Newbie questions

Discussion in 'Pork' started by aztiger98, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. aztiger98

    aztiger98 Newbie

    I'm looking to smoke my first rack or two of ribs in a couple of weeks.  I've been scouring the forums and the internet and have found some information, but I'm hoping some of y'all can help me out a little, as I still have several questions.

    I'm planning to go with the 3-2-1 method, as I have loin back ribs.  I have a Brinkmann Electric Smoke N' Grill.

    1) Should I only put wood on during the first and third stages, and then for the second stage, just have (primarily, as I don't plan on cleaning out the smoker in between) the lava rocks providing all of the heat?

    2) How many wood chunks are ideal?  I don't know what size(s) I have out back right now - sometimes have to use 5-6 if I have small chunks

    3) With the Brinkmann Electric, do I need to soak the wood chunks in advance?  Most of the info I've seen online says don't soak the wood at all...but I thought I'd seen somewhere that the Brinkmann ALWAYS needs the wood soaked to reduce the possibility of flare-ups and such.

    4) For stage 2 - I've got a pretty good list of the typical "ingredients" to choose from.  But what I don't yet have is an idea of how to determine the ratios of the various types of ingredients.  Is that basically just "dependent on personal taste"?  I'm not anywhere close to a trained chef, so I would almost be just mixing things up and tasting as I go

    5) Also for stage 2 - are there any particular categories of ingredients that tend to go well together, or again, is the combination of ingredients just according to personal taste? Any particular combinations of initial dry rub and stage 2 mixture that go well together or that should be avoided (if needed I can share what I think my dry rub is going to be - just wondering how to select a stage 2 mixture to complement the initial dry rub, whatever it may be.

    6) Lastly, for stage 2 again - are there any ingredients that are "necessary" for stage 2?  For example, must one ALWAYS include a liquid in the mixture?

    I think I'm going to try smoking the ribs over apple wood, maybe with some black walnut thrown in. 


    David McWaters
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  2. bigfoot21075

    bigfoot21075 Fire Starter

  4. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    These of course are my opinions based on what my family likes to eat. I am sure there are a million ways to cook ribs so it is up to you.
  5. bigfoot21075

    bigfoot21075 Fire Starter

    One other thought, if you pay attention to temps and check the meat itself time to time you are most likely going to have a darn good dinner. just remember to relax and enjoy the process - it really is half the fun!
  6. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    There are lots of ways to do ribs. Loin ribs are usually pretty hefty. I have had them take an extra hour before once when I got some really meaty ones. Never seen any like that since. 3-2-1 is a general rule and a good place to start. I always use apple juice in the foiling stage. Once you foil you don't need the smoke. If you foil that is. I wouldn't foil and just go the straight 6 hours with smoke the whole time. If you are putting out thin blue smoke the whole time your ribs will not be over smoked unless you use a very strong wood the whole time like Hickory or Mesquite. I swear by apple and cherry myself but it is pure personal preference as to what wood you use. Lots of people love pecan. I have no access to pecan up here in Washington. Never soak your wood. If you have a flare up look for the cause and correct it. Good smoke and temperature control are what it is all about.  There are literally hundreds of rub recipes on this site or you can try a store bought one if you wish. I really like jeff's rub and totally swear by it. Get yourself a good reliable thermometer to monitor your smoker temperature. Do not trust the one that came with it. If you have any more questions fire away. 
  7. aztiger98

    aztiger98 Newbie

    Well, the first rack I ever smoked is in the books.  Didn't turn out too bad, and I at least know some areas to fix.

    I used the apple wood from Wal Mart - per suggestions, I weighed out 3 sets of 5-6 oz of the wood (the Smoke-n-grill needs wood replaced after about 1.5 hours or so, so I couldn't get through stage one of the ribs without putting wood in at least once.  I did soak it, but only for the 20 mins that the smoker manual told me to.

    Used a rub recipe I found in a grilling cookbook - however, I didn't realize that we were out of paprika.  To substitute for that, I put in some Northwest Fire Seasoning from Penzey's and left out the chipotle pepper the recipe called for (since the Northwest Fire has both paprika AND chipotle in it).  Also had some ground ancho chile pepper, black pepper, brown sugar, and salt.  For the foil mixture, I decided on honey,Thai sweet chili sauce, and apple cider vinegar.

    Problems I noticed from my first attempt to correct next time.  1) I used way too much rub.  I'd seen a suggestion somewhere that I should put rub on before the ribs went on the grill, and then again before the ribs went on for the last hour.  I used a full recipe both times - thinking I should've maybe done a half recipe or 3/4 recipe both times, or else not even done the rub before the last hour on the smoker, because it came out rather salty...and was quite spicy - which I like spicy, but my wife's not crazy about extra-spicy food.  2)  I forgot to check and refill the water pan - and I think that caused the ribs to dry out a little - but overall, not much.  Nomally, filling the water pan is something I only have to do once, but apparently with ribs, it gets empty faster. 

    No, I didn't have the cookie sheet on the grill - only thing I had big enough to carry the ribs back in to the house.  The rack was so fall-off-the-bone that it split in half when I put it on the pan.  Had to use two grill spatuals to move the rack, b/c the grill tongs weren't enough to keep it from bending and tearing.
  8. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Looks really good for your first time. I get at least 4 racks per recipe amount of Jeff's. DON'T SOAK YOUR WOOD! Happy smokin' timber.
  9. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    You will get a lot of varying answers on the water pan. It seems that most people don't believe it helps moisten the meat. I stopped using mine recently and haven't noticed a difference.

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