Dry Ribs and Pork

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Original poster
Oct 30, 2021
Hello everyone! I'm new here but have been reading the posts for a long time, so firstly a big thanks to this community for helping me learn this amazing hobby! Had to post now, because I'm a bit stuck...

I have had plenty of success over the last few years smoking baby backs. I have previously owned a WSM, Pit Barrel Smoker and then more recently just getting great results on a standard Weber kettle. Although over here in the UK it's really hard to get meaty ribs, and St. Louis is essentially only available online via specialists, but that said I had no complaints with the outcome, and chicken, BB ribs and pulled pork, I have to say I thought I had totally nailed it! :-)

Anyway, decided it was time to up my game so bought an Oklahoma Joe a couple weeks back, did a spatchcock chicken and a pork butt week one, and a couple racks of ribs yesterday and it's all coming out a bit dry. OK, chicken wasn't as tender as usual, but not a disaster, and if I'm being honest maybe I overcooked the pork, but these ribs yesterday didn't come out great. I'd say 90% of my smoke is the good thin blue variety, and although controlling temp is definitely more of a challenge, I was in the 200-300f range for a full 3.5h before wrapping and finishing in the oven for an 1.5hr at 230f. (although admittedly there was probably quite a bit of fluctuation as I am still learning fire management)

Also, none of it is really very smoky. I am maybe putting that down to smoking over applewood though, I think I've had this issue previously with chunks on coal. Ned to find some oak splits to confirm this.

I'm not ready to give up on the OJ yet, but I'm doing 6 racks for a halloween party tonight so any thoughts/advice on why I'm getting dry results would be super useful, cheers!
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Welcome aboard.
What are you using to verify pit temps? Built in dial therm or a remote digital?
As TNJAKE TNJAKE said above, try using a water pan too if you haven't done so.
I do ribs by internal temp, it doesn’t matter whether your smoker is running at 225 or 300, or fluctuating anywhere in between. We like our ribs at 195 IT, but if you want FOTB ribs then you would want to take them to 200-205. It doesn’t matter if you wrap them or not, but if you are looking for more smoke flavor then I would leave them unwrapped & mop them with a mix of apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, & bbq sauce, about 1/3 each every 45 minutes until done. Also like Jake said put a water pan next to the fire box on the grate. Good luck!
Thanks guys! Yep, I have a digital thermometer, and I do indeed have a water pan by the firebox. I have 3 on the smoker and 2 in the oven at a steady 260 just to conduct an experiment.

Smoker temps much more stable this time, I have been watching it like a hawk and am running between 220 and 280... although the football starts in an hour so anything could happen after that! :emoji_laughing:
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