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KBQ - The "Maiden Voyage"

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  • BBQ_Bill
    Club Member
    • Jun 2017
    • 409
    • Phoenix, Arizona

    Back to the KBQ lid handle/eye bolt situation...
    I discovered a pair of aluminum tongs that are actually not too shabby for picking up the lid and controlling the swing when replacing it back on the firebox after adding wood.
    These tongs originally came with riveted aluminum grips that were thin, flimsy and attached with cheap thin rivets.
    They lasted for about one serious cook before I discovered that they were not the "great quality tongs" and the "great buy" that they were reported to be here in The Pit.
    Basically, I bought them on the recommendation given for them here, and was soon finding out that the...
    1) ...thin aluminum gripper pieces that were attached to the frame quickly bent under the load of real meat.
    2) ...poor quality rivets had come loose and finally gave way allowing these thin grippers to swivel around and finally to fall off.
    3) ...loosely bonded red paint was flaking off onto my beef ribs plus this Chinese paint was dissolving from the beef oil that got on them.
    4) ...non-rounded, sharp edged flat aluminum handles dug into my fingers, and they actually hurt me to use them for any length of time.
    Did I say that they suck for handling meat? If not, they suck for handling meat!
    However, after the aluminum grips broke off, I reshaped the ends that gripped, and they do give me precise control when picking up hot coals, even small pieces of red hot coals.
    For coals, they do a good job.
    On another important note, they work very well at controlling the KBQ lid "swing" - You know, the swing you get when trying to place the lid back on top of the firebox using the original coal prodding, fire poker, hot stuff tool that Bill Karau sent with your KBQ.
    Attached are photos so that you all get the idea.

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    Last edited by BBQ_Bill; October 26, 2018, 11:39 PM.


    • Rfuilrez
      Club Member
      • Aug 2015
      • 171

      Haha. I have to same experience. Bought them on Meatheads recommendation but never use them for meat because they’re terrible. They are also my move hot wood/coals around tongs.

      Looks like a good “not modification” for opening the firebox lid. Mine came with a different eyebolt though, wonder how it would work with the seemingly cheaper option used on mine.

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      Though, the KBQ website shows the taller profile eyebolt that you have.

      I’m still firmly in the gloved hand for maximum control camp. 2 seconds to move it off with my PBC pit mitts and I don’t feel the heat at all. I should temp gun the handle and see how hot it gets. I always hang it here when tending the fire, so I’m not going far.

      Click image for larger version

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    • BBQ_Bill
      Club Member
      • Jun 2017
      • 409
      • Phoenix, Arizona

      KBQ Brisket Help
      Trimming - The Stall - Wrapping - Moisture Retention - Etc.
      - - -

      The following is basically a "book" that I am posting here for those to read that are interested in my trials and successes with smoking the wonderful KBQ brisket.

      This long read starts off with a bit about me, and then it moves on to...
      Aaron Franklin's Advice + My Two Years of KBQ Brisket Experience

      Just to be clear, I have been grilling and smoking meats since I was in my early 30's. However, I have been seriously focused on success with beef brisket in the KBQ smoker for only the last two years, so be aware that this is LIMITED knowledge.

      Please note that in all of the years prior to my KBQ "voyage", I have only smoked one lonely packer brisket.
      That one prior brisket was smoked in a cheap offset while on vacation many years ago.
      I had been smoking meats for 24 hours/day for 3 days straight when my Uncle came up to me and said, "Here, can you smoke this too?" (As he handed me a packer brisket)
      In late 2016, I started off smoking whole packers in my 1st KBQ.
      Then for awhile, I cut each packer in half, with a vertical cut.
      This cut in half was accomplished with the fatty side (AKA the fat cap) facing up on the cutting board.
      So early on, I smoked the brisket point half, and the all flat half by separating them into two large hunks.
      My thoughts were that the point gets done sooner, and I could pull it leaving the flat to get more heat.
      I also wanted to get more bark with two hunks in the smoke.

      My error there was that when cut in half with a vertical cut, a fair amount of the flat muscle is still right there under the point muscle, and even though the fatty point muscle on top gets done before the lean flat muscle below it, unless you separate the two muscles by cutting sort of horizontally through the layer of fat in-between them, the flat muscle under the point muscle can still be a bit tough even when the point is actually done.
      For me in my experience, fatty meat cooks faster than lean meat.
      So, after smoking a few that were cut in half like that, I decided to simply smoke the packer whole, and I have stuck with that way of processing packers ever since.
      The "Why" behind my Quest for the Best...
      Oddly enough, the statement my Father made to me over and over while I was just a boy and growing up really did change my way of looking at life.
      He said, "You are my little man, that does the best he can."
      I really try to do just that, the best that I can in all of the avenues in life that I pursue, and to achieve brisket smoking excellence is no exception.
      So, in getting back to the main reason for this post...
      In reading a KBQ advertisement roughly two years ago, there was a mention of a pitmaster by the name of Aaron Franklin.
      "Smoke meats like Aaron Franklin" is what I recall.
      (This was shortly before I made the decision to postpone buying a pellet smoker, and instead, bought my 1st KBQ)
      I wondered just who this Aaron Franklin fellow was, so I researched his name online.
      After a quick education, I was intrigued by this man and his brisket, and even considered a trip to Austin, Texas.
      In the meantime, I started looking locally for smoked brisket.
      I was wanting to taste the 'Aaron Franklin central Texas style' smoked meats.
      A bit later, I found a local restaurant that had reportedly copied Aaron's Central Texas style brisket.
      I was strongly considering buying a KBQ at that time.
      I decided that on the coming weekend, I would ask my brother to go with me to this Franklin "copycat" restaurant here in Phoenix.
      It was there that I discovered that what I had read online was true.
      This Phoenix restaurant owner had specifically built and designed his place to produce (for those willing to wait in line) the same items Franklin offers, right down to the cute little pies.
      (As some of the women folk called them)
      My brother and I had arrived at this restaurant at around 9:00 a.m.
      It was there that I tasted my very 1st true central Texas style smoked brisket on a Saturday morning late in 2016.
      Salt, pepper, good quality beef, and hours of being bathed in clean blue smoke is what we are talking about here.
      They would be opening the doors at around 11 a.m. two hours later, but the online instructions were to get there early so you get what you want, as they sell out of some items with people still waiting in line.
      I figured I would do my waiting at the beginning of the line, and be assured of getting every smoked meat they had to offer and as much of each item that I decided to buy.
      (Which ended up being $170 worth and included every smoked meat they offered)

      We were the 1st and 2nd customers there in line that morning, but minutes later, 5 college students showed up and filed in behind us, sitting down in the lawn chairs lined up by the wall leading to the the entrance.
      By 10 a.m., one hour before they would be opening the doors, the parking lot was completely full.
      I remember that there were three cars in the street in the turn lane with engines off, turn signals on, and that they were simply waiting to park.
      This all seemed very odd to me at the time.
      I stepped out of line and counted 68 people waiting in line, ONE HOUR BEFORE THEY WERE TO OPEN THE DOORS!

      Click image for larger version  Name:	LM BBQ Line.jpg Views:	1 Size:	76.7 KB ID:	607904
      Little Miss BBQ's Line (Yeah, they copied Franklin's BBQ)

      Shortly later on, samples were brought out for those in line to taste before the doors actually opened for business.
      It was LUV at first bite... that was IT!
      These were SERIOUSLY Delicious smoked meats.
      The flavor of the bark and beef was like nothing I had ever eaten before!
      I was COMPLETELY sold on this central Texas style, and the rich flavor of their smoked brisket!
      My bro and I were both pretty "Wowed" as we tasted the samples.
      It was, "Oh man, what IS this? I want that!"
      (This visit on that Saturday morning was my first of several to come)
      I remember that my brother said...
      "This is a 'Gold Mine' bro!"
      Then he got up close and looked me in the face and quietly asked...
      "Can you do this?"
      I said, "I can copy this bro, I KNOW I can. YES!"
      It was right then and there on that very day that I made the decision to smoke and produce that same style brisket just as good as, no... even BETTER than this "copycat" restaurant!
      My goal was firmly set. Copy this stuff and then do it better!
      The story is that Scott, the owner of this restaurant (Little Miss BBQ) had basically went to Austin with his wife. They then proceeded to "camp out" and basically "spy" on Franklin's BBQ.
      They took videos, asked questions, and did some serious hawking... and then they came back to Phoenix to where they worked hard to copy the success of this well-known BBQ house located there in Austin, Texas.
      Differently than Franklin however, Scott and his wife are now into their second restaurant due to the long lines and amazing following they have here.
      As a note, Scott and Becky, the owners of Little Miss BBQ have not only propelled their Phoenix located smokehouse to the number one BBQ house in all of Arizona, they have over 1000 Five-Star Yelp reviews, a long line similar to Aaron's, and sell out every day before they close.
      Yup, just like Franklin's in Austin, they have large offset smokers, plus they also open at 10:59 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. but generally sell out around 2 p.m.
      Basically, they are VERY successful from closely copying Aaron Franklin's success.
      So my friends, I am not the only one that believes to be successful one might consider copying success.
      From that wonderful first exposure to delicious smoked brisket on that day, I decided to focus on no other meat until I had it down.
      My 1st KBQ arrived shortly after my first visit to this restaurant, and that 1st machines maiden voyage was to smoke two central Texas style briskets.
      These first two off of Bill Karau's KBQ smoker were unbelievable in flavor, and simply incredible to say the least.
      Here is the only photo I took of one of the two very 1st briskets in my new shiny KBQ.
      The bark was unreal.
      It was a very dark brown/black sort of rich mahogany in color treat.
      It was chewy... and hard to describe the intense and explosive delicious flavor. Most definitely tasted WAY better than any beef jerky I had ever had!
      The flavor was a "mind-altering" experience for all that ate it that day.
      Afterwards, I struggled VERY hard to make that "magic" happen again.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	1st Brisket (MINE) - AMAZING!.jpg Views:	2 Size:	2.82 MB ID:	608149

