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Not so good today

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
icon_neutral.gif Today I tried a piece of meat I have bought before at Sam's - boneless ribs.

Examining, it looks like it is simply spare without the bones - I think called St. Louis style without the flap. I rubbed with a commercial pork rub - forgot the name - and wrapped and placed in refrigerator for about 14 hours.

I used my cast aluminum Portable Kitchen using indirect heat. My PK has 2 dampers on the bottom and one on the top - newer units have 2 on top. Cooking surface is approx. 20 x 14 so it is farly easy to do indirect.

I used Kingsford Mesquite briquettes and will probably not buy them again - too long to get started and just does not provide any smoke once in the pit. One chimney full, good and grey all around, and piled on one side of the pit on a grate that sits about 2 inches above the bottom. I closed the bottom damper on the opposide side of trhe coals and closed the one under the coals about half way. The top damper is now directly above where the meat will be on the opposite side of the coals.

Immediatly, the pit got to 375. I have a old smokey thermometer and set it in the damper so the probe sticks in about 2 inches. I got it cooled down to 275 and put the meat on with a pan of water under it. Heat shot up again so I started closing the bottom and top. Could not seem to get lower than 275 for about 2 hours. Threw some mequite chunks in - they had been soaking for about 2 hours.

After three hours, I pulled the meat off - wrapped it in some foil with some marinade and refueled - again - the heat soared and I had a heck of a time getting it down. After two hours, I opened the foil to find a lot of fat and juices - I knew then that this would be a tough piece of meat. Potatoes were not quite done so I let it go another hour (probably a huge mistake - right).

What was good - flavor was great - very tasty. What was bad - pretty tough in some places - other places OK.

Looking back:
heat too high
wrapping probably not necessary
no basting done
potatoes need to be secondary concern
not the best cut of meat, but should have been adequate.

If anybody took the time to read thru this - please give me your suggestions.
post #2 of 6
I'll admit, this one is somewhat puzzling to me. I'm not sure I've ever seen any pork as you have described, and not at any Sam's I've been to.

Temps are definately an issue. 225* on the cooking grate is good. 240* is still OK, 250* is too hot for me with pork or beef. You may want to spend a couple bucks for a few oven rack thermometers and put on the grate close to the meat, so you can peek on it and see if grate temps are where you think they are. Chamber or exhaust vent temps only are a reference to what else is going on with the rig. Once you know what the grate temps are in relation to chamber or vent gas temps, you will have a better idea how your smoke is actually going.

You may want to read up on the minion method in the forum for charcoal smokers, if you haven't already. It describes a good temp and fuel burn control method, and some different mods you can do if needed to achieve this.

I don't use charcoal for conventional hot smokes, only cold smokes. I'm full blown gasser for hot smoking. Just easier for me.

I see no problem with the time you used for smoke/foiling, as the higher temps would have pushed the internal meat temps up fast, and especially with boneless meats.

The cut of meat you had...was it maybe a boneless slab trimmed off of a very large boston/butt roast, or was it individual pieces, like boneless country style ribs? I'm just having trouble figuring out what it might have been...

Anyway, get the temp under control and you should have much, much better results. The fat and juices you found in the pan is a normal part of the brasing phase, so don't sweat that. I skim off the fat and use the juices for a finishing sauce after pulling or slicing. Lots of flavor from your rub will remain in the juice, as well as natural meat flavors. When you put it all back together...majically yummy stuff.

Don't give up...it's an age old art/craft that you'll enjoy once you find out how your rig likes to run.

post #3 of 6
Sorry you had some problems Doug.
As for the heat shooting like that I noticed a few smokes back (on my sNp) that no matter what I did with adjusting airflow, even fully closing the intake, it would rocket well into the 300s.
I noticed the door to my firebox had a huge gap in the bottom and that was more than enough to pull in lots of extra air.
Once I got that "fixed" I was able to keep proper adjustable temps.
Not the same smoker and don't know that that may be your problem but checking the seal could be worth a look on your smoker.

As for the flavored Kingsford I have heard they really aren't much different than regular charcoal as far as flavor.
Never tried them myself but from what I hear they don't impart much of any smoke flavor.
post #4 of 6
I would suggest that you get a digital therm(s) with a probe(s) for monitoring grate & meat temps. Hang in there, things will get better biggrin.gif
post #5 of 6
Maybe you can post some pics of the meat next time. You got me curious as I do shop at Sam's club quite often and can't remember anything like you have described.PDT_Armataz_01_03.gificon_question.gif
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Wow guys - thanks for reading thru this and offerring suggestions.

The cut is definatly a rib cut - each bone very precisely cut out and a meat cap - imagine a small spare rib with no bones. It is not individual pieces - it is an actual slab.

Top vent always open? I will give it a try.

I have seen some grate thermometers and I need to get one. Some of the ones I have seen just lay on the grate and you have to open the pit to see it - seems like that is an inefficient approach.

I have been looking thru the pictures and noticed many of you use digital with the probe stuck in a potato, or lemon, or something to just keep it an inch off of the grate. I thought they were meat probes for internal temp - I guess they are both.

Fire it up - thanks, but this pit seals so that there are no gaps - nada - the only air flow is thru the dampers and two very small (1/8") holes in the bottom. It is a really nice bbq grill but is likely better suited for grilling than smoking. - check out http://www.pkgrills.com/. I use this one a lot since I do not cook large quantities of meat.

Minion method - I have been reading - I will definitly try that next time.

I will get my camera out and start documenting.

Thanks again
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