First Rib Smoke!

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Original poster
Jul 19, 2005
so i am in the final hour of my first rib smoke. i learned how to smoke from a friend of mine and his father. i don't have a smoker, just a brinkmann backyard kitchen. i bought a smoke box and am using a foil package as well. combination of hickory and a little mesquite for wood chips. put the box and foil pack directly on the briquettes with a water pan on the grill grate above that with apple vinegar and water. the first 3 hours went well, it was tough to maintain 225 at first but now i got it. i used a dry rub from this site - don't touch your eyes rub. for the next phase, i grabbed the foil and poured in some apple juice. now, they are back on the rack and boy oh boy they are looking very, very good and i can't wait to taste em! i do have a question though - with this box i was having a tough time getting a good amount of smoke. any tips???

p.s. i noticed that i got more smoke out of the foil pack than out of the smoke box. which one should work better?
I'm glad it's going well for you so far! If you're using charcoal, why aren't you using wood chunks instead of the chips? Not too don't want to "over"smoke, but you 'll get alot better smoke from them.

Let us know about the end product!

i am using a propane grill which is why i am not using charcoal. to my surprise they turned out delicious. the meat didn't "fall" off of the bone but they were still very tender. the next time i do them i know how to keep my heat down now. thanks for your help!

There is something mystical about the first time a person tries to smoke up some great ribs and they turn out good.

As for not falling off the bone I wonder did you remember to remove the membrane [some folks refer to it as silverskin] from the underneath of the ribs?

That will help a lot. :)

I was thinking the same thing Jeff. I'm wondering if he is using the ceramic stones and these are what he's refering to as 'briquettes'.

jimithng23-Glad things turned out well for you.
"I was thinking the same thing Jeff. I'm wondering if he is using the ceramic stones and these are what he's refering to as 'briquettes'. "

yes, i have ceramic stones in my grill. they work pretty well. to respond to the other post: yes, i did remove the membranes. well, as much as i could. it is a daunting task your first time, isn't it? i think what kept me from getting the desired results (meat falling off the bone) was the first hour or so the temp was a little higher than what it should have been, and i wasn't getting much smoke. like i said earlier, i didn't get much smoke from the box and got A LOT more from the foil pack. i talked to my friend who introduced me to smoking and he gave me a simple tip: heat the box up in the oven first! when he told me this, i wanted to kick myself. that makes perfect sense as it takes a while for a cast iron box to heat up to start smoldering the wood chips. thanks for all your input, i appreciate it!
:?: Does anyone use the paper towel method of removing the membrane from ribs? Separate the membrane at one end and grab it using a paper towel for grip and just peel it off. :?:

I use a sharp knife to get it started and then use a pair of pliers that I only use for this purpose. :)


Yes it is a pain in the donkey until you have done it a bunch of times. In a years time you will probably not even remember having trouble with it.

As far as the smoke goes: I used to use the chips when I first started and I found that they burned up too fast then I went to using good size chunks for my smoking wood and this is what works for me:

I take the chunks and soak them in hot water for a few hours before I need them and I don't bother with any box or foil.

I just place a few good size water-soaked chunks right into my firebox along with my hardwood charcoal when I first put my meat, poultry etc into the cooking chamber. and then I do it again half way through the process and one more time towards the end of the smoking time.

But if you are using a propane smoker I guess you would need to use the box and pre-heating it sounds like a good idea.But you will still benefit from soaking your wood chunks in water.The smoke process is intensified a bit and the chunks last longer and provide more smoke rather than burning up quickly and providing less smoke.

I use a brinkmann's horizontal charcoal/wood fired smoker:

attached is a photo with my smoker :)

Yep, I use the paper towel method too!! My oldest son helped me with ribs for the first time a week ago. I was at work, he was at home and Mamma wanted ribs for supper so I talked him through the process of how to remove the membrane via phone-my does that lad have some colorful helping verbs(my term for swear works). Since I had already made up some pork rub he wanted to do apply the rub and put the ribs smoker. I figured he's got to learn sometime, so why not now!! So after giving him the run down on what to do and when; those ribs were in his and the good Lords hands. When I finally got home from work he was 3 hours into a 6 hour smoke and boy did those ribs look great! Then I realized I had totally forgotten about having him remove the rib tips and the skirt meat. Oh, well :oops: the ribs turned out pretty dang good for his first try.

Plus I think heâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s got this hang of this smoking thing! When I looked out the back window to see what he was up to, I found him sitting next to the smoker in the shade of our big old Elm tree, sipping a brew and rebuilding the transfer case out of his old Jeep!!! Man I wish I had thought to grab the camera!!
It sounds like he's ready to be taught! Time to pass down your knowledge to a younger generation and let him spread the Art as well!

I wish my Son lived closer, so I could do the same thing!

OK Ranger...... I see snow !!!!!!!
Do you smoke in the winter. Up north here I up to my ass in snow most of the time. I thought i was going to have to put it away for the winter. All help you can give me would be welcomed. You and misses Ranger visiting this year. Would like another forum member to try my bbq.

Yes that is a Cimmaron! The firebox and cooking chamber are constructed of 1/4 inch steel which is very heavy and retains the heat well. You don't end up with major heat loss every time you go to mop your project.