      I had read that being able to produce a great smoked packer is the one BBQ item that sets a solid pitmaster apart from those that are still struggling to get there.
      Figured if I could get a full packer beef brisket right, and consistently produce a great smoked packer, all of the other smoked meats processed in the KBQ would come easier.
      Basically, I was determined to focus on the meat that is considered to be the toughest to do right and master it first.
      It seemed like beginner's luck and took a long time to beat those 1st two briskets.
      Quality of meat and dedication to focus on each and every detail made it happen.
      (Two years later however, I am still practicing and still learning my friends)
      There are several here in my "circle" of Phoenix acquaintances that have eaten brisket from both sources, mine and Little Miss BBQ's, and they are telling me that I have succeeded to do just that.
      I've bested the number 1 restaurant's brisket by using Bill Karau's brilliantly designed KBQ and by my serious focus on the Franklin method for brisket success.
      I have also copied and tried some other successful cooks paths, following their individual approaches to success with brisket, and carefully listened to their advice along the way.
      When you are trying to learn HOW to produce a high quality product, I find that this is a good thing.
      Again, I copied success, and then made comparisons and one change at a time, to fine tune my results.
      Most of the "tasters" say that the flavor and texture of my briskets bark is way better than Little Miss BBQ's, with the other four attributes as listed below in blue, being pretty much the same.
      Maybe these folks are just "blowing smoke" but one customer told me that on my advice he went there, and waited in line for two hours at Little Miss.
      He said he sat down and ate their brisket, only to be disappointed.
      He then told me that he will wait for mine on Saturdays from now on.
      It takes me 24 hours or so to have brisket ready on time with no pressure, so I am now taking most every Friday off to be ready to slice and serve meat by 11 a.m. on Saturday mornings.
      I transport them still wrapped, whole and being held hot by heated (to 175°F) 2-liter heated bottles of water inside a high quality cooler. (ENGEL EN50 DeepBlue Marine Cooler)
      Opening the wrapping and slicing the meat is only done when serving or selling to conserve precious moisture as sliced brisket loses moisture quickly.
      (Ref. W)
      On Saturday mornings, the line is there before I arrive with the meat.
      I sell to the line by the pound. I pull one packer out, open the wrapping, place it on the cutting board, where it is sliced, bagged, weighed and placed into to-go boxes.
      I sell out every time, with generally a 2 pound limit, I am done in about 30 minutes.
      So around 24 hours of heat time for each packer, and then they are all sold and gone in 30 to 35 minutes max.
      This is one reason why I have bought more KBQ smokers. I am wanting to be ready and when the demand hits, I can do the volume requested.
      This Christmas season is already lining up.
      I have two customers so far that are requesting whole packer briskets.
      Two packers are wanted by one individual and one whole packet for another.
      I just turned 67 and may retire in a few more years.
      I've smoked right at 200 packer briskets in the two years I've owned my KBQ's
      (Made many mistakes and try to learn from them)

      My investment to date is now near $19,000 in BBQ/Smoking equipment.
      I was blessed and inherited a commercial property which could easily work well for a smokehouse and meat sales.
      So from this, my wife thinks that I am seriously "getting into" this hobby of smoking meats.
      I have told her...
      "When I retire my plans are to possibly begin full-time cooking as well as smoking meats."
      (That of course, is only if my health holds up and my good Lord is willing.

      My firm belief is...
      In order to have success and do well in life, it is wise to follow the advice of, or copy the actions of certain successful individuals.
      One of my statements in most all situations and undertakings when I want to do well is to: "COPY SUCCESS"

      The Reason For This Book Long Post?

      I first wanted to explain a bit about me to gain your confidence as a teacher, and then to help those that want to produce a successful smoked packer brisket in their KBQ smokers.

      The following will be what works well for me in these wonderful smoking machines.

      Here in this post, the KBQ beginner can find tips, hints, and ideas to help them with their future brisket smokes.
      I have mainly taken ideas and lessons from Aaron Franklin, Braun Hughes, and Tootsie with Snow's BBQ, and then added in my own limited KBQ experiences.
      I'd simply like to gain your confidence, and then share with all of you KBQ owners, right here in this post, the things that I have learned from successful BBQ pitmasters, and from my journey and goal to consistently smoke great brisket in Bill Karau's KBQ smoker.

      There are others who's BBQ advice I have followed and tried out:
      Professor Blonder, and Meathead Goldwyn to mention two other successful cooks.
      Technical advice on using the KBQ C-60 smoker to successfully smoke great brisket was freely given by Mr. Bill Karau, the genius behind the machine.
      I am truly grateful for his help and advice as well.

      You probably already know who Aaron Franklin is right?
      (If you don't and want a successful brisket smoke, you NEED to find out who this man is and pay attention to what he says about smoking brisket)
      Lesser known is the "Brisket Whisperer" Braun Hughes. He smoked probably 15,000+ packers for Franklin's BBQ before he went to work for Stiles Switch BBQ.

      Those that have cooked more meat than I ever will are the ones whom I closely focus on, and I try to copy their success whenever I can.
      That is not to say that I don't read and try what several of those here in The Pit post...
      When it comes to GREAT BBQ, I simply weigh what those here state and do, against what those that are very successful are saying and doing.
      Basically listening to those that are incredibly successful, versus listening to me or anyone else here in the pit when there is conflicting information?
      I personally would go with success if I were you.
      Again, "COPY SUCCESS" (or in this case, copy VERY successful cooks)

      Aaron Franklin, is THE Brisket Master!
      (in my way of thinking)

      (I am one of his somewhat secret unknown students as Aaron has no idea I follow him as closely as I do)
      I have and study his book as shown below, and his videos, plus his online videos as well, and read anything else I can find out about him online.
      FYI, the book blows all other sources away as far as "Bang for the Buck"
      (Except maybe for a few excellent YouTube Videos mentioned several times below, seeing as how they contains a wealth of knowledge, and are free)

      Click image for larger version  Name:	Franklin's Book.jpg Views:	1 Size:	83.6 KB ID:	600916

      So far for these two years, my average has been 100 KBQ smoked briskets per year BUT...
      This VERY successful man smokes/cooks over 100 packer briskets per day folks!
      In one year, Aaron sells over 25,000 packers, so if he says to do this or do that to get a better brisket, I try to do it!

      In Oct of 2017, Aaron stated that he buys 45,000 pounds of brisket a month.
      (Ref. O)
      (So, what I am trying to say is that a fellow that has around 600 people in his line every day he is open, and has sold well over a million pounds of delicious smoked brisket at around $20/pound? THIS fellow gets my attention)
      I just saw this in a video and was pretty floored by it...
      Aaron has an individual that QC checks the finished briskets each morning, and THROWS AWAY (but more likely) GIVES AWAY those that do not pass this exam!
      This find and news is amazing to me as up until now I thought 126 smoked briskets, means 126 briskets sold, but this is NOT the case at Franklin's BBQ as Aaron says they do not serve anything that is not top quality. It gets pulled out and set aside!
      Wow moment here for me...
      (Ref. P)

      So, Let us Begin...

      I choose a packer with a thick flat. (As best I can)
      Watch out for the flats thinner edge to be folded over to make it appear to be thick as it can fool you being sort of hidden there in the cryopak.
      Also, watch out for a packer that looks unusually long.
      It will be one that has been cut off out past the normal stopping point of the flat and where the flat muscle actually gets into the bovines plate cut area.
      These "cheat" packers (cut out past the 6th rib) will be longer and very thin out there on the flat end.
      I would like to also recommend that you do not buy "Select" grade briskets as the flats will be so void of fat content that they will most generally come out dryer than grades with more fat.
      I believe this to be true no matter what is done to conserve moisture in the cook.
      If you can, buy Choice or Prime grade, and Aaron also says to look at marbling. (Ref. S)
      Bottom line, try to avoid thin, long, lean packers.

      I trim a lot like Aaron Franklin trims. (Ref. N)
      We do have a few differences though.
      I do not throw the trimmed meat out.
      Aaron may or may not use meat scraps for sausage. I am not sure as sources about this topic vary.
      My meat scraps get vacuum bagged, labeled and frozen for later use in crock pot stews.
      I trim the point to a 1/8" thick fat cap on Prime as it generally has plenty of fat there to protect it from drying out.
      Aaron states 1/4" fat cap all over which I have done many times, and I think that it is a very good guide for the Choice grade packer.
      I have taken all of the fat off of the point, and trimmed the fat layer in-between the two muscles aggressively, but I like the results I get with trimming to 1/8" thick fat cap on the point and 1/4" thick fat cap on the flat for a Prime packer.
      With Choice grade packers, I try to go with 1/4" of fat cap left to cover the point and a bit more, like a healthy 1/4" on the flat to help conserve moisture.
      These are simply my own personal preferences and hard to get right, so I really don't worry much about super accuracy.
      TRIM COLD. (This is important)
      Trust me on this. I find warmer packer fat to be unsafe to trim due to easily cutting myself in the process. PLUS, warm fat is softer too, so judging the fat cap thickness as I trim warmer fat is truly a pain to get right.
      Normally, the fat will feel harder than the meat, so as you "shave" the fat, it is easy to tell when it is getting thin.
      Fat cuts easier with resistance of texture. When warmer, it "rolls" away from the edge of the knife. When colder, it cuts away nicely.
      With the fat cap side up, there are some areas where I like to reach under the meat and press upwards from the bottom or flat muscle side of the meat when trimming.
      This helps me to trim the thickness of the fat cap more accurately, feeling as I go.
      Also, as I trim the fat cap side and think that I might be getting close to the meat below it, I take my finger and press down on the fat, feeling for the softness of the meat underneath the fat.
      When the "harder" fat is getting thinner, pressing down on it feels softer and resists less.
      Basically, the fat "feels" less thick and is not as hard feeling.
      PRACTICE, PRACTICE PRACTICE, and you will get the "hang" of this.
      Watch Aaron Franklin's videos that show you how to trim a packer.
      I think there are two or three good instructional trimming videos he has made, including a Camp Brisket one.
      It used to take me a long time to get one done, but now I can trim these packer briskets accurately and fairly quickly.

