New from Northern IL

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Meat Mopper
Original poster
Nov 8, 2016
Hi all,

My name is Mark. I'm new here from Northern IL (Kane/Dekalb area).  I recently got passed off a Brinkmann Gourmet Electric smoker from my father in law who no longer wants to use it.  I enjoy cooking and do okay in the kitchen but this past weekend was my first go at smoking. I'd say I'm a novice in the kitchen and a complete newbie to smoking. I consider myself pretty good on the regular grill but certainly not great. I decided to try my first session out with some Pork Back ribs for myself, the wife and my 4 year old twin boys. I need to convince them of all the great meats they could be enjoying! Results were a B+ by my standards but I was very pleased for my first go. (more details below)

The process itself for the first time was a bit nerve racking.  I didn't discover this site and forum until today so I'm a bit bummed I didn't have all this knowledge prior too.  Needless to say, I'll be doing A LOT of reading here now.  Just 10 minutes of doing so I found so many helpful hints and methods.  

My biggest concern right now moving on to other meats is the temperature control on this Brinkmann.  I was smoking with outside temps in the low 60's (which is crazy abnormal right now) and my smoker had a cooking temp of 240-265 range.  When I removed the lid to mop or opened the door to add chips the temp would sometimes plummet down to low 200's.  I probably need to work on my speed of doing that stuff but first time jitters had me extra cautious. My water bowl was 3/4 filled too.  I'm thinking with cooler temps that may be to my advantage of keeping a lower 220-240 temp moving on.  Also I was making small foil packets of hickory and apple chips which needed replacement about every 20-30 minutes and my frequency of smoke was a bit off.  I had a great blue/grey smoke to start and then seems as the packet got super hot it started to white out.  I did NOT soak my chips after reading a ton of back and forth on yes and no to that.  Next time I will perhaps try soaking them. Open to recommendations on that

I prepped the ribs the night before. Pulling the membrane off and coated with yellow mustard.  I created a rub myself with brown sugar, kosher salt, onion powder, garlic powder, chile powder, fresh cracked/ground pepper, dry mustard and cumin.  I think my rub was "weak", as the final product just didn't have the spicey taste I've had from great smoked ribs before.  I think my next attempt I'll choose a premade rub from a reputable source.  I let this sit overnight about 14 hours.

I did the 221 method for these using as previously mentioned apple/hickory combined chips. I mopped the meat in the first 2 hours two times with apple juice and oil mixture. During the foil phase I didn't continue to smoke, just kept it on the smoker with heat. I didn't see any advantage of smoking something in an enclosed package  however am I wrong here? I couldn't find this answer.  I also had a small amount of apple juice in the foil to simmer with the ribs.  After the 2 hours of simmer I removed and placed back on the smoker with chips again for 1 more hour.

Here is what my final result looked like

I was pleasantly surprised with my visual. It had just the look and texture of what I see at great bbq joints (at least i thought so). I let them rest for 10-15 minutes.  I did notice my underside was a little more blackened but it was not a disgusting taste, just darker than the nice coloration on top.  The meat on the larger portion of the rack was very moist and almost fall off the bone. I was very happy with this section.  The upper rack in the image, the meat was a little dry on the short end only, the rest was pretty good. I suppose that's semi-normal but I gave that section to the wife and kids as she prefers her meats a little on the dryer side.  We had some bottled bbq sauces to lightly dip into.  Overall they were a great first run.  The meat could have been a little more flavorful with the spices but it wasn't horrible.

Anyway, sorry for the first long intro but please feel free to criticize, ask questions, comment.  I'm really eager to learn more and move on to even better things.  I love brisket so that is next on my list I think.

Thank you-

Hello Mark, and welcome to you.

Glad you're here on this great site.

The very first thing is don't use any stock thermometer

that came with the smoker.

They are notoriously inaccurate.

You need to use a good, tested thermometer.

Sounds like your smoker's running hotter than you think.

Don't soak your chips, it just takes them longer to

start smoking.

Have fun.


Thanks for the response.  To clarify, there is no stock thermometer on that electric smoker.  I bought a Maverick digital with a probe from Home Depot.  This one to be exact.  I however wasn't very cautious if the probe was touching metal or not so I will try the potato trick this weekend. From what i recall the probe was just dangling below the rack.

I've been looking at thermo reviews and like everything they seem all over the place so I don't know if I should invest in something different or not.  
I think you did a great job on your first rack of ribs.

Ribs were my Achilles heal for years.

I could smoke just about anything & be happy with it, just not ribs.

Here is my thread on the perfect rib.

I still use this method & it still works very well.

Maybe you can use some of the info in here to get your ribs where you want them.

  • Like
Reactions: markh024 is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.