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I'm smoking for my first time

Poll Results: What Should I Smoke?

  • 55% (5)
    Pork Ribs
  • 0% (0)
    Beef Ribs
  • 0% (0)
  • 0% (0)
    Pork Loin
  • 44% (4)
    Something else
9 Total Votes  
post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So, I bought a pellet smoker a couple of weeks ago and finally have a day to smoke something tomorrow. I've never smoked anything before (on a grill at least). I think I'm going to do ribs although I haven't decided.


I thought I would just ask for recommendations; what would you suggest to someone to try on their first time smoking something? I'm thinking that the 3-2-1 method for ribs seems foolproof but I have not determined a rub and glaze that I want to use yet. I do not like salty rubs so I'm still looking for a recipe that sounds appeasing. What do you thinking? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

post #2 of 8

Hmm... lots of ways to smoke ribs and it's a personal preference as to which method one likes the best. They all work! For me, I finally got tired of the hassle associated with the 3-2-1 and its variations.  You didn't mention which type of ribs, pork? Baby back loins, St. Louis cut spare, beef ribs? Assuming pork for this discussion.  I use the following with great success.  Difference can be in the amount of time based upon the meat used and how you like it.  IMO "falling off the bone" robs flavor from the meat. I look for and easy clean bite without any tugging. Pellet choice again is up to you.  We use either hickory or pecan.


1. Remove the back membrane & pat the ribs dry.

2. Lightly spray both sides with canola oil.

3. Season with two dry rubs. 1st with A1's Sweet Mesquite Rub and 2nd with BPS Money Championship Rub.  Let sit for 30-45 min.

4. Smoke at 200-225° for 4-6 hours.  Here is where you just have to be patient.  Yor're looking for a meat pull back off the bones of approx 1/4"-1/2".

5. After the first 2 hours start spraying the ribs with apple juice every 30-45 min. Moisture helps in smoke penetration as well.

6. If you sauce, do it with about 30 min to go.

7. Pull and rest 10-15 minutes then enjoy. 


For sauce the family likes my BBQ #2 Rum > http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/177551/bbq-sauce-2-rum


Good luck with your smoke!



post #3 of 8
If you decide to foil/juice don't be surprised if they are a bit mushy when first removed from the foil. I use a tweaked version of Jeffs rub, 225* on the Egg and patience. Right around the 6 hour mark I pull them from the heat. Not fall off the bone, just 1 small step from there.
post #4 of 8

I would have to say Pork spare ribs or a Pork Boston butt, or a whole young or roaster chicken those seem to be the easiest for me....


if you want fall off the bone spare ribs the 3-2-1 @ a temp of 225 method works well i don't normally stick straight to that method as i don't like mine falling apart in the smoker ( 3 hours of smoke - 2 hours in foil w no smoke - 1 hour w/o foil to finish up this is where you would put a glaze on if you desire one can be done with or without smoke)


i smoke my Boston butts until they hit around 170 to 165 IT then foil until they get to 190 IT take out of foil and finish for the last hour or so pull at 200 - 205 IT for pulled pork... i also usually smoke my butts around 275 to 300 smoker temp 


A whole chicken is prob the easiest and takes the least amount of time all you do is rub it down throw it in the smoker for about 4 hours the breast meat should be at 165 IT and the thigh should be about 170 IT alot of people brine and do spatchcock i don't do either


as far as rubs and sauces its best you make your own if you don't like alot of salt because the commercial ribs are packed with sodium. Jeff- The founder of the side sells a great rub and sauce recipe and you can always tweak both until they fit your liking..


good luck with your first smoke.... 

post #5 of 8

I did ribs for my second smoke ever, on July 1.     After reviewing the forums I opted to go simple my first time out and just put a rub on (from a local specialty spice store), and just put them on the racks.    Overall I'd say I had them in at about 235 +/- 3 degrees average temp for almost 7 hours.    Sure it was a long time, but zero effort.    I did put a sauce (BBQ) on them in the last hour, and it caramelized nicely.  Only 1 person added sauce at the table.   I used apple wood with a touch of hickory, and only ran smoke for 4 hours out of 7.


They stayed on the bone when you picked them up but fell apart the second they were in your mouth.    I think I liked that better than the 'with tug' or 'fall of the bone'.  Its right in between.   I will stick with this next time for sure.    Guests raved and raved.   


If you are unsure of a rub to use and have to make something up quickly, you could even go with something as simple as some paprika, chili powder and pepper.(watch the pepper if your chili powder if is a hot variety)     You are right that lots of commercial rubs are salty.      Of course, there is Jeff's recipe you can get and it is lower salt, if you don't mind some salt in it.


For a glaze, your favorite BBQ sauce works super and its what most guests expect.   Or you can get fancy and use a maple glaze (lots of internet recipes there), even maple syrup with a little mustard in is nice.


Oh, and if you have the option, Costco ribs are fantastic and they remove the membrane for you.   One less step. :icon_biggrin:


Good luck, and I'd love to hear what you did and how it works out.

Edited by Cael - 6/27/16 at 5:28am
post #6 of 8

For a first smoke, especially on a new smoker, I would recommend chicken--breasts and thighs. They're cheap and pretty easy.  Lots of good advice on here for that, just use the search bar.


Ribs are a pretty good option too.


Good luck



post #7 of 8

I would recommend chicken thighs or leg quarter for just the immediate family and work your way from there.

post #8 of 8

From one newbie to another, I wish you the best of luck. I did St. Louis style ribs using the 3-2-1 method. I was definitely satisfied with the results.


PS: I voted for ribs.   ;)

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