets and pork butts, and keep them there until they have all the bark I want which usually occurs around 170ish then I wrap and move to the grates. I wouldn't go much higher than 170 hanging though because the weight can make them fall when they get that tender.
    If you have time, don't worry about wrapping unless you want to maximize juciness. Read up on Jerod's posts, because the grade of the beef changes the way you cook and for how long.

    If you get a really full basket and aren't in there messing around a lot, you shouldn't need to add coals. I did a very large pork shoulder and 5 racks of ribs near the end and was starting to lose temp so I pulled out a rebar when I took it to the grate and it stabilized and ran fine for a few more hours.

    I have added coals a few times, I just made up a new batch of about 60 coals in the chimney and let them get almost completely ashed over before dumping, I shook the charcoal basket a bit to clear out some of the ash (everything was wrapped so no issue with soot).

    The last one comes down to how much you want to bark and or wrap. From my experience, I would probably start at 6AM and plan on it cooking for 10-11 hours (a LOT depends on volume of meat). I like to let mine rest for a few hours so there is a window you can play with. I don't like getting up too early so I usually wrap my butts and they seem to cook really fast the last 20 degrees. If it were 3:00 and I wasn't at about 185 I would wrap it.

    After you wrap and let it rest you can bring the brisket back out to firm up the bark, but I never can do it with a pork shoulder, they are falling apart by then.


      Max I hang brisket is about 6 hours, at the most. Longer than that and the end near the coals dries out waaaay too much. Top of the flat is the last thing to get good bark. Most are in the 170's internal by the time I wrap.

      I've cooked many butts and briskets together.

      If you cook through the stall you will definitely get your money's worth out of a basket of Kingsford.

      The B & B I use can cook 9.5 hours, with enough charcoal to spare for SLC's.

      I like the 10 hour window for cooking, with a 3 hour rest time.

      I have added coals, pre-B & B days. IT DOES NOT TAKE MUCH. Maybe 1/2 Weber chimney to get another 1-2 hours.

      Let me know if I missed something.
      Last edited by Jerod Broussard; November 4, 2014, 05:27 PM.


        Thanks for the replies. I've read all the other posts in the pac forum, but want to make sure I have my game plan down before I start. I'm going to try and do a brisket and butt at the same time this weekend for practice if it doesn't pour rain all day long.


        Is there any advantage to the lower temperature (225) that meathead suggests in his recipe when using a pbc over the 275 you suggest?


        Do you hang the meat 5-6 hours then move it to the grate unwrapped until it gets the bark you desire, then wrap until it is finished? I believe that is your method from your other posts on the subject, just trying to make sure I'm correct.


          Do you hang the meat 5-6 hours then move it to the grate unwrapped until it gets the bark you desire, then wrap until it is finished? I believe that is your method from your other posts on the subject, just trying to make sure I'm correct.
          Yes. There will be a spot of the basket burning hotter than the rest. Makes good direct heat. I'll do fat cap first, what is left of it, then the top of the flat.


            Originally posted by Tennessee Trash View Post
            Is there any advantage to the lower temperature (225) that meathead suggests in his recipe when using a pbc over the 275 you suggest?
            Personally I don't think one would notice much difference, 225 is just the traditional low and slow, but the PBC doesn't like that temp much. I still plan on doing some testing, but from what I have read and experienced the 225 number allows the meat to get to temp where collagen is melting and then stay there for a lot longer than it would if you were cooking at 275. However this is the main reason I like to rest for 2-3 hours, the smoke and the bark etc are done, now we want to work on melting and absorbing lost liquid. Resting does this; wrapped in a towel and placed in my igloo cooler the meat I take off at about 200 is still usually in the 180's after hours of resting. At that temperature we are hot enough for the collagen to keep melting.
            As I said I want to do a little more testing around that to see what numbers I like, but I would rather cook as hot and fast as I can without the meat binding up and pushing water out, and then let it rest for a long time. The benefit of cooking like this (over 300) is that there will be little to no stall and cooking will be done much faster.


              Tennessee, I echo what Jerod says, he is really the guru of brisket on the PBC. I have evolved over time, initially following Noah's videos to the letter, then hanging to 180 and wrapping, and now taking off at 5-6 hours (usually 5) and putting on the grate to get bark, and then wrapping. I take to 203 pretty religiously, and then put in a real Cambro (man, those things are sweet!). I hope to get 2-3 hours of rest at least, but if it stretches out to more, the Cambro keeps it right where you want it.

              I plan on 12 hours from start of cook to dinner, for a full packer (I buy 14-16 pound if possible) but that includes plenty of rest time, so you could go less if you want. I just don't like to be stressed.

              Pork seems to take me a bit longer, but that depends on the size. You can also speed it up if you wish by crutching sooner. Personally, I leave it hanging until it hits 180, then crutch to 203. Usually about 2-3 hours after crutching. Plan on being in the Cambro for a bit of time, too. Honestly, I still think 12 hours is plenty for planning.

              This past weekend, for a charity event a friend was having, I ran 4 PBCs and made four full packers, 2 ten pound pork butts, and fifteen racks of baby backs. Food needed to be ready by 3 pm. I started the pork butt and briskets at 1 am (gave myself extra time due to the volume and the fact that 100 people were counting on me)--all the pork butt in one PBC, and two briskets each in two other PBCs. (I started 8 racks of ribs in the empty PBC at 11 am, and, when the briskets started coming off, started the other 7 racks an hour later).

              Briskets were all in the Cambro before noon, if I recall correctly. Pork butt was between noon and 1 pm. Ribs ready right at 3 pm and second set around 4:30.

              120 pounds of meat, and basically all of it was devoured. Can't say enough good things about the PBC and this forum/website. The food is simply the best BBQ most of your friends will ever eat.


                Supergas6, that is one amazing post. You make it all sound so easy! I bet you were happy but tuckered out at the end of that long cooking day! It was a fine effort you made on behalf of that charity, plus it sounds as though the meats turned out perfect. My hat's off to you.



                  Thanks, Kathryn. I just started the whole BBQ thing a few years ago, and after experimenting with a Weber Kettle with a Smokenator and a guru, I stumbled across the PBC when looking at making my own UDS. I called Noah, spoke with him personally, and decided it was worth a shot. Best BBQ decision I ever made. Between the PBC and all the information provided by Meathead and the others on this site, it really has become a great hobby.

                  And yes, I was exhausted, especially after spending all day (0600-1930) at work prior to heading out to make the food. So basically it reminded me of being a resident all over again!




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