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Terrible sous vide brisket. :( So disappointed...

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  • tRidiot
    Club Member
    • Dec 2015
    • 721
    • NE OK
    • Traeger BBQ124
      Yoder YS480
      Chargriller Duo gas/charcoal side-by side

    Terrible sous vide brisket. :( So disappointed...

    So this was a couple of weeks ago. I've been so disgusted with it that I have stayed away from The Pit, haven't looked at my smokers and generally just been moping. But I've got to do at least a dozen racks of ribs this weekend, so I figured I better get this off my chest and try to achieve some catharsis so I can move on. <sigh>

    So I had done a QVQ Prime brisket earlier this summer and it turned out pretty great. I aged it about 7 weeks or so after buying it, and then smoked it for a few hours and put it in the water bath. I did 144°F for 44 hours and it was pretty great. Mostly. I took it out of the bag and decided to throw it back on the smoker about 350°F to firm up the bark. I left it a little longer than I intended and it got hotter than I expected too quickly - around 180ish in the point, I believe. It was damn good, and tender, but the flat did dry out a tiny bit. It was very tender, though. It wasn't dry, but it wasn't really juicy, either. The flat, that is.

    So a couple weeks ago I decided to do this again, but skip the second smoke. Also wanted to do it a little lower temp - hoping to keep a little more juice in it, make it a little rarer, etc. Maybe this was my mistake, but I'd read on here this was fine.

    Unfortunately, I didn't have time to go all the way to Costco and get a Prime, so my wife picked up a Choice one at Sam's. I can't hardly convince her to go to Costco even with me, since it's over an hour away, but she was at Sam's already. I know Choice can be a bit of a crapshoot, but I didn't think it would be that big of a deal.

    So I did it at 130°F for 70 hours, after smoking it for 5 hours.

    Problem is, it was terrible. I mean, I was SERIOUSLY disappointed. It looked good, looked juicy when I was carving it, but it seemed a bit harder to slice than I was expecting. Turns out, it was just really quite chewy. The flavor and texture was much more like prime rib, but it was really really chewy. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was "tough", but it was just too chewy. It was soft, but required alot more chew than I ever wanted. I am so glad our church group canceled and I had to invite people over to eat it at the last minute, because I would have been SERIOUSLY embarrassed to serve that to our church group. They have all raved over my ribs and some other things I've done, but that would have really made me hang my head to serve.

    Everyone else said it was fine, it was still better than most briskets they'd had, but no one took any home (it was a 15 lber), and the leftovers sat in my fridge for almost 2 weeks until I threw them away. I told them straight up if they didn't take it home, I would toss it, because I wasn't eating any more. And I didn't so I got rid of it.

    So what do I do? Was it just because this was Choice? I am just really bummed... I am headed all the way down to Costco on Friday to buy 15 racks of ribs, so I guess I will pick up a Prime packer or two for the future but... I really need to find a place to put a "meat fridge". We just don't have room to store many of these.

    Blargh, I'm just really frustrated. My wife isn't a huge brisket fan, she loves my ribs more than anything, and pulled pork and pulled chuck after that. But I don't want to have something I can't make spectacular! lol.

    I'm just venting. Sorry. Thanks for reading. Open to any ideas.
  • Polarbear777
    Club Member
    • Sep 2016
    • 1793

    #2
    Was it dry-tough or moist-tough?

    If the former, maybe the initial smoke was too high a temp.

    If the latter (my guess) it looks looks like you had a tough customer that needed more than 70 hours or a higher SV temp to fully tenderize. Choice VS prime may be the difference.

    If it’s not tender (pinch test or “jiggly”) out of the bath, I’d consider putting it back in before finishing it.

    Dry brisket (happens to everyone occasionally) makes for good cheesesteaks etc.


    Last edited by Polarbear777; September 12, 2018, 07:02 PM.

    Comment


    • tRidiot
      tRidiot commented
      Editing a comment
      It was moist chewy. Not dry. Initial 5-hour smoke was at 150°F. Sorry, I didn't include that tidbit.
  • Frozen Smoke
    Club Member
    • Nov 2017
    • 1528
    • Northern Mn

    #3
    I'd be bummed too if I had over 70 hours into a brisket and it came out bad. I know I'm in for 12 to 14 hours of poking a fire when I do a brisket but I know i'm not going to be disappointed at the end of it. Don't let it get to ya brother as they say get back on the horse! Your ribs will put a smile back on your face!

