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Beef short ribs, smoke ring help

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Beginner here. For my first ever run, I went with some beef short ribs. It turned out pretty tasty and tender - family was happy.

However, I was very disappointed because I wasn't able to get that beautiful, pinkish smoke ring that I've seen on some good bbq. Was it because I didn't use enough wood for my smoke? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Any advice on temperature / cooking time to get it a bit juicier would also be appreciated as well, because the middle was perfect, but towards the edges could have been a tiny bit more moist.

Some info:
-5.5 lb, 3-bone plate of short ribs (whole)
-18.5" WSM
-Used the 3-2-1 method
-Average temperature about 265, internal temperature about 197
-Used 2 apple wood chunks, each the size of a computer mouse.
-Water pan half full.
-only kosher salt & cracked black pepper
Edited by khnry - 11/21/14 at 8:52pm
post #2 of 15

Something like this?





These were done in my mini-wsm.


Temp was 265

Wood was 1 chunk apple and 1 chunk cherry.


Cooked in 3.5 hours and no wrap.

post #3 of 15
Did you use lump or briquettes? Lump produces almost no nitrogen, and the smoke ring is produced by a reaction of the meat protein myoglobin and carbon monoxide and nitrogen. Briquettes and wood chunks along with a water pan or frequently mopping will produce the ring you are looking for. It is very visually appealing, but the smoke flavor can be just as good without it.
post #4 of 15
I can get the same ring with lump.
post #5 of 15
Originally Posted by c farmer View Post

I can get the same ring with lump.
Lump alone or with wood chunks? OP wrote that he only added two small chunks of wood, so my thoughts were such a small amount of wood along with lump charcoal didn't produce enough nitrogen. I too have achieved a good smoke ring with lump and a decent amount of wood.
post #6 of 15
I only used 2 small chunks also.
post #7 of 15
Originally Posted by c farmer View Post

I only used 2 small chunks also.
The ribs in your photo are gorgeous no doubt. I am very curious about what produced such different results. If it wasn't the fuel sorce then perhaps the issue is with temperature stability, humidity or wrapping?
post #8 of 15
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

I used briquettes for my fuel. Maybe it was because I used a small amount of wood? I just didn't want to over-smoke on my first try.

Thanks guys.

post #10 of 15

khnry, sorry your Ribs didn't come out as you liked . I have a few comments to ponder.


First , I like your choice of Spices, exactly what Beef needs. After you have seasoned and cooled the meat , take it ( immediately to the (pre-heated to 265*F) Smoker and


place it in cold. Meat seems to take on more smoke when cold and left alone.  That means put it in with your 'probe therm.' in it , close the door and watch the temps.


Take it to 200*F for tender Ribs , a bit lower for bite off Ribs.


Play with your Smoker and learn how it works at different heats , and start and keep a 'LOG' of all you cooks . You will gain knowledge easier that way.


Do some Chicken (whole and parts) to determine how your Smoker cooks. Then get a Butt and begin your Journey to 'Smoke Nivana' .


Once you have gotten the hang of your little 'Baby' , do some more Ribs and tell us how they were.


Practice will keep you from being Jaded and get rid of your Smoker. I've seen that a lot.


The best advice is for you to learn 'Patience' .


Have fun and . . .

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

I actually did another run today and it turned out 10x better, including the color as well as the smoke ring.

The only thing I did was add one more wood chunk, and took the internal temp to about 187. This time was far better and I was very satisfied.

I will try some chicken & pork next. Thanks!

post #12 of 15
Ring or not, your ribs look great! More than likely the reason you didn't get the ring is because of the braise (foiling).
post #13 of 15

Short plate ribs are great. I never take them over 140 though.


post #14 of 15
Smoke ring does not define smoked meats. I use several types of smokers and all of them can put out incredibly tasty food, only one will get smoke ring. What makes the diffrence as the others are saying is practice, pacients and you. Everyone has a diffrent learning curve and style. You need to use your strengths and build up your weaknesses. Meaning if you have very little experience cooking, you need to start at the beginning and take small steps, otherwise you will get frustrated. Start with foods that are forgiving and get quicker results. This way you see them faster and you dont get too anxious and keep looking at the food or thermometers. Start with chicken thighs and legs. Move to whole chicken, then pork butts. Ribs are after you get the hang of the controls of your smoker, finally brisket.

Get an accurate, calibrated thermometer to monitor the cook chamber and the meat. Something like the Maverick. Have an accurate calibrated pocket thermometer to double check with. People are smitten with the thermapen, good but others do the same job for less money.

Keep a log with notes on your cooks. I know it is a pain, but it will help. Keep track of things like food items cooked, temp cooked at, temp pulled out, seasoning, wood type, what shelf cooked on and even the weather. Was it windy, hot, cold, sunny, cloudy or rainy? All of these things can and will effect your cooks.

Most importantly, be pacient and give yourself some slack. This is meant to be fun and relaxing. As long as you handle you the food products properly, experiment and have fun.

Lots of great people on this site. Dont be afraid to ask questions. If you don't want to put it out for everyone to see, PM someone who you have seen do what you are wanting to do.

Happy smokin

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback guys.


You seemed to have read my mind Jeramy. i actually have been practicing with some of the equipment that you mentioned - maverick, and thermopop (thermapen's cheaper alternative), and have been keeping a "BBQ journal" of sorts. I really do think it's just a combination of reading up and actually doing it. 

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