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Ribs on my homebashed weber 'smokenchamber'

Discussion in 'Pork' started by vonstigler, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. vonstigler

    vonstigler Newbie

    I cut a rack of spares St. Louis style and also threw on a rack of back loins to try out my cheesy homemade baffle and A-Maze-N-Smoker for the Weber.  I haven't cooked a lot on this kettle so far, but I am trying to get some good methods down before it gets cold here.  The reason I bought it is because my Brinkmann takes so much fuel to get up to temp in the winter, I am hoping the Weber will be easier to maintain.  Overall this smoke wasn't a complete failure, but the ribs could have been more tender, and the A-Maze-N-Smoker proved impossible to keep lit.  I disassembeld the whole rig 3 times to relight it, to no avail. I attempted the 3-2-1 method, ended up being more like a 3.5-2-1.5 for the spares and a 3-2-1 for the loins because of some problems getting up to temp at first and taking the lid off a lot to relight the amaznfailure. Anyone have any tips?


  2. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey Brian,

    Sorry for the delay, but I missed your post.

    I sent you a PM & email

  3. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Hi Brian

    From the looks of the AMS I think I know the issue. The problem lies with the amount of dust you put into the smoker. I have done some pretty extensive testing on this unit and if you dont fill it up to the top of the rails it does not smoke correctly.  You dont need to fill the entire maze if you dont need that much smoke but you do need to be sure the section you use is full

    Your food stil looks good - congrats on recovering
  4. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Did you use the torch to light it with, and make sure you've got a good cherry hot lit end or ends?  You really have to work hard to extinguish the burning once properly lit (holding the torch on it for 30 sec to a minute) and filled reasonably adequately;, doesn't have to be packed tight or anything.  Also, you need to create enough upward draft so as not to extinguish the generator but not so much that you crank it wide open; for example ½ of 1 vent open on the bottom and 1 vent open on the top, so that there is more open on top than the bottom.  And, were you using lump or briquettes for heat source?  Possibly you would have been better served just adding some wood chunks to your coal fire for wood smoke as the unit is more for cold smoking without the heat than for making spares with full temps.
  5. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for jumping in Guys!!

    Here's what I noticed first.....

    The AMNS is directly under the ribs, and the juices could be dripping on the unit and extinguishing the embers.  A foil pup tent would deflect anything dripping on the sawdust.

    Just my observation :)

  6. ddigitalpimp

    ddigitalpimp Smoke Blower

    from seeing some other member's results with the amazen smoker i wouldnt throw it under the bus like you did after one try.

    ever hear the old saying "its not the arrorw, its the indian" ? [​IMG]

    i also wouldnt have packed two rib cuts per rib rack space like you did either.  they would cook more evenly if they werent touching.

    my .02c
  7. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I can see in the first picture that it is right under the ribs without any protection from dripping.

    I think that was in the directions you sent with my "AMAZE-N-SMOKER". Didn't everybody get one of them, telling you not to allow meat juices to drip on it, by either putting a little foil tent over it, or putting it in a position that it won't be dripped on?

  8. que-ball

    que-ball Smoking Fanatic

    Could it be your homemade baffle causing your problems, instead of the AMNS?  Sound like both were new for this smoke.  Even the Weber grill itself sounds like it was new to you for this smoke.  Looks like you recovered well, and salvaged a good meal.

    I agree with what others have said.  Wood chunks directly on the coals would be better for hot smoking.  A foil tent over the AMNS would protect it from drippings if you must have it right under the meat.  The rib racks are meant for one thickness of ribs in each slot of the rack, and doubling them up would cause them to take longer to cook.

    Don't give up on your AMNS, but if you do PM me and I'll take it off your hands instead of you "throwing it under the bus".
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  9. vonstigler

    vonstigler Newbie

    Thanks for your replies guys.  I admit my initial post was a little harsh and I apologize for my smart comments.  I don't believe the ribs dripping were the problem, I can't keep the unit lit even out of the smoker.  Todd has e-mailed me with a few suggestions that I will try and he even offered to send me more dust to practice with, that is great customer service.  I was using Royal Oak briquettes and chunks but wanted to try out the amaze-n-smoker as a supplemental smoke amd to see how it worked.  And I agree the rack was too small for the amout of ribs, I did rotate the ribs around a bit to keep them evenly cooked, and didn't use the rack after foiling them.

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  10. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I dropped Brian an email and pm with a couple solutions.

    Taper the sawdust from the hole up about 1" and light the AMNS for a good 30 seconds with a butane torch or propane porch.  It needs to burn like the cherry on a cigar. I even blow on the embers to make sure it's burning well.

    The sawdust can absorb moisture from the air and makes it tough to burn properly.  A simple way to remove the moisture from the sawdust is to microwave 2-3 cups for 60-90 seconds and then pour it in your AMNS.  A few customers in humid areas microwave each and every time they use their AMNS.

    Last is the "Foil Tent".  Just a drop or two of oils or juices from the meat can stop the burrning process, so I suggest that people use the foil tent if there's meat above it.

    Don't give up on it yet!

  11. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Todd is a great guy to work with.

    I don't know what he suggested, but if it wasn't getting dripped on, the things I would suggest would be:

    #1 Taper the end of the row you're going to light a couple inches to the starter hole.

    #2 Shake or mix your sawdust before transferring it or loading it into the AMNS (the finer dust tends to settle to the bottom). Todd has the "dust to chips ratio" just right, but that can change from settling.

    #3 Don't allow the dust to be open to humidity.

    If it has been exposed to humidity, dry it out in your house or oven or nukulator.

    #4 When you light it, you have to really get it going good. I have found that I may think it's going better than it really is. Then it could go out. The only time mine ever went out on me was within 15 minutes of lighting it, because I didn't have it going right.

    That's all I can think of right now.

  12. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member


    LOL----I type very slow, and think even slower. I was typing my last comment while you were typing yours.

  13. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great minds think alike!!!

    Now That's Funny!

  14. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Brian emailed me back with his results, and i figured i would post them.

    I emailed Brian with a couple possible issues & solutions.  The cause of his sawdust not staying lit was moisture in the sawdust.  Brian microwaved the sawdust for 60 seconds and his AMNS burned like it should.


  15. acemakr

    acemakr Smoking Fanatic

    drying the dust in the microwave - brilliant!