Beef short ribs, smoke ring help

Discussion in 'Beef' started by khnry, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. khnry

    khnry Newbie


    Beginner here. For my first ever run, I went with some beef short ribs. It turned out pretty tasty and tender - family was happy.

    However, I was very disappointed because I wasn't able to get that beautiful, pinkish smoke ring that I've seen on some good bbq. Was it because I didn't use enough wood for my smoke? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Any advice on temperature / cooking time to get it a bit juicier would also be appreciated as well, because the middle was perfect, but towards the edges could have been a tiny bit more moist.

    Some info:
    -5.5 lb, 3-bone plate of short ribs (whole)
    -18.5" WSM
    -Used the 3-2-1 method
    -Average temperature about 265, internal temperature about 197
    -Used 2 apple wood chunks, each the size of a computer mouse.
    -Water pan half full.
    -only kosher salt & cracked black pepper
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
  2. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Something like this?

    These were done in my mini-wsm.

    Temp was 265

    Wood was 1 chunk apple and 1 chunk cherry.

    Cooked in 3.5 hours and no wrap.
  3. smokednarwhal

    smokednarwhal Meat Mopper

    Did you use lump or briquettes? Lump produces almost no nitrogen, and the smoke ring is produced by a reaction of the meat protein myoglobin and carbon monoxide and nitrogen. Briquettes and wood chunks along with a water pan or frequently mopping will produce the ring you are looking for. It is very visually appealing, but the smoke flavor can be just as good without it.
  4. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I can get the same ring with lump.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
  5. smokednarwhal

    smokednarwhal Meat Mopper

    Lump alone or with wood chunks? OP wrote that he only added two small chunks of wood, so my thoughts were such a small amount of wood along with lump charcoal didn't produce enough nitrogen. I too have achieved a good smoke ring with lump and a decent amount of wood.
  6. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I only used 2 small chunks also.
  7. smokednarwhal

    smokednarwhal Meat Mopper

    The ribs in your photo are gorgeous no doubt. I am very curious about what produced such different results. If it wasn't the fuel sorce then perhaps the issue is with temperature stability, humidity or wrapping?
  8. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  9. khnry

    khnry Newbie

    I used briquettes for my fuel. Maybe it was because I used a small amount of wood? I just didn't want to over-smoke on my first try.

    Thanks guys.
  10. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    khnry, sorry your Ribs didn't come out as you liked . I have a few comments to ponder.

    First , I like your choice of Spices, exactly what Beef needs. After you have seasoned and cooled the meat , take it ( immediately to the (pre-heated to 265*F) Smoker and

    place it in cold. Meat seems to take on more smoke when cold and left alone.  That means put it in with your 'probe therm.' in it , close the door and watch the temps.

    Take it to 200*F for tender Ribs , a bit lower for bite off Ribs.

    Play with your Smoker and learn how it works at different heats , and start and keep a 'LOG' of all you cooks . You will gain knowledge easier that way.

    Do some Chicken (whole and parts) to determine how your Smoker cooks. Then get a Butt and begin your Journey to 'Smoke Nivana' .

    Once you have gotten the hang of your little 'Baby' , do some more Ribs and tell us how they were.

    Practice will keep you from being Jaded and get rid of your Smoker. I've seen that a lot.

    The best advice is for you to learn 'Patience' .

    Have fun and . . .
  11. khnry

    khnry Newbie

    I actually did another run today and it turned out 10x better, including the color as well as the smoke ring.

    The only thing I did was add one more wood chunk, and took the internal temp to about 187. This time was far better and I was very satisfied.

    I will try some chicken & pork next. Thanks!
  12. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ring or not, your ribs look great! More than likely the reason you didn't get the ring is because of the braise (foiling).
  13. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Short plate ribs are great. I never take them over 140 though.

  14. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Smoke ring does not define smoked meats. I use several types of smokers and all of them can put out incredibly tasty food, only one will get smoke ring. What makes the diffrence as the others are saying is practice, pacients and you. Everyone has a diffrent learning curve and style. You need to use your strengths and build up your weaknesses. Meaning if you have very little experience cooking, you need to start at the beginning and take small steps, otherwise you will get frustrated. Start with foods that are forgiving and get quicker results. This way you see them faster and you dont get too anxious and keep looking at the food or thermometers. Start with chicken thighs and legs. Move to whole chicken, then pork butts. Ribs are after you get the hang of the controls of your smoker, finally brisket.

    Get an accurate, calibrated thermometer to monitor the cook chamber and the meat. Something like the Maverick. Have an accurate calibrated pocket thermometer to double check with. People are smitten with the thermapen, good but others do the same job for less money.

    Keep a log with notes on your cooks. I know it is a pain, but it will help. Keep track of things like food items cooked, temp cooked at, temp pulled out, seasoning, wood type, what shelf cooked on and even the weather. Was it windy, hot, cold, sunny, cloudy or rainy? All of these things can and will effect your cooks.

    Most importantly, be pacient and give yourself some slack. This is meant to be fun and relaxing. As long as you handle you the food products properly, experiment and have fun.

    Lots of great people on this site. Dont be afraid to ask questions. If you don't want to put it out for everyone to see, PM someone who you have seen do what you are wanting to do.

    Happy smokin

  15. khnry

    khnry Newbie

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    You seemed to have read my mind Jeramy. i actually have been practicing with some of the equipment that you mentioned - maverick, and thermopop (thermapen's cheaper alternative), and have been keeping a "BBQ journal" of sorts. I really do think it's just a combination of reading up and actually doing it. 

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