    Comment

    • tbob4
      Charter Member
      • Nov 2014
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      #4
      I have never SV'd a brisket so I can't help with that. I have however, had that "bad cook" too many times to count. Sometimes we are our own worst critics. I made two pork butts this weekend for work's taco Tuesday. (I stole some to make Obi-Dan 's sandwich) I smoked the butts perfectly for reheating. I took them to work with a sauce that is to die for. Because I was in the field, I gave my boss the instructions for the crock pot: "If the meat is dry, put a little water in." Lunch was served at 11:30. I came back at 11:15 to find a soup in the pot. He put in about 2 cups of water. The sauce was diluted. Everyone said it was a hit. I knew otherwise. I judged it by the fact that people typically fight over who gets to take it home. This time there were only two people who asked. Those two people were very excited, though.

      If I were you, I would go back to the prime and if a lower temp resulted in an inferior product, go to a higher temp in the bath. Maybe even higher than your original cook for a slightly shorter period of time. This is only because you said it was a bit dry on the fist cook over that period of time. I am sure the long cook SV'ers will chime in with great advice. Mine is - don't hang your head too low. I'll bet the worst thing anyone said was "That wasn't his best cook".

      Comment


      • tRidiot
        tRidiot commented
        Editing a comment
        I think the first time, it got a little dry on the flat during the 2nd smoke, which was at 350°F or so... I had to run some errands and it stayed longer than I wanted and got pretty warm. Maybe 3-4 hours.
    • Jerod Broussard
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      #5
      I've never seen a lower SV temp on lean meat somehow preserve more juice. Fact is you have to go longer at the lower temp thus expelling the juice anyway.

      Comment

      • ecowper
        Founding Member
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          Eric Cowperthwaite aka ecowper

        #6
        I don’t sous vide, so I have no good way to give you input on what problems may have arisen in a sous vide brisket.

        But I do know that brisket is a tricky bugger and sometimes the hunk of meat just doesn’t like you. I also know the only way I’ve ever progressed with BBQ is to “get back on the horse and ride” ..... but do so in a way where you are gonna have a good outcome and rebuild confidence. Kill it with those ribs, get your wife telling you how great they are .... then circle back around to brisket, figure out the change you need to make and go after it again.

        Side note: I honestly don’t think I’d ever consider sous vide for brisket even if I did cook with sous vide. I think that brisket is one of those things that you do in the, more or less, traditional way. Fire, wood, smoke, low, slow and pull it off and let it rest for a bit, then slice and serve.

        Comment

        • Bumby
          Club Member
          • Oct 2017
          • 290
          • NYC

          #7
          Sorry for the unfortunate experience. I would be pretty bummed if I spent weeks aging and then days sous viding a piece of meat only to have it not come out as I had hoped. I have two small things to add to the great posts from above. 1) One strategy that works very well for me whenever I cook something for others that is still new to me (i.e., I've done it less than 5 times) is that I will usually make something else as a back up so that if I completely suck on the new thing, at least there is something that I'm happy to serve. 2) I find a way to take my mistakes (or leftovers) and repurpose them. I am enjoying for lunches this week a darn good brisket chili from a brisket flat that was a little too dry for me to feel comfortable serving to folks (the point was fortunately servable).

          Comment

          • Potkettleblack
            Club Member
            • Jun 2016
            • 1979
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            #8
            What was the IT on the initial smoke?
            5 hours at 225-250 will generally get me somewhere close to stall territory... 155/160 if not into the stall.
            Not sure why you did such a long smoke on the front end for a low temp on the back end.

            130 will produce a rare-med-rare brisket. But not if you take it to 155+ before the sous vide.

            You don't mention any aging on the second brisket. I assume we're wet aging based on the pack date in the first brisket, and then skipping it on the second. Might've been a MUCH fresher brisket, which would account for some of the difference.

            Ironically, I think skipping the second smoke was also maybe an error. You're hybriding the temp (first smoke vs sous vide), which suggests, to me, that you want to take the second one at least as far as the stall.

