500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

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upinsmokebbq
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500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby upinsmokebbq » April 23rd, 2012, 12:24 am

As some of you will know from my post in the "building" an RF smoker forum, I have had this cooker for well over a month now ready to go. Just got around to cooking on it yesterday. The main reason for the delay was simply that I was afraid of it. At least in the sense that I was afraid I would screw things up. I had never used a RF cooker or even seen one in operation....and every time I needed to cook it was for a catering job where everything needed to be at least sort of right:-) Long story short, Saturday I needed more capacity than my FEC-100 could provide so I decided to give it a try.

I was and am amazed....threw a half bag of charcoal on the grate & when it was ready, tossed 5 chunks of split hickory about 4" in diameter on top. Temp gauges ran up to 275° and hung there for a pretty good while. I let it drop to 225° and threw in 2 more logs...could have waited a bit or used one log, but had no idea at that point. Best thing to me was that the temperature never varied more than 5 degrees from end to end! Bottom line is that it was extremely easy to use and regulate, burned very little wood, and did a fine job on the chickens & a ham that I had on there.

I am just extremely well pleased with the cooker, and want to thank Frank for the plans and the encouragement...as well as several others on here for their help. I'm now looking for an excuse to cook something else on it...just lovin' this cooker! Got to do 300+ brats for a local church next Thursday...do believe I'm going to smoke 'em:-)

If something doesn't come up to interfere I'm going to enter a Brisket cook-off in about 3 weeks. Guess I'll have to look around and see what kind of advice I can get on that...haven't done many briskets.

Image

Just need to figure out a name for it now:-)


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby maccas66 » April 23rd, 2012, 3:20 am

:kewl: , nice going Upin!


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Gizmo » April 23rd, 2012, 7:17 am

With that much BBQ black I'd call it Darth Vader! Nice looking rig! :)


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby The Czar » April 23rd, 2012, 7:48 am

Murdered out man!!! I do love just flat black........PIMP PIMP!!!!!

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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Frank_Cox » April 23rd, 2012, 8:26 am

Wow upinsmoke! Thanks for the kind words! I am glad we could help. That is what this site is all about. You did a great job on the smoker and sounds like you did a text book job running it during your cook.
Looks great and I hope to see more pics of future cooks!

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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Jethro1 » April 23rd, 2012, 9:05 am

That's great man. Way to go. :needfood:


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby upinsmokebbq » April 23rd, 2012, 9:30 am

Frank_Cox wrote:Wow upinsmoke! Thanks for the kind words! I am glad we could help. That is what this site is all about. You did a great job on the smoker and sounds like you did a text book job running it during your cook.
Looks great and I hope to see more pics of future cooks!

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Well Frank....I was "frankly" stunned that it was so easy to use:-) Maybe the stars, moon & planets were just lined up for me and it will never happen that way again. But I don't think so. As I have said before, your plans were quite good and were instrumental in getting this built.

Sorry about the no QView, but I was sort of scrambling to get my food loaded in the cambro's...along with all the other stuff one has to cart around on a catering job, & just didn't think about pictures.


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Smokeone » April 23rd, 2012, 11:11 am

Nice work Upinsmoke! That is a thing of beauty!
I think I would call it Black Beauty!
:LG: :kewl:


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Frank_Cox » April 23rd, 2012, 2:41 pm

smokeone wrote:Nice work Upinsmoke! That is a thing of beauty!
I think I would call it Black Beauty!
:LG: :kewl:

I was thinking the same thing S1! :kewl:



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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby upinsmokebbq » April 23rd, 2012, 4:18 pm

smokeone wrote:Nice work Upinsmoke! That is a thing of beauty!
I think I would call it Black Beauty!
:LG: :kewl:


Thanks...but I need to be clear here lest someone think I actually have some skills. A friend of mine did all the fabrication work...I drank beer and threw money at it.


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Frank_Cox » April 23rd, 2012, 4:45 pm

upinsmokebbq wrote:Thanks...but I need to be clear here lest someone think I actually have some skills. A friend of mine did all the fabrication work...I drank beer and threw money at it.

Hey buddy, there ain't nothin wrong with that! :beer:



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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby upinsmokebbq » April 28th, 2012, 12:03 am

I'm too tired/lazy to go out to the truck and get the camera....will get some pics uploaded in the morning.

I had my second cook on Darth (may hang with that name:-) Thursday...did about 220 brats for an annual fundraiser at church. It did even better than the first time...Lord, this thing is easy to run. Dumped a half bag of charcoal on the grate & set my propane weed burner from Harbor Freight under it on low for about 15 minutes. Once that was going good I laid 4 pieces of split Hickory on it & closed the door...set my dampers & it climbed to 250° and hung there for 45 minutes. I threw on one more piece of Hickory and that was it. They were done in 1 1/4 hrs., just tossed them in hotel pans with a good splash of beer, covered with foil and let the cooker slowly die down while steaming the brats. They really came out well. FWIW...I had 88 brats on my FEC-100 which is all it would hold...cook time was the same.