      As mentioned, one side of the flat will be thinner and I cut the flat muscles edge meat fairly aggressively to round that thin side/edge off as during the smoke, it will just dry out anyways, or as Aaron says "it will just burn up anyways".
      After all is trimmed, the fat gets discarded and the plate with the pile of meat trimmings will go temporarily into the fridge.
      When there is a "break" in the action, as mentioned earlier. that meat will get vacuum bagged, labeled, dated, and then frozen.
      On the side opposite to the fat cap, I try to remove most of the silver skin.
      Aaron talks about this in one of the brisket videos he made.
      I strongly suggest watching all of his brisket videos online.
      There is lots of great information in Aaron Franklin's brisket videos.
      After the trim, I currently sear my briskets on both sides, including the fat cap side, as well as sear the edges all the way around.
      This extra step takes time, and does add expense.
      Aaron Franklin does not sear his briskets.
      Tootsie of Snow's BBQ in Texas "sort of" sears her briskets as she "Cowboy" cooks her famous meats with direct heat over coals.
      This extra searing step I do is simply a personal preference and my packers actually turn out great either way, seared or not.
      The very light char that my large torch can produce on the surface, will add a pleasing flavor to the bark that I cannot accomplish with smoking alone.
      It is however, quite hard without careful testing to determine if the searing is truly worth it.
      I started searing to add extra umami to the bark thru another source of Maillard Reaction.
      Also, as production quantity increases, I may actually have to stop searing them to reduce the extra time and labor.
      I hope to have some time to weigh out and test this procedures results to just see if it is worth it or not to sear the briskets before smoking them.
      AFTER the SEAR:
      There are two avenues I have taken and like both.
      One is to dry brine and vacuum bag hold each brisket for a week at around 33 °F.
      I weigh the packer, and then place one half level Teaspoon (NOT TABLESPOON) of Kosher salt per pound of trimmed brisket into a shaker bottle.
      So for example, a 15 pound trimmed brisket will get coated with 7.5 level Teaspoons of Kosher salt. (NOT table salt)
      With very good lighting, I sprinkle the Kosher salt on, watching for coverage and gauge or keep an eye on just how much salt is left in the bottle as I go.
      I am looking for an even coverage, however, note that a bit more salt does go on the thicker portions.
      This salt will penetrate the meat nicely if given enough time.
      After being held for about a week, tightly pressed into the meat by the vacuum bag there in the fridge, the salt will have moved more deeply into the meat.
      OR, you may prefer to use this measured salt method and then add your other ingredients by "eye" and the way that the coverage of those ingredients looks.
      Make sure that your other ingredients do not contain salt, or you may end up unintentionally "double" or over salting the meat.
      My other method is to rub right after the sear, and the rub will include the salt at that time. Then these freshly seared and rubbed briskets will go into the preheated smoker.
      (Note that in one video, Franklin stated that after his 50% Black Pepper and 50% Kosher Salt rub, he follows up and adds a bit more pepper)
      MY RUB:
      Before rubbing, I spritz all surfaces so that the rub will stick better.
      For the rub, I go with coarse ingredients to "grab" more passing smoke.
      (From what I have read, the irregular surface "catches" more smoke)
      If not dry brined, Kosher salt will be measured out and then added to a shaker bottle to get the weight of the salt.
      To that bottle, I add the same weight of ground peppercorns, sized to 1/16".
      So, I rub with 50% Kosher salt and 50% ground peppercorns by weight.
      (Note that 1 Teaspoon of Kosher salt weighs more than 1 Teaspoon of pepper so I get a bit more pepper by volume, which is good in this case)
      I've been using Melange peppercorns lately... yes, more costly, but I like the flavor.
      In Aaron Franklin's videos, you can visually see about how much rub he puts on the brisket.
      (I know, this is very weird but it works well for me with no worries nor guessing)
      Before you laugh at the following Salt and Pepper procedure, dismissing it as just plain ridiculous, please remember that the very successful McDonald's Big Mac tastes the same in Georgia and Arizona because of the corporations insistence on consistency.
      After many taste tests, they now produce a consistent burger that millions enjoy.
      Bottom line is, I can repeat the following S and P rub method over and over, every time without the failure of having too much salt or even too much pepper on my brisket.
      Too much salt is seriously NOT a good thing and the 1/2 Teaspoon per pound of trimmed meat is a bit on the light side per internet recommendations.
      My beliefs are that consistency in customer satisfaction comes from them wanting the flavor that they have become accustomed to getting, every time they eat my product. They expect it, and so I am trying to deliver it.
      However, please note that at this stage in the "game" I am still attempting to develop my customer base, so I am currently testing the "waters" so to speak by asking if they would like the addition of garlic and or red pepper to the standard Salt and Pepper rub.
      So far, I am getting positive nods by the "tasters" in these experiments.

      Okay, here's my method for Salt and Pepper "Perfection"
      1) I weigh one trimmed and ready to rub packer brisket on my larger digital scale.
      2) I then measure out kosher salt at 1/2 Teaspoon per pound of that brisket.
      3) Next, I place an empty shaker bottle on my smaller precision digital scale.
      4) I zero the scale, and pour the measured salt into the empty shaker bottle.
      5) I'll mentally record the weight of the kosher salt there on that small scale.
      6) I then add that same weight in 1/16" ground pepper to the bottle on the scale.
      That entire bottle contents will be spread on that one brisket until that one shaker bottle is completely empty.
      So that one brisket is a precisely done deal in regards to S and P, and I duplicate the procedure for the next packer.
      1) A 10 pound packer (After trimming off the skinny meat, fat and silver skin)
      2) For 10 pounds of trimmed meat, I measure out 5 Teaspoons of kosher salt.
      3) As seen above.
      4) As seen above.
      5) My salt weight is .9 oz so I remember that weight and go to step 6.
      6) I now add 1/16" ground pepper slowly until my small digital scale reads 1.8 oz.
      As mentioned above, that bottle is used and completely emptied to rub that one brisket with the correct and precise amount of "dalmatian" rub, with no guessing.
      OBVIOUSLY, we are not talking about true perfection here.
      If I get carried away, and sprinkle carelessly, there will be a lot of rub that is on the butcher paper below the rack that the brisket is sitting on.
      If I want to get carried away again, I can scoop up and place the errant rub back into the bottle and try again, or simply not worry about it.
      This method of measuring the Salt and Pepper rub as shown above gives me great results, EVERY time.
      Moving on in trials and experimentation...
      As mentioned, my most recent experimental rub procedure is to add just a bit of garlic as well, and due to the larger physical size of garlic flakes versus garlic powder, I'm going with flakes over the finer ground garlic powder. (As mentioned to "catch" more smoke)
      Again, mixing it up, I have been known to use a nice healthy sprinkle of the original NM 6-4 Hatch ground red pepper.
      The additional Garlic flakes and Red pepper are my two options thus far when rubbing my beef brisket and beef ribs and these will go on after the measured salt and pepper rub. I may even try some onion flakes... we will see what the customers say.
      I have personally found that just a bit of flavor change can be a nice variation whether it be with smoked meats, or in anything else in life.
      There are things that I want to be the same, day in an day out.
      These additional rub ingredients are all currently being added by eye with no measuring but will probably need to be measured or weighed after initial taste tests are completed.
      FYI... my customers are being queried and are open to these trials.
      So far they seem to be liking these new additions in taste tests, as I work to develop my customer satisfaction and preferences.
      This is basically a stage in this quest, and an attempt to build a strong receptive and happy customer base.

