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Apprehensive about overnight cooking

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    Apprehensive about overnight cooking

    I'm looking at my first overnight cook, and I'm a little apprehensive. Planning to follow Meathead's schedule for a 12-pound brisket, which has me firing up at 11pm, putting the brisket on the grill (Weber Performer Deluxe, with brand-new SnS Deluxe -- sure do like those deluxes) around midnight and cooking through the night. Have my gear, the brisket, the rub, the cooler and everything I'll need to start on Thursday night and finish up on Friday afternoon.

    I just feel a little uneasy about leaving the Weber cooking all by itself in the back yard while we sleep inside. What was it like for your first overnight cook, and is there anything I should be aware of? I'm in SE Michigan, and we don't have any no-burn alerts that I know of. Thanks muchly --

    Are you uneasy because of an unattended fire or unattended temp management or something else? I've not done an overnight yet but have thought the Performer ash catcher would be quite safe for this with a low and slow SNS cook. Might also be helpful if you have a grill thermometer with a remote to set high and low pit temp alarms. On the other hand (weather permitting) I would most likely find a comfortable outside chair and a stocked cooler to dive into between baby sitting naps. lol


    • Ann-Marie in the backyard
      Ann-Marie in the backyard commented
      Editing a comment
      It's mostly the unattended fire that I'm worried about. I do have a 2-probe grill thermometer with a high/low alarm, a Thermopro TP20. I should have mentioned that. Thanks for the reassurance! I guess I can camp out on the porch, as long as I give myself a good hosing of bug repellent -- those little beasts think I'm delicious.

    The only overnight cooks I have done are on my pellet cookers which have a control so different animal. A remote therm, as suggested would work. People with more direct knowledge will chime in shortly.

    Welcome to the Pit by the way.


    I have never trusted a kettle to hold a steady enough temperature to sleep at night. So I added a BBQ Guru PartyQ a few years ago, and it works great. I believe that device was superseded recently, but there are plenty of similar options out there.


      Never done it on a Performer or a kettle, but I do overnighters all the time on my Weber Smokey Mountain on my deck with a couple fiber/cement pads underneath it. Never had a problem. And welcome to the pit.


      I have done several overnight briskets with just the SnS and a thermometer with a high/low alarm. For an 11PM start I would set my alarm for 3:00 or 4:00AM and just check on it and go back to sleep. I must admit is hard to get a good sleep knowing the grill is going. So I finally bought a temperature controller so I can get a good night's sleep. Over all I never had any problems with or without the temp controller. I wouldn't worry about it too much. I think 1 middle of the night check is sufficient.

      And yes..Welcome to the pit. Let us know how things work out.


      Honestly I worry more about fire management than starting something else on fire. Unless you have some kind of temp alarm (easy peasy with a fireboard, etc.) there's nothing you can do about it short of stay awake.


        If you have run your Performer with the Slow 'N Sear during the day, and know the vent settings that give you consistent low-and-slow temperatures, there is no reason to not trust it at night. I use Weber briquettes (hard to find now except at Ace), and did a Boston Butt just this past Friday night, and got 14 hours of consistent 225F out of a single load of briquettes in my Performer Deluxe with the SNS.

        If you fire up the initial 10-12 briquettes around 10:30, get them into the corner of the SNS with a full load of charcoal by 11, then fill with water, drop the grate on, and add your meat once the kettle is approaching 225 (let's say 11:30), you should be good for 7-8 hours if using KBB (Kingsford original in the blue bag). I've found that the charcoal you use has a big impact on how much sleep you can get before setting your alarm. That said, I also use a Smoke to monitor both the meat and the kettle temp, and it will wake me up if the temp goes below 200F, or about 300F. It has not woken me up in a couple of years now. I usually get up around 6:30am, and usually find several hours of charcoal remain when I go check the grill.

        If you are worried about safety with the kettle being unattended... I personally wouldn't sweat it. It's a very small smoldering fire enclosed inside a lot of metal. I've yet to see briquettes produce any sort of spark that would fly up and out the vent at the top of the kettle. I have seen sparks from lump charcoal, but that was mostly when lighting it in a chimney, not during a cook.

        Hopefully you don't keep your Performer in the middle of a big patch of dry pinestraw or hay, and a stray spark is nothing to worry about, but again - I've yet to see a spark ever leave vent at the the top of my kettle, or my the stack on my offset smoker for that matter, and it has a much larger fire in the firebox.