A little bit of background here. I have cooked with a competition team for several years. We are old school, have 5 trailer mounted pits of various sizes...the smallest will hold over 60 butts...largest does 175 slabs of St. Louis ribs. You can haul our wood burner with a half ton truck but if it is loaded with wood, it won't like it. In all of our cooking, the hickory is burned down to coals which are then shoveled in to the pits. Not bragging and not complaining...it works and works well. The point is that it is a lot of work and uses an awful lot of wood. In comparison, the RF cooker seems much more efficient. As I have mentioned before, RF cookers are scarce around here. Not saying they don't exist, but I have never seen another. I have had more than one experienced BBQ'er tell me that you can't cook over a live fire..."all that raw smoke will creosote the meat up". All I know to say is that my eyes and taste buds tell me different. The brats that I cooked on the pellet cooker (FEC-100) had more smoke on them than the ones on the reverse flow. Not that that's a bad thing...just sayin'. I like and will continue to use both...they both have their place. But I sure am warming up to Darth:-)

Edit: Got on here to update the thread and couldn't find it...finally noticed that it was a "sticky". Dang...ain't never had one of them before. Thanks Frank!


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Gizmo » April 28th, 2012, 7:38 am

Everybody has their own voodoo magic way of getting smoke into meat and just like a recipe, everybody has a different preference as to how MUCH smoke is correct - no right or wrong here - just opinions ...

With that said - I have had the most CONSISTENT success using charcoal (blue bag Kingsford) as the heat source then add chips, chunks, or small splits to that fire to get the smoke I want - sort of like running a dual fire in one basket ... I'm sure part of that success comes from the 2-step process of heating a large piece of steel (baffle plate) that in turn radiates at a very stable level of heat. Standard crossflow endfed doesn't do that. I think that is the main reason RF designs are so popular once you try one.... :)

I'll get off my soapbox now .... :D


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby upinsmokebbq » April 28th, 2012, 10:16 am

One of these days...and soon I hope, I am going to load this thing up and just cook for pleasure. Having to sometimes rush to get everything panned up, loaded in the cambro's and delivered doesn't always leave a lot of time for pictures. So just a couple on Thursday's brat cook. About 220 brats smoking away in this one:

Image

And the little fire that makes it all happen:

Image

Having a small (probably very small) brisket cook off here in a couple of weeks...do believe I'll throw my hat in the ring. My experience level with brisket is pretty low...but that is true for most folks around here. This is pig country. Any and all advice on brisket is welcome.

This thing is like a new girlfriend...can't stay away from it :D


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Frank_Cox » April 28th, 2012, 11:16 am

:LG: :LG: :points:

as far as the Brisket
Low and slow bro!
here are few things that are high on my radar right now when it comes to our competition brisket...
  • marinate or inject
  • consistent cooking temp
  • wrap in foil about 5 hours in
  • open foil after 2 hours-ish and let some of the heat energy out of the foil and get some crisp back in the bark
  • save juices, re-wrap in foil and rest for at least an hour in cambro
  • remove from cambro, remove foil, put back on smoker for "a few slice, dip in juice, apply sauce then place in box

anybody see something i missed or need to change? :biggrillin:



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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Gizmo » April 28th, 2012, 7:31 pm

That'll all work Frank! :)

I also probe the flat end with an old instant read dial-type temp gauge that no longer works. I keep it just for this reason. With time you will learn how that probe should feel as you push it in and you'll know when to pull it. Every brisket is different so just keep probing it until it's ready - doing it by temp does not work from one brisket to the next ... :D


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby upinsmokebbq » April 28th, 2012, 10:10 pm

Rick wrote:That'll all work Frank! :)

I also probe the flat end with an old instant read dial-type temp gauge that no longer works. I keep it just for this reason. With time you will learn how that probe should feel as you push it in and you'll know when to pull it. Every brisket is different so just keep probing it until it's ready - doing it by temp does not work from one brisket to the next ... :D


I know what you mean with the probe thing. That's pretty much how I judge when pork butts are ready. They're done when they're done. Learned that from a lady who grew up in the BBQ business...her Daddy built a lot of pits in this area. She checked shoulders with an old ice pick with the point rounded off...and could tell by feel when they were ready. Nothing hi-tech about the old timers in this business. It is really no different than checking the done-ness of a steak with your finger. Not that I would do that of course. Unless it was my steak:-)

On the briskets...do you guys cook mostly flats or packers?


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Gizmo » April 29th, 2012, 4:38 am

I like both ends and I think you get a better price per pound doing the full butcher's cut so I usually "Q" the whole thing.
Unless I'm just making corned beef or pastrami then just flats. :)


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Frank_Cox » April 29th, 2012, 8:45 am

I like to do packers. I do partially separate them tho. not all the way, I leave the middle part still attached by a few inches.



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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby mdesmond6275 » June 8th, 2012, 10:12 pm

is that a 6" stack?!!! :points: Looks good man!


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Rodcrafter » January 2nd, 2017, 11:28 am

What size is the brisket? I have never personally cooked a brisket of any size that took 20 hours.


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby forty_creek » January 2nd, 2017, 12:57 pm

Must be low low and slow


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Rodcrafter » January 2nd, 2017, 2:02 pm

My first thought was it was still connected to the cow. Just kidding.


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby Tom_Heath » January 2nd, 2017, 9:52 pm

Whew. Took me a minute to notice the Celsius vs Fahrenheit. Lol


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Re: 500 gal. RF first cook...gonna be honest here.

Postby ajfoxy » January 3rd, 2017, 12:06 am

Should you want to get a tad fancy with the naming convention... Le Grand BBQ de noir.

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