      To get an even cook, Aaron suggests letting your packer brisket warm up before putting it into the smoker. In my studies, it appears that he trims and rubs and then allows his 100+ briskets to come up in temperature for approximately two hours before they go into his smokers there at his Austin, Texas restaurant.
      In this referenced video, the brisket seems to go into the smoker rather quickly, but I am pretty sure that Aaron did allow it to warm up 1st.
      If you watch, you can see how limber it is when he carries it out to the smoker.
      This "limp brisket" looks like a room temperature brisket to me. (Ref. R)
      Temperatures in the KBQ
      Even though I would definitely like to run packers at higher temperatures so they get done sooner, I have had trouble keeping the meat from getting too hot, sizzling, and drying out if I do run at higher temperatures.
      When I open the door and see a corner edge of a flat sizzling, if I don't do anything about that, I find that spot dehydrated, harder, and a darker color inside when I slice it up to serve. Basically it is bad.
      I have also read that a convection oven cooks faster than a regular oven.
      Most sources say to decrease the recipes cooking temperature by 25°F in a convection oven.
      Several KBQ owners have mentioned how fast their cooks have went.
      It is simple logic to me. With more hot air movement, the meat gets done faster.
      (Ref. E)
      This faster cooking can be thought of like a hair dryer.
      The heated air being moved by a fan cooks the meat it comes into contact with faster than heated air that is static or sitting still.
      So with that information and the fact that I read where Aaron runs his smokers at 275°F, I figured that my smoker being a convection smoker I should then run it 25°F cooler or 250°F to be in the "ball park".
      This temperature seemed fine until later on when I saw the meat sizzling.
      So I spritzed the sizzling spot to cool it down, and lowered my KBQ average temperature by 5°F.
      Each time I opened the door, if that spot was still sizzling, I repeated my actions until it stopped sizzling.
      For me, 225°F to 230°F was the maximum temperature that I could run to prevent this sizzling, overheating and dehydrating of the corners of the flats.
      Your mileage may vary.
      Bottom line is that by running my KBQ's at 225°F to 230°F average I find that NO areas nor edges will start sizzling during the cook.
      In my experience NOT stopping brisket or beef rib meat from sizzling is bad, very bad, and results in a dehydrated off-color harder area inside the area that basically overheated in the cook.
      With that settled I now look for the "brisket" KBQ to be hot and stabilized at a 225°F to 230°F average cooking chamber temperature.
      It also needs a nice thick hot bed of coals established when the meat goes in.
      This coal bed is important to keep the KBQ's cook-box temperature right.
      In a KBQ C-60, I strongly recommend smoking your packer(s) with the fat cap side down, point end to the rear towards the heat from the manifold, and no more than three packers at a time in each cook box.
      I place them closer to the door and farther from the heat manifold and stagger them with one to the left, one on center, and one to the right side on the racks.
      My water "shelf/slot" pans are full, with the water heated up a bit at this time as well.
      When I open the door, and my glasses fog up, I am a happy man.
      The main heat source according to Bill Karau is the bottom rear area of the KBQ C-60.
      So again, I place water in-between the main source of heat and the meat.
      It only helps increase the humidity a small amount in the cook box due to the convection action, but I do have plans to modify one KBQ as a trial to greatly increase cook-box moisture.
      Aaron makes the need for moisture in the cook clear in the referenced brisket video. (Ref. T)
      To start off, I now wait 3 hours before opening or spritzing. After that, I will be spritzing about once per hour making sure any dry spots get a very fine light mist. Pull the briskets out a good ways and spritz the point as well. It is the closest meat to the heat manifold in the back, so keep an eye on it and moisten it as needed to cool it down.
      Aaron states that you can use most anything to moisten and cool the surface, but he and his pitmasters use Apple Cider vinegar. (Ref. A)
      We are all wanting a moist brisket flat, right?
      BBQ Bill has discovered to simply forget the point, knowing that it will be be super if I can just get the flat right.
      Getting a really moist brisket flat means I must do several things right because the "window of success" with great moisture is rather small.
      To increase that window size, there are certain things that I will do to consistently produce a moist brisket flat.

      1) To get better flat moisture, Aaron states that he uses Prime. (I find Costco prime grade to come out more moist and generally find Fry's Foods choice grade to be not AS moist in the flat) Prime cost is higher most of the time but for very special occasions, SRF or the Creekstone prime grade is the brisket I want for super success.
      I will have large Creekstone packers shipped in for these special occasions.
      At $140 per brisket, it does not happen a whole lot, but this is what Aaron is using due to his overwhelming "buying power".
      2) EXTREME Pitmaster Braun Hughes spritzes the meat often to cool and moisten it.
      He clearly states this in the 24 hours at Franklin's video, QUOTE... "I'm gonna go in here with Apple Cider Vinegar and spray them down. Cooling down the surface temperature, that's what I'm always doing." (Ref. A)
      He most likely knows more about great brisket than I do, but we DO have a real battle to keep surfaces lightly moist in our convection KBQ smokers.
      So, I fine mist spritz often too, moistening the surfaces when looking dry.
      I do this in hopes of keeping the surface moist and cooler which slows the rate of the cooking of the outside, giving time for the inside temperature to rise, where it renders fat and breaks down collagen. At the lower temperatures I run, this is not as critical as it is for Aaron with his 275°F to 310°F smoker temperatures.
      (Ref. K)
      3) The Stall and When to Wrap...

      The bark simply cannot begin to form until the brisket is into the stall a ways.
      Moisture, gelatin and rendered fat (oil) from the meat MUST come to the surface where it mixes there with the smoke and spices.
      This is where bark begins, and in time grows.
      The meat absolutely has to sweat delicious liquids out, which dry and the Millard Reaction with heat and time build good bark, period.
      ALSO, I now add 3/4 cup of UNSALTED water to each wrapping around the meat, NOT on it before the rest and hold periods.

      I also firmly disagree with those that state the brisket still gets some smoke after wrapping.
      IF it does get more smoke after wrapping, I do not believe that it is enough to make any difference in color nor bark flavor. There is too much oil and water that soaks the paper for any real smoke to get through in my way of thinking.
      4) When is it done?
      When should I pull it from the heat?
      According to Aaron Franklin as well as from my own experience, every brisket truly is different.
      They just are, and for me they absolutely get done at different times.
      I believe this to be due to different fat content, fat type, marbling, size, as well as other factors...
      As Aaron says, "A brisket is done when it's done. No two cows are exactly alike." and I completely agree.
      I have been fooled before where a smaller brisket took longer then a much larger one right next to it.
      Two cooks ago, two briskets cooked incredibly fast while another in the same oven took several more hours to get there.
      The very next cook, two lagged the third. I NEVER know.
      Aaron says it is done when it is done. Temperature is a guideline, not an absolute.
      Go by feel. (Flop to check for limberness, squeeze and probe)
      It can wobble and look like a bag of jelly and be overcooked.
      I know this to be true.
      So how do I know when it is actually done you might ask?
      At this point in the timeline of the cook, my brisket in question is wrapped and in a moist oven and I am wanting to check it for doneness.
      By watching the video of Andrew Knowlton and Braun Hughes there in Aaron's smoker room, I discovered that the brisket starts to get floppy when it is close to being done.
      So I now pick it up with a towel, holding it on each side, in the middle. (Ref. B)
      Next, slowly and gently I tip it up and over, back and forth, watching to see how limber it is.
      It will bend easily when it gets close to being ready, and it will sort of "flop" back and forth. (Again, the 24 hours at Franklin's video is amazing. Just watch it carefully for the many "how to brisket" clues)
      When my brisket just starts to limber up, I then place it on top of the stove, and then I carefully open the wrappings.
      It will be incredibly hot, so I use a towel.
      I then take a clean probe and insert it vertically into the middle of the flat, feeling for resistance.
      When I pull the probe OUT, if it slightly pulls back, ever so slightly lifting the meat, it is NOT done yet, but you are VERY close.
      >> It can change from this "lifting thing" when you pull the probe out, to Not lifting when you pull the probe out in a very short time period of around 30 minutes or so.
      So... Be Ready to Pull that Packer as SOON as it Stops Lifting. <<

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      If not ready yet, I then spritz heavily, re-wrap tightly and put it back into the moist heat.
      I'll check it again in 30 minutes.
      In half an hour, it's the same deal, same procedure, but minus the flopping check.
      When really close, just barely a bit of lift as I pull the probe out, I will reduce the timer for the next cook period to only 20 minutes.
      When 20 minutes have passed, I take it from the heat and check it again.
      With extremely light resistance with no real lifting of the meat when the probe is pulled vertically out of the center of the flat, it then passes the probe pull back test. It is finally perfectly done and ready to rest.
      I will then remove that particular brisket from the heat to rest.
      I know that it is now in that wonderful "window" of doneness where flat moistness is at its max.
      When cooking "hot and fast" that window of being done is quite small, and it is easy to "fly" past and go outside of the window.
      If I do this, I know that I will then have a drier flat.
      If it is obviously probing hard except on the edges of the flat, and I pull it to rest it early, it will AGAIN have a dry "mouth feel" when the time comes to eat it.
      So if pulled it too early from the heat, or pulled it too late from the heat, I get a DRY flat.
      I truly believe that THIS is why the brisket flat is SO difficult to get right.
      Once I grasped hold of this truth, I was very excited! (to say the least)
      The statement "When it feels/probes like soft butter" for me is someone that is checking the point for doneness. I do not check final doneness in the point because the point gets done before the flat gets done. (Ref. F)
      Also, when the flat feels like butter, the brisket is so overcooked and dry it cannot be sliced anymore. It will sadly crumble like sawdust when sliced.
      (Please trust me on this one)
      So, check for being done in the center of the flat, right in the middle where the point muscle stops.
      It is THE special spot to check... the "Sweet Spot" as I like to call it.
      THAT is the LAST part of a brisket to get done per Aaron Franklin and in my experience? Absolutely! (Ref. G)

      As soon as the point half of the packer starts to "Probe like Butter"...
      Change your focus to probing and checking for doneness in the flat.

      Then, when that center spot in the flat is very close to probing as soft as the REST of the flat, and it has no lift when the probe is removed, pull that baby to rest. IT IS DONE.
      Just watch Andrew Knowlton squeezing a packer in 24 hours at Franklin's.
      It is on YouTube (Ref. B) AND, Aaron explains this as well in another video.
      (Ref. G)
      Braun Hughes is teaching Andrew Knowlton how to do brisket right...

      Andrew is feeling/squeezing that special spot for being done... similar to pressing a steak with your finger to feel how done it is.
      Remember, the brisket gets limber/floppy first, and "gives up" as I have heard said. Then, around that time the harder center spot starts to get softer, like the area around that spot is... softer and probes easier.
      Note that some shorter smaller briskets may not seem limber when you check them.
      This can be due to the tight wrapping and the shorter length of the packer.
      Simply pull from the heat.
      Place on a sheet of foil with the edges turned up or on a cookie sheet and open the paper if needed and probe the flat.
      Fluid very well may be present.
      Try not to allow this to drain away as it is good to have in the wrappings when resting and holding.
      When it probes correctly, THEN, pull it still wrapped up to rest at 110°F allowing it to slowly come down in temperature.
      When each resting brisket drops down to about 140°F internal, that brisket then goes into the holding stage at 148°F.
      Aaron stated that it is important to control the rate of reduction of temperature after pulling it from the heat.
      He is saying that it is important to allow brisket to come down slowly in temperature.
      Aaron's smoker room is hot and THAT is where his briskets are rested, as they experience that slow drop in temperature.
      Also, if it was cooked hot and fast and is completely done when you pull it and then you put it into a cooler, per Franklin it will continue to cook and become overdone. (Called "Carry-over" cooking)
      Franklin says when cooking hot and fast, the brisket has a lot of momentum, mentioning with hot and fast when pulled they are "barreling down the highway" and kind of like a Freight Train, that brisket keeps on going. (Ref. H) (Ref. I)
      (A hot and fast brisket is hard to stop from overcooking and becoming dry and crumbly if placed in a hot resting place)
      He mentioned if ambient temperatures are hot, you may pull that hot and fast brisket before it is done and carry-over will finish it.
      I do not cook hot and fast as I need more control and a larger window for doneness.
      Am not that experienced... yet.

