First timer- 3-2-1 ribs

Discussion in 'Pork' started by tumbleweed1, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    Well this past Sunday I got my new MES30 out of the box & going. I was really just going to season it & then maybe use it this week, but I decided to break it in later in the afternoon. After running it for 3 hours & then adding some hickory chips for the last 45 minutes, I went out & got 2 1/2 racks of baby backs. I trimmed them up a little, removed the membrane from all the backs & rubbed them up with some mustard. I then went ahead & added a nice rub. I put them in at 225 for 3 hours with the damper almost completely closed & used hickory chips for the first couple of hours. Man, the smell near the end of that first 3 hours was mouth-watering. After that 3 hours I took them out & double wrapped them, adding 1/4 cup apple juice to each foil. Back in they went for 2 more hours. After that I removed them from the smoker & took them out of their wraps. At this point I went & added a homemade (Kansas City-style) sauce to all but one section. I let them go the last hour uninterrupted. When they were done, I let them sit for about 10 minutes before cutting any up. I want to say these were some of the best ribs I've ever had. I've been doing ribs low & slow in the oven & crockpot for years now, but always loved the taste of them from a smoker. I'm glad I finally broke down & bought this one! 

    Having said all this, I guess what I'm looking for are some tips.

    1- What other types of wood chips are good for pork? My local store has cherry, hickory, mesquite & pecan, I believe.

    2- Is 225 degrees about right for ribs or would they have been better at a higher temp?

    3- Would they have been dry without the wrap (I did have water in the bowl) or is it ok to forego the "crutch" (I have read where some       people don't like to use that method)?

    4- When using a wrap, what else would be good besides the apple juice?

    5- Meat side up or down? Does it matter?

    6- Anything else that I missed, or should maybe have done? I can't really imagine getting them much better, but I'm always ready to         learn.

    I appreciate any suggestions /advice I can get. I'm looking forward to doing a butt roast Carolina-style in the near future.

    Thanks- TW



     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
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  3. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    x2 on Gary's answers.
     
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  4. tumbleweed1 likes this.
  5. Looks good to me.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. jbills5

    jbills5 Meat Mopper

    1- What other types of wood chips are good for pork? My local store has cherry, hickory, mesquite & pecan, I believe. - I would stay away from mesquite. Cherry is good as is apple for pork.

    2- Is 225 degrees about right for ribs or would they have been better at a higher temp? 225-250 is good for ribs (3-2-1 for spares 2-2-1 for baby backs)

    3- Would they have been dry without the wrap (I did have water in the bowl) or is it ok to forego the "crutch" (I have read where some       people don't like to use that method)? I doubt they would have been dry without wrapping.  A lot of people do not wrap.

    4- When using a wrap, what else would be good besides the apple juice? Butter, honey, tiger sauce, agave

    5- Meat side up or down? Does it matter? meat side down when wrapping. Think of it in terms of gravity, if you have liquid, it will settle at the bottom of your foil and so you want the meatiest part of the rib braising in the liquid.
     
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  8. westby

    westby Smoking Fanatic

    What is everyone's thoughts on him closing the damper for the first 3 hours?  I like air flow myself and would definitely have it open.  Can the smoke get stale or "off tasting" without the air flow?

    Also - I would ditch the water.  You have enough moisture in the cooker.

    Lance
     
  9. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Westby, closing the damper?  Is this on an electric smoker or a wood / charcoal fired one?  
     
  10. westby

    westby Smoking Fanatic

    Yes - he said he closed the damper the first 3 hours.  I'm not sure that is the best idea.  He has a MES30 (electric).  Just looking for others thoughts on this.
     
  11. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    No experience with electric smokers or using chips for that matter, but on my big RF pit, once I'm up to temp, I'll close the dampers down nearly closed, just short of losing my thin blue smoke.  
     
  12. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Not trying to insult anybody but....I too thought that the ribs I was making in the MES were great. Doing them as the op did...that was until I did them in the BGE with nothing but Mesquite chunks. Foiled them with some Fireball cinnamon whiskey. Beyond moist and juicy. Not one for any type of sauce.
     
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  13. Shouldn't be insulting to anybody, everyone has their own tastes and we all find the way we like it.  I have used mesquite for ribs many times, I really like the taste of mesquite, but if I'm cooking for others I usually don't use it unless I'm sure they will like it.  I'm guessing the OP will try more variations in the future and look back and think, "I used to do that?".  [​IMG]   I thought my first ribs were great, well actually they were, but they have gotten sooooooooo much better.
     
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  14. heubrewer

    heubrewer Meat Mopper

    Congrats on the smoker. From your post you will enjoy it immensely!!!! Personally I like to smoke EVERYTHING in my MES without using foil.

    The only way to tell if you like a particular flavor is to experiment.

    Personally I like fruit wood for all meats. This includes:
    Cherry
    Peach
    Apple
    Orange

    For salmon/trout I have been getting great results with Alder

    I have some pecan that I will try on my next long smoke, so my list may change :biggrin: Again the benefit of experimenting

    As far as the vent, I usually have it 1/2 open (Gen 2 MES without AMPS) and I generally smoke at 235F as I feel that my MES performs best in regards to smoke generation at this temperature.

    Congrat and enjoy, And for breaking in your MES and experimenting with a new technique you deserve :points:

    Best
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
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  15. aceoky

    aceoky Smoking Fanatic

    I rarely foil ribs at all (don't think I have in at least a year in fact) "I" like cherry, apple and hickory for ribs . Those look good!!

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks guys for the quick replies!

    I appreciate the info on the mesquite. I believe I'll be trying the cherry or pecan next.

    GaryS- when you say no water, are you talking about in the bowl? I am also looking forward to trying some butter in there next time I wrap. Thanks frog for the other ideas. They all seem interesting. I am also thinking the molasses in place of the mustard would be nice to try.

    I am also anxious to try ribs without wrapping to see if they are just as juicy.

    Thanks again guys. Good to know I'm in the presence of so much knowledge!
     
  17. Yeah, no water in the Water pan,  Some of the watt burners can explain more, I'm a stick burner but don't use water

    Gary
     
  18. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Some good suggestions there. My experience has been with electrics, don't close the vent too much. You need to let some of the moisture escape. If too much moisture, it can collect on the inside roof of the cabinet and drip down on the meat giving it an ashtray like taste. I always keep my vent at least halfway open. You're on your way to being a smoking junkie now.
     
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  19. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Looks fantastic.  Stupid new guy question, the 1 in 3-2-1, what are you referring to.  Is this the 1 hour period that you unfoil and just cook without smoke until complete?  Thanks.
     
  20. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Mummel, yes, the 1 is for numerous purposes, first it will help the meat firm back up some, not completely away from fall off the bone, but will firm up some and it'ts also used to set any sauces or glazes you might want to add for another layer of flavor. 
     

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