The BBQ BRETHREN FORUMS.  


Our Homepage Donation to Forum Overhead Recipes Smoke Signals Magazine Welocme Merchandise Associations Purchase Subscription Amazon Affiliate
Go Back   The BBQ BRETHREN FORUMS. > Discussion Area > Q-talk

Notices

Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 08-26-2013, 08:59 AM   #1
castlepines
is One Chatty Farker
 
Join Date: 08-23-13
Location: Colorado
Default Ribin' Aint Easy...

Over the years I've taken a stab at ribs, limping along using my gas grill as a smoker. Before that I'd had an electric Brinkman smoker but was never serious about using it. When I lived in Colorado I would usually smoke up trout we caught after soaking it in a simple brine of salt, brown sugar and pineapple. It was always a huge hit with friends but looking back I really had no idea what I was doing. Better to be lucky than good!

Fast forward to now and I found myself using my five-burner propane grill as a smoker as best I could. I cranked out some decent ribs using it but it wasn't the most ideal way to make good ribs and it was difficult to be consistent. When I say they were decent, I mean that the kids liked them! But this last batch of ribs had me frustrated. For the first time ever, I smoked some baby-backs using the 3-2-1 method at 225F. They were not what I had hoped. Whereas I usually used smoke the entire 6 hours or so of cook time in the past, I just went the 3 hours for this one. Wrapped them in foil for 2 hours and then unwrapped for the final hour. Oh, they did NOT turn out well. No smoke flavor, no smoke ring, kind of tough, and not thoroughly cooked through. Someone here has a tagline on their posts that says something about needing to cook by feel and not by time. He's right. I was going by time pretty much and it didn't go well. Admittedly, I was kind of pressured by the kids being hungry and needing to eat before it got too late. I pulled them off the grill before they were ready just to satisfy them. Not my best work by far. I blamed it on the grill and finally broke down and bought a 18.5 WSM. :)

Went together easy and I was eager to light er up. I have very little experience with charcoal but am eager to learn. We had a whole chicken in the freezer and I'd never smoked whole chicken. Never used a WSM, never smoked whole chicken, never spatchcocked a chicken either. But I figured what the heck. Let's go for the trifecta. Spatched it out, rubbed some compound butter under the skin, some commercial rub all over the outside, and let it soak in while preparing the WSM. I went Minion method and threw about 5 chunks of hickory on the pile. My plan was to cook for about an hour at 325F and then start checking the temp, shooting for an internal breast temp of about 165F. I was looking forward to seeing how this would turn out.

Fail.

It took a LONG time for the WSM to reach even 300. Maybe Minion wasn't the way to go and I should have just loaded up the smoker with hot charcoal throughout. The rub I picked I just happened to have in the cupboard and I picked it because it had a great sage-like flavor and aroma (A1 dry rub Bold Original). When the chicken done it had a dark brown look to it, not golden brown or mahogany that I usually like. The skin wasn't crispy and the smoke flavor was...different. Almost a harsh wood smoke flavor. I don't know it that was the chunks I was using or if it was the rub or what, but it wasn't what I had hoped. The meat itself was juicy, which was the only part I actually got right. Other than that, it was frustrating.

I'm open to tips and suggestions from the experienced folks here. Maybe there are too many holes in this story to even find a good place to start! I get that. But I have to say, failing has never been so much fun! I'm having a blast trying new things and learning about this stuff!
castlepines is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 08-26-2013, 09:06 AM   #2
kenthanson
is one Smokin' Farker
 
Join Date: 07-10-11
Location: Saskatoon, SK
Default

Chicken will take flavours much more than pork and beef, and as such it needs very little smoke. When I do chicken I don't put any chunks in and just use the smoke off of the charcoal for the smoke flavor. What type of charcoal were you using and when you put the chicken on was the smoke still billowing white(bad) or was it barely noticeable(preferred)?
__________________
@kenthanson
Wsm, UDS, Meco bullet smoker, COS, Weber Spirit gasser
Devil made me Q it BBQ team-head cook
kenthanson is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 08-26-2013, 09:17 AM   #3
fantomlord
is One Chatty Farker
 