      5) Allow plenty of time in your schedule so that your brisket can go thru all of the important stages before eating time. The rest period will need usually a bit over two hours at about 110°F ambient, and then you want to allow for a much longer time for the hold period at 148°F to make it incredible.
      This is a special time where the moisture redistributes throughout the meat and the collagen continues to turn into gelatin. Aaron Franklin rests his briskets after pulling for a couple of hours or so before his long hold period at 148°F.
      If you want the very best, it does take a long time to get it.
      Aaron starts smoking that luscious brisket he serves at 10 a.m. and serves it THE NEXT DAY at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. because the long hold time after the shorter rest time makes it SO much better, it is worth it to him.
      A chef in a restaurant said when he accidentally discovered the long hold, it brought his brisket quality up a full grade mark.
      The statement was to "Embrace the Hold". Rested Meat is Sublime.
      To me the "Rest" period is just the deceleration of temperature until about 150°F internal, but the "Hold" is a much longer period, and is what really makes the meat better.
      The long hold degrades the bark texture a bit, and "washes out" the smoky flavor a touch as well, but upgrades the meat texture through continued rendering of fat and more conversion of collagen to gelatin, which boosts the pleasant moist "mouthfeel" quite a bit.
      So a quick re-firming and re-setting of the bark before serving works wonders.

      Another fellow in brisket competition said it was not his turn in for the judges that was super, it was the brisket he held for the audience to eat later on that was unbelievable!
      I currently rest my briskets for about two hours at 110°F and then hold my briskets at 148°F for around 8 to 12 hours.
      6) Aaron talks about humidity and moisture during the smoke helping.
      In his book he starts on page 142 and reveals a considerable amount of info, including a graph about humidity in the cook.
      He finishes with the importance of moisture in the cook on page 144.
      The statement made to place a water pan in-between the heat source and the meat can be found online over and over.
      I use a dual water "shelf" in the bottom of my KBQ's.
      First, I place a Cookie Sheet in the very bottom. This is done before the side supports for the racks are installed. (See photo below)

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      A whole lot of heat travels across that bottom cookie sheet, so I fill mine with water.
      The water does two things for me.
      One, it adds a bit of moisture to the cooking chamber.
      Two, it acts like an ash trap, trapping some of the embers and ash that travel down the heat manifold in the back.
      Am currently adding Red Cinder Lava Rock to the very bottom water pan per Bill Karau.
      His suggestion was given when I explained that I am wanting more moisture in my cooks.
      Here in this photo above, is my some of my Lava Rock supply.
      This rock is lightweight, porous, and pieces were hand chosen and placed into the cookie sheet as shown in the left photo.
      This water that is drawn up into the rocks evaporates into the cooking chamber during my current smokes.
      Professor Greg Blonder posted some good info regarding rocks in the oven.
      For those of you that are still arguing that moisture in your cook is not important, the Professor states the following, "Humidity plays an under appreciated role in cooking. Low levels of humidity are essential to drying beef into jerky" You can read more of this informative post of his HERE

      "Always cook with a water pan. If you don't, you'll dry out the meat and it won't cook at a proper rate. You need a very humid environment, as it slows down the rate of moisture evaporation, collagen breakdown, and fat melt (rendering into oil) so that they all happen in concert. The slower rate of cooking also allows the interior of the meat to keep pace with the cooking of the exterior. Finally, the humid environment helps preserve the moist, tacky surface of the meat, which is desirable to attract smoke." Aaron Franklin

      It sounds like some really deep stuff, so I will take the word of the "King of Brisket" and go with it.
      For more water pan and spritz info by Aaron Franklin go to this video. (Ref. L)
      Remember however, with the convection action of the KBQ C-60, the water pans only help increase the humidity in the cooking chamber slightly from what Professor Blonder is stating.

      In Aaron's book he talks about the brisket stall.
      He, and professor Blonder agree that it is caused by evaporation.
      Beating the evaporation of the majority of moisture in the brisket during the stall is actually simple.
      We know that the air pressure inside our car tires wants out. Why?
      Because the air pressure is lower outside and the laws of physics want equal pressures inside and outside of our tires.
      Same deal with moisture.
      If the humidity is high outside your brisket, it makes it harder for the moisture inside that meat to get out. So wrapping tightly holds moisture in.
      Placing that brisket into a very moist oven or holding cabinet will help as well.
      A combi-oven is designed to do just that.
      They provide pressure-less steam, convection heat, or a combination of both.
      This is why I want to introduce steam or extreme moisture into the KBQ.
      Aaron Franklin and Professor Greg Blonder also both agree that brisket loses moisture as it evaporates it away, cooling the surface during the stall.
      It basically stops rising in temperature.
      (Yup, when the stall starts, my briskets start losing serious moisture due to the relatively dry air inside the KBQ)
      In this stall...
      The temperature can stop rising and can even drop slightly, not rising for hours.
      In one video, he mentioned to wrap shortly after the stall begins to conserve moisture, however, in watching the 24 hours at Franklin's video, it appears that Aaron does NOT wrap shortly after the stall starts.
      (So basically, here we have some contradicting information in regards to what he is saying to do, and what he actually in fact, does in his restaurant)
      In a closer look at this Franklin video, it is obvious that Aaron keeps his briskets in his smokers for a long period of time, and he is looking for good dark color on the bark BEFORE he wraps.
      I know that basically, the stall of my briskets starts fairly early in the smoke and that just a few hours into the smoke, the stall is underway.
      MANY sources state that brisket is usually between 150°F and 170°F when it stalls.
      In this 24 hours at Franklin's video, it is quite clear that Aaron's briskets had been in the 275°F smoke for 9 to 9-1/2 hours when they started wrapping.
      This is WAY after the stall has started.
      In another video he said he wants...
      Good color, the flat to be nice and flexible, and the bark to NOT be "crusty", and THEN, it is time to wrap.
      So THIS is the way to go in my opinion as my brisket that has been in the smoke at 225°F to 230°F for about 9 to 10 hours has the color and that VERY important bark flavor that I want.

      Therefore, around the time that the bark is looking great, I believe it best to tightly paper wrap.
      Remember with the lid on, and with some top poppet smoke you will get better bark.
      So after they have great color, in order to inhibit further moisture loss, Aaron pulls his briskets and wraps them tightly in pink butcher paper. (Ref. C)
      Tight wrapping will prevent a braising effect, and a "Pot Roast" type of flavor from what I have come to understand.
      Yes... BBQ Bill copies Aaron's success and does the same, tightly wrapping the packers in spritzed pink butcher paper. (Be sure to use non-waxed paper)
      Aaron goes on to say that after wrapping, the fat continues to render (into oil).
      (I feel that this oil seals the paper quite a bit, and holds in the majority of the expelled water and liquid gelatin)
      Oil on the other hand, continues to exit the wrapping, dripping out as they move closer to the point in time that they are done and pulled to rest.
      In my opinion.... this hot rendered fat that turns to oil CANNOT exit the wrapping when FOIL wrapped (Texas Crutch) and the oil is now trapped INSIDE the foil and this hot oil cooks the brisket faster like oil does with meat in a skillet.
      After wrapping, the collagen continues to break down into luscious gelatin and the fat continues to render into tasty oil, in which these two actions help to keep the meat moist with some of the oil still inside the meat when eaten.
      We know that during the cook a very large amount of moisture and oil is expelled, as is evident in the weight loss in the "before and after" cook weights.
      I have seen a very large amount of precious brown colored gelatin liquid inside the paper when unwrapping to probe the meat for doneness.
      I've also seen this same thing when I did not allow my briskets to rest until 150°F and did not hold them in which during that time they absorb some of that precious moisture back inside the meat.
      This happened simply because I did NOT allow enough time for the rest and then the hold period.
      Basically, I started too late, ran short on time, and opened the wrappings to slice the briskets up too soon.
      (It was 11 a.m. and I had hungry customers standing in line)
      This fluid was mainly water and delicious gelatin that basically exuded from the meat during the cook.
      Sadly, I have also seen a very large amount of this delicious brown colored liquid in the bottom of my KBQ's when I left the briskets in too long before wrapping.
      I was trying to get great bark, and left them in for about 11 hours.
      (NOW I know I need to build that bark quicker before wrapping)
      Yes, I lost incredible flavor and absolutely delicious meat juices and they were thrown out with the rendered fat when cleaning up afterwards.
      I recall seeing these things in the past, and wondered about them.
      Now, it is incredibly sad to know what happened.
      BUT I'm quite happy to tell you all what I did wrong, make a change, and it's great to now have consistently better brisket due to recognizing my errors.
      Sometimes I do not know that what I am doing is actually an error until much later.
      One example was adding highly recommended Bouillon to my brisket.
      Basically when one customer after sampling a piece walked a ways and spit it out onto the ground, and then said it tasted weird, I decided that the Bouillon adding experiment was a failure.
      This trial add was after Myron Mixon recommended it and I watched several inject it to "add flavor".
      Note that Aaron Franklin does NOT inject the brisket he serves daily.
      I know that many are injecting and winning in competition, but the flavor from the beef sold by Aaron seems to be a winner as well.
      So... when errors are later discovered and realized, it is then time to analyze what was done wrong, and change procedures.
      This is how I personally grow.
      I practice, I make errors, I then make corrections, and ultimately, make positive progress.
      My Five-Fold Test For Great Brisket
      (Rating the end results)

      1) Got Bark?
      2) Moistness/mouthfeel + (Napkin Check)?
      3) Is it Done Yet?
      4) Nice Smoky Flavor?
      5) Rich Beefy Taste?

