New to smoking ribs....

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by 2bears, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. 2bears

    2bears Smoke Blower

    OK, I started smoking ribs yesturday and I have a Char Broil smoker (long barrel shape with a drop fire box). Here is what I did:

     I started the smoker with charcoal (about 3-4 pounds) then I added oak wood to keep the heat going. also used about 2 gallons of hickory chips (dry) throughout the cook.

    I decided to bast the ribs as they were looking like they are dry, I used a BBQ sauce watered down and applied it 3 different times during cook.

    Temp was over 220 but not sure exactly as my thermometer only goes up to 220.

    4 hours later I added BBQ sauce for 30 min - The ribs turned out pretty good but the outside was kind of dark (black) but not charred and the flavor was pretty good and had a lot of smoke flavor with a very good smoke ring on them.

    I took them to work almost everyone loved them about 20 people ate them, one said it had too much smoke flavor but the rest loved them.

    Is it possible to have too much smoke flavor?

    Any suggestions on cooking differently?

    BTW - I used about 6 tbl spoons of garlic salt, 1 tble spoon of cyanne pepper, 1 tbl spoon of black pepper, 2 tbl spoons of a greek seasoning mixed together and placed in a shaker and applied all of it to bothe sides of 3 full racks of ribs.
  2. I've noticed sometimes that too much smoky flavor can be a little acrid for some people- it sounds like you used a ton of wood, though I've never used oak so I don't know how strong that flavor is. 

    As far as cooking them differently, most people seem to prefer the 3-2-1 for spares or 2-2-1 for BB ribs. I've never used it, but I think there are instructions on this site's wiki page.

    I personally prefer cooking them a little hotter (mostly due to the real lack of temperature control on my el cheapo Brinkmann) at around 275 or so, basting them about every hour, hour and a half for three hours or so. I don't use a lot of wood chunks when I do it.

    As far as the black crust on the outside of the ribs, my guess would be that's the sugar in the BBQ sauce caramelizing. I use a vinegar based sauce throughout the cook, then (if I want) put a sugar based sauce about 15-30 minutes before serving.

    The truth is, though, making the best ribs is all about what you like, so experiment and see what you (and your audience) prefer. That's the real fun of BBQ. Even the ribs I've made that didn't quite measure up were still delicious.

    By the way - the rub you mentioned looks awesome! Congrats on a successful cook!
  3. 2 Gallons of Chips sounds like an awful lot of wood for ribs.... especially on top of the oak you already had in there... maybe next time cut back on the wood... but it is you personal flavor my friend... If you like it extra smokey (which i sometimes prefer) than go for it...

    But than again even with an extra smokey flavor on ribs all that wood still sounds like a bit much... LOL
  4. 2bears

    2bears Smoke Blower

    Too cut back on the oak, would I need to keep adding charcoal as I go?

    How much charcoal is needed to smoke about 5 hours?

    Does a "rack" to hold the ribs up on its side help any or is that just used to be able to add more ribs to the smoker? would they turn out less dark that way?
  5. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    On my ECB, I find I have to start readying more coals around 4 hours, so I start up the chimney around 3 hours and 45 minutes into the smoke. Of course your's may be different and something you'll have to gauge yourself. The rack just allows for more ribs, does nothing to help get the smoke done quicker or later. As to the darkness. Too much smoke was the reason. Remember if you smell wood burning, your smoking.

    Good smoke on right, bad on left.

  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey 2bears,

    Welcome !

    I'm only one bear-----Bearcarver actually.

    I have a good answer to your one question:

    I have so far never eaten anything too smokey for my taste.

    My wife on the other hand would rather have pork made in a crock-pot than in a smoker!!!![​IMG]

    Hey if she had good taste, she would have never picked me![​IMG]

  7. Hey 2bears, Welcome aboard ! ! ! Everything i smoked when i started was heavy smoke flavor and dark looking, as in it looked burnt but wasnt. I was at a friends when he was smoking and i learned of the Thin Blue Smoke. and trust me it changed my world in smoking. I still get tons of smoke flavor and smoke ring color an it looks like it should not like a charred mess.

