Originally Posted by jkenow
Hello all, very new to this, in fact I was looking to smoke some St louis style ribs this weekend as my first item to ever smoke. Had a few questions that have originated over reading other forms on this site and elsewhere. The below questions don’t just pertain to the ribs I plan to smoke this weekend but are just general questions I have about the process of smoking. Would just like to thank everyone ahead of time and look forward to your replies.
There are a lot of different meats and other foods that can be smoked. There are a few general procedures but many are specific to the meat or situation. It is not hard to have many things you read start to overlap and cause confusion. You will learn the tricks as you go...
Should you put rub on and let it sit and marinate for a while? Or Put it directly in smoker? Or does it depend on the meat? Mostly a preference. I rub a day ahead, others rub and smoke in short order, both are right for the individual. If you make a last minute decision to smoke something, no need to worry that the Rub didn't sit overnight.
Should you always rinse rub off or leave it on? Rub never gets washed off but that can be confused with a flavorful Cure, that's rubbed on, like for Bacon. This Cure DOES get removed before smoking.
Should you leave the chip chamber empty when cooking in foil? Does it matter? True no smoke gets in foil. Some prefer to wrap in Butcher Paper and this benefits from letting smoke run...If you want a more intense flavor.
How long can meat sit in a cooler before you would have to reheat to eat? This depends in the meat and quantity. A single rack of ribs, 2 hours maybe a little longer. Four 8 pound Butts will stay hot 10+ hours. There is also no need to Rest longer than 20-30 minute IF the meat is tender and you are ready to eat. You need more time or to transport, go in the cooler.
How long will wood chips typically last in a master built smoker before you need to refill? 30 to 45 minutes but use about 1/4C. Loading the chip drawer full leads to explosive gasses igniting and the MES belching Flames...
I see many people brine with liquid smoke, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of using a smoker? Liquid Smoke is a tool. Useful for a General Purpose BBQ Sauce for grilled meats. My kids put BBQ Sauce on Hot Dogs and Fries. Brine Chicken with LS if you want the smoke flavor on Grilled or Baked chicken and have no time to mess with the smoker. I mix a splash of LS in Meatloaf that I bake or in Hamburger that I plan to pan fry or broil.
What’s the coldest outside temp anyone has used a master built smoker successfully? I did my seasoning break in when it was 35 degrees out and it held the temp but was curious as I was looking to smoke this weekend with temps around 26 degrees. You can smoke at any temp you can stand to go out in. However, in very cold temps the MES may not turn on. Warming the interior with a Hair Dryer is a good way to get it started.
Do most leave the smoke vent open or closed? I read in the manual that you should leave it closed however mine seemed to produce more smoke when I opened it halfway. Leave it 100% open when generating smoke but you may need to close half way in extreme cold to maintain smoker temps more easily. Also during a long cook, you may decide to put X hours of smoke on the meat and then just use the smoker to finish the cook like an Oven. If not making smoke, shut the vent to hold a steady temp.