With the weather cooperating more frequently here in the Pacific Northwest and my 9 months hiatus from the smoker, I've had a recent urge to smoke all the things. Before yesterday, I'd only ever done chicken to get my temperature control chops up to par. Yesterday was the first time I've smoked anything other than chicken, so it was a new endeavor for me.
My first step outside of chicken I decided was to be a rack of pork spare ribs, the decision influenced completely by the fact that I had a rack that had been in the freezer for almost a year. Now I know it's probably sacrilegious on this forum to use the store bought pre-rubbed stuff, but it was free so I figured it would be a good way to practice since I wouldn't be too concerned if I goofed up.
The rack that I was working with was a "Kansas city style spare rib" rack bought from the local Fred Meyer. It was pre-rubbed and still had the membrane on. I did no prep work/modifications to the meat beforehand as I just fired the smoker up and threw it on.
Some notes from the smoke process:
-I tried to follow the general process outlined in this post http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/240916/perfect-ribs-every-time-this-really-works. I had the ribs in smoke for 3 hours, pulled them off and wrapped them in foil with sugar, homemade rub, a little apple cider vinegar, and some water before going back in for an hour.
-I didn't use any spritz/spray when I probably should have
-It was a somewhat windy day and I think a lot of air was being ingested through the mini's exhaust vents. When I first fired her up the temperature kept climbing past 400F despite all of my bottom vents being closed. Only after shutting the exhaust vents did the temperature fall back down to 225F.
-There's not enough room to lay a full rack in the mini so I had to cut it in half
-I was using mesquite, which I now realize was probably too strong of a wood (see comments below)
-The mini completely blew me away with how long it can smoke for. After about 4.5 hours being lit with the crazy hot initial temperature spike, I still had probably half of my fuel remaining by the end of the foiling period!
Some questions/comments/room for improvements:
-I think I'll go with a milder wood next time like a cherry. If anyone has suggestions on what they like to use for ribs I would love to hear them!
-Being only one rack, I think 3 hours was a little too long before going in to foil. The second temp reading on my Maverick is all messed up so that was unreliable
-The meat ended up being ok. I've never had a good smoked rib before, are they supposed to taste like smoked ham?
-I also didn't have any homemade sauce on hand. That probably would've made the final product better, so something for next time.
-The rib texture was alright, maybe a little chewy. Could this be a result of sitting in the freezer for almost a year? I also only had the shorter pieces where the bones/meat aren't as prevalent (more cartilage)
-I've seen people post rib racks before, is that recommended for the mini?
If anyone else has any suggestions on how to improve I'm all ears!
And of course, can't foget the Qview (my first!). Let me know what you think!