ChatGPT – Your BBQ Copilot – Brisket Smoking and Generative AI FTW

I looked at my blog traffic recently and learned something interesting. The most popular topics are BBQ and Generative AI. I usually write about these topics separately, but I will attempt to write about them together today. Maybe their combined power will make the posts explode in popularity.

Let’s explore how to leverage the world’s most advanced Generative AI to help us innovate with low-and-slow barbecue.

What do I mean by BBQ?

Is it BBQ or barbecue? I tend to use the word BBQ to mean meat cooked on a smoker over a long time over a low temperature. Grilling means cooking meat at a high temperature on a grill. To confuse matters more, people use barbecue to mean a party in the backyard where people gather and consume grilled proteins and sides. And, even more confusing, if you ask for BBQ in North Carolina, you will get a pile of smoked pork next to some pickles. So, let’s confuse the matter even more and mean both here. I am going to show you how I leverage Generative AI to optimize the cooking of proteins on a smoker and how to improve your backyard get-togethers.

BBQ Smoking and Generative AI Imagined by OpenAI’s DALL-E 3 Model

Generative AI for Smoking Meats

ChatGPT – Your BBQ Copilot

ChatGPT has helped me answer quick questions. This chatbot from OpenAI is always ready to help and always ready to give you an answer. I ask basic questions and complex scenarios to get clues on where to go. I then turned to forums and groups to refine my skills. This process has filtered out some of my “noob” questions that would just get flamed on an online community and cause me reservations about asking new things. You would be surprised what ChatGPT has general knowledge of and what it can combine to develop novel answers and techniques.


Let me ask ChatGPT how it can help with learning BBQ smoking.

  1. Basic Techniques and Tips: Ask about different smoking techniques, such as the differences between hot and cold smoking, how to maintain a consistent temperature, or the best woods for smoking various types of meat.
  2. Recipes and Rubs: You can get specific recipes for rubs, marinades, and sauces that complement smoked dishes. Just specify the type of meat or vegetable you’re interested in.
  3. Equipment Advice: If you need help choosing or using smoking equipment like smokers, wood chips, or thermometers, ChatGPT can provide advice and tips on what might work best for your needs and budget.
  4. Troubleshooting: Run into a problem with your smoking process? ChatGPT can help troubleshoot common issues like temperature fluctuations, meat drying out, or smoke flavor being too strong or weak.
  5. Food Safety Tips: Learn about the proper internal temperatures for meats to ensure they are safely cooked, and get tips on handling and storing smoked meats.
  6. Pairing Suggestions: Ask what sides, beverages, or desserts pair well with specific smoked dishes to create a balanced and enjoyable meal.
  7. Learning Resources: Get recommendations on books, videos, and websites that are well-regarded resources for both beginners and seasoned BBQ enthusiasts.

What does ChatGPT say about the brisket-making process?

When you use ChatGPT, try variations of your prompt. You don’t have to accept the first response. It’s helpful to remember that it is more like a conversation than a search engine. Give it some detail about your setup, refine your questions, and repeat. Unlike your friends, it will not get bored of you.

Prompt: Give me a timeline for using a vertical smoker to smoke a brisket.


Smoking a brisket in a vertical smoker is a rewarding process that requires careful timing and attention to detail. Here’s a step-by-step timeline to help guide you through the process:

Pre-Smoking Preparation

  1. Selecting the Brisket: Choose a full packer brisket which includes both the flat and the point. Aim for a brisket that’s about 12-14 pounds with good marbling.
  2. Trimming: Trim the fat cap to about ¼ inch thick to ensure even cooking and good flavor penetration.
  3. Seasoning: Apply a dry rub of your choice. A basic rub can be made from salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Let the brisket sit with the rub for at least 1 hour, or overnight in the refrigerator if possible.

Smoking Day

  1. Preheat the Smoker: Early in the morning, start your smoker. Aim to maintain a temperature of 225-250°F (107-121°C). Use wood chips or chunks that complement beef, like hickory, mesquite, or oak.
  2. Place the Brisket in the Smoker: Place the brisket fat side up in the smoker to allow the fat to render and moisten the meat during cooking. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the brisket.
  3. Smoking Phase: Expect the brisket to smoke for about 1 to 1.5 hours per pound. For a 12-14 pound brisket, this means 12-21 hours of smoking. Maintain a steady smoker temperature and add wood chips as needed.

