On Saturday I tried smoking ribs for the first time. They turned out horribly, and have turned off my family from smoked meat. I'd like to learn why this was, so I can correct these issues moving forward.
- After I was turned down by six butchers (tough to find spares in Canada), I had my mom pick up spares while she was at Costco. They were horribly cut; trimmed in half lengthwise with no regard for the bone. They were very poor cuts. Uneven, thin, tiny. Obviously, I will only be buying untrimmed spares and baby backs in the future.
- I removed the membranes and flaps, applied yellow mustard followed by Jeff's rub. I wrapped in plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge overnight.
- I setup the WSM using minion method w/ Kingsford briquettes. I filled the ring quite full and dumped ~14 lit briquettes w/ 4 chunks of wood. I let the smoke billow for 10m then once it was steady whisps of white smoke I placed the ribs on. I found the fire dying near the 4.5hr mark, which I find odd. Is there a reason it died so early? Is it because I used a full water pan of hot tap water, and that sucked up the fuel? Is it because ash fell through the grate (I haven't doubled up the ash grate.) All I had to do was add 2 or 3 unlit briquettes in to get it going again, but I'd like long burns so I can leave on overnight.
- I trimmed the ribs in half so I could stand them up in the rib rack. Because Costco chopped them vertically, they weren't tall enough and couldn't stand. I had to ditch the rib rack and simply throw them on the grate. Using an 18.5 WSM, I was able to just fit them on both racks. As such, the probe was forced to sit on the outer rim—I know this to be bad as the outer rim runs hotter. The probe read ~240-250 for the first two hours while the WSM temp read ~200, so I thought this to be around 225 in actuality. The last three hours I was able to get the probe in an accurate position to read, and smoked consistently at 220-240. Temp control didn't seem to be the issue.
- With the intention of doing 2-2-1, after a little over 2 hours of smoking, I placed the ribs in tin foil which contained some apple juice. I also sprayed apple juice on top. I wrapped the foil and placed on the smoker for another two hours.
- I removed the ribs from the foil and placed on the smoker for another 30m. I then mopped on some BBQ sauce and let smoke for a final 30m. In total, it was on the smoker for 5.25 hrs.
- NO BARK. I've had this issue with pulled pork and chicken as well – though they tasted great – but this was the worst it's ever been. The rub did not caramelize in the slightest, and it was a gooey-powdery coating.
- Dying fire.
- Unpleasant texture.
- Very tiny smoke ring.
Any help would be much appreciated—thanks.