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What did I do wrong?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
So I bought my smoker yesterday, and decided to smoke some ribs maybe 1/3-1/2 rack cauz it was just for 3 people. I read the instructions and was going to let it smoke for about 4-5 hours. I put them in about 12:15 and went to a birthday party at 1. I checked them about 3 when I got back home and they were burnt. The temperature when I walked out the door said "Ideal"(cheap brinkman thermo) and it was on "Ideal" when I got back home. BTW its a ECB from lowes that was 65 dollars. I think that next time I need to make sure I have nowhere to go and can check on my smoker every 30-45 minutes or so.
post #2 of 21
First toss the ideal thermo in the trash. Get yerself a good digi remote thermo fer grate temps (smoker temp) an one fer each piece a meat yer gonna cook. Ribs er one a the few items we smoke by time an not temp.

Next, Never leave yer smoker unattended, ya just don't know what could happen such as a fire.

Foller the 3-2-1 fer spares an maybe 2-2-1 fer bb. Yer gonna have ta experiment some ta find what will work the best fer ya.

I use 2.5 - 2 - 1 most a the time although, I check my ribs durin each step an may adjust the time ifin it's lookin like there finishin early. My ribs er done when the meat pulls back from the bone an they bend nicely when I pick em up with a pair a tongs.

I'd smoke em somewhere round 225* - 250*.

Good luck.
post #3 of 21
Is this a gas unit, or charcoal? You would be hard pressed to maintain even or ideal cooking temps for that long without any attention at all in a charcoal unit.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Sorry Its charcoal. I was wondering if I need to mod it with a closeable vent to help regulate the temp more. Like I said, yesterday was the first time I've attempted smoking anything. I took some mesquite chips and soaked them for about 30 minutes, then put them in foil and poked holes in them before putting them in the charcoal pan. I can think of a couple things that I should have done different. I'm going to try smoking something else later this week.
post #5 of 21
I think the real question is "Ideal for what?"

travco is giving you some good advice.
post #6 of 21
A decent therm or a digital on the cooking grate will be a start, then practice maintaining the correct temp and everything else will fall into place.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Good Point. I'm going to go get some thermo's that you put on the grating to check the temperature. I picked off the charred skin and they were really good friggin ribs. Everyone else had taco bell. I'm thinking about doing some chickens this week.
post #8 of 21
I agree with Trav toss the ideal guage in the trash and get something more accurate.

post #9 of 21
DDave did a great post on what "Ideal" actually means...please read this post...it is a great place to start. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...deal+farenheit

The second mistake is 1/3 to 1/2 a rack for 3 people...around my place we would call that an appetizer! PDT_Armataz_01_05.gif

Good luck and ask questions as you go.
post #10 of 21
Which brinkman is it? "Gourmet" Cajun, Smoke and grill?

There are a number of easy things you can do to make it work smoothly. Let me know, myself and others can give you some good tips.

Don't take the advice literally to throw the thermometer in the trash. It isn't worth much, but it's better than leaving a big ol' hole in the cover icon_mrgreen.gif
post #11 of 21
BTW Ribs turn quite dark when they're smoked. I thought I'd burned mine the first two times out. Take a look at the ribs in this thread:

post #12 of 21
I think the first mistake was 1/3-1/2 rack for just 3 people, I would have made 2 or 3 racks for 2-3 people. icon_biggrin.gif

Just kidding, those thermometers they come with are junk, get one that shows numbers, not "Ideal"
post #13 of 21


What they said ^^^^^^^ love my Maverick e-73
post #14 of 21
This link should take care of the issues you're having with the Brinkmann. www.randyq.addr.com/ecb/ecbmods.html Do all of the mods as stated, and that ECB will sing like a canary.
post #15 of 21
tip had it right, especially about leaving smoker unnatennded. the thermo on the smoker is prolly not accurate and really shouldnt be depended on. get yourself a digital with a probe, or better a dual probe so you can monitor meat and smoker at same time. and how you figure on feeding 3 people on 1/3-1/2 rack o ribs??? but chaqlk it up to expierience, we all been there at one time in our quest for the perfect ribs!!!
post #16 of 21
Good advice here...the first thing I noticed, is that if you are cooking w/ fire...meaning anything besides gas or electricity, like charcoal, lump or wood - then you can't go leaving the house until you've really mastered your smoker!

Also, don't bother soaking the wood chips...it's just one more thing to slop around in and make a mess. Besides, like someone else said a while back (can't remember who, can't give credit!) there is a reason boats are made of wood - they don't really absorb water!

I tried soaking the first couple smokes of my life, but never since...just add a very small handful of dry chips every 30 - 45 minutes or so during the first 3-4 hours of your smoke, and there should be plenty of smoke flavor for you.

Above and beyond all, have fun!! I've only been smoking for about 18 months now, but I've turned out some really good stuff, once I got the hang of it.
post #17 of 21
do the mods - all will be good, then!

click this link to see:

post #18 of 21
The mods suggested will no doubt help, but in the meantime, how did you load the charcoal? A full pan and light it off? That's "Ideal" plus temps!!

I've learned to modify my stock ECB by stacking the charcoal (I use lump) around the edge of the charcoal pan in a ring. Wood chunks for smoke are mixed with the charcoal....and heavy on the front end. Light one end and it burns it's way around. You can control the amount of heat by how high you stack it. For a long smoke, at some point, you simply reload and keep going...round and round she goes. Low and slow is the key.

Beyond that, a USD is the closest thing to set and forget I've run into.
post #19 of 21
warden - have you got a picture or pictures of that setup? sounds like it is worth a try.

i part my unlit charcoal in the pan, like moses parting the red sea, then dump my lit ones down the channel in the middle. it works very well, but when that first pan starts to fall off, i'm usually stuck wondering what to do.

post #20 of 21
No pictures. Just stack it up along the outside edge....in a circle, open in the middle. About 3 to 5 inches wide and about 3 inches or less high. How high will determine how hot it gets as it will burn hotter and faster as you go higher. Temps also change as the wood chunks for smoke come and go. Big wood chunks tend to ignite and burn, cranking the heat up.

Stack your ring in a partial circle about 3/4 to 7/8 around and light on one end. I use a small propane torch to light it off. Use a partial circle as a full circle will burn both ways, which doubles the heat. Mine takes about 3 hours or so to burn all the way around. By the time it gets to the end, the part at the beginning is down to ashes and you can extend the circle on around over where it started.

The thing to remember about the basic ECB is it has no controls of it's own. The loose fitting lid is it's only damper and a full load of charcoal can really get going. Lump being worse than briq's as it burns hotter. The air supply is limited but not that much. The only other buffer for temps is the water pan, which when it's boiling puts moisture in the air, slowing the burn a little. The water pan also acts as a baffle, with heat and smoke having to get past it along the edges.
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