      To me, these are the five important attributes that I judge my brisket by, every time. I ask my eaters here at home to do the same, and to give me their honest opinions each time.
      They are listed in the order of importance to me, with the last two being the same.
      1) Bark:
      Does it make you "Howl" for more as others have said?
      It's listed here as number one because my opinion is that it is one of the most important attributes to consider when I judge a smoked brisket.
      (Or beef plate/short ribs - NAMP 123 or NAMP 130)
      If the bark is correct, my teeth break through a delicate crunch of bark first, and then into luscious, moist, tender beefy delight below. (Ref. Q)
      Taking a long hard look at the flavor and texture of the bark to me is a good thing.
      At many Phoenix BBQ smokehouses, the bark is weak or nearly non-existent.
      My own KBQ brisket bark has been everywhere from thick, black, harder meteorite like bark, to thin more delicate bark, with a dark burgundy color.
      The latter is due to a VERY light smoke coating or setting on the KBQ poppets.
      This bark condition on the beef was accomplished by adjusting the amount and type of smoke the KBQ can produce, as well as the amount of time exposed to that smoke.
      A very fine and light mist of spritz, only enough to lightly moisten the dry surfaces, when mixed with a good rub, plus the exuded meat liquids, and of course the added KBQ smoke for me produce a thick candy apple effect on my briskets surface.
      Too much spritz, and it slightly washes the smoke away, not good.
      I try to be very light with the spritz, and am wanting only to gently moisten and cool the surface down to attract more smoke, not rinse it off and have that smoke drip off into the pans below.
      It is that moist cool surface that the smoke adheres to according to the very successful Aaron Franklin and the very knowledgeable Professor Greg Blonder.
      When the bark has a delicate crunch, and upon chewing it, the flavor grows more and more intense, finally creating an "explosion" of goodness, better than the best beef jerky I have ever had is what I am looking for.
      There should be a rich beefy flavor that builds at this time as well.
      Now THAT'S the bark I want on my smoked meats!
      Just remember, a moist, cool tacky surface attracts smoke, but bark cannot form in a puddle, nor can it form well on a brisket below one that is continually dripping oil on it. (Ref. D) and (Ref. M)
      2) Is the Meat Moist inside, and Just How Moist is it:
      My brisket must create a moist mouthfeel which is also very important to me.
      We know that salt quickly triggers the production of saliva.
      Saliva will be a "player" in this sensation of moistness.
      Gelatin that has come from the collagen is part of that silky moist mouthfeel.
      Fat rendering into oil, and basic water content is obviously a big part too.
      Pressing down on the brisket after it has been cut in half, and seeing the oil run out of the fatty layer there in between the point and the flat is simply some of the rendered fat coming out due to the pressure being applied.
      It's a lot like squeezing a sandwich and watching the excess catsup or mustard come out.
      To me, a moist brisket flat when freshly cut, looks moist and doesn't have dry open "fissures". Check out (Ref. Z)
      When Mike, one of my tasters said "Man, this is the first time I have ever needed a napkin eating Brisket Flat." I knew for sure that I had 'nailed' it.
      3) Getting it Done Right:
      The fact that brisket is one 'ornery hunk of meat' is well known.
      There are some quick and easy tests to determine if that smoked and finished brisket is under-cooked, over-cooked, or just right.
      The best one for me is to simply cut a 1/4" wide slice of the flat across the grain.
      Then, hang that slice up by one end.
      A) If it falls apart under its own weight, or with a gentle shake, it is simply over-cooked.
      B) If you take the bottom end of that slice and gently pull downwards, and it stretches a ways before it breaks, it is a bit under-cooked.
      The more it stretches, the more under-cooked it actually is.
      The collagen has not broken its bonds, and is elastic like.
      C) If it breaks with just a slight pull, it's done just right. (Ref. X)
      Aaron Franklin seriously helped me to understand "when it's done right"
      "A restaurant that has under-cooked their brisket will sometimes cut very thin slices to make up for the fact that it is under-cooked and on the tough side.
      And... a restaurant that has over-cooked their brisket will sometimes cut very thick slices to make up for the fact that it is falling apart or over-done."

      (Ref. Y)
      4) Smokey Flavor:
      Many eaters just LUV that smoky goodness.
      The KBQ with its inherent ability to "Tame the Mighty aka Powerful" Mesquite wood smoke will easily produce an incredibly light smoke profile on meats, even after very long smokes.
      To me, it is somewhat similar to the pellet grills lighter flavored smoke, but with a difference that is hard for me to describe.
      In echoing the statements of pitmasters with much more knowledge than mine...
      No creosote = No smoky flavor. (You might as well boil the meat they say)
      Know your creosote and know flavor. (My thoughts and statement)
      So from that, I believe that it's the type of creosote you are putting on your meat that is the difference, with good creosote and bad creosote being key from what I am reading. Read below the word CREOSOTE in (Ref. U)
      From all this, we can see that this is pretty scientific stuff.
      I DO know the good from the bad when I'm eating it.
      The bad makes my lips tingle, and then there is a numbness that develops on my tongue when the creosote is the bad kind.
      Later on, with the bad creosote I get heartburn, and even a yucky feeling depending on how much of it I ate.
      Belching up smoky flavors hours after I eat, or even the next day is another sure sign that the smoke was not the good smoke and that I consumed too much of the bad creosote type.
      It seems like when my brisket gets a steady coating of light blue small molecule smoke, the creosote (smoky flavor) takes a long time to build up on the meat.
      Even after 8 or 9 hours of clean blue smoke, it can still taste very lightly smoked to me and my "eaters".
      In past experience, if the fire was smothered and lacked air in my offsets, the heavy darker and thicker smoke that bathed the meats at times deposited an oily or sooty smoke on the meat.
      This bad smoke containing the incorrect creosote can produce a pronounced bitter flavor on the meat at its worst, all the way to a simply strong smoky flavor that is noticeably smoky when eaten.
      I still have a lot to learn here, but my personal preference with the KBQ smoke is for the flavor to be just a bit stronger than the "super clean and light" (even hard to detect it is there) type smoke flavor profile.
      To get this, I will definitely run some top poppet smoke as well as lid on while watching the smoke color and heaviness after my wood adds.
      If the smoke gets too dark, thick or heavy from the exhaust/overflow, I will close the top poppet to about 1/8" to 3/16" to reduce the amount getting to the cook box.
      The Smoky Bottom Line...
      My goal is for all eaters to be able to detect a pleasing smoky flavor, but not so heavy that we experience problems later on after we eat.
      The KBQ is THE machine to do just that, providing great flavor without the digestive problems afterwards, and I can get that smoky goodness much better and way easier than I could with my cheap offset smokers.
      5) Beefy Taste:
      Running right in there with smoky flavor in the level of importance to me is that rich beefy taste. After finding a great supply of Black Angus briskets the beefy flavor has become more important than the smoky flavor. It's no longer a "toss up".
      It is well known that the Angus cattle breed is tasty, and I am amazed just how much better this new supply of brisket is. My quality is so much better now.
      Lessor known is the Wagyu breed that many say is better yet.
      I do not know as I don't believe that I have ever tasted Wagyu beef.
      There are others here in The Pit that have that we can ask.
      Going way out there is Japanese A5 Kobe brisket at around $160/pound? ouch!
      What I DO know is that your local supermarket can sell you a Hereford or a Guernsey brisket which I believe are Milk cows and are NOT known for their beefy flavor.
      I will probably never know what breed those packers at my local Fry's Foods store are, and now I really don't care.
      After smoking around 20 or so briskets, all purchased at my local Fry's Foods grocery store, I tasted the bark on one that I will NEVER forget. Never Ever!
      It was like nothing I had tasted before and sort of "blew my mind" because of the incredibly rich and amazing beefy flavor.
      I remember it well.
      I'd put three packers in the KBQ at the same time.
      However, THIS packer was like it was from another world! Yes, it was unearthly!
      A piece of the bark on one side had come loose and I peeled it off and ate it.
      It was truly transcending in flavor!
      The others tasted it and we racked our brains trying to figure out just WHY it was so much better tasting.
      This brisket was not just slightly different my friends, but this one had a serious difference in flavor.
      Same wood, same KBQ, same rub, same spritz, similar time before wrapping...
      What was it that made this one brisket so different we asked ourselves?
      The ONLY thing that made sense was that it was a different cow, period.
      All were in agreement that it was a REALLY tasty cow!
      I now have found that incredible flavor again.
      It is Black Angus, and it is amazing.
      Bottom line? Choose quality beef.
      (Ref. V)
      Changing it up...
      Telling it the way it is, Aaron says to experiment, changing only one thing at a time, and afterwards decide if that change was a good one or a bad one.
      Basically, my latest post is generally my latest new procedure in a continual quest in which I am pushing myself to do better and make better product.
      Sometimes the experimental change that I make is not a good one, although it has been rare that my customers complain.
      I recognize what I did, log it down as a fail, and see it as a step backwards (in my own eyes and opinion) and know that it is a learning thing.
      Then I just go right back to what worked before that, and try harder to make it even better yet.
      My dear wife is my best friend and states that I am never satisfied and very critical.
      All true, as I do compete with myself, driving hard for better and better.
      I am currently in a battle to get darker bark, yet retain plenty of moisture.
      Am confident that it is a "poppet and lid" thing for the bark, and a pull and wrap at the right time thing for excellent moisture in the flat thing.
      There is a balance in there somewhere and I will post the answers I find right here.
      UPDATE: I have decided to ignore the information stating to pull the brisket a bit after the stall.
      I will go back to pulling it to wrap once it has good color.
      NOTE: To boost moisture, adding 3/4 cup of ~185°F water to the wrapping when done and pulled to rest is the latest experiment that turned out very nice with all brisket flats very moist in this very last cook.

