First Cook of the New Year!!

I decided to cook a brisket this weekend so I picked up a nice 14 pound whole Angus brisket at Sam's on my way home from work Friday night. This morning I gave it the rub

and let it come to room temp while I prepared the fire. I set up an 18' Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) Cooker with a little over 8 pounds of Natural Mesquite Lump Charcoal

     

and a couple sticks of pecan wood.

    

I used pecan because I had an open bag of it sitting in the garage and didn't feel like digging around in the back of my truck looking for hickory or oak which I typically use when cooking brisket. I lit up another pound or so of the Mesquite Lump in a charcoal chimney

     

and poured it on top of the wood and charcoal in the basket of the WSM.
 

I put the brisket in the cooker about 1:30 pm and opened the vents to bring the temp up. I used a remote probe thermometer with a meat probe

and pit probe to monitor the temps of the meat and pit. I closed the cooker and wrapped it in a custom made jacket to keep everything warm!

It was about 10 below when I started this cook. I typically cook with temps around 235 but don't get fussy unless they go below 225 or above 250. Well it was a little cold outside today and I chose not to mess with the vents when the temps climbed up to and then past 275. Once the temps topped 300 I realized that something was very wrong and I needed to do something about it. I checked the vents and found one of them completely open when I thought it was closed. I shut down all three vents and waited for the temps to come down. The temps began to drop and when they hit about 240 I went back out and opened one vent about a third of the way. The temps stabilized for a while and then creeped back up around 260, I let it go. Around 7:30 pm I noticed that the brisket was at the target temp of 190 degrees.

 

I didn't think it could be done cooking as it had only cooked for about 6 hours and was well under the time I expected. I opened the cooker and checked the temp with my Thermopen which registered about 180.

 

I moved the remote temp probe and placed it in the same area where I had checked with the thermopen. I closed everything back up and noticed that the temps climbed up to 290 probably because I had the lid off for several minutes longer than normal to take pictures. You let that much oxygen get to the fire and it will surely pick up a bit!!  About 8:00pm it was at 190 again so I putlled it 

and placed it in a dry cooler for a rest.

About two hours later I pulled it out 

 

And cut it up

This brisket did not have much of a smoke ring and I attribute that to the high tempuratures that I cooked at. This brisket was done in about half the time I expected it to take. There was a light smokiness to this brisket because of the pecan wood that I used but not the robust smokiness that you would get from red oak or hickory. All in all not a bad brisket but not my best effort either. Just goes to show you that when you let your processes slip that there can be consequences!! Next time I will use the Red Oak or Hickory and I will fuss about the temps even though it is cold outside!!