So this is my 3d time smoking and each time has been something different. First time it was a 12 lb turkey with applewood. Haven't started a log yet but I think it was about 6 hours. Nice smoke flavor but a little dry. Didn't brine it, but next time I will. Next it was a 7 lb pork shoulder picnic with hickory for pulled pork. Didn't go so well. Recipe said 8 to 10 hours. I was hoping for 8 and started at 8 am. At 4 pm internal temp was only 140F. At 6 pm internal was 170F. Had hungry family and guests and being the impatient type I took it off. It wouldn't pull so it had to be cut and chopped up. Nice flavor but not exactly what I had hoped for.
Anyway, this time it was a practice run for July 4th. 4 racks of babyback ribs with hickory. Did the 2-2-1 method. Rubbed with mustard to hold the dry rub. Dry rub came right out of the Weber book. Rubbed them up only 1/2 hour before smoking. Put 6 chunks around the outer most edge of the charcoal ring. Keep in mind I'm still a rookie at this. Things were going well. 2 hours without foil. Then foiled them for the second step. About 3-1/2 hours in I started losing temp. It dropped to about 210F and I couldn't spike it by opening all vents wide open. As I said, I'm the impatient type and my assistant (23 yr old son) is even more impatient. I looked in side and saw 2 hickory chunks hardly burned at all. I couldn't see if the others were more burned or not. Any way I poured in about 35 unlit briquets. 10 minutes later...no progress....so now I fired up my chimney with aobut 50 briquets. Let that cook for about 10 minutes and then poured them in. Instantaneous spike to 280-300. Now its time for the final hour with foil. Mopped on some sauce. That was also right from the Weber book.
Anyway, the ribs turned out fantastic even with the slight hiccups along the way.
Wanted to share and get some feed back. I think one theme so far from my 3 smokes is that I'm using a lot of charcoal.. Need to get more experience with that aspect.
What I've done after each smoke and when everything is completely cooled is stir around the unburned or half burned brickets. All the ash drops to the bottom. I dump the ash but save the briquets. Is that wrong? I had a theory that the half burned stuff is smaller and more tightly packed therefore less air circulation.
Like I said looking for any feedback.