      I have discovered that after the initial 3 hours of smoke, while it is true that spritzing at that time does make the surface more "sticky" for adhesion of smoke, and the spritz cools the surface for helping the fat rendering and collagen break down to happen at around the same time, I MUST also allow the surface to DryOut to get better Millard Reaction, and thus, the surface needs to dry out to get better bark.
      So, I am currently allowing the meat surface to dry out and then lightly moisten and cool it, and then allow it to dry out again, over and over.
      This current method is working well to build great bark.
      B) Let the brisket go through the stall and just when it starts to come out of the stall and start to climb in its internal temperature, I wrap it to conserve moisture.
      References (With Links)
      The following LINKS will help "Clear the Air" from any conceived "Blowing of Smoke"

      Working 24 Hours at The Best BBQ in the World (VIDEO - Andrew Knowlton at Aaron Franklin's)
      (Ref. A) - can be found HERE @ 7 min. 47 sec.
      (Ref. B) - can be found HERE @ 9 min. 27 sec.
      (Ref. C) - can be found HERE @ 8 min. 17 sec.
      (Ref. D) - can be found HERE @ 7 min. 04 sec.

      Austin Trip with Aaron Franklin
      (VIDEO - Mike Castaneda at Franklin's + More)
      (Ref. E) - can be found HERE @ 2 min. 22 sec.
      (Ref. F) - can be found HERE @ 2 min. 25 sec.
      (Ref. G) - can be found HERE @ 2 min. 28 sec.
      (Ref. H) - can be found HERE @ 5 min. 34 sec.
      (Ref. I) - can be found HERE @ 6 min. 30 sec.

      Humidity References (Aaron Franklin)
      (Ref. J) - can be found HERE @ 0 min. 42 sec.
      (Ref. K) - can be found HERE @ 2 min. 34 sec.
      (Ref. L) - can be found HERE @ 4 min. 00 sec.

      Misc. References + BBQ with Franklin: The Brisket (VIDEO - Aaron Franklin + More)
      (Ref. M) - can be found HERE (Just scroll just a bit down to the photo there)
      (Ref. N) - can be found HERE @ 2 min. 22 sec.
      (Ref. O) - can be found HERE @ 13 min. 09 sec.
      (Ref. P) - can be found HERE @ 48 min. 05 sec.
      (Ref. Q) - can be found HERE (This whole video is about great bark)
      (Ref. R) - can be found HERE @ 8 min. 12 sec.
      (Ref. S) - can be found HERE @ 0 min. 54 sec.
      (Ref. T) - can be found HERE @ 0 min. 42 sec.
      (Ref. U) - can be found HERE @ almost half way down the page.
      (Ref. V) - can be found HERE (Do a Control F and type in Angus)
      (Ref. W) - can be found HERE @ 11 min. 40 sec.
      (Ref. X) - can be found HERE @ 8 min. 33 sec.
      (Ref. Y) - can be found HERE @ 9 min. 07 sec.
      (Ref. Z) - can be found HERE

      Added my latest discoveries in this August 2019 update.

      Last edited by BBQ_Bill; August 9, 2019, 09:17 PM. Reason: UPDATES


      • Timcee
        Timcee commented
        Editing a comment
        Can't wait for the rest

      • hogdog6
        hogdog6 commented
        Editing a comment
        I will be waiting as fast as I can for the continuation of you're wisdom BBQ_Bill. I too believe copying success is way better than just trial and error, and error, and error.

      • lostclusters
        lostclusters commented
        Editing a comment
    • OfFDeepz
      Club Member
      • Oct 2018
      • 3
      • UT

      Just wanted to post and say thank you for all the contributors and knowledge here. Just got my KBQ a week ago and wanted to give my general feedback. My first cook was a whole chicken cut up and I used the Simon and Garfunkel rub. Cranked it all the way and had to back it off a little to hold 325 degrees. Cooked faster than I anticipated and when i checked the temp it was about 175-180 degrees. I couldn't believe it but it was way juicy and turned out awesome. The skin had some nice crisp to it and the flavor was great. Next, I did baby back ribs with rub from Oklahoma Joes in KC and painted on some Sweet Baby Rays. They were pretty good, but i definitely need to make some changes. Here are my problems and I hope they help other newbs

      1. Keep the lid off while you are waiting for the lump to fully ignite the logs. With the lid on it seems to take longer to get it going. I also found that using different sizes of wood really helped to give it space to breathe.

      2. I used a water pan with the ribs and spritzed them every hour. I felt like they were overly juicy for ribs. Is that crazy? Had a really nice bark and looked pretty. Also, I followed some advice on here to not overdue the rub. I found out my personal preference is to have a lot of rub so I'll add a lot more for the next cook. I still plan to use the water pan on the brisket this weekend since Bill seems to rock those Briskets.

      3. I found the smoke flavor perfect on the chicken and light on the ribs. I read above that Ed says to leave the top poppet open and the bottom closed for the full "dirty"smoke. I mixed it up in the rib cook of, top closed, bottom open and both open. I used hickory wood for both smokes.

      4. Another mistake I made was not realizing how sensitive the temperature control knob is. I was moving it between the numbers and it seemed to constantly go. I finally realized after being a big dum-dum that you only need to move it a tiny bit.

      Excited to take my notes and retry the ribs and can't wait to do the brisket this weekend. Again, thank you to all the contributors here. Next time, I'll post some pics


      • EdF
        EdF commented
        Editing a comment
        Welcome to the clan!

      • Ricardo
        Ricardo commented
        Editing a comment
        I light a few lump coals in a Weber chimney and once they are nice and hot, I carefully transfer them to the firebox. I don’t know if it’s better or not... I can see that there is an added step maneuvering hot lit coals from a chimney to the KBQ, but this works for me. Once I place the lit coals into the firebox, I’m adding wood and food goes in 5 or 10 minutes right after that.

      • hogdog6
        hogdog6 commented
        Editing a comment
        Welcome and continue the fun!
    • OfFDeepz
      Club Member
      • Oct 2018
      • 3
      • UT

      EdF Thank you, i'm enjoying it and will shell out for the membership. Ricardo I also used the lump to start it. I'm thinking about dumping half the coals, putting some wood and a few coals to wedge it and see if that lights it better. That is half the fun, figuring all of this out!


      • BBQ_Bill
        Club Member
        • Jun 2017
        • 409
        • Phoenix, Arizona

        Welcome to The Pit OfFDeepz!
        Lump is suggested by Bill Karau versus Charcoal due to regular Charcoal producing excess ash that fills the area below the coal tray too quickly.
        Bill K. stated that charcoal consists of a very large amount of limestone, which does not burn and this limestone fills the ash container in the bottom of the firebox very quickly.
        I shovel in what's left of my searing coals, add lots thinner Mesquite splits, (Try an X pattern) then turn the thermostat up to full throttle.
        In time, the fire box is roaring and building a good coal bed, so I add even heavier wood and drop the temperature setting of the thermostat.
        Next, I insert a thermometer in the port right there by the fans and work on getting my average to 230°F.
        Generally, only slight tweaks of the thermostat are needed from that point on to keep the average temperature at 230°F.
        After the temperature settles in, I turn it off with a switch to add or "fluff" wood in the firebox.

        Click image for larger version  Name:	EZ Switch.jpg Views:	1 Size:	1.39 MB ID:	589338 Click image for larger version  Name:	Compare.jpg Views:	1 Size:	97.6 KB ID:	589840
        Was gonna put a 12" extension cord on the KBQ with this model with the red switch as shown above because they do not sit flush due to the "rain top" on the KBQ controller, however... the GE switch shown with the white switch may fit and work well.
        A switch has always been the best way to go for me to stop the draw fan when adding wood or when clearing the holes in the grate when temperatures start dropping due to plugging up and restricting air flow to the cook box.
        However, the design on these with a red switch as shown above leaves me wanting better, like maybe the one with the white switch?

        1) I was wanting a switch to plug right into the prongs on the KBQ, but this one with the red switch won't do it.

        2) In the continual switching off and on of this red switch model, during a cook, it can become slightly disconnected and the smoker can lose power.
        (NOT good)
        Plus, I really don't want to tie knots in the cords to hold this model switch in place.

        I wanted these ones to work well, but the white switch model made by GE might just be the ticket.
        We will see.
        Last edited by BBQ_Bill; November 12, 2018, 10:43 PM.


        • OfFDeepz
          Club Member
          • Oct 2018
          • 3
          • UT

          BBQ_Bill Thanks for the welcome. That switch is so smart. I was bumping the knob and it's hard to get it exactly dialed back in. Mind sharing where i can get this and what it's called? Also, I'm getting some more wood tomorrow and will get some different sized splits to try the x pattern. Thanks!


          • BBQ_Bill
            BBQ_Bill commented
            Editing a comment
            A switch for me is better than messing with the thermostat all the time. Like you, once I get it dialed in, I want it to STAY at that temp. (Was using a power strip before these switches) However, I bought 3 different ones as I have two problems with these ones that I am currently using...
            Last edited by BBQ_Bill; November 7, 2018, 07:51 AM.

          • Histrix
            Histrix commented
            Editing a comment
            If for some reason you need to add wood or fluff the coalbed and can't wait for the exhaust fan to stop just open the door of the cook chamber. With the door open it's not going to suck any air thru the firebox. No need to keep resetting the thermostat.
        • BBQ_Bill
          Club Member
          • Jun 2017
          • 409
          • Phoenix, Arizona

          I bought a Kindling Cracker and LUV it for making "skinny" Mesquite splits.
          Bought a 3-pack of those switches but have since bought 3 others that may work better. (Hoping)
          The more recent purchase is not here yet but I will post here after they arrive and I get a chance to try them out.


