First smoke

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bmericle11

Newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2021
22
38
Over the nye weekend I smoke my first couple rack of ribs. Had applewood and hickory as my smoke flavor and a “cowboy” brand of charcoal. In the beginning everything was perfect. I maintained my temp at and around 250 +\- 10 to 15 degrees here and there. Spritzed them with 100% water pretty randomly, made my own rib rub and wrapped them in my homemade bbq sauce. After about the first hour I thought I was on a roll. Then the temp started to some really weird things. It would spike for no apparent reason and then I would adjust the dampers just a little bit and the temp would drop tremendously. About 5 1/2 hours later the meat started to separate from the bone by about 1/2 an inch or so, so I called them done. Meat was tender and pulled right off the bone. My ONLY gripe with them was that they had no bark. They were very moist in and out. Other than that my in-laws thought they were the bees knees. I would like to think it’s either I had good beginners luck, but I also did a TON of research on these forums and on my own.

I am hoping that in the future I can keep this same sort of thing going but I do also know that everything I smoke will not always turn out. Anyways just thought I would tell my first “smoke” story lol.
 
Every smoke is a learning session, as such you should consider creating a journal to document what you did and the results. For example, I do this using my recipe program (app) by adding notes beginning with the date. Regarding ribs betit babyback or St. Louis cut, there are a number of ways to go about smoking them successfully which undoubtedly you've already read. It will come down to what you and the family prefer. Wrapping does soften things which is why the 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 methods have the last part, out out of the wrap in order to tighten them up and get a desired level of bark.

Personally, I stopped wrapping years ago, to me it was a bunch of unnecessary fussing. You can still take them to FOTB if that's what you're after or as we prefer, get them to a clean bite state which preserves peak pork flavor. Regardless of method preference, experiment, discover what works and record your results. Refer back to your notes before the next smoke so you can either duplicate or try to avoid what didn't turn out.
 
Sounds like tings turned out good for your first go. What smoker are you running?
Spritz will hamper bark forming and slow cooking. Don't be knee jerk with throttle adjustments. You called it a spike, that's probably all it was since it was rolling along nicely. schlotz schlotz advice is solid, a smoke journal/log with every detail will help you on your way. I too am from the no wrap camp, but as mentioned it is a preference, if not a crutch.
 
Sounds like tings turned out good for your first go. What smoker are you running?
Spritz will hamper bark forming and slow cooking. Don't be knee jerk with throttle adjustments. You called it a spike, that's probably all it was since it was rolling along nicely. schlotz schlotz advice is solid, a smoke journal/log with every detail will help you on your way. I too am from the no wrap camp, but as mentioned it is a preference, if not a crutch.
I have an chargriller akorn kamado. I will most likely start keeping a journal, didn’t this time because I figured would remember what I did. But it’s always a good idea to write it down. As far as the wrap or no wrap goes I was under the impression when I researched it that it was to tenderize the meat while cooking. Is that not necessarily the case when you decide not to wrap them? Does the meat come out just as tender?
 
Congrats on your first smoke. As far as bark it was probably the spritzing that caused the no bark. If you do decide to spritz I wouldn't use water, I foil ribs most of the time foiled with a little liquid allows them to braise in the foil. Foiling usually softens the bark but it's normally still there just not hard and crispy.
Keeping a log of your smokes will help you look back to see what you liked and didn't like as you perfect what you and your family like.
 

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Congrats on your first rib job.
Was the Akorn a Christmas present?

I'm in the no wrap side. To me wrapping means "boil in foil", but its a personal thing.
Rubs heavier in sugars help create more bark. Try basting in sauce the last hour after you remove the wrap to let it firm up.
 
Is that not necessarily the case when you decide not to wrap them? Does the meat come out just as tender?
You can get tenderness without a wrap. The breakdown of the collagen is what makes them tender either way. Wrapping used to be called a crutch as it was viewed as just that, a crutch for less experienced smokers or simply to speed things up. Not so now, it is very commonplace. If you prefer FOTB than wrapping is a good technique, though you can get FOTB unwrapped. It all boils...smokes down to experience. Your smokes will steadily improve if you mind your successes and failures. Are you using lump or briquettes in your Acorn? Briquettes will be more consistent than lump when it come to temp spikes.
 
You can get tenderness without a wrap. The breakdown of the collagen is what makes them tender either way. Wrapping used to be called a crutch as it was viewed as just that, a crutch for less experienced smokers or simply to speed things up. Not so now, it is very commonplace. If you prefer FOTB than wrapping is a good technique, though you can get FOTB unwrapped. It all boils...smokes down to experience. Your smokes will steadily improve if you mind your successes and failures. Are you using lump or briquettes in your Acorn? Briquettes will be more consistent than lump when it come to temp spikes.
I am using lump. I actually prefer lump because I feel I can get more smokes out of it where as briquettes seem to burn off a little faster imo
 
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Congrats on your first rib job.
Was the Akorn a Christmas present?

I'm in the no wrap side. To me wrapping means "boil in foil", but its a personal thing.
Rubs heavier in sugars help create more bark. Try basting in sauce the last hour after you remove the wrap to let it firm up.
Yea, the akorn was a Christmas present from my wife. I tried smoking on Webber charcoal grill before and the ribs I made were straight up garbage lol. The dogs wouldn’t even eat them lol. But she bought it for me because I wouldn’t shut up about smoking meat, and it was really beginning to become a hobby of mine but I didn’t have anyway to do it.
 
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I like to cook ribs without any wrapping step, no spritzing, just rub and smoke till done - usually @195 IT. Sometime I will sauce right at the end, but normally I have sauce on the table to add as wanted.
 
There's not a whole lot more I can add to what's been said already... Great job for your first smoke ... As far as not being able to use your weber (is it the 22 1/2 kettle?) I'm not sure what the problem was.. but they are one of the best grills to use... I'm assuming you were using lump in it as well ??
 
There's not a whole lot more I can add to what's been said already... Great job for your first smoke ... As far as not being able to use your weber (is it the 22 1/2 kettle?) I'm not sure what the problem was.. but they are one of the best grills to use... I'm assuming you were using lump in it as well ??
I used briquettes in the Webber kettle and it wasn’t a big one. It was a smaller oval one and I used way to much charcoal and there was no way for me to control the air flow because it didn’t seal up very well
 
Congrats on your first smoke! Every smoke is a learning experience .... even the flops, because you learn what not to do. The key is to keep track of what works, what don't and try to improve on what does.
 
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Not bad at all for your first smoke! Happy guests and full bellies mean it was a success.

My first or second smoke I dropped an entire shoulder into the water pan while I was taking it off the smoker… maybe a few too many 🍻 during the cook. Turned out ok, but the whole neighborhood definitely heard my obscenity. Sounds like you’re ahead of me 🤣
 
Not bad at all for your first smoke! Happy guests and full bellies mean it was a success.

My first or second smoke I dropped an entire shoulder into the water pan while I was taking it off the smoker… maybe a few too many 🍻 during the cook. Turned out ok, but the whole neighborhood definitely heard my obscenity. Sounds like you’re ahead of me 🤣


At least you remembered to put the water pan in. :emoji_laughing:
Mea culpa only once.
 
Congrats on your first smoke! Best part of this forum snd smoking meat is taking all this advice snd experience to practice and decide what you like best!!!!!
 
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