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New Member, Just Completed 1st Smoke

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello I am a new member, as well as a new smoker.  I completed my first smoke this weekend, and have been on here reading up on some tips.  I used a recently purchased brinkman vertical smoker (I made a few alterations including adding a new thermostat, added a grate to the charcoal pan, and drilled some holes in the charcoal pan). For my inaugural smoke, I decided to go with country style ribs, as I wanted something with a little bit of a shorter cook time.  I marinated them in Werstershire sauce for about 6 hours, drained them and then put a butt rub on them, and placed in the fridge overnight.  The next day around 11:30 I fired up the smoker using charcoal lump as my fuel.  Once the charcoal looked ready I added some pieces of mesquite chunk, added the water pan with boiling water and closed the lid.  The temp immediately went above 300 and was staying there. After about 15min I started removing some of the charcoal, and eventually the temp fell, but it fell too low down to about 200.  At about 12:15 the temp rose up to 210 -215, and put the ribs on at that temp. They cooked the 1st hour at this temp, but after that I was able to keep it around 220, and for the last 2 hours I had it at 250. I did use the 2-2-1 method, wrapping them if foil with apple juice for 2 hours in the middle. I also sprayed them with apple juice a few times during the cooking process.  I added barbeque sauce at about 5:00 and pulled the ribs off at 5:15, their internal temp was at 180. Some of the ribs were really tender, but some of them were a little less than tender (not tough but just not the tenderness I was looking for).  They had a great taste, nice smoke flavor with a nice smoke ring, but I am assuming if I had done this correctly they all would be nice and tender. Please give me your critiques, and any tips you can give me so I improve for the next time

post #2 of 7

I'm not going to critique any thing you did ,sounds like you did good!

 I have read on the forum not to go by temp ,but to just wait till you see about 1/4 inch of bone showing then pull them off the smoker and that solved my toughness problem

 Havent had a bad rib since then  

post #3 of 7

Hey, sounds like you did pretty well for a first time effort. And a great choice of meat for the inexperienced. The country rib is VERY forgiving, and is the meat I chose to start with some 20 years ago ( back then, I did it mostly because they were cheap  ).

As far as the " tenderness " goes, well, like everything else, it's a matter of opinion. While some folks may say they need to be falling apart when you pull them to be " tender ", I say that's overdone. You want them to be tender, but falling off the bone is overcooked. You want some texture to the meat. And when they reach the perfect point to pull 'em, well, again, there is no rule. It comes with experience. You'll get to the point where you just know. Especially with ribs ( I suggest spares ). I have NEVER put a probe into a rib. For a slab of spares, it'll take 6-8 hours in a charcoal pit if you keep that temperature at 225 ( and never above 250 .)


My whole thing is, I started doing this before the advent of the internet, and when I was young and didn't buy a whole lot of cookbooks. Most of what I know is from word-of-mouth learning, and mostly, from experience. It's only been since I've been checking out internet sites that I have read all these " rules ", like the 2-2-1 thing, and wrapping them in foil. I never did any of that, and have been smoking some killer Q for a long time. If you want some general tips like these, that's great. But dont get TOO caught up with it. Trial and error is the best teacher. You'll get it.


Two things are important in this labor of love..First, is knowing that every piece of meat is different, and will act differently, and second, and most important, is that YOU and the folks eating it are happy with it. The smiles and "mmm's " are the reason were doing this, right ?

post #4 of 7

You did just fine.


On ribs, don't go by temp.  There's rarely enough meat to get an accurate reading.



About your fire, if you can get your fire under control and start closing any dampers as it gets close to 200° and then slowly bring it up to 225-250° you'll be rockin'.  It's not the amount of charcoal, but the amount of air to the lit charcoal that causes the temps to spike.


I have been schooled on using the minion method even on short smokes.  I suggest looking at the wiki article we have for that for more information.  I think you'll have better luck with it.


As far as tenderness is concerned, that's a matter of preference.  If you do a comp, they're going to want to get a tug when they bite into ribs, but for most other folks, fall off the bone (or in your case fall apart) is what they want.


Don't go too hard on yourself...that's what we're here for...we were all in your shoes at one point

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys, I really appreciate your help and advice.  I agree, in the end it is about the "The smiles and "mmm's "", and I think that was achieved.  I could tell very quickly that this is

definitely not an exact science and it will take years (if ever) to really perfect, but I think that learning process may also be part of the fun... I am leaning toward baby back ribs for my second smoke, I'll give an update and I'm sure to have more questions after that.  Thanks again!

post #6 of 7

Well, as long as you got OOOH's & AAAAH's, you did good.


Like you said though, it will take years to perfect, but you're wrong there. It will take years to get good at it, but you'll never perfect it because there's always a new rub, a new sauce, a new something, and every piece of meat is different. It is a great trip though, and the best part is that you can still eat the mistakes.

post #7 of 7

Well first off welcome Jeremy to SMF. It sounds like you have had a pretty good first smoke. But can you stop into Roll Call and please introduce yourself and your equpment. That way we can get to know you alittle bit too. Now when you do your next smoke and need some help just post a new thread in here and we will be ready to help you with just about anythig you could need. We have all been there in your new shoes.

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