    Get used to Charcoal with wood on top till you learn more and then you can change up if you want, I start with one chimmney full of charcoal and a fist full of chips or one chunck at a time as more smoke is needed. id say the first charcoal load lasts about 3-4 hrs. but then only needs half as much additional. But every smoker is different. Good luck! and were here if you have any questions,
  8. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you don't have one yet, get a charcoal basket of some sort for your firechamber. That will allow you to use the minion method: fill the basket up with unlit charcoal and 5 to 8 fist sized chunks of wood (hickory, mesquite, ect.), create a small hallow in the top of your basket by moving some of the charcoal from the center to the outside, dump about 1/2 a chimney of lit charcoal into that hallow. Now your smoker should run 3 or 4 hours till you need to worry about adding more charcoal.

    Also noticed you mentioned your therm only goes to 220°, I assume you are talking about the stock thermometer that came with the smoker? If so DO NOT USE IT! Stock therms are usually off by 25-75°! [​IMG]  Buy your self a couple of 2 or 3 inch dial thermometers and mount them at grate level one on the right, and one on the left. Ebay has lots of good BBQ dial therms for fairly cheap.

    If you poke around the charcoal offset smoker forums you will see several other mods that people do to the char-broil and char-griller offset smokers. Usually you can make all the critical mods for under $50 and your smoker will be a lot more enjoyable to use and produce more consistant results. Also remember if you smell smoke, you are getting smoke - you don't have to see it.

    I'm glad your first run was edible, and I too like a good smokey flavor, but you can over do it for a lot of people if you aren't carefull.
  9. lugnutz

    lugnutz Smoking Fanatic

    my ribs: 225-250 degrees for 6 hours, I don't trim and I don't foil. I do baste every hour with apple juice and left over rub.  I never sauce but I have glazed in the past with some brown sugar mustard and vinegar.

    I use lump which is hardwood charcoal and not that brikkette stuff. I get good smoke just from the lump but I throw in a small stick of hickory in the early stages for that extra pizzaz!

    If adding a bottled sauce wait till you have 30-45 minutes left in the cook. The sugars in that stuff will get black if cooked too long. 

    Hope this helps some.
  10. 2bears

    2bears Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the info guys, will do some more "testing" this weekend.

    There is a BBQ contest in Mason City Iowa this weekend so I am going down there to poke around and pick a few brains to see if I can improve my craft.
  11. txmike

    txmike Fire Starter

  12. peixegato

    peixegato Smoke Blower

    When you install them, do you just drill the hole, drop the thermometer in, and then seal around the thermometer with high-heat silicone?
  13. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the SMF, when you get a chance, introduce yourself. I moved your thread to roll call, so that others will have the chance to welcome you. It's all good my friend.
  14. txmike