And it has a bigass gazz burner on its starboard side and you can hang a twenty pound propane tank under the belly of the cooking chamber.It is guarenteed for 75 years which is a helluva lot longer than I'm going to live! :D

I bought this puppy about 5 years ago and It does a nice job.Before this unit I had a couple of Brinkmann vertical water smokers (the small ones) and those were how I first entered the world of food smoking.I learned quickly with them and turned out some pretty good product once i learned the basics.However,(the military word for but) :D In my learning the ropes I found the small vertical smokers did a good job on items like ribs and cut up chicken and sausages and other small projects.

But when I first started doing some of the larger cuts like pork butts I found them to be inconvenient as you can only put a small amount of charcoal in the pan and it was hard to control the temperature and when I would take out the ashes in order to put in more charcoal I found I had major heat loss..

So thats when I made the jump to the cimmaron..

Now after using and learning how to use my horizontal smoker for the past 5 years I can do many things with this unit that I could not do with the smaller verticals.

As I have listed the great things about my Cimmaron I would like to point out a couple of drawbacks which are the things that you learn after years of doing something like this.

The firebox is not setup to use as a charcoal grill the way some of the larger Brinkmann verticals which have an offset firebox and you can slide a wire rack in for grilling in the firebox.That is a convenience which I lack in the Cimmaron.

Also in the big vertical you can smoke up a huge steamship round and my unit is not big enough to do that.

Also I think its great that you can stack foods vertically as in crazyhorse's thread with those Beeeeuuuuttteeeefuuulllll looking beans on the bottom rack just sucking up the basting fats from the meat above.

But all-in-all I'm very happy with my Cimmaron!

I just wanted to lay out a few pro's and con's which I have learned through the years so that in case there are folks here who are looking to graduate at some point from the small vertical water smokers to something larger they will have a few points of information to think about before investing in a more expensive unit.

I believe {if memory serves me well} that my small verticals were in the neighborhood of $120.00US.

My Cimmaron with the bigazz gazz burner and the large steel wheels was in the neighborhood of $699.00US and I had to pay a common carrier a couple Hundred US for shipping and freight.It had to be shipped from Brinkmann's in the Great State of Texas to my place in Maine.

Additionally it had to be shipped to a location which had a loading dock.this was no problem for me as I have friends who own an industrial business with a loading dock and forklift so it was delivered there and my buddy loaded it into his pick-up and brought it to my house....where we had to assemble it!

The damn thing while it is not really huge it is constructed of heavy duty steel and consequently weighs several hundred pounds or more.It takes three very large men to load it into a pick-up truck if you want to barbecue at someone else's home other than your own :D

ranger72 8)
Hi There hightower11

I apologize to you for the delay in responding to your question. I was away from home for four days as I was fishing in the Bailey's Island Tuna Tournament here in the Gulf of Maine.It is the oldest continuously operating tournament in the United States. :D :D :D

Now; To answer your question.

Yes I use my smoker in the Winter and you and I are neighbors when you consider where many of the other fella's live who participate in this forum.

I also am up to ass and higher in snow in the wintertime and the digi-pic of my smoker was taken just at the beginning of wintertime so the snow was just beginning to accumulate.We routinely experience 120-160 inches of snow-pac in the winter in the area where I live. :D :D

I could not go all winter without using my smoker but through the years the one thing I learned about using my smoker in the winter is the cold or snow does not effect your smoker but high winds doand in Maine much of the time when its snowing it is also blowing :D

And it is hard to use your smoker in high winds without setting up some kind of a windbreak, for example, a plastic tarp fixed to a couple of trees or pipes driven in the ground to block prevailing winds or you can opt not to use your smoker on particularly windy days.A little wind is ok.

I find that when it is very windy it is damn difficult to keep your temperatures up and you go through so much charcoal and smoke wood chunks that it just isn't worth it.It takes forever to get a finished product.

But if it is just cold and not windy or just a little windy I build two fires.

One in my smoker and one in a small stove which we constructed from flat steel stock welded a few pipes on for legs and made a small cooking grill which you can turn over the fire or spin away from the fire.I use the little grill to cook my deer meat over hardwood coals during the Icefishing season. 8) :D I will try to attach a photo of this simple device so you can get the idea.They are easy to make if you know someone who is a backyard welder.

The idea is to start a hardwood fire in the home made stove and keep feeding it hardwood so that you end up with continuous supply of hot embers with which you may feed your smoker with so that your cooking temperatures remain constant in the smoker.

I find that in my smoker during the "Season of the Hawk"if I feed fresh charcoal [unignited] into the firebox when I need to replenish it brings the smoking/cooking temperature right down and takes time to regenerate the temp...This breaks the rhythm of the smoking process. :(

So I put hot coals into the firebox from the little stove so that my temps remain constant and I find that this allows me to use my smoker in the winter. :D

Some guys use this method year round but I find it to be unnecessary in the summertime because my smoking/cooking chamber retains the heat due to its being constructed of heavy steel.

If at some time me and mrs. ranger end up in Dartmouth I will let you know and take you up on your kind invitation! :D

Hope this helps! 8)


I'm very familiar with the Cimmaron, I have friends with them. It's a sturdy unit for a "non-custom" Pit!!! It's hard to find factory built units that are so well's something you can pass down to the next generation of Smoke-Eaters with a little loving care!

Personally, being able to "grill" off the Fire-Box is no big deal to me. That's why I have other units for that purpose.

Thanks for passing on your knowledge of high winds and low temp environments for some of the members! Cold is rarely a problem here in South Florida, and high winds are usually associated with Hurricanes! :lol: (And yes, I did smoke something during Hurricane Frances last year!!!)

Keep up the great Posts!

Jeff is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts

Hot Threads