            So, that's three ideas for improvement. Next one:
            Keep it choice or go prime. Age some based on the pack date, let it get to 28 days.
            Smoke at 225-250 to IT of maybe 130 or 135.
            Bag and soak at 135 x 72.
            Smoke at 325-350 to either IT of 135 or all the way to the stall. Poke the sucker. Make sure it's as tender as you like.
            Alternatively, instead of the second smoke, portion like steak, sear and serve. Important to slice against the grain for steak style serving.

            Comment


            • allsid
              allsid commented
              Editing a comment
              Your sous vide ninja skills never cease to amaze me Potkettleblack

            • Potkettleblack
              Potkettleblack commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks Allsid. I have been doing SV for upwards of 9 years now, and have read about it pretty hard core for much of that time. From a time before Anova, ChefSteps or even Modernist Cuisine. The original Myrhvold EGullet thread was pretty amazing, tbh.
          • Troutman
            Club Member
            • Aug 2017
            • 7473
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            #9
            I'm a bit puzzled as well. When I do a QVQ brisket it turns out really well, tender and juicy, with the plus being a rare finish. Typically I smoke to an internal of around 115*, then go into the bath for around 50 hours at 130*. After an ice bath I give it a kiss of smoke to firm the bark and get whatever additional smoke flavor I can get as well. The trick, at least in my opinion is to never overshoot your bath temp. The meat tends to tighten up if you do overshoot, perhaps that may be what you inadvertently did with your post smoke. I really don't think it was the choice versus prime, I've done both without a whole lot of difference, unless of course you just got a bad one.

            Here's the last one I did. Try it again, hold true to your temps and you should get good results.


            Comment


            • Potkettleblack
              Potkettleblack commented
              Editing a comment
              It would be somewhere between impractical and impossible to achieve without Sous Vide.

            • klflowers
              klflowers commented
              Editing a comment
              Troutman, that is a beautiful thing.

            • ClayJones
              ClayJones commented
              Editing a comment
              Got it. Thanks for the info gang!

              Sounds like the wrong kind of party for me. Closest I've ever been to having patience was a girl I dated in HS named Patience

              Quick pause for Irony: She was a sprinter! lol

              That looks AMAZING btw. I hope you don't mind I sent one of those pics to a friend. I'm trying to Jedi Mind Trick him into deciding to get into this... so I can help taste test.
              Last edited by ClayJones; September 14, 2018, 09:21 AM.
          • ddmcwhirter
            Charter Member
            • Nov 2014
            • 137
            • Leon Springs northwest of San Antonio, Texas

            #10
            Not a sous vide guy. Just seems to me that, if the temperature never gets to the some minimum gellatin conversion temperature, then you would have a tough brisket. If the meat is rare isn't the connective tissue not converted? Does the conversion happen with the aging?

            Comment


            • EdF
              EdF commented
              Editing a comment
              The conversion happens through a combination of temp and time. That's why the lower temp suggestions above are combined with long cooking times.
          • fzxdoc
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            #11
            Troutman , how long does that second "kiss of smoke" last?

            Kathryn

            Comment


            • EdF
              EdF commented
              Editing a comment
              Bring it up to 10 degrees below your SV temp, and that should be fine.

            • Potkettleblack
              Potkettleblack commented
              Editing a comment
              Depends on the heat of the cooker and the chill of the meat. If I presmoked, I will burn at 325-350 to set the bark better. If I think it needs more smoke, at 225-250. With IT you can either hold the line where you Sous bided, or take it all the way to 203 or so.

            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              I don't really concentrate on temp, actually hold around 275*, it's really a function of internal temperature, I try to hold to no more then low 130ish. Whatever extra bark I get is a bonus.
          • tRidiot
            Club Member
            • Dec 2015
            • 721
            • NE OK
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            #12
            Some answers to above:

            First brisket (the Prime one) was aged, smoked at 150°F, then sous vide at 144°F for about 44 hours, then smoked again at 350°F for a couple-three hours or so. It got a slight bit hot because I wasn't watching closely, point got up to about 180°F when I probed it with my Dot. This one was great, but the flat was a TINY bit drier, not really dry. Very tender. Jiggly as all get-out.

            The second brisket was not aged, smoked at 150°F for around 5 hours, no idea on internal temp, then sous vide at 130°F for about 70 hours. No post SV smoke, I seared it with the trusty flamethrower. It seemed plenty jiggly, but I did not do the poke/toothpick/probe test.

