10:30 Preheated smoker to 225 while the ribs sat on the kitchen counter for about 20 minutes.
11:00 Put the still cold ribs in the smoker. The packages are wide open at the top to expose the meat while still retaining the marionade for moisture. (I don’t know if this did anything other than make it messier inside the grill when I removed the wrap totally. The next time I’ll begin without foil underneath.)
11:30 Just caught my first whiff of tonight’s supper. Smells good already. Removed foil entirely. Rib meat is amazingly soft and the entire rack is very flexible. It seems plumper than when I first began prepping yesterday.
11:35 I’m beginning the 2-2-1 method. Ribs placed bone side down on the bare rack and will remain undisturbed for 2 hours.
11:35 Added one cup of hickory & cherry chips (first time). That gave me approximately 20 minutes of good smoke on the MES.
12:00 Added one cup of hickory chips, about another 20 minutes of good smoke
12:30 The last cup of wood chips is going in. I’ve got a good coating of rub on these ribs and don’t want them too smoky flavored. However, I did add a couple of small hickory chunks to this load since I could and I have the larger wood tray modification in my MES. Just a bit more wood in the fire than the last two loads . . . maybe a cup and a third. Not huge by any standards. I added the small wood chunks through the tray loader first and did my final cup of chips immediately after.
That gave me an additional 30 minutes of "great" smoke to the meat. So what I have is 40 minutes of good smoke and 30 minutes of great smoke. That should be enough smoke. Big step coming up. This ends the first 2 hour part of the 2-2-1.
1:30 Beginning the 2nd 2 hour period of the 2-2-1. Pulled the meat from the smoker, splashed with apple juice, sealed the ribs in foil, placed meatside down on rack.
Here it is after 1 hour in. Lots of shrinkage but not much from off the bone yet. The brown is about what I would expect from my rub, since it contains a bit of brown sugar.
The larger rack looks about the same. No shrinkage at the bone level yet. Both racks required two sets of tongs to pull them off the grate. They seemed too fragile to lift otherwise.
I gave both racks a good splash of apple juice before sealing and placing meat side down on the grate. This will be their undisturbed position for the next two hours. Sealed in foil and facing indirect heat for the first time. I’m certainly looking forward to those pictures.
Considering the amount of time to accomplish that last step with photos and the loss of heat from the smoker, I’ve added 15 minutes to my schedule. Not a biggie, but I also warned the family I might add another 15 minutes at the end, since I want to document this smoke from start to finish.
I’m very curious how the ribs will look after spending two hours in their own juices. I would be willing to bet not as nice as they last looked, but a lot more tender. That’s when I expect most the rub crust to be soaked away and the last hour is just to finish and make them pretty again.
One hour to go until the unwrapping and another hour after that to serve. I am learning as I go.
(I'm going to send this while and if I can. More to follow.