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smoking back ribs first, then finishing next day on grill?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,

I'm a relatively new smoking fanatic, but have been lurking this site for a little while. A search didn't yield any conclusive results, so I figured I'd register and ask here.

I'm in charge of the meat for my company's picnic tomorrow, and of course, I want it to be a tasty success. To work with, I have about 20lbs of chicken thighs and wings, but more importantly, I have ~25lbs of pork baby back ribs.

In the past, I've spritzed my ribs with vinegar, applied a good amount of paprika and a light coating of salt/pepper, let it sit for an hour or so at room temps, then put them in the smoker at ~250-260F for about 6.5 hours. I am smoking with a weber smokey mountain 2820, fwiw.

However, tomorrow is a bbq event, and people will want the act of bbq'ing - IE, using the available park grills. I've already voiced my opinions on not using lighterfluid, so I'll have my chimney and coals there.

So, I'm wondering if it's possible for me to smoke my meat tonight, take the smoked but yet uncooked chicken/pork over to the park next morning, and finish it off on the grill.

Any tips? Do I smoke for 2-3 hours, then keep it chilled in the fridge until the next morning? smoke for 1 hour, then grill? or smoke nearly to completion at 5 hours, then finish it off on the grill? Same goes for the chicken. Any health risks to this? Will the flavor be the same? Any advice/input would be appreciated!

(Oh, as for the chicken I'm going to dry rub as well but if anybody has any tips for brining, or dry rubbing, that would be awesome too!)

Thanks folks :)
post #2 of 6
I'd finish the ribs but not give them a final glaze, refrigerate overnight, heat them in the oven and transport in a cooler, wrapped in foil and towels. Then glaze 'em and put 'em on the park grills just long enough crisp up a bit.

Haven't worked with chicken thighs that much, so I'm hesitant to offer an opinion, but I don't know why the same thing wouldn't work with the chix. Hope someone more knowledgeable will respond.
post #3 of 6
You can do this, no problem! Smoke them the day before until they are almost done, but not too tender. Back ribs - I'd say smoke them at least 4 1/2 hours at 235ish...then wrap in foil and remove from heat and just place them on a cookie sheet. Once they are totally cool, into the fridge they go until tomorrow. When you get the the site where the party is, take them out of the foil, apply a little more rub and cook them up on the grill.

Two things that I think are important:

1 - Don't use too much smoke...a little less than you might normally. I think this is important because as the ribs cool inside that foil from smoker temp all the way down to room temp, (before going in fridge) then can form a little creosote condensation that will then make the ribs a tad bitter

2 - when firing up the grill, I always keep the grill temp a lot lower than normal grilling temps for typical grilled foods - steaks, chicken parts, chops, etc...if you fire the grill up to 400+, then the ribs will be a little burned before the inside is up to the 170 - 180° that you want them to reach. I'd say get the grill up to 250-275 max...then it should take 20-30 min. to finish them off. Remember not to sauce until the last 10-15 min.

Good luck! Everyone feel free to chime in on my recommendation, as I'm no expert but i've been doing this for a little while and this method works for me. In fact, I'm doing ribs this way for Mother's Day. The wife wants to eat at noon on Sunday, and I don't want to fire the smoker up at 5 am on the day of! icon_smile.gif
post #4 of 6
Great post Bman

I too am going to be providing ribs on Mother's day and I think I am going to use your method, since there will be a grill available. I will remember to keep grill at lower temp. :>)
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Oh man, this forum really is awesome!

Thanks for all the GREAT advice, everyone. I have about 25lbs of back ribs prepped and ready to go on the smoker! Not sure how I'm going to fit them all in the 2820, hehe.

Thanks again a bunch, everyone! I'll be sure to take some pictures and report back :)
post #6 of 6
For the ribs I think you're fine. And following the above advice sounds like a good idea. However, with your chicken I'd make sure it's cooked through the first time. And just use the next day to reheat. I'm sure there's some food safety issues with not cooking chicken completely, refridgerating and then finishing the next day.

I'd smoke the chicken thighs to 165 or more. Let them rest for 1 hour at room temp. then put them into a disposable foil pan, covered with foil and off to the fridge for the night. Then the next day, bring them out of the fridge 1 hour before you plan to reheat to let them warm up a bit. Then reheat on the smoker or grill back to 165. But note your skin will likely be pretty chewy. But at least it will be safe for your guests.

Here's some food safety guidelines from the USDA

Also, here's how I like to brine. You may choose to leave out the brown sugar. That might help the skin be a little more pallatable

Enjoy. Be safe. Good luck and be sure to share some picts.
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