            Neither had a cooling period between the SV and the final smoke or sear.

            For those advocating bringing your internal back up to the SV temp, are you talking about cooling it in-between? I don't typically ice the stuff I do SV, because we're usually ready to eat. I haven't tried doing it early enough to chill overnight or whatever.

            I'm leaning toward thinking this was probably a combination of the lower temp (130°F IS pretty low, to be fair) and this being a Choice brisket and this being just a BAD Choice brisket - one of those tough critters everyone gets once in a while. Just kind of a perfect storm of "unfortunicity," I guess..

            I'll try again... going to try to clear some room for a couple of Prime briskets tomorrow, in addition to 12-15 racks of ribs. <sigh> I have NO idea where I'm going to put this stuff, but I'm bound and GD'd determined to turn out some Amazing Ribs to serve to our Fire Department guys on Saturday! I really want to get some dino ribs, too, I've never done those.

            Comment


            • Polarbear777
              Polarbear777 commented
              Editing a comment
              I always ice bath after SV because
              1. After a long soak it usually doesn’t line up with eating time and after an ice bath you can hold in fridge for days, and more importantly
              2. Smoke sticks to cold and wet so you get more bang for your buck out of the second Q. Also if I don’t want it to exceed med-rare I have to cool it before second smoke since at that point it is 135.

            • Potkettleblack
              Potkettleblack commented
              Editing a comment
              What Polarbear said. Also, without shocking, you overshoot your SV temp... always.

              My schedule for a QVQ process is a smoke on Saturday or Sunday, a Sous Vide directly after the smoke, ending on Tuesday or Wednesday, and then finishing on Saturday or Sunday.
          • Polarbear777
            Club Member
            • Sep 2016
            • 1793

            #13
            Takes about an hour for the second Q. I take it up to 130-135F, which is long enough to reset the bark

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            Fork tender, but never above 135. So medium rare

            Comment


            • tRidiot
              tRidiot commented
              Editing a comment
              This is exactly what I was trying for.

            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              Just finished the last of my Polar QVQ Pastrami for lunch. I’m hooked on that stuff !!!

            • Potkettleblack
              Potkettleblack commented
              Editing a comment
              At 300/350 an hour should be sufficient for bark. I find I get better smoke flavor from lower, and better bark going for that 300+ temp. I guess the correct solution is to run the Grilla at the lowest temp for the initial smoke, and then use the gasser with some of Huskee's chunks for the finish.
          • JGo37
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            #14
            This is not going to be helpful at all, because this is a 'why SV' post. And I really don't get it. I never made brisket before joining the PIT this year. But, I plunged in. I watched a lot of videos on prep and think that has a lot to do with results.

            I trim, I salt, I age, I inject beef broth, I season, and I SnS. I run at ~ 230F average, a bit up and down, and keep adding hickory until ~ 165F. Then I baste with the suet I've reduced every 10F. At 195 I start poking, and when the pen slides in like nothing is there (highest so far has been 210F), I wrap and put in a table-top roaster on warm with a cup of beef broth for 3 hours.

            Am I really lucky? After half a dozen choice - prime cuts I haven't had a failure. I've been serving with Texas Mop Juice (I need to cut back on the green bell pepper - that always comes across strong), and dunking the point cubes in STL Maull's original BBQ after simmering the sauce. Heaven. I've been cutting the flat at 3/8's so I don't know how appealing it would be with a thicker cut, which is what I think I see from comp pics but haven't tried yet.

            I've run ~ 10 - 14 hours to get an average of 11 lbs. of brisket, after trimming, ready. No more or less. I started with the ecowper 'novice' instructions and have run with it.

            Why SV and add all the hours, and double smokes, etc.? What is the attempted gain? I've gotten melt in your mouth ends and fall apart flat cuts so far with 3/4 day prep and smokes. 70 hours SV? Wow... I can't imagine.

            I think there a four keys to making brisket consistent (I changed this sentence 4 times, so I guess it ain't really that easy). 1 - the trim. 2 - the injection. 3 - the suet bastes. 4 - the cambro w/broth.

            For a comp, I would add an Irish butter baste at 195F and on every 5F degrees - something I've been thinking of doing at home to get ready to participate in a comp. The MO comps are tough - maybe everywhere? But here, it's a SHOW ME kind'a thing.

