Hey everyone! I thought it was time I tossed up another round of smoke and thought you'd enjoy this one. Ribs ended up being the spotlight, although I want you to ponder the idea of smoking a complete meal...that's the reason I posted this evening. There are many who don't want to step out of their comfort-zone, and I can appreciate that...I used to be the one that smoked just meats. Meats...I'd load up the smoker with everything I could find, then wish I had room for more. I'd end up with a month worth of leftovers for the freezer. Nothing wrong with that. But to cook an entire meal, now that changes the game a bit, doesn't it? Don't worry, with some sound tips and advice it's quite doable, and you'll enjoy the results, even if they're not perfect. Veggies and taters aren't difficult. If I had enough mouths to feed I'd probably end up with 3-4 side items in the smoker, given the right circumstances.
I grabbed some BBs to thaw last night and had some items laying around needing to be cooked (translated as: smoked), so I decided to fire up the WSM-18 for the afternoon. Got a nice load into it with everything I had going in...an entire meal for us, plus I invited our neighbor over....leftovers to the highest bidder......just kidding, I'll share with whomever drops by...although I will accept trades...LOL!!!
Baby Backs went in first, of course...rubbed with my latest Wild Hawg Rub. About 20 minutes later I dropped a medium size split and seeded Zucchini rubbed with EVOO on the flesh and seasoned with Rosemary, Garlic, Sea Salt, among others. Another 15 minutes later I had 5lbs of cubed potatoes with 1 stick of butter slices, 2 small fresh chopped yellow onion & 4 cloves of minced garlic, dusted with a nice seasoning blend of Ancho Chili, Red Bell Pepper and a few other goodies to go along with dried parsley.
Fire and smoke with Embers briquettes and one medium-sized chunk each of apple and hickory under a dry, foil lined water pan.
3 hours into the smoke @ average grate temps of ~200*...it was time to put the zucchini on top of the taters in the steam-table pan and set that on bottom and move the ribs to the top grate. Doing a 5-1-0.5 today with my lower grate temps at start-up. I'm going for a nice smoke ring with a dry water pan at slightly less than normal low & slow temps...we'll see...I should also notice a bit more natural moisture than I have had in the past when foiling, barring over-cooking.
I think the veggies got enough smoke...time for some steam to finish nice and tender:
BBs and the other half of the Zucchini hangin' out down below:
Oh, these are gonna be good eats:
Last glance before the foil to seal it all up for a few more hours:
Tick-tock...waiting for the 5-hr mark...bend-test and pull-back, then foil for a short stage-two:
Temps climbed to around 235* by 5hrs...just before foiling...slab was very firm with a bit of pull-back, as planned...going for the foil:
Yes, I cut a couple small bones off the slab so it wouldn't crowd the edge of the grate and overcook the ends:
And, 1hr foiled with the meat side down to avoid puncture of the foil with bones...time for a 30-min open grate ride to firm up the bark just a tad.
Rendered fat, mainly, with a small amount of moisture from the ribs:
Fresh out of the foil for their last 30-min ride:
Ah, good things come to those who wait. My low-temp on start-up worked wonders for these ribs with a dry smoke chamber, as evidenced by the incredible smoke ring. The first 3 ribs I sliced off were pink nearly all the way through...I really had to look hard to find any grey at the center of the slab. Juices abound, smoke flavor galore, dry rub was as smooth as it's been since it's first day on my pork, and we all loved 'em. These BBs probably rank in the top 2 or 3 of my all-time best. Not FOTB, but you could pull the meat off the bone away from the chine-bone...slightly over-cooked by my best rib standards, but not by more than 15-20 minutes. I'll eat that.
The Zucchini and Potatoes were very good, as well. Smoke flavor, tenderness, moisture and overall flavors were delicious. It's just another way to load up the smoker...only thing I would have liked to have, maybe, as I'm still processing a 4th rib (I had to grab another), would be a smoked dessert. But then, I kinda ran out of room, and I've already killed the fire because I didn't have anything in mind, like peach cobbler (we have fresh peaches)...I think you can see where this could have went, with a little more forethought. Ah, maybe another day.
BBs sided by smoked Yellow Potatoes, smoked Zuccini, and our neighbor's delicious Asian Cole Slaw..well, it was ALL delicious, and a great meal to share with a good friend:
So, next time you're wandering around looking for something to toss into the smoker with your meats, just remember my avatar line "if it's smoked, eat it!!!" There is literally an endless list of foods in your freezer, fridge or pantry that are just itching to be prepared, smoked and savored...use a little imagination. Oh, and potatoes prepared and smoked this way are pretty easy and forgiving...you'd be hard-pressed to overcook them to the point that they would be too tender to eat with a fork. These were smoked 2.5hrs, steamed 3.5hrs, if I recall...that's a long time in the smoker, even considering my low start-up temps, because they were loose in the pan and only about 2" deep.
Great smokes to all, and to all a good night!!!