    txmike Fire Starter

    Drill the hole, drop it in, but no silicone. I just tightened the nut to a little past hand tight. No leaks, works great. If memory servers, I did not drill a 1/2" hole, I found a bit just bigger than the threads. Remember to removed the burrs. I also added 1 to my Webber grill.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  15. Hello All!  I am a new comer to this forum, have been a fan of for a few years now.  I enjoy & have learned alot from this site as y'all have some great ideas, techniques and recipes.  Everyones tastes are different, smoke times vs. temp, which rub, w/without sugar, etc, etc.  Now for my 2 cents.  I use to be a smoking purist, light the fire, opening/closing the vent to adjust the temp, keeper of the flame, etc.  Now that I am older, fatter, lazier not to mention strapped for time I started using an electric smoker with an electronic temperature control.  Boy, am I glad I did that!  My nephew (a smoking purist who has won many contests & is on one of the best teams in Houston) has even bought himself one for home use......loves the flavor, texture, etc that I get out of mine.  I have tried many woods and found for our group, (mostly family, neighbors) that when cooking ribs I use Maple wood chips, for pulled pork I use Maple & Hickory, for brisket I use Pecan & Hickory, for TX Beef (my version of Italian Beef, recipe to follow another day) I use mostly Hickory with some Mesquite.  Any of the fruit woods for Poultry, Alder and Cedar for fish and we like it for chicken as well.  All these come from years of practice, listening to your friends & family's complaints, compliments silence while eating.  Sauce or no sauce, I personally prefer some sauce while cooking (for basting) but I water it down 50/50 with some sort of fruit juice that has no added sugar. Then when the meat is is a free for all for the sauce question.  Masterbuilt makes a great electric smoker & have had mine 3 years now.  I do not knock anyone's preference of cookers, methods, etc, but for me & my time I prefer (and love) my electric smoker.  Weekends are ALLWAYS busy at our house, with 6 daughters, five grandchildren, a large family with all the in laws, nieces, nephews, neighbors & friends/neighbors, there is allways a pool party somewhere!   Go out buy some different woods, spices, marinades, etc and experiment, tell all your family, friends your trying something new this weekend and to bring a dish, sit back & see what happens, but remember....allways listen with an open mind, take notes on what people like/dislike and next time add/subtract some of the things you did.  The results will be fascinating!  I hope this is not too long as I could ramble on, but am going to stop for now.  Going now to prepare a Stuffed Pork Loin for this weekend.  I stuff it with Holmes (any brand will work, I prefer Holmes) smoked Boudin, fresh seeded jalapenos, cream cheese & monterey jack cheese, brush it with some Allegro mixed with fresh lime juice, make a rub using  1 tsp Tony C's, 1/2 tsp garlic salt, 1/2 tsp white pepper & 1/2 to 3/4 tsp of ground ginger, wrap in plastic, overnight in the fridge, wrap in bacon & on the smoke (I prefer maple for this) for 2-3 hours at 225* then let if finish without smoke for 2-3 hours more at 275*  TIP:   If you seal the ends with parchment paper cut in 3" circles, stuffed in the end of the loin the cheese wont leak out.  Serve this with a baked potato, some green beans or corn on the is a show stopper!  I apologize for the length of this post but just wanted to share some input and a recipe (I have lots) for this weekend.  Thanks for taking the time to read and hope you enjoyed as well.   Happy smoking to all!  Have a great day and a better weekend!      Happy smoking to all!  Have a great day and a better weekend!     Again, I apoligize for the length but am          
  16. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  17. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I apologize for the long post but this is from my blog of my most successful rib cook to date, hope it helps.

    [​IMG]Ribs and '80s Videos

    [​IMG] Ribs smoked 3 - 2 - 1 with cherry and glazed with "Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue Sauce"

    [​IMG]Ribs at - 3 -

    Ribs at - 2 -

    [​IMG]Ribs at - 1 -


    Ribs ready for slicing

    Ribs are prepped by trimming up St. Louis style, removing membrane then coated heavily with rub the night before, no mustard, I have cut back on the black pepper in my Rib Rub because of how much rub I use on the ribs, it was a bit spicy for some of the family.

    So far the best luck with the ribs have been a modified 3 - 2 - 1

    • -3- Smoking at 225 degrees for a maximum of 3 hours uncovered in a rib rack.
    • -2- Place in a steamer pan, bone side down and foil for 1 hour 40 minutes.
    • -1- Then remove foil and smoke another 40-45 minutes.
    I was getting a bit annoyed at how much juice was lost after removing the foil, so I decided to leave the ribs in the pan for the final part of the cook and as you can see from the above photo, there's no loss of juices.
    I just mix the juices and barbecue sauce as its brushed on the ribs.
    Next Rib cook I will try glazing after step 2

    This gives me ribs that are easy to slice clean and pull of the bone clean without the whole piece of meat coming off in 1 shot.
    My previous Rib cooks, the ribs were good but slightly dry on the outside, resulting in the meat all coming off in one shot.

    The ribs are cut down, brushed thoroughly with BBQ Sauce and served in a steamer pan.
    The ribs will go a good part of the day without drying out.
  18. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice looking ribs Squib. If you really want a treat take 2 parts Sweet Baby Rays, 1 part cider vinegar, 1 part apple juice, and brown sugar or mollassas to taste. Bring it to a simmer and let it reduce by about 1/2, makes a delightfully tangy sauce that goes awesome on ribs and chicken. Also if you want a little bit of kick you can toss in a teaspoon or two of red chili flakes.
  19. peixegato

    peixegato Smoke Blower

    Cool.  Thanks.  Now excuse me while I go buy a couple of thermometers [​IMG]
  20. peixegato

    peixegato Smoke Blower

    You live in a house with 7 women!?!?!  Man, I feel for ya!

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