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Smoking Lots or Ribs - Looking For Advise

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey guys I am new to the forum. I have been smoking for a while and typically smoke a few items at a time without over loading my pit. Here is my problem - My wife and I decided to host a BBQ for Labor Day and many of our guest have had my ribs on different occasions. A request was made to serve the fabulous ribs. This BBQ was going to be a bit larger than usual so I was going to get started a bit earlier then usual to make sure everything was done in time. Now my wife has invited several additional guests and I was given the new list of items needed to be smoked to insure there is enough food for evetryone.
2 - Pork Butts
4 - Chickens
8 - Slabs of Ribs
I typically Use the 3-2-1 method for my ribs but I was thinking about pre cooking the ribs or partially cooking the ribs? Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions as to a method to get all this meat cooked without watching my pit for 48 hours and sleeping through the party?
post #2 of 11
I dont know if you want to look at this option but I have done BBQ's with Ribs and Pulled Pork. I did my pork butts the day before and threw them in a cooler wraped in some old towels.

I would pull them later that night and just stick them in the fridge until the party. I reheat my pulled pork in a slow cooker.

The ribs wont consume the whole day. You can start them late morning like I do and by the time the party starts they are ready to come off.

Just my opinion but it has worked for me in the past
post #3 of 11
I will offer advice where I can...

Cook the butts ahead of time. Vac seal them and just snip the corner before setting in a boiling pot of water to reheat.

Start much earlier than you need to, use a preheated cooler to store the ribs in. It's common around my household to find a cooler full of hot water the day of a big event. Take the ribs off wrap in foil put in cooler and stuff some old towels around. Should keep 4 to 6 hours with no problem...will still be too hot to handle. Others I have discovered just turn their electric smokers down and keep food on the smoker wrapped in foil for extended periods. I'll let someone else address the chicken as I rarely cook them.
post #4 of 11
I think it goes without saying but...if you use the boiling pot method for the pulled pork be sure the keep the clipped corner above the water line! LOL

Swing by Roll Call when you get the chance ;)
post #5 of 11
Hi Chad! Welcome aboard! First off, please stop by Roll Call and introduce yourself and explain a bit more about your experience, and the type/size of rig you're useing. That will help in the future to get faster responses to any questions you might post.

About your smoker: what size is the available cooking grate area or the make/model?

For the ribs: are they Baby Backs, Spares, Beef Spares? Do you have any Rib/Potato Racks to stack them on edge for saving grate space?

I think I can help you figure out how to pull it off if I know the above.

As for partially cooking, that's a no-no for food safety reasons...way too much time spent in the 40-140* internal temp range.

You can smoke the ribs a day or 2 ahead of time, wrap in poly and chill in the fridge, then re-heat on a grill or smoker at a moderately low temp...works great. I've even reheated in the "O" if I'm feeling lazy.icon_redface.gif

I have frozen leftover ribs, pulled pork etc., and just get it thawing a few days ahead of time and reheat as described above.

Butts are great pulled and reheated later, too. Just make sure the meat has some extra moisture (in the covered roaster/slow cooker or whatever you choose to use) when reheating or it can dry out.

My SNP 40" will handle 4 full slabs on the main grate and 2 on the top warmer. If I use Rib Racks, I can fit 10 slabs on the main, and I have to remove the warmer grate for un-trimmed spares.

Chickens, if you want to cut them into pieces after smoking, they do not reheat well, so do them the day of the party, and try to time it so they will be ready very close to the planned time for dining...that's not always possible...I know. Bbq is ready when it tells you it's ready. As long as the guests understand they may need to wait, no problem.

Anyway, I'd do the birds that day, the rest can be done earlier and you'll still have good product.

Just in case, if you do ABT's, they're best fresh off the smoker too.

Hope this helps you out. Sounds like you really enjoy doing up a good Bbq and sharing it with others...nuthin' better than that!!!!!

Good luck and good smokes!