Monitoring and Adjustments

  1. Check Internal Temperature: When the brisket’s internal temperature reaches about 160-170°F (71-77°C), consider wrapping it in butcher paper or aluminum foil. This helps to avoid the stall (where the temperature plateaus) and keeps the brisket moist.
  2. Continue Cooking: After wrapping, place the brisket back in the smoker until it reaches an internal temperature of around 200-205°F (93-96°C). This is the ideal temperature for tenderness.
  3. Resting the Brisket: Once done, remove the brisket from the smoker and let it rest for at least 1 hour, still wrapped, to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.


  1. Slicing: Slice the brisket against the grain. The flat and the point may have grains running in different directions, so pay attention as you slice.

Approximate Total Time:

  • Preparation: 1-8 hours (depending on marinating time)
  • Smoking: 12-21 hours (depending on the size and smoker efficiency)
  • Resting: 1-2 hours

Based on my experience, this response from ChatGPT is accurate and full of little tips. Even the mention of how to slice a brisket is perfect. I might have forgotten to say this if I was coaching a friend through the process. Some things are on autopilot for me. I slice the flat side of a brisket against the grain and autonomously rotate the point to continue my slicing.

Generative AI for BBQ Party Planning

Now that you have an approach for the BBQ smoking process, let’s explore party planning. This is where the real action is. The pressure of having a group of friends over and your BBQ is the star. There is a lot more to having a backyard barbecue than the smoking of the proteins. You have plan out sides, alternatives to meat, desserts, a cocktail, and maybe logistics. You don’t want to be the lame one in your circle? Sometimes that’s okay too, but if you want to go next level, ChatGPT has your back.

Prompt: Design a menu for 8 people. One is a vegan. I want a classic dessert and signature cocktail for the party.


Creating a balanced BBQ menu that caters to both meat lovers and a vegan guest can make your gathering enjoyable for everyone. Here’s a suggested menu for 8 people, including a classic dessert and a signature cocktail:

Main Dishes

  1. Smoked Beef Brisket: A centerpiece dish, smoked low and slow until tender.
  2. BBQ Jackfruit Sliders: A vegan-friendly dish that mimics the texture of pulled pork. Season with a vegan BBQ sauce and serve on small, soft buns.

Side Dishes

  1. Coleslaw: Make two versions of this classic side – one with a traditional creamy dressing and another with a vegan-friendly vinaigrette.
  2. Grilled Corn on the Cob: Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; provide butter on the side for non-vegan guests.
  3. Smoked Vegetables: Include a variety like bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. Use separate trays or parts of the grill to accommodate your vegan guest.


  1. Mixed Green Salad with a Variety of Dressings: Offer choices like balsamic vinaigrette and ranch, ensuring at least one is vegan.

Classic Dessert

  1. Apple Pie: Serve a homemade or quality store-bought apple pie, which is a quintessential dessert that’s generally loved by all.
    • Vegan Dessert Option: Consider also serving a vegan dessert such as sorbet or a vegan fruit pie, ensuring everyone has a sweet treat to enjoy.

Signature Cocktail

  1. Smoked Old Fashioned:
    • Ingredients:
      • 2 oz bourbon
      • 1 sugar cube (or 1/2 tsp sugar)
      • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
      • Orange peel
      • Ice cubes
    • Preparation:
      • Place the sugar cube in a glass and saturate with bitters, add a dash of plain water.
      • Muddle until dissolved.
      • Fill the glass with large ice cubes, add bourbon, and gently stir to combine.
      • For a smoky flavor, briefly flame an orange peel over the drink, then rub it around the rim of the glass and drop it in.
    • Vegan-Friendly Note: Ensure all ingredients are vegan; some sugars and liquors may not be vegan due to their processing methods.

Non-Alcoholic Option

  1. Lemonade and Iced Tea: Offer freshly made lemonade and iced tea, which can be mixed for those who enjoy an Arnold Palmer. These are refreshing and suitable for all your guests.

This is a great response from ChatGPT. I can use this as a guide and easily adapt it depending on how much I want to cater to the guests and how far I want to go with the signature cocktail tie-in.

BBQ Copilot – A Custom GPT for all of us

While writing this blog post, I realized that I could also create a custom chatbot tuned for BBQ. So, I made the BBQ Copilot and published it in the GPTs Store. ChatGPT Plus subscribers can use my custom GPT right now.

BBQ Copilot answering “What are some creative rub and flavor ideas?”

Have Fun, Be Creative, and Give it a Try.

I think it’s important to gain some experience with Generative AI and get first-hand experience with this new tech. Let me know what you try out and what you learn.

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