Thoughts and opinions on hanging ribs on WSM

Discussion in 'Pork' started by bigcitysmoker, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. bigcitysmoker

    bigcitysmoker Fire Starter

    My lovely lady just purchased a 22.5" WSM for me. New 2014 model with the grommet for the temp probes and all.

    Broke her in this weekend and getting ready to smoke some ribs this coming weekend.

    I purchased the expandable hanging rack for the WSM and was thinking of smoking 6 racks.

    I see most people that hang their ribs do not use a water pan and allow the drippings to hit the coals for added flavor. That sounds great and I would love to taste the difference.

    My questions are... with 6 racks, do I risk temp spikes with all the drippings dripping. lol. Would hate to have the bottom halves of the racks dried out.

    I haven't done a test fit to see if I could use the water pan with the hanging rib racks... but if I could, would you recommend using the water pan? or does that defeat the purpose? My main reason for hanging them will be to allow even cook all around the ribs.

    This is my first hanging rib smoke and was hoping to get as much info as needed.

    I thank you all in advance for your thoughts and opinions on this. I would love to hear what you prefer when you hang ribs. Thanks!
  2. bigcitysmoker

    bigcitysmoker Fire Starter

    I also plan to rub and let the ribs sit at least 30+ hours before smoking... I heard that when hanging the drippings tend to wash away the rub. I'll give the ribs ample time to marinate...

    There's no foiling here so I'm guessing the rib texture wouldn't be fall off the bone.
  3. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Congrats on the new WSM and for having such a thoughtful, lovely lady! 

    I have not done a hanging rib smoke in mine, but I have smoked/cooked without the water pan in the WSM, several times since a recent experiment.   The trick is getting even heat but that's pretty easy.  Without the water pan there is no heat deflector, which also acts as an air mixer, so the heat just rises and can create hot spots.  I did not have any issue with temp spikes.  As long as you evenly spread the hot charcoals over the cold ones and wood chunks, you'll be fine without the water pan. I'm sure the rib hangers will chime in shortly. 
  4. bigcitysmoker

    bigcitysmoker Fire Starter

    Thanks for the reply Noboundaries!
  5. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Most rib hanging set ups I have seen have the fire off to the side so it is not directly below the meat. On a 22.5" WSM you can either lay 3 racks flat on each grate or but a rib rack. Both methods will let you smoke 6 racks at once without any issues. I like the Weber rib rack in that I can actually cram up to 7 racks of ribs into it, meaning with two of them I can do up to 14 racks of ribs at one time!
  6. bigcitysmoker

    bigcitysmoker Fire Starter

    Hi JR, I actually purchased the expandable rack for the WSM. My thought for hanging them was set it and forget it... won't have to worry about temp differences between the two racks and no flipping.

    Where my WSM rib hangers at!? lol!
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I never have any issues with ribs on my WSM, I just put them on and walk away for about 5 hrs. Check for bend test at the 5 hr mark, usually end up closer to 6 hrs. before done. Wrap in foil and rest for 30-60 minutes in a dry towel lined cooler.

  8. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My daughter's future father-in-law actually hangs his ribs vertically in a homemade 22.5" WSM. He doesn't have a hanging rack. He drilled holes in the sides of the sheet metal, runs rebar thru the holes, then hangs the ribs from hangers, kind of like an Ugly Drum Smoker or a Pit Barrel Smoker. He only has about 6 inches of clearance from the bottom of the meat to the charcoal. Heck, he doesn't even use any thermometers. Goes by time and feel.

    You might get quicker answers you can use by asking the UDS or PBS guys. I can't recall reading about anyone using the hanging rack in the WSM.
  9. bigcitysmoker

    bigcitysmoker Fire Starter

    Thanks for the replies all! and JR, those ribs look mighty good!

    I think I may try a run of ribs hanging with the water pan in place but wrapped and empty.

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