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Newbie to Smoking with specific B B Rib questions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I've been reading threads, sites, watched videos, etc.  for 2 days and haven't come across answers to some questions. Hope you can assist.


Have a 30" MES that I've seasoned according to the instructions. That's my total amount of experience in smoking.


 Want to try doing some ribs tomorrow.  I've got my rub on, put in plastic and foil in the fridge. But......I need to know:


1. Do you Pre-Heat the smoker?  If so to what temperature and for how long. Do you go to 270, add chips ( wet or dry) , and let it smoke, then dial down to your desired temp THEN add your ribs? Or do you just set it at 225-250 and dump your chips when it reaches that temp.......THEN add the ribs?  I need to know the process.


2. If you've preheat, & are ready to insert the ribs, you add more chips at that time or not?  If so  do you add wet or dry and  approx how much if you're using Hickory and Apple. Hand full, Cup, etc.

  Do you ever add more chips throughout the 2-2-1 or 3-2-1 process?  If yes, how often and are you adding them wet or dry.


3. Which of the 4 racks do you put your ribs on. Upper 2, Middle 2 or Lower 2 if you're doing 2 slabs of BB.


4. Is it absolutely necessary to use a RIB RACK  and smoke vertically? What's the advantages of this method. Do you oil the rack? 


5. What settings for the little vent at the top. Closed when pre-heating then open? 100% Open during smoking process, half open? What do you think? 


6. Do you add  water or apple juice to the bottom pan? If yes, about how much and do you pre-heat the liquid before

introducing it into the smoker to maintain temp. If you add the liquid is it when you start the ribs or later in the cooking process. 


Thanks for your answers...... looking forward to reading all your comments and instructions





post #2 of 7

I don't own an MES but.  Here are my thoughts.  First, relaxe, enjoy it, its not brain surgery.

I preheat w/smoke on my GOSM.  At the desired target temp, and only preheat until I hit that temp.

I would add chips when you open the door to add ribs.  Keep the door closed as much as possible.

Keep your ribs in the middle, you'll learn with practice where they "should" be.

I don't use a rack often.  Only when I need the space.

My GOSM top vent is always 100% open.

add the liquid at the start of preheat.  Put in what you want.

again ENJOY.  Trial and error is fun!

post #3 of 7

Welcome and lets see if i can answer some of your ??? i use the 800watt mes 40"

1. allways preheat your mes . Most tend to run a lil cooler than the readout says.

close the top vent and preheat w/ no chips in the unit.

I have never soaked my chips.


 2. i put my meat in the smoker and then open top vent FULL OPEN.

 add dry chips at this time. A handfull of whatever flavor you want.

 i find that i add chips around once an hour . Remember if you smell smoke you have smoke.

3.the mes is known to have a hotter zone on the right side over the element. i would cook on the left side upper 2 racks if possible.

4 no it's not neccessary. the rib rack just allows you to cook more ribs in a set ammount of space.

5 full closed to preheat and full open when cooking

6. Allways foil the water pan b4 use , Makes for a easy clean up.

 Fill water pan 3/4 full w/  water . Boiling water is the best so you dont have to heat the water w/ the smoker.

 i fill the water pan right b4 i put the meat on.

 hope this helps  and any more !!! just ask.

post #4 of 7

I have a smoke vault 24" propane so I will answer your questions the best I can.

1 Yes I pre-heat my smoker and turn it down when I'm ready. I also use the heatr to crisp up the dry yummies on my grates  too.

2 I also put in dry chips after I after I pre-heat and clean the grates. Then I put in the meat.

3 I don't have the MES

4 A rib rack is for those of us here that have a smaller smoker. I don't have that problem anymore. That's why I bought the 24" wide smoker.

5 I open my vents fully during the whole smoking process.You don't want to keep the smoke in your smoker any longer then you have to. You want it to do it's job and leave too long and you will get some stall and bitter flavor.

6 I don't foil my water pan I just wash it each time after I smoke something.

I hope that this helps you with your quest to greatness on with your smoker

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks RW Willy and eman. I appreciate you taking the time and responding.


I'd hate to waste 2 perfectly good sides of BB Ribs by screwing up something minor......like where to put ribs in the smoker and adding chips.


Eman.....Thanks for your specifics seeing that you use the  larger MES unit.   I had no idea about hot spots above the chip holder, so thanks for pointing that out.   I did read where people say to wrap the water pan and drip pan with foil, so I've done that tonight in anticipation of tomorrow's first try at smoking.


I do have one final question for you Eman........ the chip dumper? Do you leave it fully inserted  while smoking? I read some take it out, or open it part way etc.  Is that to maintain a steady temp?  What temp do you do your BB ribs at and for how approx.


I did a trial run today as to temperatures. I bought one of those "remote" temp readouts by Maverick and I bought an oven thermoneter.  I ran the smoker up to 250 per the MES digital readout.

I put a little magnet on the Maverick's probe and attached it to  the left  upper side,  level with the one that's mounted in the upper left corner of the smoker. The Oven Thermometer I put dead center, second rack from the top.  The Maverick read 251 and the oven thermometer 250 right on the money. 





post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 



Appreciate your reply.  Do you wipe down the inside of your smoker after it cools down? I read something about buildup and bitter taste if you dont do that?  Just curious.

post #7 of 7

As with any grill, you should wire brush the grates after use. Thereafter, when preparing for next use, I always preheat to a high temp and, somewhere in there, give the grates another good wire brushing.  Doing this will kill anything organisms which may be lingering and feeding off of residue from previous use, will remove anything that could foul up the flavor of your new product and will extend the service life of those grates.


I wouldn't worry about the insides of the smoker cabinet.  All of that is seasoned from previous cooks and is perfectly seasoned. 


Also, during cooking, I allow my cooking utensils to get hot - to prevent cross-contamination between UNcooked and cooked meats.


Otherwise, YES, take it easy...it's not brain surgery.  If you're new at this, take notes (like a scuba diver's log) to figure what you did right and wrong...eventually tweaking your process to YOUR perfection!  Thankfully, smokers allow ample time to catch and avoid mistakes.

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