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First Smoke - WSM - Kansas City Spare Ribs

onoku

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I set put together my WSM yesterday. This will be my first smoke ever, so I'll keep this post updated as I go along. Enjoy the ride!

The WSM was easier to put together than it looked. After it was put together, I did the seasoning. I was confused about the water pan and why it sat directly on the coals... only after I was finished did I look back in the book and see that it hung of the clips on the inside /facepalm.

Here are the spares getting prepared with the Kansas City dry rub. mm mm mmm. I had a hell of a time getting the membrane off the bottom... it was quite frustrating, but I got it done.





All wrapped up and ready to go after a night in the fridge.



Getting the smoker prepped. It appears I may have put in too many chips... its billowing at the moment.



I had a minor catastrophe while putting the ribs on. The top rack isn't as stable as I would like, and it tipped and fell in whenever I set the ribs on. I saved the ribs and got the rack stabilized, here they are ready to smoke.



I lost a lot of heat when I put the rack on, and it doesn't want to get hot again. After about an hour and a half I got it up to about 200. The ribs are currently at about 155.

Do I need to get the smoker temp up to 250? Or will it be fine as long as the meat temp keeps rising?

update: Here she is after the foil. Has some nice pull back. This is turning out much better than I expected. I sprayed it a bit more with apple juice and threw it back on the rack. In about 30 minutes I'm going to brush it with my BBQ sauce.



Basted them with the Kansas City BBQ sauce. I'm going to let them go for about another 30 minutes.



Went straight to eating the ribs, and lost track of time. Here are the final results:









They turned out great! They were tender, juicy, and the meat came off the bone with ease. The Kansas City rub and BBQ sauce were excellent; just spicy enough and sweet. Overall I am quite pleased with my first attempt. 
 
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rp ribking

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Normally the wsm's run hot the first few smokes. How much fuel did you start with? Lump or briquetts? Water in the pan? Bottom dampers open or shut?

These questions will help us out trying to help you.

Gongrats with the WSM
 

onoku

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Been about 3 hours, so I just foiled now. The internal temp was about 215, and meat is sitting right under 160. I have the vents the whole way open. I put probably about 25-ish (not sure because i didn't count and just kept adding) briquettes in. Pan was about half full with water.

I only spray it with apple juice when I foil it, then leave it alone after that, right?
 
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SmokinAl

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You can add more liquid than just a spritz. I usually add 1/2 a beer to the foil. The minnion method works really well with the WSM. Fill the charcoal ring with unlit briquettes or lump, and mix about 6-8 wood chunks with the charcoal. Then take 8-10 lit briquettes and put on the top. Open all vents. When the temp starts to approach 200, shut 2 of the bottom vents & leave one open about 25%. When it gets to 225 you may have to close or open the one vent to stabilize the temp. Once you get it stabilized it will stay there until you run out of charcoal. I have held 225 for 19 1/2 hours with 1 charcoal ring.
 

onoku

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Ill have to try that next time. I think this one may finish a bit earlier than I expected. The meat is at 169 currently, and it has only been foiled for about 30 minutes. Is there a certain temp that I should check it if it gets to? I know it is done whenever you get tear away, but I don't want to prematurely check it.
 

figjam

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I just got a WSM earlier this year.
After it was put together, I did the seasoning.
 
The WSM really doesn't need seasoning since it is ceramic.
I had a minor catastrophe while putting the ribs on. The top rack isn't as stable as I would like, and it tipped and fell in whenever I set the ribs on.
Interesting.  Mine seems very stable.  Was it sitting on the holders correctly?

 
I lost a lot of heat when I put the rack on, and it doesn't want to get hot again. After about an hour and a half I got it up to about 200.
I haven't had any issues getting temp up or keeping them up.  How much fuel did you add initially?
 

SmokinAl

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Just let it go. It won't dry out in the foil & I suspect that your probe is probably touching a bone. Just do the 3-2-1 & have confidence that it will turn out well. Forget the meat probe. Pull it out of the foil in 2 hours. If it looks done then, just go 1/2 hour for the final firming up. If you want to sauce it do it for the final time on the smoker without the foil. Relax & have a beer & enjoy the ride!!
 

onoku

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Alright, Ill let 'er go then. Thanks guys, I knew I could count on you for good advice! Stay tuned, more q-view to come.
 

figjam

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Alright, Ill let 'er go then. Thanks guys, I knew I could count on you for good advice! Stay tuned, more q-view to come.

