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First Smoke not as good as I'd like

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

So I've been wanting to smoke ribs for a long time, but I was living in an apartment for years, so never really had the chance.  Well I moved into a house and got really excited and did some research of smokers.  I wanted to do something easy as I have no idea what I am doing.  So I bough a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker.  I should preface that I live in California, but used to live in Kansas City and have been dying to get some good ribs.  So I figured that the best way to do that was to make them.  Here is the process that I used:


- Got a pack of 3 babyback ribs racks from costco (membrane was already off).  

- Soaked them the night before in beer (Don't remember where I heard the idea, but someone once suggested to help break down the meat a bit and make it more tender).  

- Dried them off.  

- Put my rib rub (Equal parts black pepper, white pepper, Kosher Salt, brownsugar, cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cumin).  

-Then let it sit for a few hours


At this point I did the 3-2-1 recipe/technique.


- Using Mesquite pellets (I am thinking pellets was not the way to go) I smoked the ribs for 3 hours at 225

- Then foil for 2 hours

- BBQ sauce for 1 hour



So overall it was Okay...  I felt the meat was too tough especially on the sides.  My brother thought the meats were too smokey.  My idea for next time is to cut down the temp to 200 and use water soaked wood chips.  Any advice is greatly appreciated.  




post #2 of 13

It's pretty simple. If your ribs were tough they weren't cooked long enough.

I use a thermapen to check the IT of the ribs at the thickest part.

195 is tender & juicy.

200 is fall off the bone.

As for the smoke I wouldn't soak the chips, just use them dry.

Most of the MES guys use an AMAZEN tube or tray for the smoke.

It will give good smoke for hours without refilling.



Hope this helps!



post #3 of 13

Tough on the ends happens. They are thinner there and exposed. Too much smoke? That is from the Mesquite...Strong stuff. Soaking Chips does NADA in an electric but delay smoke until they dry out. Get an A-MAZE-N set up as Al suggested with fruit wood or Pitmaster Blend. 3-2-1 is a but long for baby-backs and contributed to the dry ends...JJ

post #4 of 13
JJ is right on, as usual. IMO, mesquite is really strong, especially for pork and also, IMO, the soaking just makes them more bitter until the water dries out and the smoke clears up.

Good luck with your next ones. I really like the baby loin backs from Costco. They are very meaty.
post #5 of 13
No soaking and try cherry.

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post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks guys for the prompt replies.  I am gonna try another round this weekend for the ribs, not 3 racks this time, just one (more of an experiment really).  I will definitely try some more fruity wood chips (Cherry sounds good to me).  For the 3-2-1 process, would you guys suggest doing a 2-2-1 instead?  The meat was tough and not juicy at all, it tasted overcooked.  Also, does adding any water or apple juice to the smoker help out in any way?  I tried apple juice the first time, but the smoke was so strong I couldn't taste it.   


Thank again guys.  This forum is great.  Who knows, I might make a decent rack of ribs yet!

post #7 of 13
Chris, I smoke my baby back ribs naked for about 3 hours at 250-275*. At that time they will begin to have a good bend. If not, go another 1/2 hour. When I have a good bend started, I sauce/glaze them twice for 15 minutes each time. I take them off and into a foil pan with a loose cover of foil for about 30 minutes. Then slice and serve.

They are juicy and tender with a slight tug. My friends and family really like them.

