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Rookie questions :)


Joined Jul 22, 2016
Hi all...I am new to the forum and new to smoking.  Growing up in Alaska, my dad used to smoke salmon and now I would like to pick up where he left off.  My wife got me an electric smoker and I have tried it out a few times and am having a tough time dialing it in.  This weekend I am attempting again.  Overall the taste is good but I don't know if I am cooking them long enough as well as they seem to come out very "wet" and also have absolutely no bark at all.  Here is what I am doing tomorrow as well as some thoughts....any help from you all would be greatly appreciated! 

I am cooking 3 racks of ribs.  I set them out about 1-2 hours prior to putting them in the smoker.  I use a simple rub - Pork Barrel BBQ All American Spice Rub.  My smoker is a Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite 30" Digital Electric Smoker.  I pre-heat to 225 and have been using Apple chips.  I open the top vent just a little.  I do not add any liquid to the pan as it seems to fill up on its own from the drippings.  I have been cooking them in the past for about 4-5 hours but they consistently come out not as tender as I want and have a wet/grey look to them....I can never seem to get the bark I want so we end up finishing in the oven and they come out very tasty and we are able to get the carmalization we want in the oven after we put on BBQ sauce.  So I have 3 racks ready to go tomorrow morning

Thanks all!  :)


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 4, 2012
Sounds like you're doing porl ribs. For baby backs look up the 2-2-1 method. For spares look up the 3-2-1 method. Just to give you some options.

Your too vent should be fully open all the time when smoking.

When I do ribs I don't foil. I cook the ribs the entire time fully exposed. I keep my ribs pretty simple. If when I sauce, I sauce the last 30 minutes or so and just a thin layer. I also smoke at a higher temp. 265-285 for ribs.


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jan 13, 2015
For doneness start to look for a pull back off the bone a 1/4" or so. At that point the toothpick test or the bend test (holding front half of rack with tongs) showing a crack in the meat are indicators suggesting they are done. If not wait 20-30 min and test again.
Last edited:

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Group Lead
Joined May 12, 2011
The nearly closed Top Vent is holding in a lot of moisture and slowing the cook. The 3-2-1 Foiling will get them very tender. For a heavier Bark, skip the foiling and smoke until the rack breaks when lifted. At 225 that will take 6-7 hours for Spare Ribs...JJ

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