        Go to sleep, set an alarm for 7-8 hours from when you set the fire, and when you get up, rake all coals to one end of the SNS, and pour in some more charcoal to let it burn back the other way, then close it back up until the meat is done.

        It if it helps, here are my burn times on different brands and types of charcoal in the SNS on a Performer Deluxe, at 225F:

        Kingsford Original (KBB) - 7 to 8 hours
        Royal Oak Briquettes - 5 to 6 hours
        B&B Lump - 10+ hours
        Weber briquettes - 12 to 14 hours



        • Ann-Marie in the backyard
          Ann-Marie in the backyard commented
          Editing a comment
          Jim, thanks so much for the detailed information! I normally use KBB but I got my hands on a bag of Weber briquettes that I was saving -- maybe this is the time to open it up.

        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Ann-Marie in the backyard I reserve the Weber exclusively for overnight cooks. I’ve been hoarding a half dozen bags I got at the end of 2018 on clearance, and only break it out if cooking overnight. If it’s a daytime cook I use something cheaper and easier to get.

        • Rod
          Rod commented
          Editing a comment
          jfmorris Dito

        I have done what you do, though I usually start mine at 3/4am.

        Never had a problem with. sleeping while the Weber with SNS is going. Thing holds crazy good in my kettle (old and bent as it is). I can ride ~235 degrees for an easy five hours, often much more if the wind isn't too strong.

        If you get the vents set right, and have a wireless thermometer set up (and provided you're not a deep sleeper), I doubt you'll have much trouble
        Last edited by Loren; July 14, 2020, 03:29 PM. Reason: Edited for grammatical whoopsie


          Welcome to The Pit Ann-Marie. I think a bit of apprehension is perfectly natural on your first overnight cook. After all, you're trusting that everything goes as planned. Have you done a long cook using the SnS? If not, try a dry run, or cook something easy like a pork butt or a chuck roast.
          The pit thermometer would help ease your concerns, but is not absolutely necessary. And don't worry about holding a steady temp. If you keep it between about 225° and 300° you should be fine. Try running at the lower end while sleeping so it still has some time left when you get up, but I wouldn't worry too much. If it will ease your mind, check at about 6 hours and then get more sleep if you want.

          Ya got this.


          Here's my thoughts...for what their worth. If your starting with a 12lb brisket untrimmed then you will have something around a 10lb or less brisket when trimmed. I would just move my temps up to say 275-300F get up early and cook it hot and fast so I didn't need to do it overnight. Even at 12 lbs you should be finished for dinner that evening.


          • Ahumadora
            Ahumadora commented
            Editing a comment
            +1 bang that baby to 375F and see how they wayward brisket jumps to attention!!

          • HawkerXP
            HawkerXP commented
            Editing a comment
            +3, crank it up.

          I do overnight cooks. I also have a different setup, a primo XL with a cybercue controller. If I fill the firebox with good lump I’m gonna be fine UNLESS the power fails.

          so the question is how long does your fuel last at a given temperature point? And if something goes wrong will the remote thermometer make enough racket to wake you up?


            I have done a number of overnight cooks on my Weber with the SNS. I will usually get everything going and let it run for an hour or two just to make sure the temp is holding somewhat steady where I want it to be and then go to sleep for a couple hours, wake up, check my temps, go back to sleep, check again in a couple hours, and so on.

            If you are extra picky about what temperature your grill is at you might want to check every hour. Personally if I am shooting for 250 degrees I will set my high and low alarms at 300 and 200. Anywhere in that range is fine with me for an overnight cook. If you are exhausted the next day take a couple hour nap while the meat rests in the cooler.


              Ann-Marie in the backyard I will add that since you have the Thermopro, you ought to be able to monitor both meat and grate level temp on the kettle from inside the house. I just read the Thermopro TP20 manual online, and it appears probe 2 can be set with both a HI and a LOW alarm, that can wake you up if the charcoal starts running out, or things get out of control. That said, I would not set it to close to your desired temp. I usually set my alarms to 200F (low) and 300F (high) on overnight cooks, and am happy if the kettle stays in the 225 to 250 range.


              • Ann-Marie in the backyard
                Ann-Marie in the backyard commented
                Editing a comment
                The Thermopro has been terrific for monitoring grate & meat temps for pork butt, smoked bacon and tri-tip I've done. I may have to finagle a bit with the location of the receiver to make sure the signal carries inside the house, but that's an easy project. Thanks very much for the suggestion on high/low temps!

              I do overnights with kettle and thermoworks smoke. My 2 cents are don’t expect a great nights sleep and remember to turn your temp probe alarm on!



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