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smoke ring trouble on 22.5" WSM...still

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

i don't get it.  i've followed he minion method to the T.  I've done the KISS method exactly as spelled out in low & slow.  i know the smoke ring doesn't = flavor, but it will deduct points in appearance at the comp coming up.  why can't i get the smoke ring?  i use more wood chunks than either method suggests and i have t

TBS rolling the whole time.  WSM operators, what gives?

post #2 of 12

What are you cooking?  Using lump or briqs?  I get a pretty good ring with my 18.5.  I use RO lump and some decent size chunks (actually small splits of my normal firewood) and have no probs getting a ring...

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

i'm using RO lump and i use about 8 - 10 tennis ball sized chunks.  ribs is what i'm having trouble with getting the ring on.  briskets, butts, chickens, chuckies, etc. get fairly decent rings (1/8" to 1/4"), but every rack of ribs i've done have NO ring what so ever.  got a comp. sept 8th & sept 9th and would love to get this worked out before then.  now, that's not to say that the ribs don't have a good smokey flavor, but the ring will be part of the appearance score.

post #4 of 12

More than likely your ribs are smoking all the way thru ,Hence no smkoke ring.

 In comps the ribs are not judged by the ring .

 if you can post a pick of some of your sliced ribs it will be easy to tell.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

the ribs are not smoke ringed through.  the meat is white, not pink.

post #6 of 12

Pics would be nice. Do you let your ribs sit out and come to room temp before putting them on the smoker? Some folks here say keeping the meat as cold as possible before putting on the smoker helps produce better smoke rings, (not sure if it's true, I've never tried it). Are you cooking on the upper or lower rack?

post #7 of 12

Not sure what to tell you on that one SoaFung, here is a link to some ribs I did on my 22.5" WSM a couple weeks ago, as you can see I got a nice smoke ring around the inside


My basic set up of the WSM is one layer of either Kingsford Blue Bag or Royal Oak Red Bag briquets 4 or 5 chunks of wood, fill the ring the rest of the way with briquets, add another 5 or 6 chunks of wood, dump one lit chimney in the middle. I give it about 10 minutes to get going, put the middle section on, fill my water pan with hot water, put the bottom grate on. Then I put the lid on, and wait for the smoker to come up to 200°, at 200° on the lid therm I damp it down to about 3/4 closed on all 3 vents. Watch the temps for another 15 minutes or so - they usually steady out around 220-230°. Once my temps are steady I add meat to lower rack, then put on upper rack and add meat to it. Button it all up and leave it alone as much as possible.


Ribs are usually on the upper rack, and I have taken to running my smoker as close to 200-220° as possible. I find the lower, slower heat works beast for tender, no-foil, ribs.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

i don't have any pic of the smoke (having trouble with the new phone and digi cam is dead).  i'm doing exactly what JIRodriguez said he does.  i don't get it.  i have only had one rib smoke on the WSM that produced a smoke ring and it was pretty deep.  that smoke was with the same wood i have been using on all my other smokes, so i give up.  my the big guy up stairs wants me to cook ribs on the offset.

post #9 of 12

Try cooking a rack completly unfoiled from start to finish. I am wondering if the first three hours are just not enough to get a prominent smoke ring before foiling. I have taken to cooking ribs completely unfoiled, but keeping the smoker running lower around 200-220°. I got a beutifull looking rib using a method JaxGator used - after the ribs are slathered with mustard and rubbed I put 2/3 cup of brown sugar spread across the top of each rack. Let the sugar melt to a liquid (about 1 hr.) then toss them on the smoker. Cook completely uncovered, spritz once per hr. after the first 2 hrs.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

i've done that before on my offset.  i got REALLY..uh...tired...from the night before and had to get up a cook ribs in a "Recipe Cook-off" with my team.  i didn't have any rub made and i had to get the smoker going right when i woke up.  i put a little kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and a tiny bit of garlic powder.  slapped on a fair amount of light brown sugar and let it melt as i was tending the fire.  pretty "naked", but really good.


the ribs i did this past saturday had excellent smoke FLAVOR, but if i can't deliver the appearance, then we miss out on using my ribs at the comp.  the only other solution i have is to find some green(er) wood and see if that will give me my results.


the more i think about it  the ribs that looked the way the should, i did do something different.  i got the chimney going.  wehen the coals were ready, i grabbed the ribs out of the fridge.  poured lit charcoal (lump) into the coal ring and assembled.  put on some more wood and immediately through the ribs on.  let the WSM come up to 200 (on lid therm) and dampered down.  WSM took about 20 more minutes to get to 225 and from there i let her creep up to 230 - 245.  i think it just hit me.  i've been cooking every thing in the 235 - 260 range lately (i'm the bisket and butt man at the comp) and that's how i've been doing my ribs as well.  maybe the higher temp on the ribs is getting the outside done before smoke has a chance to penetrate!? 


one more thing, i've gone to the clay saucer method as well.  i hate having to deal with the nasty a$$ water after a cook.  the one team member that has done our city Chamber of Commerce bbq cook off says that i'm gonna have a hard time dumping the water, so i decided to try that alternative.  i had my smoke ring problems before the clay saucer method, though, so i don't think the absence of water is creating my troubles.

post #11 of 12

I agree you might be searing the outside to fast and not getting smoke penetration. Using water will help keep your heat lower and moist, ribs unlike a big piece of meat, don't have a lot of juicy thermal mass to keep them from drying out. I believe the dryer air would also end up sealing up the outer surface a bit faster as well.


Try foiling you water pan, then when your done just leave all your vents 100% open, all the water will boil out. Clean up is easy, remove foil, wipe out pan with paper towel... done!


I would try a couple of racks with the smoker runnin at 200° with water in the pan. Do one rack with the brown sugar melt and no foil, and the other rack your normal 2-2-1 (or whatever variation you use). Hopefully both will have a smoke ring, then you can decide which one you like best.

post #12 of 12

SaoFung.... just was talking to my boss, he has done lots of competitions with a 22.5" WSM, about the smoke ring issue. His first response was exactly what we have been thinking, to much heat and to dry of heat is sealing up the outide of the ribs to fast and stopping or slowing smoke penetration.

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