Hi everyone. I have been lurking for a bit but this is my first post. I love it here and am learning a lot from reading the posts.
After years of happily grilling with Gas, I decided this winter that I wanted to spread my wings and cook with fire a bit. I picked up 3 weber kettles at thrift stores and on craiglist (SJ Silver, OT Silver 18.5, and an old 22.5 with the 3 vents at the bottom).
I have spent the last couple of months experimenting with charcoal/lump/vents, etc, doing a couple of beer can chickens and grilling for our friends on weekends.
Today, I did my first smoke cook and decided to post the results here. I cooked a full rack of pork ribs and did not cut them St. Louis Style (leaving the brisket meat on).
I used the snake/ring-of-fire fire management method with a drip pan below the ribs and used a 3:2:1 cooking method. I finished the final 3 hours in the oven because it was such a pain to stabilize the temp to 220 on my kettle that I did not feel like doing it again while still working a full day from home.
I used a simple rub of salt/pepper/garlic powder/onion powder/paprika
My mop (applied twice including upon entering the foil) is 1/2 apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cranberry juice. Did not apply bbq sauce prior to entering the foil.
Total time: 6 hours. I was shooting for fall off the bone (I like them that way) and they absolutely did that just like Texas Roadhouse. Smoke was pretty much perfect. I could have handled more but my wife could not have. I applied sauce the final 20 minutes and was surprised that it pulled the smoke flavor out of the meat and merged deliciously with the sauce on top. I have never tasted anything like that before.
1) I need to learn to relax. This was fun and I should not have stressed about it as much as I did.
2) I should have done a dry run with the fire management method because I spent a lot of time worrying about it.
3) The 22.5 kettle stabilized at 215 F or so with all of the vents wide open. If I want higher temps than that, I need to add another row of charcoal (not sure I want that).
4) I could stand to keep the meat more moist next time. I need to study how to do this without opening the lid too often.
Below are the results. I was pretty pleased given that I had never smoked before and had never cooked ribs at all before. I am WIDE open to feedback from you folks who know way more than I do about this game.