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Help on Ribs

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hello all at SMF.

I have done a few smokes now and been fairly successful, but I want to try some ribs. So I need some help.

I have read about the 3-2-1 rib method, and I think I can handle that.

However, I am worried about the meat being "too smokey". Twice now, I have done some chicken and some salmon and both times the meat was WAAAAAAAAY too smokey. It basically tasted like eating hickory chunks. I did a smoke with a full chicken and some salmon fillets and the chicken was perfect but the salmon far too smokey.

So since the ribs are smaller cuts of meat, like the salmon fillets, I am worried about them being too smokey.

So .. the question is how long do I apply the smoke on the ribs? Is an hour long enough or how long is too long that will make them too smokey? (also in general, how long is too long for thinner cuts of meat like salmon or chicken breasts?)

Thanks in advance SMF -

post #2 of 17
The amount of smoke flavor that is "right" is purely a matter of personal taste so only you can decide how much you like. It will just take some experimenting to find out what you prefer.

But there may be causes that lead to that "too smoky" taste.

What does the smoke look like that is coming out of your smoker? Is it white and billowy or is it thin and bluish? It only takes a little smoke in the smoker to flavor the meat.

It sounds like you are using hickory for your wood. Is it dry/cured? Or is it green/fresh wood? Green wood can give a bitter taste to the meat.

You can also try using a fruit wood like apple or cherry. They both give a "lighter" smoke flavor than hickory.

Hope this is helpful icon_smile.gif
post #3 of 17
You may need to check your smoke. TBS- Thin Blue Smoke. No white rolling clouds. Methinks you might be getting some creosote on them if you say they are "too smoky" Do you preburn your wood? And REMEMBER- if you SMELL smoke...yer smoking.

post #4 of 17
Definitely need to check how much smoke you're using. If its thick smoke, it's too much. You're looking for thin whisps of smoke coming from the smoker. Maybe just a couple chunks every hour or so.
It also might be the wood your using. There is a sticky on wood, possibly in the "general discussion" forum. I forgot where it is off hand. Sorry.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick replies.

I am using hickory chunks -- just chunks from a bag I got at the ole Home Depot. I soak the chunks in water for about an hour prior to the smoke. I will wrap up about 3-4 chunks in a tin foil pouch, poke holes in the pouch, and throw them right on the charcoals. I don't know if the smoke is white billows or not.

post #6 of 17
Read the pre-burn link I sent, and don't wet the wood. Put the preburned wood directly on the charcoal. Charcoal is for heat, wood for flavor. Don't need alot of wood.
post #7 of 17
With the arrangement you are using (chunks in tin foil) it hard for me to understand how you are getting too much smoke. What kind of smoker are you using? Do you have vents and if so, is the top vent fully open? You need to keep the smoke moving through the smoker and as others have mentioned, only thin blue smoke.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have the Chargrill Charcoal smoker -- its essentially the ECB. I have not drilled vent holes in the top of the smoker. The only mods I have done are to drill holes in the charcoal pan for air. So there are some small holes on the side of the smoker that let the smoke out. Also, I don't know how to get the thin blue smoke -- is there something to do to get that?

Also, keep in mind that I am only getting too much smoke on the thinner cuts of meat like chicken breasts or salmon fillets. My whole chicken was done perfectly. I poked around this site and read that some recommend only applying smoke until the meat hits 140 degrees -- is that a good rule of thumb?

post #9 of 17
You could stop adding chunks after an an hour, or two, and see if you like that better. Cut back until you like it icon_smile.gif .

I usually keep the smoke going the entire time unless the meat is foiled.

The more I eat smoked food I find myself liking a heavier smoke flavor. I use more hickory now, mixed with fruitwoods, with things like poultry and fish. As suggested, try using cherry or apple chunks for lighter flavor. I use alder for the salmon which is a pretty light smoke flavor.

It really is a matter of personal taste. I brought in some Turkey to work, which I thought was on the lite side, but some thought it was really smokey tasting. Others thought it wasn't...lol.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks a ton everyone. I appreciate the input. I'll crank it back on the smoke time and see what it does. This has helped.

Now if I could only keep my ECB up to the right temperature! It does OK. I can let it smoke for a few hours unattended, so it is not bad, but it still needs work to get 4-5 hours of unfettered smoking ...

post #11 of 17
I also had some fish be a little too heavy when it was on w/ pork and beef that I was running straight hickory. I now usually run oak and then mix hickory, cherry, apple and pecan depending on what meat is on there. When I do butts I run more Hickory and if I am putting some fish or chicken on later I will switch to mostly apple and cherry during that part of the smoke. That way the butts got a good amount of hickory and finishing them w/ cherry and apple lets me do other meats. Hate to see any open space on the racks.
post #12 of 17
Did you read the pre-burning thread? THAT is the easy way to keep TBS going.
post #13 of 17

Re: Help on Ribs

I had the same issue on the too smokey flavor at first. I stopped using hickory alltogether and went with apple for the first 2 hours. I followed the 2-2-1 as I always buy baby backs. It actually seems to work a little better on my BWS if I do 2 1/2 - 2 - 1 1/2. I've posted a pic of this weekends ribs. Everyone that tried thought they were competition level. Oh, and Richtee you are the man. GO REDWINGS!!!!!

post #14 of 17
Trapped down in Pred town eh? That's OK tho, you get to actually get playoff TICKETS...dang!
post #15 of 17

Re: Help on Ribs

Yep, trapped in Pred country. Too bad I hate them so much. Three years ago we stayed in the same hotel in Nashville that the Redwings were staying in. We pretty much met all of them and got tons of autographs. Here's another pic from this weekend. Sorry, but I was damn proud of these.

post #16 of 17
That, Sir..is a fine looking rack. Pam Anderson, take notes!
post #17 of 17
With the fish go with fruit wood for the lighter flavor. Fish is a lot easier to penetrate with smoke than say a pork butt. Maple is a lighter wood to.
With ribs I would stay with hickory though and maybe mix some cherry in.

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