OK so I smoked for the first time a few weeks ago. I'm not new to cooking, just smoking but its quite easy to do and not as hard as everyone made it sound. I had problem with ribs though, Maybe it was the quality of meat but not sure. I did get the ribs from a local grocery store, baby backs. I cut membrane from backside and dry rubbed over night. There is alot of opinions about apple juice being in the smoker for moisture and some say you don't need it so I did it anyways just to cover all angles. I occasionally sprayed meat with apple juice to keep moist as well. Smoker maintained between 220 to 230, Never had a spike in temp but got down as low as 200 a few times trying to figure out refueling time. I did a charcoal hickory wood mix. about 6 to 7 pounds char base and kept the smoking running on hickory wood for the remaining 6 hours and throwing in tin foiled wrapped cherry and oak packages. 2 of each over the six hours for that sweeter taste. Obviously the hickory was predominate.
The pork butt came out fine which is an easy item to smoke and hard to mess up. I did chicken breast and topped them with fatty thick cut bacon and they came out awesome. A little dry though, Cooked about 45 to an hour to long so I got great feedback on chicken and now will master it. The RIBS!! they looked awesome, They smelled awesome, they even had that great smoke taste!! The problem. Way to tough, You could eat them though. It wasn't like a rock but not tender. I could have gotten better baby backs at Fridays or roadhouse. Why did this happen? was it meat quality? I smoked the ribs for a total of 6 hours at a maintained temp of 220. About every 30 to an hour i sprayed with apple juice and had pan of apple juice right below the ribs. I put the ribs at the furthest part of the grill under the smoke stack so it didn't get over 220, naturally the smoker is hotter when closer to the firebox. My ribs had no pullback at all!!! I was so disappointed. I could better ribs on a standard grill and in an oven than on my smoker. what did I do wrong? I gave you all info in my process if you need any other details just ask.
'Please help! I have family coming this weekend for a BBQ and I'm going to smoke again but want perfect ribs. I plan on getting the ribs at the local popular butcher rather than the grocery store this time. Also, I wanna try a pork shoulder. Is this hard to do?