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Apprehensive about overnight cooking

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    Welcome! I'm NW of you about ~2hrs. You'll have a good cook if you have a thermometer with alarms. You'll need to plan on tunking the coals to drop the ash and sweeping the ash at or near the 4hr mark, and a probably re-load of charcoal (and another ash sweep) at about the 8 hr mark, give or take. At 12-17lbs I'm usually at 12 hrs total, including 1-2hrs of "faux cambro" hold time, cooking at 250ish and wrapping after the stall.


    Welcome to the Pit!


    I’ve done many overnight cooks. Used to lose a lot of sleep. Alarm set every 30 mins to check temps. When I switched to a stickburner I was still setting a 30-min alarm, but now to feed the fire.

    About a year ago I got tired of being tired the next day and started cooking earlier the day before, then getting the meat in the warming oven around midnight. I sleep all night long while the meat rests in the oven. Great barbecue for lunch and I’m awake and happy to enjoy it!

    But to answer your question, no, it never bothered me to have a cooker going by itself during the night...ok, maybe the first time 😎
    Last edited by Santamarina; July 15, 2020, 01:43 AM.


      Your feelings are normal but you will be fine. I agree with everyone else that you will have broken sleep that night but in the end it is worth it! The more you do it the easier it will become and you will rest easier, I promise. The best advice I have seen on this thread is a thermometer with an alarm. If something goes wrong either way you will know it. Good luck and welcome!


        Thank you all for the information, advice and encouragement. I'll go with Meathead's original schedule in the Texas Smoked Brisket recipe and aim for the stars. I'll take pictures and notes and turn in a report at the end.


          Bourbon helps.


          • Ann-Marie in the backyard
            Ann-Marie in the backyard commented
            Editing a comment
            OH yeah it does. I'm usually more of a vodka person, but if all goes well on this one I'll be exploring the bourbon stash.

          I do unattended overnighters all the time - I use insulated cabinets and FireBoard. That said, you should stay up for your first. watch temps, see how the cooker responds to wind or cooler night time temps. Babysitting it once will give you confidence that you know enough about it to sleep next time.


            Well... You know what they say...

            Huntington Beach welcomes you.


              We have some pretty smart night-time critters around here and I'm always nervous they'll get into my cook. I left an Igloo Playmate cooler out one night and I saw raccoon handprints all over the button, but they didn't get in. That's how smart they are: they know to push the button then tilt the lid, but never made it work. Opening a kettle would be easy for them unless you weigh it down or latch it somehow. The ones around here are not at all scared of humans, until I pick up the hose to douse them. You have a dog?


              • Ann-Marie in the backyard
                Ann-Marie in the backyard commented
                Editing a comment
                Two dogs, and a fence around the yard. The only things I've seen in the backyard are rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks -- not to say we don't have the usual groundhog-deer-raccoon-skunk nearby. Thanks for the warning, though -- we've got a 3-season porch with a latched door, and I'll keep all coolers and food-related stuff inside. Hopefully the heat of a 225 degree cooker will deter a smart raccoon.

              Ann-Marie in the backyard how did the brisket cook go for you?



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