First time Baby back ribs

Discussion in 'Pork' started by djohn3853, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. Hi All

    So this is my 3d time smoking and each time has been something different.  First time it was a 12 lb turkey with applewood.  Haven't started a log yet but I think it was about 6 hours.  Nice smoke flavor but a little dry.  Didn't brine it, but next time I will.  Next it was a 7 lb pork shoulder picnic with hickory for pulled pork.  Didn't go so well.  Recipe said 8 to 10 hours.  I was hoping for 8 and started at 8 am.  At 4 pm internal temp was only 140F.  At 6 pm internal was 170F.  Had hungry family and guests and being the impatient type I took it off.  It wouldn't pull so it had to be cut and chopped up.  Nice flavor but not exactly what I had hoped for.

    Anyway, this time it was a practice run for July 4th.  4 racks of babyback ribs with hickory.  Did the 2-2-1 method.  Rubbed with mustard to hold the dry rub.  Dry rub came right out of the Weber book.  Rubbed them up only 1/2 hour before smoking.  Put 6 chunks around the outer most edge of the charcoal ring.  Keep in mind I'm still a rookie at this.  Things were going well.  2 hours without foil.  Then foiled them for the second step.  About 3-1/2 hours in I started losing temp.  It dropped to about 210F and I couldn't spike it by opening all vents wide open.  As I said, I'm the impatient type and my assistant (23 yr old son) is even more impatient.  I looked in side and saw 2 hickory chunks hardly burned at all.  I couldn't see if the others were more burned or not.  Any way I poured in about 35 unlit briquets.  10 minutes now I fired up my chimney with aobut 50 briquets. Let that cook for about 10 minutes and then poured them in.  Instantaneous spike to 280-300.  Now its time for the final hour with foil.  Mopped on some sauce.   That was also right from the Weber book.

    Anyway, the ribs turned out fantastic even with the slight hiccups along the way.

    Wanted to share and get some feed back.  I think one theme so far from my 3 smokes is that I'm using a lot of charcoal.. Need to get more experience with that aspect.

    What I've done after each smoke and when everything is completely cooled is stir around the unburned or half burned brickets.  All the ash drops to the bottom.  I dump the ash but save the briquets.  Is that wrong?  I had a theory that the half burned stuff is smaller and more tightly packed therefore less air circulation.

    Like I said looking for any feedback.
  2. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Are ya using a Weber kettle?

    Gotta post up some pics.
     Yes, you are. Opening the dampers will get things going, in due time. Sounds like your unburnt chunks were sitting on unburnt coals that would have been going in a little while if you had just opened the damper a tad and waited. Sounds like you have some good knowledge, now comes the practice..

    Welcome aboard
  3. hhookk

    hhookk Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like you're doing everything right, but you lack one thing, and you said it yourself. Patience. Learn to wait a little longer for temps to catch up. It isn't instantaneous. It takes time for the heat to build up. Relax and have a beer while waiting (or two or three) You'll be fine with some patience. And like Pit 4 Brains said, practice, practice,practice. The more experience you have the easier it will get. You'll know what to expect and won't be so anxious to move things along rather than let things happen at their natural pace. Good luck.
  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now that could be why I have a gas unit. It almost a set it and forget it smoker. But I do also have a charcoal unit too. It does use alot of charcoal. I'm not a beginner in smoking I kinda of a beginner at charcoal. I have used it alot in the past but that was 20 years ago. Now I have use it a few times for everyone says Q taste better on charcoal then gas so I had to try it. To me they both are good a little different but not that much. But both of theses guys are giving you some good info and the Patience thing is a big one. That's why it called LOW and SLOW smoking and not big, bold, and fiery smoking.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  5. Hhookk said it best, Have a beer or two! I was a worry bug bad till I stuck a chest filled with bud light by my smoker[​IMG].  One thing about the charcoal, try lump charcoal.  I use Royal Oak.  Its 6 bucks a bag at walmart.  Its easier to light, burns hotter and Is cheaper so you cant go wrong.
  6. +1 on that lump charcoal idea.  you will be amazed at how little ash and unburned coals there are at the end of the smoke. 
  7. Anybody wish to comment about the re-use of briquettes ? 

    Also, how much to use.  The numbers in the book that came with the wsm seem low.  Example:  for ribs it says to use 50 briquettes. (for the 18" and 75 for the 22")   This is for a full smoker and a 4-6 hours smoke time.
  8. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    Only to say use lump charcoal instead. Then you won't need to worry about unburned lumps of mostly clay and dirt.

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