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dedicated fabrication for rib and the 3-2-1 method

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

just to kick around some ideas but the concept is to really get away from the foil and use a dedicated reusable item to provide teh middle part of the 3-2-1


I have a few ideas mostly around a vertical smoker because that is what I have.


1. simple box to put a rib and sauce into. a light weight unit to heat up like foil and steam the ribs.

2. a new rack design for the smoker. one that allow you to slide a shallow (.5" ) pan under a rack and a well fitted top to cover the ribs. optionally a rack to hold the ribs vertically 


I guess in the end you could just create a dedicated rib smoker(that would be cool to say take a masterbuilt XL and make it so you could cook 40 racks :) but that is for another day.


there are plenty of you guys on the board with the talent to understand what I am asking and be able to make it better. I look forward to some feedback and other ideas. 


if there good make the Jeff can patent it re-sell it to support the site :)

post #2 of 8

When you foil the ribs with liquid in there, you are really doing a mini braise.


Some here will use a pan with foil over the top.  Still a form of mini braise.


Experiment and see what you like!


Good luck and good smoking.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
I thought it was more like steaming. maybe I am foiling them wrong. I place them meat side up on the foil,add juice then tent the foil. is that wrong
post #4 of 8

Got me confused now?  Not your fault, the problem is on my end I am sure.


When doing 3-2-1 or some variation thereof?  When we hit the point to foil, we usually wrap them tightly in foil, leave one end open.  Add a little liquid in the open end, and then close up tightly to form a foil "envelop" if you will.  With the small amount of liquid in there and the steam in the closed environment, you are very close to a braise technique.


Many do not foil their ribs at all.


Experimentation will determine the best method for you and your family.


Good luck and good smoking.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

I think the only difference there is I don't wrap tightly. darn back to the drawing board and see if how I wrap them has any effect on my process.

post #6 of 8

I'm not sure of the grate size in your Masterbuilt XL. I tried to google for a source so I could read the specs...nada...anyway, a good fit for my Smoke Vault 24 with a grate size of 15" x 22.5 is a 12" x 18" aluminum cake pan. I can fit 3 slabs of spares with overlap & makeshift stacking, or 2 slabs St Louis, BBs or Loin Backs side-by-side in one pan.


Another possible choice for sizing is a full size disposable aluminum steam table pan, but these fill the grate space fairly tight in my SV24, so one of these pans is all you can use at one time, or baffling of heat occurs with anything above the lowest pan. I can still smoke other items below a pan, and do fine, but multiple pans are a serious problem. This baffling also reduces the smoker's convective efficiency, thereby increasing the overall cooking time. The full-size disposable pans are 4" deep, so you can have the ribs on racks standing on edge and fit 5 - 6 slabs per pan while tented. When smoking ribs or panning them while in racks, being vertical orientation, they seem to take longer to smoke and finish cooking. Also, if the slabs are touching each other, there will be cold spots and little to no bark formation or smoke reaction with the meat where they touch each other, and they can be undercooked in those areas, as well.


Vertical smokers can bring some challenges to overcome if you load them up with large items, as the baffling effect will always be there as a result of reduction in flow around the sides of the larger objects. This can be compensated for by periodically rotating the grate positions from top to bottom, etc, and running higher chamber temps. With the slightly smaller sized 12" x 18" pan, the baffling is still there, although not as prevelent as it is with the grate nearly completely covered with a full size steam table pan.


I have found that it is beneficial to use double grate spacing between pans in order to help compensate for the baffling, as well. The additional space between the pans allows for more heat to travel inward towards the next pan as it passes above the sides of the first pan, and so on.


I guess looking back through this, try to remember that going vertical and loading it up really changes alot of what is going on in the smoke chamber, not only the flow of heat/smoke, but the amount of exposed surface of the rib slabs if in racks. You have a lot of potentially usable grate space and overall smoke chamber dimensions, and if multiple pieces of meat are smoked while spaced correctly on the grates (chamber wall to meat gap, meat to meat gap), you will achieve the best results based on the design characteristics of this type of smoker. Once you start to crowd things more and more, you will see the resulting finished product quality become more and more difficult to control...to the point where it is no longer controllable and quality deteriorates drastically, unless counter-measures are implimented.


Just some things for you to consider during your quest. I had a very similar idea for smoking 10-12 slabs of loin backs for a gathering a while back, but realizing what I was asking of my smoker, I dismissed the idea. Heat rises up though the vertical smoke chamber very well, if not obstructed. Large objects create obstructions...overcoming the issues which followed from there brought some interesting trial-by-fire smokes in my outdoor kitchen, and the humbling realization that, as good as my plans and efforts were, I could not fully conquer the issues that lie ahead.


Not saying it can't be done, it's just very difficult, at best.




post #7 of 8

Great explanation Eric!

post #8 of 8

Yes that is a really good explanation. I had sort of a problem a few smokes ago with the 

heat not getting where it needed to be at the top rack of the smoker. My conclusion was that

the pan of beans I had under the ribs was blocking the heat from getting to the top. Therefore, the

beans were great but the ribs really suffered and I was not pleased at all.



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