First timer - several questions

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jul 6, 2007
Hello everyone,

I just smoked for my first time last night with mixed results. I got a gas Masterbuilt 7-1 for my birthday and got some baby backs and country ribs to smoke. We are going to eat it tonight, but since other plans are in the way I had to smoke them last night.

Unfortunately I left them on a little too long probably. The edges are a little crusty but the insides are just fine, but overall if I had taken them off the smoker 45 minutes earlier they would probably have been perfect.

However, I couldn't fit everything on the smoker at once so I had some extra that I put on right afterwards and cooked for two hours. Then I put them in foil and put them in the fridge. Now, this morning, I have them back on the smoker in foil and I was going to try the 2-2-1 approach.

Here are my questions:

1. Does it matter if the meat is wrapped together in foil, or should it be individually wrapped?

2. When smoking with foil, does it make any sense to use wood chips?

3. I skimmed the grease off the top of the water pan and just added some fresh water. Any problem with this? Should I only use all fresh water? Does it make any difference?

4. With the ones I finished last night, when I heat them back up to eat tonight, is there anything I can do to improve them?

BTW, the Masterbuilt was very easy to keep at an exact temperature. I did not have to play with it or adjust it at all once I got it set. The temp control was very easy to set.

Thanks!!! This looks like a great forum.
Wrapped together shouldn't hurt any thing. Might want to seperate some to make smaller packagea to reheat quicker.

Wood isn't necessary when reheating as food is in alu. foil and can't take any further smoke.

Water pan should be ok if just left over night.

When warming, I would add some moisture of some kind- water, apple or pineapple juice, something to help keep the meat from drying out further. I would also wrap these pieces in foil. Should be able to put several country style in each foil packet.
Thanks Steve,

Do you know if it is a bad idea to break up the 2-2-1? 2 hours last night, foil it put it in the fridge... 2 hours this morning in the foil, back in the fridge... finish off with the 1 hour this evening out of the foil just before eating?

Even after just one smoking, I love it because it is much like grilling in that I can see that it takes a lot of experimenting to find your own way of doing things, and that is half the fun of it. Of course the other half is the eating!!!

Can't see that it could hurt anything, but why are you reheating twice? The last hour is for soliding up the bark and applying you glaze if so desired. You can also reheat in oven and take to grill to glaze and/or sauce for the last hour. Personnally I don't use the last hour, just remove from heat (oven or smoker) and let rest for a period to firm up a little and then slice and serve with sauce on the side. Just my way of dooing it.
Well, I assumed the last hour of 2-2-1 was still for cooking, and I still need to apply the bbq sauce. It has only had the rub on it the first two parts. I had read that it isn't necessary to mop and you don't want to apply the sauce until pretty close to the end with a vertical water smoker so I was going to put it back on for the last hour (or less) and apply the sauce somewhere around the last 10 minutes. Does this make any sense? I'm just trying to go by all of the stuff I've read so far.
Your correct. Some folks don't wrap at all, and make some great "Q".
A break down of of the 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 are all approx. times, I run a stick burner and seldom ever reach the time on the first leg of this before wrapping.

3or 2 - is the time you smoke the meat

2- The time the meat is wrapped in foil to tenderize

1- the time spent on smoker or grill to apply glazes or sauces.\

Hope this helps.
P.S. these times are just guide lines and are not set in stone as you will learn with experience.
smokinnn if you will watch those ribs they will tell you when it is time to foil. The meat will start to pull back on the bone a bit - that is when to foil. How long to foil is a matter of the type of rib and personal preference. The last 1/2 to 1 hr is to firm the meat back up and apply the sauce (if you want it)

Just keep track of how long you perform each section of the cook and adjust from there... all will be good in the end

Shortone has you going in a good direction and I've personally tasted his ribs and I guarantee he knows whats going on.

Keep Smokin
Hey I call em as I see em Steve.. You and Beula (sp?) rock!
Thanks everybody, everything turned out great, including what I thought was overcooked. I added apple juice and sauce to what I had smoked completely the night before and heated them up on the grill in foil. Then I took what I had smoked for 2 hrs the night before and smoked in foil for 1.5 hours in the morning and added apple juice and put them on the smoker without foil for 1 hr, adding sauce twice in the last 30 minutes. The ones I smoked in foil definitely pulled off the bone clean... didn't fall off, probably because it was only in foil for 1.5 hrs, or maybe because of being in the fridge in between, but as long as it comes off the bone clean thats how I like it!!!!

Thanks again!!!!!
When you're "smoking in foil", IMO, you're just cooking, as the smoke doesn't ever contact the meat, so you may as well do it in the oven, where you have temp control. Also, I learned (here) to add some apple juice or Capt Morgan's or whatever in the foil and leave a bit of breathing room in the foil so the vapors/steam can circulate.

3. I skimmed the grease off the top of the water pan and just added some fresh water. Any problem with this? Should I only use all fresh water? Does it make any difference?

IMO, the water pan is basically a furnace. It stores heat energy and returns the smoker to the proper temp quickly after it has been opened. I think it does little to add moisture to I spray/spritz my meat often. Keeping fresh water or changing water, in my opinion, is not needed.
I've also seen recommendations to use wine or beer instead of water (or added to water). Has anyone tried that? It sure sounds great! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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