Well this past Sunday I got my new MES30 out of the box & going. I was really just going to season it & then maybe use it this week, but I decided to break it in later in the afternoon. After running it for 3 hours & then adding some hickory chips for the last 45 minutes, I went out & got 2 1/2 racks of baby backs. I trimmed them up a little, removed the membrane from all the backs & rubbed them up with some mustard. I then went ahead & added a nice rub. I put them in at 225 for 3 hours with the damper almost completely closed & used hickory chips for the first couple of hours. Man, the smell near the end of that first 3 hours was mouth-watering. After that 3 hours I took them out & double wrapped them, adding 1/4 cup apple juice to each foil. Back in they went for 2 more hours. After that I removed them from the smoker & took them out of their wraps. At this point I went & added a homemade (Kansas City-style) sauce to all but one section. I let them go the last hour uninterrupted. When they were done, I let them sit for about 10 minutes before cutting any up. I want to say these were some of the best ribs I've ever had. I've been doing ribs low & slow in the oven & crockpot for years now, but always loved the taste of them from a smoker. I'm glad I finally broke down & bought this one!
Having said all this, I guess what I'm looking for are some tips.
1- What other types of wood chips are good for pork? My local store has cherry, hickory, mesquite & pecan, I believe.
2- Is 225 degrees about right for ribs or would they have been better at a higher temp?
3- Would they have been dry without the wrap (I did have water in the bowl) or is it ok to forego the "crutch" (I have read where some people don't like to use that method)?
4- When using a wrap, what else would be good besides the apple juice?
5- Meat side up or down? Does it matter?
6- Anything else that I missed, or should maybe have done? I can't really imagine getting them much better, but I'm always ready to learn.
I appreciate any suggestions /advice I can get. I'm looking forward to doing a butt roast Carolina-style in the near future.