Good luck and good smokin', Joe. grilling_smilie.gif
post #8 of 13

Liquid in a smoker don't do much low and slow but use up fuel boiling water. Water pans are best used at 325+, keeps food moist at high temps. Drink the juice...Mostly water evaporating anyway, the flavor stays in the pan. What flavor beyond smoke has to go on with the rub and if using " IN " the foil. Below is what I do...JJ


Smoked Ribs as easy as 3-2-1


A full rack of Spare Ribs will take about 6 hours at 225*F...The 3-2-1 smoked rib recipe is a good way to smoke ribs and tends to turn out perfect ribs every time whether you are using the meatier Full rack spare rib or the Saint Louis cut. Baby Back ribs use a 2-2-1 method. The ribs are smoked at 225 - 250 degrees for best results...
The 3 stands for the 3 hours that you initially smoke the ribs with nothing but your favorite rub on them and some smoke with your favorite hardwood such as hickory, apple, pecan, etc. After the 3 hours you remove the ribs and quickly double wrap them in heavy duty foil.. just before you seal them up add some Foiling Juice or Apple Juice and close the foil leaving some room around the ribs for the steam to be able to flow around the meat and the juice to braise the meat which Flavors/Tenderizes it.

The ribs cook in the smoker wrapped for 2 hours undisturbed. There is no need for Smoke at this point... After 2 hours remove the ribs from the smoker, unwrap, saving any juices in the foil, and place back into the smoker for the final 1 hour, with smoke if you wish.This firms them up, creates a nice Bark and finishes the cooking process. You can add a glaze or sauce at this point if you like. The meat will be pretty close to fall off the bone and be extremely juicy, tender and flavorful...JJ


Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce


Foiling Juice


For each Rack of Ribs Combine:


1T Pork Rub, yours

1/2 Stick Butter

1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

1T Molasses


Optional: 2T Apple Cider Vinegar. Add 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more of a KC Glaze.


Simmer until a syrupy consistency.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.


For a Sweet Finishing Sauce for Pulled Pork: Make a Double batch, skip the Butter.


If you plan to Foil the meat, add 1/2 the batch to the Foil Pack or place it in a Pan with your Butt, when the IT hits 165*F.

Cover the pan with foil and continue to heat to 205*F for pulling.

At 205* rest or hold the Butt in a cooler wrapped in towels until ready to serve.

Pull the Pork and place it back in the pan with the pan Juices and any additional reserved Foiling Juice to moisten, the meat should be shiny and juicy but not swimming in sauce. Serve while hot...OR... Bag and refrigerate until needed.

If you choose to Not Foil or Pan the Butt. Add the Finishing Sauce to the pulled meat before serving. Add the hot Finishing Sauce a little at a time until the Pork is moistened, again the meat should be shiny but not swimming in sauce.

When re-heating place the Pulled Pork in a Pan or Crock pot and add reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider, as needed to make up the Juice that was absorbed while the pork was refrigerated. Cover and re-heat in a pre-heated 325-350*F oven or on High in the crock pot to 165*F and Serve.


I was AMAZED...No additional sauce needed. ENJOY...JJ


post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

The foiling juice sounds amazing.  I am gonna try that out for the ribs this weekend.  I'll let you guys know how every turns out.  

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

So, I did my second round of ribs and it came out AMAZING!!! (Still cook it with the same rub and at the same temp 225)


- Did a few things differently.  First off, I did cherry wood instead of the pellets I used before (can I put cherry wood in the AMAZEN?).  That made a big difference.  Didn't come out too smokey.  

- I used costco ribs last time, this time I went to the butcher and got a better cut of ribs (I felt the costco ribs were a bit thin).  

- I did 2:2:1 for the ribs instead of 3:2:1 (The ends were not dry at all.  Before I put them in the foil it had a good bend)

- I used Chef Jimmy's foiling juice and left some space in the foil so it could get a good steam

- Lastly, I put a good amount of BBQ sauce in the end for a nice coat.


The end results was great.  My brother that was there for the first round said the ribs at that time were a 4 and this time were an 8/10!  My parents tried the ribs (picky eaters) said they wouldn't mind me making the ribs again for the family.  Lastly, I enjoyed them.  


Thanks guys for all the advice, I think round 3 is gonna be a big family BBQ.  

post #11 of 13

That's great to hear!


Congrats on your successful rib smoke!



post #12 of 13

Great news! Keep up the good work...JJ

post #13 of 13


Post some pics of the family bbq results!






Nice job!  Post some pics of the 

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