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First Time Smoking...Where did I Go Wrong?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by quagmire38, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. Hi Everyone. This past weekend I attempted to smoke some baby back ribs. All meat peeparations went well. To make a long story short I will highlight the areas where I had problems.

    HEAT: I was never able to get the heat up to 240 degrees. I was using regular Kingsford charcoal. I went through two 20lb bags. heat only made it to 191degrees. Why?

    THERMOMETER: I purchased a Taylor TruTemp (3528-21) Digital Cooking Thermometer with Probe. I had the probe placed inside a potatoe. This was supposed to tell me the temp inside the grill. Was this good? I had the potato placed on the side where the meat goes. Was this placement right? I dont know if the thermometer worked properly.

    3-2-1 METHOD: I never got to this. After being thrown off by the heat abd thermometer problems frustration got to me. so I just let the ribs do their thing. Eventually finishing them off in the oven.

    WHAT SMOKED RIBS LOOK LIKE WHEN DONE: Mine had a hard outter layer. When I cut into them they were pink'ish with a light brownish center. Were the done?

    Sorry this post is long but its clear I need help. So please lend me your help. Thanks.
  2. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    When you said you had the prob in a potato did you mean that you had it thru the potato? so that the tip was out the other side of the potato?
  3. greechneb

    greechneb Fire Starter

    Heat - I'm curious as to two things: what smoker/grill were you using, that can give us more insight. Also, was the probe all the way through the potato? If not, you were measuring the temp of the potato, not the air temperature.

    Thermometer: Do a quick check by sticking the probe in boiling water (just the tip, not the wire) - this will confirm how accurate it is. Should be pretty close to 212, depending on altitude, air pressure, etc.

    3-2-1 method - baby backs should be more of a 2-2-1 timing, but it all varies, you'll eventually get the feel for it.

    What smoked ribs look like when done - thats the bark, if you didn't foil, it will be harder. The pink ring (hopefully the outside, not the inside) is the smoke ring, and should be there. the center should be whitish/gray/brown, depending on the meat, breed of hog, etc.
  4. Hey. Sorry about the slow response. The smoker is a Braunfels Smoker.A horizontal off set smoker. Its kind of old. My fiance has had it for some time. I had the thermometer inside the potato, not sticking out of it. How do I use the vents or dampers? There is a butterfly damper on the side of the fire box and one at the top of the stack. I read that opening the dampers gets more air in so the heat will rise and closing them will help maintain the heat. Is this true? Once again thanks for the help.
  5. The thermometer was reading inside of potato. Make sure probe goes all the way thru. Use lump charcoal next time, they burn hotter and last longer. I can use one bag of lump all day. Did you use any wood?
  6. greechneb

    greechneb Fire Starter

    Nothing wrong with an old smoker. As posted, you need the thermometer sticking all the way through the potato.

    Keep the damper at the top of the stack open at all times (except when you aren't cooking). Closing down this vent can lead to bitter smokey flavor, not the sweet smokey flavor we want. All your adjustments should be done with the butterfly damper on the firebox. Start your fire, and let the smoker get close to the desired temperature, and then add the meat. Keep from opening the firebox lid and the cooking lid as much as possible, and you'll keep that temperature much steadier along the way.

    If you have any more questions, we're here to help!
  7. whats up fellas. Thanks for all the help. I used hicory wood chips. I made a smoke pouch for the wood using foil and poking holes in it. Which is better the foil pouch or just tossing the wood chips (soaked) on the coals? My next adventure smoking will be a whole chicken. Any tips for smoking chickens? Can chicken and ribs be done together? Once again you guys have been great. Thanks again for the help.
  8. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Keep your exhaust open and regulate your temp from your air intake. You want to keep the smoke as little a s possible aka "TBS".  Take a look at the top of this page and click on "WIKI" there's a wealth of knowledge there compled from members here. A little reading there and you will be a pro. [​IMG]