Join Date: 09-24-12
Location: Sauk City, WI
Default

I would use the search bar, and look through some threads on spatched chicken on a WSM, as well as looking for hot and fast on the WSM threads. I know my WSM likes to cruise all day long at around 275° or so, and I've got to work a little harder to get it over 300°. How much lit did you start with?
And starting with no smoke wood isn't a bad suggestion--you can work your way up slowly from there. 5 chunks of hickory may be a bit much. You might also try some milder woods for chicken--maybe some fruit woods.
__________________
Matt...Sauk City, WI...WSM 18.5" (DZ)...WGA (A)...22.5" OTG (DZ)...SJG (AD)
fantomlord is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 08-26-2013, 09:19 AM   #4
DriverWild
is one Smokin' Farker
 
DriverWild's Avatar
 
Join Date: 10-01-12
Location: Omaha, NE
Default

You will hear a hundred different tips. I will give my two cents but is not the only way to make great chicken on a WSM. I don't know what kind of charcoal you used but I recommend lump for the best flavor. Other types give off a flavor that resembles fuel. Speaking of fuel, I also stay away from lighter fluid as it can also give an off flavor to your meat. If you need a higher heat add a few more lit coals to your minion method and keep the dampers open a little more, remember open = more oxygen = higher heat. A lot of gas converts don't realize that open vents = higher cooking temps as you are used to keeping everything closed down to hold heat in, hopefully that makes sense. As for the rubs etc. start out with some salt and pepper, master the S&P and then move on from there, you will be amazed at how awesome simple S&P tastes on smoked foods. You don't have to worry about sugars burning and etc. A dark burnt looking skin or bark is typically from sugars in the rub or sauce that gets too hot. You have a great cooker now the trick is mastering the art. Best wishes on your next cook!
__________________
Custom RF, XL BGE, Weber Performer Platinum, Super Fast Thermopen - Camo
DriverWild is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 08-26-2013, 09:31 AM   #5
Bludawg
somebody shut me the fark up.
 
Bludawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: 07-04-09
Location: Jonesboro,Tx
Default

3-2-1 is not the be all end all cats meow for ribs. Some folks like it I have done it 2 times in 30 + yrs, once to make sure I didn't like it the first time round. 275- 300 for 3.5 4.5 hrs depending on what ribs is all they need.
Your chicken I believe you put on too soon before you had a Clean fire giving off the sweet blue, also if your getting your cooking temp from the dome on R2D2 it is going to register 50-75 deg hotter than the temp on the grate where you need to monitor cook temp. So instead of cooking at 325 you where probably 250-270.this would account for the rubbery skin. I find that cooking Skin side down is very effective for a really moist bird, the skin acts like a roasting pan holding the moisture in and the moisture helps the fat to render giving a bite through skin.
__________________
I'm a Proxy Vegetarian> Cows eat grass & I eat cows.

Last edited by Bludawg; 08-26-2013 at 12:34 PM..
Bludawg is offline   Reply With Quote


Thanks from:--->
Old 08-26-2013, 11:46 AM   #6
landarc
somebody shut me the fark up.

 
landarc's Avatar
 
Join Date: 06-26-09
Location: sAn leAnDRo, CA
Default

So many things wrong, where to start...let's start with the fire.

A WSM is a great cooker, but, by no means is it a plug and play cooker. To me, what you describe is a cook that had a dirty fire. My process for any drum cooker, or WSM, is as follows.

1. The setup, I do use briquettes, or a mix of briquettes and lump. I mix in small chunks of wood throughout the fire basket. I will light 8 to 10 briquettes and scatter them once lit, over the basket. Then put the barrel section, water/sand pan in place and the top. Leave two of the bottom vents open and the top vent open. Let the fire come up, almost to where I want the cooker to run, that could be around 275F to 300F, shut one bottom vent so that now, two vents are totally closed and one is partially open. Allow fire to settle for 30 to 40 minutes. If you can easily see smoke, or if the smoke you see is anything but a whispy light blue, then you are not ready to cook.

2. For chicken, either spatchcock (that is to say, split the chicken) or leave whole and truss, it really doesn't matter that much. Seasoning initially is best with a simple rub. I like salt, pepper and dried herbs. Although, mixing salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash regular about equal portions is really good. Let sit for the time the cooker is coming to temperature.

