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Bad Spare Ribs using Kingford blue

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by fpmich, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I smoked some spare ribs Friday night (3 slabs) and they are awful!

    I bought some Kingsford briquets that I could use the for smoking jerky, and my son's salmon, if and when.
    Figuring lower temps for fish & jerky, and the briquet's burns much cooler than the Lump charcoal.

    Wife got a bigger bag than I wanted, but what the heck. I'll use them for the ribs, right?

    1st couple of hours was OK, but then temp started to drop. Shook in some more Kingford, just like I do with the lump, and nothing!

    Except fouling smelling smoke pouring from stack, and no temperature rise for 45 to 60 minutes!  In fact temps fell even lower, to 140* due to fuel or technique

    What the...?   Lump usually starts raising temps within 10-15 minutes or so.

    Temps strayed so low, that I thought my Maverick digital remote thermometer's batteries had taken a dive.
    Not the case. Fuel source or technique.

    I gave up and decided to foil and bake in oven for the recommended two hours. (I usually do this in the smoker, but with low temps, I opted for the oven at 235*. However after ribs were in oven for a 1/2 hour or so, my smoker did finely rise to 250* but then dropped again. Also decided not to put them back in smoker for last hour of smoke, because temps weren't in the safe zone.
    So, cooked uncovered in oven another hour.

    Tasted some of the chefs tasters you get when cutting into KC style. Pretty much like jerky. Okay, but still pork jerky.

    Re-foiled, added water and baked another hour @ 235*, then let them rest another hour or so, still foiled in turned off oven.
    Tried a bite again, and ended up having a dinner of baked Sweet Potato and Peanut Butter sandwich, with Fig newton dessert.

    Mmmm, yummy! Huh?

    Yup... they were that bad!
    Worst I have ever made, oven, grill or smoker.
    Trust me, NO ONE will make those disappear before you get them to freezer. LOL

    I'm hoping, that if I freeze them, re-sauce and foil with liquid for steam, and bake them again for another hour or so in oven, they might be edible.

    Now what the heck do I do with leftover crappy charcoal?
    I think when using briquettes, maybe they need to be full on fire before adding to already going coals.
    Because adding them raw, so to speak, gave off some awful smoke without any wood on it, and killed the temp.

    Any advice or insights?

  2. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    IMHO you are correct in your assessment, adding the unlit briquettes caused most, if not all, of your problem. Ash build up may have also been a contributing factor, ash from the briqs will restrict air flow which will make temps difficult to maintain. I never use briquettes as my sole heat source in my CG for this reason, Lump charcoal or wood is the way to go with any offset IMHO.
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yep...You have to add hot coal if you need more. You can control the temp of a hot fire buy cutting off the air but getting new coals fired from weak coals takes forever and smokes like a train. The Minion method works for the opposite reason, always Hot coals lighting the next in line. The thin skirt and tip meat is usually done at the 2 hour mark if you go longer they get dry. That's why until my family learned what I was doing, this Chef always had a treat for tending the smoker. Now forget it, they watch the clock closer that I do!...JJ
  4. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for confirming what I thought was my problem this time.

    With lump it doesn't seem to this temp drop and nasty smoking from adding unlit charcoal.

    Live, learn, and eat a bad batch of ribs for a bbq penalty.
  5. wade

    wade Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Most briquettes will let off some pretty disgusting smelling smoke when they are first lit. Get yourself a chimney starter (if you do not have one already) and get the new briquettes smoked-out and hot in there before adding. I do not know the Kingsford brand so don't know if they are dense briquettes for slow smoking or general use grilling briquettes. If you only got a couple of hours out of them then I suspect they were the lower density grilling briquettes.

    We have a brand here in the UK called Heat Beads (Australian manufactured) which I now use all the time. On a single charge I will easily get 6-7 hours cooking time in the Weber. If I use the general store briquettes I too only get a couple of hours (maybe 3) out of them.
  6. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Wade.

    Yes, I have two chimney's.  Just too stupid to use them sometimes.  LOL

    I guess I got used to lump charcoal catching fire so fast, just by adding to box,

    that I forgot that, when I grill, I always fully fire my briquettes, before adding. But then I am usually  cooking foods that need hot fire.

    But I gotta say, that heavy nasty briquette smoke did not improver my ribs taste at all!

    Lesson learned.

    Real Quick!


    But by this time next year I "will" have mastered the use of briquettes.  Even though I'm now in love with good lump.

    briquettes are cheaper, but it's a trade off sometimes.

    I hope to learn how to just wood and still control temp and smoke too.  Not sure if it is even possible to do in a Char-Griller with sfb.

    BEWARE PEOPLE!  More goofy question from me will be cropping next spring!  LOL
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  7. Use those leftover ribs to make pork fried rice! I use my leftovers and it comes out great.
  8. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hmm, I use to add a few briquettes over a course of the smoke with no issue. If I needed alot I would use the chimney starter. You sure you didn't have some bad ribs?
  9. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah Kingsford blue does work great for long low and slow smokes, but if you are going to add mid-smoke you must get the chimney at least half lit before dumping it in your smoker. I use Kingsford all the time, and did run into the same issue when I first started smoking meats. Just fill a chimney and get it half lit, then dump it in - you will get a slight temp spike but it should settle down with in 15-20 minutes.
  10. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    It's more than possible, it's how I use my CG. Start with 1 1/2-2 chimneys of lump to get things humming and add small wood splits to maintain the fire as needed. Splits get heated either on the SFB during warm weather.or inside it away from the fire in the colder months, heating them before adding to the fire allows for quicker, cleaner ignition which means no billowing white smoke. You need to keep a small hot fire-