          • BBQ_Bill
            Club Member
            • Jun 2017
            • 409
            • Phoenix, Arizona

            Good point Histrix
            With the door open, there would be no draw through the firebox.


            • ComfortablyNumb
              Club Member
              • May 2017
              • 3228
              • Northeast Washington
              • KBQ C-60
                Thermoworks Smoke
                Thermoworks Thermopop
                Thermoworks Dot

              To stop the fan I just pull the plug on the control box, add/fluff wood, then push the plug back on the box. I suppose it’s not as neat as a switch, but it works and is cheap. I wonder if they make an extension cord with a switch built in?


              • BBQ_Bill
                BBQ_Bill commented
                Editing a comment
                I started with pulling the plug on the control box, then went to a power strip on the wall feeding extension cords, and now am going to be trying a switch at the end of a 12" "extension cord" hanging from each KBQ. As soon as my GE switches arrive, I think I will be done playing with this.
            • BBQ_Bill
              Club Member
              • Jun 2017
              • 409
              • Phoenix, Arizona

              Timcee Rfuilrez

              The stainless steel "Quick Pins" arrived today. (For holding the door on)
              I tried them and they seem to work so far.
              There is a bit of "play" in them, but the door opens and closes and latches correctly.

              Click image for larger version  Name:	Left Side.jpg Views:	1 Size:	1.62 MB ID:	590295Click image for larger version  Name:	Right Side.jpg Views:	1 Size:	1.74 MB ID:	590296

              I have 4 Packer Briskets and a load of Chicken Breasts to smoke for a 11 a.m. Saturday sale.
              These will get a "workout" so I will post an UPDATE afterwards and let you guys know what I think of them when all is "said and done."
              I paid $4.58 for two with "free" shipping so the price was good.
              They performed with no problems during this cook, however as mentioned, there is play in them, but the door opened and closed without incident.
              They come out nicely with a tug to overcome the spring loaded ball.
              I am satisfied so far.
              Time will tell if the heat deteriorates the spring tension on the ball.
              Went ahead and bought 4 more for the other two KBQ's.
              Last edited by BBQ_Bill; November 13, 2018, 08:11 PM.


              • Timcee
                Timcee commented
                Editing a comment
                BBQ_Bill These look great.. Been traveling and right now in cold Norway but I think I'll just get them from you when I get home..bc I looked around before leaving and the ones I got weren't good at all..

              • kmuoio
                kmuoio commented
                Editing a comment
                BBQ_Bill - can you give an update on these pins. Did a smoke today and stumbled onto this post. Are you happy with the pins?

              • ComfortablyNumb
                ComfortablyNumb commented
                Editing a comment
                kmuoio Check these out: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...-kbq-door-pins
            • BBQ_Bill
              Club Member
              • Jun 2017
              • 409
              • Phoenix, Arizona

              The General Electric switches arrived today.
              They do not have a light that indicates whether they are on or off, but they fit the KBQ Controller snugly, sliding UNDER the "Rain Lip" nicely as shown.

              Click image for larger version  Name:	Fits.jpg Views:	2 Size:	467.8 KB ID:	591182
              Yeah, I am done with this "switch" thing.
              My hope's are that these hold up and last.
              Time will tell.
              GE 25511 Grounded Power Switch
              Last edited by BBQ_Bill; November 13, 2018, 08:59 AM. Reason: UPDATE


              • JGrana
                JGrana commented
                Editing a comment
                Great idea as well. My extension cord is getting stressed. I ordered one of these and the Quick Pins your mentioned. I will use them on my next cook.
            • BBQ_Bill
              Club Member
              • Jun 2017
              • 409
              • Phoenix, Arizona

              Yes lostclusters
              Consider a fellow starting his maiden voyage into a public venture such as catering BBQ or supplying cooked meats to a growing number of stationary break trucks...
              (Like the ones sitting in city parking lots)
              It sort of makes more sense to buy more C60 units than to buy one Friedrich KBQ-400 or an Oyler smoker when cooking for customers in a production type situation.
              There are few disadvantages with many advantages.
              Cooking different meats at different temperatures, all at the same time.
              And timing or staging the starts of those cooks so they can meet schedules.
              Also, cooking with different woods like apple wood for pork while cooking with Oak for beef ribs.
              Plus using more KBQ C-60 smokers, or less according to demand.
              A sudden catering order of good size with several different meats required would be a "tall order" with only one large smoker, right?
              There are many other benefits to single units versus one big smoker like slowly increasing your cooking power as your customer base and finances grow.
              The big one for someone slowly starting up a business is price...
              1 each KBQ-400 @ $23,000 versus 8 each KBQ C-60 units @ around $12,000.
              Both will cook the same volume of meat.
              To me, it all makes good sense to a backyard BBQ person cooking occasionally for family, that is slowly moving into a growing customer situation.
              That is BBQ Bill in a nutshell my friend.
              Last edited by BBQ_Bill; November 24, 2018, 07:51 PM.


              • lostclusters
                lostclusters commented
                Editing a comment
                I did not mean to insinuate 3 KBQs were excessive. I realize you cater to some degree or other. I was just making sure I was following your posts correctly. If I could I would have two, heck ya!

              • BBQ_Bill
                BBQ_Bill commented
                Editing a comment
                Ah... gotcha my friend
                Once I get to 8, I am SURE my wife will be screaming... EXCESSIVE! LOL
                That is until I allow her to keep the money from the rentals. Ha ha!

              • EdF
                EdF commented
                Editing a comment
                Well, at that point you might want to start thinking about the BBQ Bill franchise! Seriously - you set the standards. Shouldn't be too high a franchisee fee?
            • BBQ_Bill
              Club Member
              • Jun 2017
              • 409
              • Phoenix, Arizona

              Problems keeping your KBQ temperature at max?
              KBQ has advised me that to operate at maximum temperature, the holes in the coal grate in the firebox MUST be covered with a good layer of hot coals.
              For a chicken cook, several reputable sources recommend a high temperature cook to give a crispy outside and a moist inside to that yard bird.
              If your coal grate has "rat holes" as Bill K. calls them, you will not develop the high temperatures you need for chicken.
              If you can see open holes in your coal grate, you need to tamp the top of the wood to move hot coals down and cover those open holes.
              Yes, the inverted flames as they are drawn downward by the draft fan look really cool going thru those holes, right?
              The problem is, without the hot glowing coals covering those holes, the cold air from the openings in the sides is actually being sucked in.
              So while watching those cool flames, your flame "show" IS cooling things down below!
              The bottom line for all of us KBQ folks to remember is...
              Hot coals are like a heating blanket, and that thick hot bed of coals will "trump" simple yellow flames that look cool going down "Rat Holes" in your grate.
              THAT scenario equals a COLDER KBQ.
              Bill K. also shared another sweet "morsel" of KBQ knowledge...
              When it comes to heating your KBQ's cook box and HOLDING it at good temperatures, thin kindling and small pieces turn into smaller ash that will NOT make a good bed, as they simply fall right thru the holes in the coal grate.
              You will need heavier pieces to produce larger coals that will block these holes.
              THIS is why Bill K. tells us to use longer, larger diameter wood. The coals from this size best block the holes in the coal tray, maintaining that thick heat producing bed of coals.
              NOW I fully understand why chips will not work well.
              (Duh! The light bulb FINALLY comes on)
              Last edited by BBQ_Bill; November 13, 2018, 09:31 AM. Reason: Pulled my "blinders" off... sheesh!


              • Ricardo
                Ricardo commented
                Editing a comment
                If you see the holes, not so clean smoke will also enter the cooking chamber. I learned my lesson and I try my best to ensure no rat holes 🕳 during my cooks.
                That alone elevated my KBQ experience to ambrosia territory.

              • BBQ_Bill
                BBQ_Bill commented
                Editing a comment
                Sweet Ricardo! Bill K. and I discussed that very thing... that the smoke going thru the "Rat" holes in the coal tray is not being as cleaned up. True statement, the thick hot coals "super" burn the smoke for a light smoke profile that has a flavor that keeps them "begging" for more! One customer of mine buys a whole brisket at a time. He calls it "Meat Crack" saying "I gotta have it!"
            • BBQ_Bill
              Club Member
              • Jun 2017
              • 409
              • Phoenix, Arizona

              Eureka moment for me...
              Continually using small kindling, chips and small chunks for a cook will quickly OVERFILL your ash box below the coal grate.
              The more smaller pieces you use, the FASTER the ash box below fills up.
              Longer, larger diameter pieces make the best coal bed as they will provide higher heat due to holding their structure better and longer as they turn to coals and block the grate holes better as they collapse.
              When they finally go through the holes, more time has passed and your long smokes will not fill the ash box up.
              Remember, ashes can only get so high in the ash box below the grate, and then they start being sucked thru the bottom poppet into the cook chamber and getting on the meat.




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              Genesis II E-335 
              A Versatile Gasser That Does It All!


              Weber’s Genesis line has long been one of the most popular choices for gas grillers. The new Genesis II E-335 offers solid performance, a sear burner for sizzling heat and an excellent warranty.

              Click here to read our complete review

              GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone


              GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, kill hotspots, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily rmoved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke.

              Click here for more about what makes these grates so special

              Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?


              The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it's easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.

              Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

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              Our Favorite Backyard Smoker


              The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.

              Click here for our review of this superb smoker

              Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker


              This is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making this baby foolproof. Set ThermoTemp's dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin'.

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              Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here's A Great Buy!


              A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!

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              Track Up To Six Temperatures At Once


              FireBoard Drive 2 is an updated version of a well-received product that sets the standard for performance and functionality in the wireless food thermometer/thermostatic controller class.

              Click here for our review of this unique device

              The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


              Napoleon's NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It's hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.

              Click here for more about what makes this grill special

              Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker


              Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

              Click here to read our detailed review and to order