Bone-Popping Spares & Center Cut Chops in the Gourmet: Q-view

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Smoking Guru
Original poster
OTBS Member
Aug 27, 2008
Hey all!

I wanted some shorter smokes this pair of days off work after my last smoke, which was a pair of no-foil (except to rest) butts in the Gourmet. My wife came home last night with 2 slabs of spares, a pack of center cut chops, a pack of assorted chops, 2 packs of T-bones and a double pack of chuck roasts. So, my wish for shorter smokes came to life, and the wheels started turning. I started thawing a couple medium sized whole chickens a few days ago and they'll go into the Gourmet tomorrow for dinner...that's for day 2 (plus whatever else I can crowd into one smoker).

Day 1, take 1...

I rinsed, cut 1/3 of the slab off so I can fit 2 slabs into the gourmet on one 1 grate in a rib rack, and rubbed on both sides with the membrane intact...just a basic no fuss spare rib...these are my Ancho Chili Jalapeno rub...:


...and these are my Red Bell Pepper rub:


I was having temp issues because I tried to baffle my center intake so the air would be re-directed through the factory intake slotted holes in the ash pan. Temps were running from 193-197* for the first 40 minutes, so out went the baffle, and then I was able to run it at 210-230*. 

About 4 hours into the smoke with charcoal briqs for fire, hickory smoke and a wet pan (kept it at about 1/2-3/4 quart, no more, so less BTU's are lost to steaming water, allowing higher temps to be reached with less fire), my wife said she didn't think 2 slabs of ribs would be enough for tonight's dinner, so I grabbed the center cut chops out of my fridge which were just waiting for the right moment...that would be now...right now.

Here we are at 4.5 hours in, just about to drop the chops in under the main grate with my custom supports. They hold the lower grate about 4" below the main grate instead of directly on top of the water pan. This allows for more heat and smoke, with less humidity, as the stock lower grate position is designed for steaming, not smoking, and that's exactly wjhat you get with it. Anyway, here's my first full view of the ribs since they first went under the lid:



I grabbed 5 out of 8 of the pack of Center Cut Chops and placed them...waiting for some dry rub on the top side only...I don't want to rub both sides, as this mild flavored cut of pork can get covered up very easily:


Ancho Chili & Jalapeno rub for 3 of them...: 


...and Red Bell Pepper for 2 of them: 


The 6 'oclock and 8 'oclock positions are RBP, and the rest are ACJ: 


I pulled the ribs out to pan and tent with a couple shots of O/J to finish up in the "O" at 225* for 1.5 hours while the chops finished. I was going to go straight wet smoke on open grates, but the wife wanted a fall off the bone rib experience, so I decided I'd just do 'em all the same, even though I knew she wouldn't be eating the ACJ ribs or chops, as it's too much heat for her liking.

1.5 hours at ~220-235*...RBP has the red tint and the ACJ is more brown in color:




The chops looked like they were overdone when I took one and started into it with a knife, but they were tender and moist from the wet complaints from anyone, including me.

ACJ spares after a 5.25-1.5-0 ride: 



RBP spares with the same treatment and times:



All were very tasty, and the ribs were just done enough that I could still slice them without the meat wanting to tear apart...perfectly cooked for this method, IMHO. If I really wanted to have the bark firmed up, they would have been perfect candidates for a 700-800* grill...slap 'em on for about 2-3 minutes per side. As is, the rubs were just like a thick mop sauce, except it's all spices and no liquids to carry it from the pan, to the mop, to the meat. BTW, I haven't mopped for almost 2 years, and I don't spray, either.

The RBP rub is good with most anything I've tried it on, and is not discriminate about the smoke woods I've used either, so it's one of my most used rubs. The ACJ is not one for the weak of heart, but a very tasty blend with some heat to back it up.

Incidentally, we have just over 1/3 of a slab of ACJ spares and 1 ACJ chop left, along with just under 1/2 slab of RBP spares and 2 RBP chops left over. But then, my oldest son is in college and will be home Thursday and takes some groceries back with him every Sunday night, so I'll put a bit of each into the freezer in the morning. He does love my smoked and grilled meats...doesn't really matter what it is, he'll chow-down on it.

That's a cut and print for day 1, take 1...we do things right the first time here at SMF...this ain't no Hollywood movie!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Been another fun day in the smoke, as always!

Thanks all!


Very nice there Eric. Yet another fine smoke you bring to the pages of SMF. I like that you didn't trim the spares. I like them that way myslef.
Thanks for sharing the Q View Eric, now I'm hungry again. It's all good my friend.
Last edited:
Thanks everyone!

I finally got a chance to play catch up here...been a busy smoker!

I had tons of fun with this smoke...a bit of mid-smoke changes when I added the chops, but no big deal to make the switch for a second grate of meat. Besides, I love a challenge, and this little change in plans just helped keep me sharp.

Man, I still have chops and spares in the fridge form lastnight, and I'm about to pull 8 chix qtrs from the gourmet in a few more minutes for tonight's dinner. I could out leftovers via PM's if hudler could support it, but unfortunately that's probably not coming anytime soon...I know...wishful thinking, but would that be cool, or what?

Great smokes to all!

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