Rib Experiment

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Jan 22, 2006
Arnold, MD
I've got 5 racks to smoke tomorrow, so I'm going to try some 3-2-1, some rubbed with mustard and my favorite rub and some with just rub to see if I can note a difference.

In bad experimenting form, I'm also trying lump charcoal for the first time tomorrow. I've been told it burns hotter and cleaner and will help me maintain a good temp. I'll find out.

I'm also smoking some venison, so hope that goes really well. I'd like to smoke the venison with some mesquite, but will probably stick with the hickory I'm going to use to smoke the ribs. I've only got so much time before the big game!

I'm hoping it goes well. I'll let everyone know.
I think you will like the lump charcoal. I tbelieve it does burn a little hotter. As far as the mesquite goes I think you will like the hickory better, I only use mesquite with beef because the favor is so strong. But that's just my opinion. Hickory does complement the flavor of pork.

Good luck with your smoke, I also have some ribs in the frige with rub applied, they are going on at 8am Sun.
Lump will bun hotter and longer. I am in agreement with Burke, I only use Mesquite with Beef, and then, on rare occasion. But let that be your own preference.

You will be very pleased with the 3-2-1 Method, I promise!

Thanks guys. I'm using hickory only per your advice. So far so good except it's so GD windy that I'm having some trouble keeping the temp above 150... Hopefully it won't make me cuss.
Jay, 3-2-1 is a great starting point of spares. Keep in mind, that the 3 isn't cast in stone, it can vary a full hour either way depending on your pit temps and the ribs you're cooking (fat content, age etc). You want to wrap your ribs and begin the 2-1 sequence when the meat begins to pull away from the ends of the bones about a 1/4" or a bit more perhaps.
Be sure to spray generously when wrapping and occasionally after unwrapping if the ribs begin to look dry.

The nicest thing about lump is, unlike briq, it can be added directly to an existing fire without prelighting. I use mostly briq, but keep lump on hand to replenish my coalbed to ensure clean combustion of the wood I'm cooking with.

It's great to see you experimenting with rub combo's. You can read lots of stuff and not really know for sure what's fact and what isn't. There's no substitute for trying different things yourself and finding out what works best for you.
Experiment is done! I had some trouble today with the wind keeping my temps down. The result was meat a little chewy and not as tender as I wanted. I wasn't overly tickled with the 3-2-1 results, but think that too was related to my temp problems. I only had the unit at 200 degrees for maybe 3 hours total. Last time, I got my ribs up to 170 and they were falling apart, but today they just weren't coming apart. I think it was too little heat... the rubs all tasted good, so I've decided that whichever you are able to do, you should do.

The lump worked pretty well, although it too would benefit from a little more ventilation.

All in all, the smoke flavor was great, but I've got to master the tenderness. Good game too!

I would say your wind and weather were the culprits to your 3-2-1 downfall. If they were the least bit chewy, they were NOT 3-2-1 ribs done correctly. Don't get discouraged, this sort of thing can happen to the best of us.

BTW, please go over to "Roll Call" and introduce youself. Also, add a little more info on your Profile so others can see who is posting.


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