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My First Baby Backs (but are they "real"?)

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by drewster, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. drewster

    drewster Newbie


    I finally fired up the smoker this weekend and made a couple of racks of Baby Backs.

    1. I have not yet installed the extension to the smokestack
    2. I have not yet obtained a "real" charcoal box
    3. I did turn over the cooker box charcoal pan (as a diffuser, as suggested by someone, somewhere...)
    4. It was raining on and off all day
    These are the two racks I prepared with my dry rub.

    The racks in the cooking chamber. I put a water pan on the inverted coal thingie. Also notice the probes from my new Maverick E73 thermometer!

    OK, at this point you have to realize that I had a lot of trouble maintaining the heat in the cooking chamber. When I put the racks in, the chamber was a hair over 200 degrees, but I figured it would get hotter.

    Then, of course, it started raining, and I had the devil of a time keeping the temp over 200. I added more hot coals (about two chimney's worth, over the course of a couple of hours).

    After about three hours in the smoker with the heat fluctuating between 190 and 220, I decided I'd had enough for the day.

    I fired up my oven (to 250° F), sprayed the baby backs with a little water, wrapped the baby backs in foil, put some foil and a water pan in the bottom oven rack and the baby backs on the top oven rack and left them there for another 2 hours.

    After that I unwrapped them and let them "finish" in the oven for another hour. I basted one of the racks with BBQ sauce for the last half hour of cooking time.

    I was so eager to try them out (and so was my fiancee) that I forgot to take pictures until after we'd had our way with them.

    I did take pictures of the aftermath:
    The ribs on the left were basted for the last half hour, the ones on the right were left dry.

    Close-up of the "wet" ribs

    Close-up of the "dry" ribs

    They WERE delicious and fell off the bone...

    I realize that this wasn't a "full" smoke, since they were only in the smoker for about 3 hours, but they did pick up a lot of flavor (I used mesquite chunks, which is all I have at present) and a lovely pink color to the meat.


    1. How do you keep the racks from falling apart when you take them off the cooking grids?
    2. I had the upside-down charcoal pan right next to the hole to the firebox. If I moved it further away, would that increase the heat in the cook chamber? (I should probably try to smoke without that mod and see what happens, eh?)
    3. Did I do OK, or am I just kidding myself?
    Thanks for your suggestions and I can't wait to try again!


    OH, and wonderful as the Thermometer is, it wouldn't pick up a signal when I was inside my house: about 30 feet away, but the garage is in-between. Ah well...
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  2. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like you got a good first run! Nice looking smoke ring to boot.

    1. To keep them from falling apart spend less time in the foil. Drop your time in the foil down to 1 hr., then back into the smoker (or in this case oven) for another hour or so.

    2. The upside down charcoal pan is distributing the head from end-to-end more evenly, it doesn't reduce the amount of heat you are getting from the firebox. Your temp. problems are most likely coming from not having a charcoal basket set up yet, and not extending the vent down to grate level. Once you do those two things you should see longer and steadier burns.

    3. You did good! It takes time to learn how your smoker works, each one is a little differant, just make small changes and keep track of what you change so you can get a good comparison.

  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Ok there Andy you are new to this whole smoking thing. I would sign up for the E-course and this will give you some of the basics that you need to learn about smoking. Then you need to play with your smoker and see if you can keep up the temp (this is very Important) in the smoker. You want to keep it about 230° to 250° most of the time that you are smoking. Then when you try the ribs we use the 3-2-1 for spare ribs and 2-2-1 for the baby back ribs. I do and like my spare ribs more like 3-1 1/2-45 but then that's me. You might like yours alittle different. I personally like my ribs NOT to fall off the bone what we call pull. It takes alittle pull to get them off the bone. Now you did ok you said that your ribs were delicious and they were enjoyed by whoever ate them. That's a success now you just have to tweak them next time more to your liking. So go get some more and do it alittle different and then see if you like them.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  4. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Drew, those look good from here [​IMG]   Even if you had to put them in the oven. We're probably all guilty of that once or twice especially in the begining.  As for the racks falling apart?? I'm assuming you speaking of the ribs?? How long were they in when you move them?? If they are falling apart they MAY have been done already? What were your temps??  I would use the

    2-2-1 technique for baby backs. For sure try this without the charcoal pan if your having trouble getting the temps up? You probably won't need to probe baby backs. just look for meat pull back & try the bend test, and yes you did ok my first ones were'nt even close to being eadible!!
  5. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree with less foil time, they look good to me, so good job