St Louis Ribs Saturday - First Billows Run

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Jun 18, 2013
Lake Geneva, WI
Morning everyone--

Before we get to it, a moment for remembering this day. Like many, I'll always remember it. I had a dentist appointment that morning, and saw the initial craziness on the news before I headed in. My first discussions were with my dentist and his crew. I just couldn't make this post without taking a moment to remember those who died that day and the days thereafter.

Today I'm trying out my brand new toy, I got a Signals a few months back, and love it's functionality and reliability. I've also upgraded my WSM 22 with the gasket kit and a new stainless door from Cajun Bandit. Since then the thing is almost rock solid, very little leakage (if any.) I decided to pick up a Billows to go with it because I've always loved the idea of a fan control to make my life easier. (I've got three kids and a dog, I don't have time to babysit a pit all day!)

First, a couple of racks of St Louis ribs that I trimmed, removed the membrane, and covered with Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub. (I also ain't got time to make my own rubs!)

Now I'm also going to try something different. I have been a 3-2-1 guy for the most part, but lately that just isn't giving me the results I'd like. Today I'm going to try the no wrap route, and just leave them on the pit until they get where I want them to be. Keep in mind I'm going for Fall Off the Bone. That's what we like in my house (and this ain't no competition.) I'm thinking based on what I've seen from T-Roy cooks I'm looking at 6-7 hours or maybe more. I have the pit set to 275 so we'll see how well this Billows holds the temp. (It's still coming up to temp as I write this.) I'll also be throwing on a Pork Loin later on.

What are your thoughts on timing to get these things FOTB? Of course I know times are relative, and I'll still be doing the old pick up and bend test as well.
I guess it's really your definition of FOTB.

I can get very tender ribs when cooking them naked. They bite from the bone easily, but the meat is firm enough I can't slip the bone. Likewise when I do a wrapped step it's short like 30 minutes to an hour and it's only for me to dial in tenderness. At home I use very small amounts of wrap ingredients.

These were cooked naked, They limber up and are tender.... but again I couldn't pull the bones and make a sandwich or something.
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I think you're looking at less than 6-7 hours in a 275 pit. My offset likes to run at about that temp and I've found it's closer to 2-1/2, 1, 1.
We like them FOTB too. I just spritz them a bit for the wrap because too much juice makes them fall apart.
On 9/11 we were tearing down a huge show at the convention center and I went out to the lobby to check on something and saw a crowd of people
watching the big screens out there. I looked up in time to see the second plane hit.....
Never forget. I know I won't.
I’d guess at 4-5 hours tops. I quit wrapping ribs a couple months ago or so and will never go back to wrapping.
So a brief update here. As I said, this was my first time using the Billows fan control. Using that in my WSM 22, I couldn't get the temp past about 250. It was fine in this case, as I didn't need to run 275 to cook ribs, but I was assuming 275 because that's about where my WSM traditionally sat best. I always struggled with trying to keep it around 225. With the billows, I sat around 240 most of the time. (I should add I also did fill my water pan.) Now, like I also mentioned, I did just install gaskets this year as well, so maybe I have an easier time maintaining a lower temp. The ribs went a little over 5 hours and were perfect at that temp. (Perfect for me and my family, fall off the bone.) Next time I might try the billows without anything in the water pan.
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Sounds like you had a good cook and learned something too .
If you run empty water pan next time let us know what temps it settled at . is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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