Baby back Ribs on a beautiful Saturday

Discussion in 'Pork' started by jamazz, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. Greetings from Drexel Hill, PA. It's been a while, but I'd like to post about my smoking experience today.

    I haven't been on the forums much... I probably joined them a year or so ago. I have twin 3 y/o girls, and life is hectic. Living in the location I do (City Slicker, Yankee), and rarely having a free hour, let alone 4 or 12...I just don't have time to put a smoker to good use. Well, today was an exception. I decided, because the temps here have been nice lately (mid 60's), that I would take a stab at some ribs. I don't have a lot of experience, but you gotta start somewhere. I figured ribs would be an easy goal.

    Recently, I came into possession of some tuning plates. I have been waiting a long time... looking for someone to make them. I wanted to buy them, but couldn't find a mod dealer that fit my model (Brinkmann Trail-Master Limited Edition). Lucky for me, after surprising a iron worker from Jersey with how much whiskey I could put down, he volunteered to get me some tuning plates. Once completed, I had a few 1/4 inch steel tuning plates and a curved baffle at my disposal.

    Today, I set up my smoker and had the plates in place. Mind you, I have not had the chance to dry run my smoker with the plates and baffle. So i had no idea how the heat would gather.

    I fired up the smoker at about 130 - 2 pm. One of my mistakes was throwing the meat on before getting a good fire going. A rookie mistake... but hey, I'm a rookie. Temps near the baffle and the middle of the smoke chamber were about 50°-60° difference, once I got it to temp. Baffle was ~250°... mid-chamber was about 200°. As soon as I added the meat, (three slabs of dry-rubbed baby back ribs.) I lost my core temp. and it took me an hour to get it back up. Two things that may have been my down-fall: 1. Choked fire-box. 2. Un-tuned... tuning plates. Remember, I didn't dry run my plate spacing.

    After an hour of being depressed about it, I decided to man-up and save my q. I threw open the chamber door, pried up the grilling surface, ribs and all, and separated the plates a little more in the middle and by the stack. I started running round the clock charcoal brickettes and lump coal burns to keep hot fuel ready. As the fire-box started acting more like a furnace, the chamber heat became a little more easier to manipulate and less disparate between the middle and the fire-box. At this point I was more concerned about keeping a steady temp, than I was actually keeping the meat at the temp it needed to be at (250). I was easily keeping the chamber by the box at about 265 and the middle-end by the stack at about 225-230. I put my ribs' smaller ends at the cooler end.

    Once I was able to keep a steady temp, thanks to the tuning plates and my last ditch attempt to save dinner, I could sit back and have a beer in confidence. I wasn't worried about keeping the smaller end at a lower temp; I'm just glad it was stable, and I was convinced I probably needed to keep it on for another hour, anyway. Full recipe called for 4 hr smoke with a 20 min BBQ mop glaze.

    So, I would say that between 230 and 630, I had a good smoke. I put bbq sauce on two racks and left the 3rd dry. After 20 mins for the sauce to glaze, I had a pretty bad-ass trio of baby back ribs. Everyone was in awe, even myself, and it was a great end to my day. Considering I have very little experience with smoking, I'd say I came out on top.

    The meat was tender and pulled right off the bone. The outer bark was red about a 1/4" in and the center was a mild brown. Exactly what one would expect from a good, smoked rack or ribs. Nobody even sat down to eat. Once everyone grabbed their share, they just stood in place, and ate. Haha!

    I used a recipe from Big Bob Gibson's BBQ book for St. Louis style Ribs (News flash... didn't use St. Louis Style. Just regular baby back). I doubled the rub ingredients and used Kraft BBQ sauce for the 20 min glaze. I got the ribs on sale at Acme for a "Buy One Get Two Free" deal. Cant beat that!!!

    I put myself on a pedestal with the family, and it's going to be hard to recreate what I did today... but for today, I felt like I won the lottery.
  2. Pic of my plate spacing.
  3. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    Your next rib smoke should go easier.  Nice deal you got on those ribs.  If your getting raves from family, your doing OK.

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