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Couple of Questions + NFL Kickoff Smokes

Joined Aug 22, 2018
Hey SMF Crew,

After my initial couple of smokes after getting my WSM, I did a couple more over 2 weekends to line up with the beginning of the NFL season involving PP and ribs, and they caused a couple of questions to pop up in my head, so I figured I'd ask the gang on here, and throw the finished product pics on here as well.

  • With the butts and a handful of the ribs, I went with rubbing it in mustard as a binder for the pork rub. Does the thickness of mustard application affect the thickness of the resulting bark on the meat? Is it the rub? or a combo of both?
  • When doing saucy ribs, do y'all prefer doing them naked (w/ just salt/pep) or do you put your normal rub on them and sauce over that or is it just personal preference like so many other things?
  • I know that wrapping the meat in foil can affect the smoke/cook process, but does putting the meat on a metal cookie sheet noticeably change the smoke/cook even if it's just resting on it and not wrapped with anything?

Anyway, did a 7# butt for a small party I hold every year on the first Sunday of NFL season, and did ribs for our neighbors and wife and I the following Sunday.

Rubbed it down in mustard, coated in a rub I think I've settled on and wrapped it up to sit all day. Threw it on about 9pm that night, pulled it off about 12:45pm the next day as the football was roaring.

Turned out really solid (better than my first the week before), and finished it with the forum-famous SoFlaQuer finisher. Only bad part was there was no leftovers =(

Ribs the next week. So I thought there were 2 racks of ribs in each cryovac'ed package I bought, but there were 3, so I ended up with a lot of ribs. I used the rib rack, and even though they flopped over a bit, was the only way I could fit all full 5 racks.

All in all, probably one of the tastier things I've made in my young meat-smoking life. Bark was like candy, and meat was glistening and slide right off. As always, thanks to the awesome posts on the forum. Did some dry and some sauced, this was the sauced

Thanks as always for the help with my questions, and for helping make me look like I know what I'm doing! =)


chef jimmyj

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Joined May 12, 2011
Bark is a function of heat and time. Low heat a long time gives good bark, so does high heat over a short time. Go low heat and you can use sugar for sweetness and color. Over 300 and Sugar can burn. Anything that helps stick the rub works for the flavor. Mustard, oil, even leaving the surface damp all work. A tablespoon, two max, of Mustard is plenty. For max crunchy bark, no Foiling at any time! Foiling during a rest will leave a flavorful bark but it will soften. Foil to get through the stall and there will be minimal bark.

I always use a rub on ribs sauced or not.

Smoking on Foil or a pan has limited impact on smoke. Especially if you turn the Butt over half way through. With ribs, start bones up then finish meat up...JJ


Master of the Pit
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Joined May 19, 2018
Personally I don't see the point of mustard. I just apply rub and work it over, then wait an hour, flip the meat and do it again.


Legendary Pitmaster
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Joined Sep 15, 2012
No mustard or additional rub binders here as well.



SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Joined Jun 22, 2009
Well all I can say is those are some mighty fine looking ribs!
And the PP looks just as good!!


Smoking Guru
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Joined Jun 11, 2015
Here we go again and it all comes down to your personal preference. After gaining some experience you will learn what you like and what works best for you. Keeping notes is a sure way of repeating what you did. But I don't use mustard just the rub and give the meat time to sweat a little before placing in the smoker. I also never wrap anything.



SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Joined Sep 12, 2009
Great looking Vittles you got there, Andrew!!!

Nice Job!


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