            Anyway, I saw the list of 100 things you have to bring, and noticed TP wasn't there. I've fished enough parks and played enough softball tourneys to know TP should have been in the top ten items. So I'm feeling smart so far. I'll let everyone know how I do in the upcoming Springfield fall showdown. I started a thread today asking about comp chicken thighs with a Weber 22, and got a GREAT answer from Polarbear777


            Shout out giant white one - thanks again...

            Comment


            • tRidiot
              tRidiot commented
              Editing a comment
              I wanted to try to get medium rare but tender perfect juicy brisket. I haven't had great luck keeping flats juicy, so that's another factor. And SV is EASY. You talk about 70h like it's a problem... I bag it up and forget about it for 3 days. It's all just an experiment. I may go back to full smoke next time, I don't know.

            • JGo37
              JGo37 commented
              Editing a comment
              @ JCGrill & tRidiot Those are good answers, and I wasn't being combative. I did write 'why SV'. I will say that my wife has looked at the first cut of each brisket and said 'are you sure it's done'? Well, she's a city girl. When you take a packer to 200F I don't know how you rate doneness. I keep checking CL for an SV setup. All I have now is a ton of ping pong balls. ;o)

            • JGo37
              JGo37 commented
              Editing a comment
              @ JCGrill & tRidiot Those are good answers, and I wasn't being combative. I did write 'why SV'. I will say that my wife has looked at the first cut of each brisket and said 'are you sure it's done'? Well, she's a city girl. When you take a packer to 200F I don't know how you rate doneness. I keep checking CL for an SV setup. All I have now is a ton of ping pong balls. ;o)
          • Polarbear777
            Club Member
            • Sep 2016
            • 1793

            #15
            Advantage is SV allows you to get the same tenderness as traditional but with meat fibers that never go hotter than medium rare so the meat fibers themselves are more juicy, unlike traditional where the fat and collagen give you moistness but the meat fibers are well past well done.

            And the 72 hours are completely unattended and can chill and store in fridge for days after that and finish in about an hour, whenever.

            I use SV because it always gives me a moist flat. If I’m smoking just the point side I often do traditional.

            Comment


            • JGo37
              JGo37 commented
              Editing a comment
              I get it now - thanks.

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          These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

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          If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the Slow 'N' Sear

          slow n sear
          The Slow 'N' Sear turns your grill into a first class smoker and also creates an extremely hot sear zone you can use to create steakhouse steaks.

          Click here for our article on this breakthrough tool


          The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One

          the good one grill
          The Good-One Open Range is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.

          Click here to read our complete review


          Griddle And Deep Fryer In One

          Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker
          The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, and home fries. Or pancakes, fajitas, grilled cheese, you name it. Why stink up the house deep frying and spatter all over? Do your fried chicken and calamari outside. Blackstone's Rangetop Combo With Deep Fryer does it all!

          Click here to read our detailed review and to order


          The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy

          Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker
          The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.

          Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them


          The Undisputed Champion!

          thermapen
          The Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 is considered by the pros, and our team, to be the single best instant read thermometer. The MK4 includes features that are common on high-end instruments: automatic backlight and rotating display. Don't accept cheap substitutes.

          Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review


          Grilla Pellet Smoker proves good things come in small packages

          Grilla pellet smoker
          We always liked Grilla. The small 31.5" x 29.5" footprint makes it ideal for use where BBQ space is limited, as on a condo patio.

          Click here for our review on this unique smoker


          Delta by Nuke,
          Stylish and Affordable
          Gaucho Grill

          Weber Genesis Grill
          Delta by Nuke burns wood or charcoal and comes with an adjustable height grill grate. This Argentinian grill will get your flame on!

          Click here to read our complete review


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

          Weber Genesis Grill
          Webers 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

          grill grates
          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?

          PK 360 grill
          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

          Click here to order directly and get an exclusive AmazingRibs.com deal


          Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

          kareubequ bbq 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

          masterbuilt gas 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'.

          Click here to read our detailed review


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

          maverick PT55 thermometer
          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!

          Click here to read our complete review


          Track Up To Six Temperatures At Once

          Grilla pellet smoker
          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

          NK-22-Ck Grill
          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 Davey Crockett Grill
          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