Rib Rack Question - Need EXPERT experience

Discussion in 'Pork' started by bobwire, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. bobwire

    bobwire Newbie

    So i've cooking shatloads of pork spares but always flat on the smoker. I have lately been smoking for more than normal amount of people so I got a rib rack. Please tell me the time increase, concerns, tips or anything about using the rack. I have used it twice and my results have varied greatly from normal. Granted I have had pouring rain but I cook under a pop up canvas so it's not pouring onto the smoker. The smoker does get some drops splashed on it when it's really coming down tho.

    Anyway, I always cook till I get a certain bend from the ribs and they are always great. The first rib rack cook I did I had three spares on. One got done at 7 hour, and the other two at 9 hours. WTH! I spritz every 30 minutes after bark is formed. I stopped towards the end, for the love of Mike, just to get these SOBs done. They weren't horribly dry, and they were still really good but is being close together really increasing cook time that much?

    Cook 2 I did 2 baby backs and 1 spare. I spritzed them in 30 minute intervals again but stopped 4 hours in because i could tell they were going slow again. They were all bend test approved at the 6 hour mark and I removed. The baby backs suffered some dryness.... Spares were good. 

    Ultimately, is this long cook time rib rack related? My Spares usually done in 5 hours and babies even less.
  2. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    First...7-9 hours??? BB will take only 3-4 hours at 275-300* and spares 3.5 to 5 hours. Rack or no rack cook hotter than what you are, stop spritzing and leave the ribs be...plenty of moisture in the meat and take them to toothpick tender between the bones.

    Some wrap but not needed, probe tender for juicy ribs
  3. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No I don't think this is specifically rib rack related but depending on your type of smoker, standing the ribs vertically can change the heat flow inside, say a kettle, and require some adjustments to the way you smoke. This makes it important where you place the thermometer probe as it can effect the temperate you are recording inside the smoker chamber. What type of smoker are you using and how were the coals arranged? Where were you measuring the temperature. Did they cook evenly or did one rack cook faster than the others?
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Don't over analyse this...Add MORE racks, you have more cold mass slowing recovery opening the door every 30 minutes. The door is open longer spraying all that meat, temp drops more, compared to how long it takes to spray a rack or two. The greater surface area means a longer time for evaporative cooling to end and let the smoker recover. It's that simple. Standing up the meat in racks aids convection vs covered grates ande the cook should go faster in a closed smoker. However, with racks and more Ribs, everything YOU are doing adds more time to the cook...JJ
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  5. chipmanbbq

    chipmanbbq Fire Starter

    I can see two "problems" and neither one of them are rack related.

    The first issue is opening the smoker to spritz. You are losing all your heat each time you do that. The second "issue" is having more cold meat in the smoker is going to take longer for stuff to get done or at the very least take longer for your smoker to heat up. That combined with opening your smoker every 30 minutes is why they are taking twice as long to cook as they should be.

    I would lose the spritz completely. A good rub is all you need. Good luck!
  6. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes agreed - but 7 and 9 hours? I think that the problem is probably the regular spritzing and as you say the smoker taking time to return to temperature.

    When using a rib rack in my 22" Kettle I do see a significant temperature gradient between the rack nearest the coals compared with the one at the back. I have found that I need to place foil on the cooking grate to help direct the heat under and through all of the racks. If I didn't do this and relied on the temperature taken by the front rack, the back racks would be trying to cook way under temperature.

    This does not show the foil over the coals deflecting the hot air under the rack but does show the dummy foil rack of ribs that act as a heat deflector.

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  7. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Agreed. If you are worried about them drying out use the 3:2:1 and foil for the middle 2. Depending on your rib rack it should be able to take the foiled ribs without a problem.
  8. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Stop spritzing... Every time you open the smoker, you're adding 30 minutes to your cook time. Also try a hotter temp. I cook ribs at 260-275* and they are done in 3-4 hours, very moist with a slight tug. I never use foil, but this is an arguing point.

    Good luck and keep smoking, Joe.
  9. bobwire

    bobwire Newbie

    I use a WSM 22. And the 7-9 hours were spares only. not BB. I generally spritz quickly and it's not a problem. I get what you guys are saying about losing all my heat, but it's never been a problem. My spares usually take 5 hours when laid flat on the upper rack, and baby back 3.5-4 hours on upper rack. Only after I started cooking with this rib rack has the cook times gone to hell. I had a probe clipped to the rib rack on the top of the ribs. I also had another for my digiQ directly next to the rack. They read within 2 degrees of each other. I also have a temp gauge on top of the lid that came with the WSM. I do not go by this one at all, but it was also dead ass on @ 250F. I have a  square foil pan holding water (the huge circular one that comes with WSM is just huge and hard to clean). 

    Remember, I have no problems with this EXACT setup spritzing and all. Once I used this rack it all went to hell. It was also raining really bad.... But I'm under a canvas. Who knows. I'm doing 2 BB this weekend without the rib rack. We will see what happens. I'm sure all will return to normal. I just really think it's the closeness of the ribs, possibly the amount of spritz. 

    I really appreciate all you guys. Great advice and tips. Very nice, thank you all. I'll update my problems/success this weekend :)
  10. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit

    I would reposition the rib rack by rotating it 45 degrees. The front slab is getting all the heat and the rear slabs less and staying cooler which, IMO, throws off the whole cook time. Also.......like everyone else has said, ease up on the spritzing!

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