I finally fired up the smoker this weekend and made a couple of racks of Baby Backs.
- I have not yet installed the extension to the smokestack
- I have not yet obtained a "real" charcoal box
- I did turn over the cooker box charcoal pan (as a diffuser, as suggested by someone, somewhere...)
- It was raining on and off all day
These are the two racks I prepared with my dry rub.
The racks in the cooking chamber. I put a water pan on the inverted coal thingie. Also notice the probes from my new Maverick E73 thermometer!
OK, at this point you have to realize that I had a lot of trouble maintaining the heat in the cooking chamber. When I put the racks in, the chamber was a hair over 200 degrees, but I figured it would get hotter.
Then, of course, it started raining, and I had the devil of a time keeping the temp over 200. I added more hot coals (about two chimney's worth, over the course of a couple of hours).
After about three hours in the smoker with the heat fluctuating between 190 and 220, I decided I'd had enough for the day.
I fired up my oven (to 250° F), sprayed the baby backs with a little water, wrapped the baby backs in foil, put some foil and a water pan in the bottom oven rack and the baby backs on the top oven rack and left them there for another 2 hours.
After that I unwrapped them and let them "finish" in the oven for another hour. I basted one of the racks with BBQ sauce for the last half hour of cooking time.
I was so eager to try them out (and so was my fiancee) that I forgot to take pictures until after we'd had our way with them.
I did take pictures of the aftermath:
The ribs on the left were basted for the last half hour, the ones on the right were left dry.
Close-up of the "wet" ribs
Close-up of the "dry" ribs
They WERE delicious and fell off the bone...
I realize that this wasn't a "full" smoke, since they were only in the smoker for about 3 hours, but they did pick up a lot of flavor (I used mesquite chunks, which is all I have at present) and a lovely pink color to the meat.
- How do you keep the racks from falling apart when you take them off the cooking grids?
- I had the upside-down charcoal pan right next to the hole to the firebox. If I moved it further away, would that increase the heat in the cook chamber? (I should probably try to smoke without that mod and see what happens, eh?)
- Did I do OK, or am I just kidding myself?
Thanks for your suggestions and I can't wait to try again!
OH, and wonderful as the Thermometer is, it wouldn't pick up a signal when I was inside my house: about 30 feet away, but the garage is in-between. Ah well...