On edit: must be getting slow in my (almost) old age!! LOL!!!!!!!!! These guys beat me to the punch...time wasn't even close! Heh-heh!
post #6 of 11
Good stuff you guys!!! PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

Some real nice tips here.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick replys guys, Eric I am using
a modified cheapo Brinkmann Smoke N Grill model 810-3038-S.
The ribs will be babyback pork ribs.
I do not have a rib rack but I am planning on purchasing 2 for this smoke.
I think I am going to do the following, tell me what you think -

Prep all the meat on Thursday Night, rub all the meat and wrap in plastic wrap and chill before I go to bed. Friday smoke the 2 butts, shread and refrigerate. Saterday Morning 7 a.m. begin smoking the ribs 3-2-1 (ribs are done 1 p.m. Wrap them in towels and store in heated cooler. Put the shreaded butt in a large foil banquet pan with a little apple juice and warm in the oven while I load the smoker with whole brined chickens and hope they can get smoked and hold an interanl temp of 165 by 5 p.m. The Guest are scheduled to arrive at 3 so they can drink a few bears while the chicken finishes up. What do you think?
post #8 of 11
Yeah, sounds about right. For the BB ribs, 3-2-1 may be too long. If you've done 'em that way and like the results go for it. Also, do a 3-2 or 2.5-1.5 (seems like what most guys do for BB's), then, skip the 1 or 0.5 bark-set to set up the bark until you pull them out before dining. That is if you have smoker grate or grill space for it right before dinner. This will give you a nice set on the bark. Laying in the foil will soften the bark alot.

Oh, this just came to mind: the wrap/cooler resting will also make them even more tender, so, you may want to cut back on the foiled smoker time by about half, maybe more...they may literally fall apart when you try to get them out of the foil if they brased too long.

On the Rib Racks, they won't hold as many slabs as they look like they should. Each wire space will fit one slab, but, leaves no gap between the slabs for even cooking. So, you have to skip a space between to allow for this. Another thing I noticed is the need to flip the slabs over about half-way through the smoke stage to get the slabs evenly cooked. I've found that the top edge does not cook as fast most of the time. Mine have enough space for 3 slabs, but with 4 Racks, I can overlap 2 racks in tandem, and then position them so I can run the slabs across the cook grate from end to end. This method allows me to use as much space of the racks as I need by expanding/contacting it to the size I want. But with BB's being smaller you'll be able to play with the space a bit easier.

You'll see what I mean when you get started on that part. I guess my racks could be a different style than yours and may not stack together...mine are King Kooker brand, $6.00/each @ wally-world.com.

Woah, I got long winded again! I think you got it covered pretty well though.

post #9 of 11
3 things here -

1 - a GOSM would hold that much food, so think about that for your next purchase. 97 bucks and you'll love it over the ECB.

2 - I think the layers of cooking is un poco loco. Yes, you sometimes have to stagger times, but doing one meat - taking it out, then doing another meat, etc, etc will drive you crazy.

3 - I have been doing a lot of catering now (totally crazy) icon_wink.gif and I would cut the butts into smaller pieces so they are in with the ribs and chicken and done with the ribs and chicken.

I've never done whole chix before, so check the times here with the guys, but I would venture to say, you are probably close in times with the 3-1-1 or 3-2-1

BE VERY CAREFUL with this towel and partial deal ---- forluvofsmoke is spot on 40-140 is the no zone. more than an hour and you run the risk of getting someone sick. remember, it isn't going to be one of your football buddies, it could be a grannie or a kid.

Have it all done at the same time -- and you'll be a winner. Remember Q holds well - so stick it in the oven (covered in foil) in the house at 160-170 for hours and you're ok.

Hope this helps. Brad
post #10 of 11
Just did 2 whole chickens the other night on my Smokin' Pro, took 3 hrs. at about 225° to hit in internal temp on the thighs of 180°. In all honesty prep as much ahead as you can! Definately cook the butt's the day before... and if possible the ribs as well. That way on the day of the party you only have to do the chix and throw the ribs back on to re-heat.

I have had great luck reheating ribs, and to save space on the smoker I just stack them one on top of the other and rotate the stack once or twice to make sure they all reheat well.

Good luck!
post #11 of 11
FYI guys, those butts have to get down to 40 degrees or less in 2 hrs or less.
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