I grabbed a couple of your comments from your OP and asked a couple of questions above.  Not sure if you missed it because it didn't have your name in the quote.
 

onoku

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I think the rack is on there right, looks like the picture. Don't see another way to put it on there. As far as the fuel, I put about 3/4 of a chimney's worth of briquettes in (maybe 25ish?). I probably added another dozen or so afterward to get the temperature up more.

edit: just noticed my temp dropped below 200 again, so I stirred up the ashes and added more charcoal. The temp jumped 15 degrees right away. Looking at my bag, it appears I've used damn near half of an 8.5lb bag of kingsford.
 
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figjam

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I think the rack is on there right, looks like the picture. Don't see another way to put it on there. As far as the fuel, I put about 3/4 of a chimney's worth of briquettes in (maybe 25ish?). I probably added another dozen or so afterward to get the temperature up more.

edit: just noticed my temp dropped below 200 again, so I stirred up the ashes and added more charcoal. The temp jumped 15 degrees right away. Looking at my bag, it appears I've used damn near half of an 8.5lb bag of kingsford.
Something just doesn't seem right.  Temps not getting hot enough and you are going through fuel too quickly.
 
 
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onoku

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Well the temp got up to 233 now. So I think I just didn't manage my charcoal well. I should have stirred the ashes sooner, and added a bit more charcoal initially. That probably would have solved my problems.

Edit: also, it isn't quite as air-tight around the lid as I was expecting. There was just as much smoke coming out around the lid as there was out of the top vent it seemed.

And I updated the pics, check it out. It is turning out well, despite my issues.
 
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Bearcarver

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Just let it go. It won't dry out in the foil & I suspect that your probe is probably touching a bone. Just do the 3-2-1 & have confidence that it will turn out well. Forget the meat probe. Pull it out of the foil in 2 hours. If it looks done then, just go 1/2 hour for the final firming up. If you want to sauce it do it for the final time on the smoker without the foil. Relax & have a beer & enjoy the ride!!
Onoku,

I agree with Al.

I'm a meat probing kind of a guy, but I never probe ribs.

Just go with your plan (3-2-1, or whatever).

You can always check it with a quick check type therm, if you're worried about it.

Too much bone in ribs to get an accurate probe reading anyway.

Bear
 

jirodriguez

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I had a similar problem with my upper rack wanting to tilt and fall down - it's from the main body being just a tad out of round. Here is a link on how I fixed mine, haven't had any issues since: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/forum/thread/94076/wsm-mods   .

When you do ribs start with approx. 8-10 lbs of unlit charcoal in the ring (about half full), with your chunks of flavor wood nestled down in the charcoal, then dump 1/2 a chimney of lit charcoal in the middle. Wait for 10 minutes and then put the middle body on, and make sure you put HOT water in the water pan. Should be able to get up to temp no problem after that - top vent 100% open.

..... and those ribs look really good!
 

onoku

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Got to eating and almost forgot to upload the last pictures. See the OP for my results!
 

Bearcarver

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Onoku,

Just saw your final pics----That ALL looks GREAT !

That plate would be just right for me----Thanks!

Was that you, I saw leaving PA, with a case of great beer?   


Bear
 

i is a moose

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I'm really puzzled by the heat management issues as well. For 6-ish hours smoke time, 8.5 LBS of charcoal sounds about right, but I've never had these wilds swings in temerature that you're mentioning.

We do have to bear in mind that Kingsord makes coals primarily designed for the periodic backyard griller - they produce alot of heat at first, and turn to dust shortly thereafter, that would explain the short lifespan, but the low overall temperature speaks to me of insufficient coals seeing ignition.

What are your batch quantites of coals, and ratios of lit/unlit coals added to the smoker?

What were your vents set at?

What I find especially puzzling is that your WSM didn't run hot on this first shot. From what I can tell, the first burn or two, they run really hot, no matter what you do until the insides get sooted up enough.

Whatever the case, you end results were absolutely enviable! Great work!
 

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