Have to post this story. Hope no one cries.
I decided to do a test-run of my CG Duo with side fire box on Saturday evening, so I loaded up my charcoal basket a little more than halfway, fired up a chimney of coals, and dumped her in. About that time, my wife got home from the store and surprised me with a single rack of St. Louis style spare ribs. So I quickly prepared them and threw some dry rub on them, let them sit on the counter long enough for the smoker to start to come up to temp, threw some hickory chunks on, and put on the ribs. I have no idea what kind of temps I'm going to get, since I haven't fired it up since the original burn in, but I figured I'm a smart guy, I can work the air vents to control temps.
I'll keep the long story short. There are a couple of key points. First, all of the paint immediately melted off the top of my fire box when the hickory chunks caught fire. No biggie, I was expecting that. Second, I had a little bit of a hard time keeping the temps below about 270, with some fluctuation across the grate of around 10-15 degrees, but generally the temps held pretty steady considering I'm a total noob at this. I was able to bring the temps down after a while by almost completely closing the intake air vent, but I think next time I'll just use a little less coal in the chimney to keep the burn a little bit slower.
The ribs were done (by feel) in about 4.5 hours, whereas I was expecting 6. But they looked juicy, delicious, tender, bent 90 degrees... I even snuck a probe between two big ribs and got a nice internal temp of about 185. So I pulled them off, but it was after midnight, so I wrappe tightly in foil and put them in the fridge to have with my wife and sister-in-law for lunch the next day.
So, the tragedy? I woke up sometime in the wee hours of Sunday morning puking my guts out from some kind of food poisoning, and I haven't been able to even think about eating those ribs. The best we can figure, it was some potato salad I ate that no one else did. I was scared to death that it was the flap of meat that I cut off the ribs and smoked along with them, only I shared that, so we would have all gotten sick. It was delicious, by the way.
So it's probably not a total loss... as long as I can stomach the idea, we'll have those ribs for dinner tonight, reheated in the oven. It won't be the same as hot off the grill, but I'm still looking forward to it. I tried to convince my wife and sis-in-law to go ahead and have them for lunch yesterday, but they couldn't bear the thought of eating them while I was covered with a blanket struggling to keep water down. I'll be sure to pop back on and give the final verdict about how the first smoke went.
Edited by InPsychOut - 5/21/12 at 9:14am