3. Place chicken in cooker and let it run, chicken must be cooked to an internal temperature. Measure and remove when you hit at least 155F in the breast, let rest and enjoy.

back to ribs...
The much touted 3-2-1 method is for spares, and generally is for a low temperature cook, around 225F, even then, it varies based upon the cut and meat content. In a WSM, you can run a unwrapped cook much easier, as you can see the meat and with the diffuser, you can go hotter. Ribs done at 280F to 300F are delicious and have great texture. Just a matter of the learning curve.

But, it all starts with the fire.
__________________
me: I don't drink anymore

Yelonutz: me either, but, then again, I don't drink any less

SSS
landarc is offline   Reply With Quote


Thanks from: --->
Old 08-26-2013, 05:49 PM   #7
castlepines
is One Chatty Farker
 
Join Date: 08-23-13
Location: Colorado
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenthanson View Post
Chicken will take flavours much more than pork and beef, and as such it needs very little smoke. When I do chicken I don't put any chunks in and just use the smoke off of the charcoal for the smoke flavor. What type of charcoal were you using and when you put the chicken on was the smoke still billowing white(bad) or was it barely noticeable(preferred)?
I used Kingsford. Smoke was cranking out of it from the wood chunks. Does that explain the harsh, almost bitter flavor?
castlepines is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 08-26-2013, 05:55 PM   #8
speers90
is One Chatty Farker

 
Join Date: 08-28-11
Location: Waconia, MN
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by castlepines View Post
I used Kingsford. Smoke was cranking out of it from the wood chunks. Does that explain the harsh, almost bitter flavor?
Yes, chicken sucks up smoke like a sponge.
__________________
Ryan

The Beast: 500 Gallon Homemade Reverse Flow
[url]http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=187401[/url]
Weber 22"
Cajun Fryer FF2
speers90 is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 08-26-2013, 05:56 PM   #9
castlepines
is One Chatty Farker
 
Join Date: 08-23-13
Location: Colorado
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DriverWild View Post
You will hear a hundred different tips. I will give my two cents but is not the only way to make great chicken on a WSM. I don't know what kind of charcoal you used but I recommend lump for the best flavor. Other types give off a flavor that resembles fuel. Speaking of fuel, I also stay away from lighter fluid as it can also give an off flavor to your meat. If you need a higher heat add a few more lit coals to your minion method and keep the dampers open a little more, remember open = more oxygen = higher heat. A lot of gas converts don't realize that open vents = higher cooking temps as you are used to keeping everything closed down to hold heat in, hopefully that makes sense. As for the rubs etc. start out with some salt and pepper, master the S&P and then move on from there, you will be amazed at how awesome simple S&P tastes on smoked foods. You don't have to worry about sugars burning and etc. A dark burnt looking skin or bark is typically from sugars in the rub or sauce that gets too hot. You have a great cooker now the trick is mastering the art. Best wishes on your next cook!
Thanks! Yeah, I figured it needed a few more coals to get the temp up. I had the vents wide open and it still took a while. No lighter fluid used, just the chimney to get them started. I've always loved lemon pepper on chicken. Maybe I'll just stick with that next time.
castlepines is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 08-26-2013, 05:59 PM   #10
castlepines
is One Chatty Farker
 
Join Date: 08-23-13
Location: Colorado
Default

Bludawg and land arc, thank you both...great info!
castlepines is offline   Reply With Quote


Thanks from:--->
Old 08-26-2013, 06:12 PM   #11
Lake Dogs
Quintessential Chatty Farker
 
Lake Dogs's Avatar
 
Join Date: 07-14-09
Location: Lake Sinclair, GA
Default

The blue one and the platapus have you pretty much covered... I cook every-so-slightly lower on ribs at about 270, but please understand, that's the temperature measured AT/ON the cooking surface and has little or nothing to do with the temperature shown on an external mounted thermometer.
__________________
Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
Lake Dogs is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 08-26-2013, 06:18 PM   #12
castlepines
is One Chatty Farker
 
Join Date: 08-23-13
Location: Colorado
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
The blue one and the platapus have you pretty much covered... I cook every-so-slightly lower on ribs at about 270, but please understand, that's the temperature measured AT/ON the cooking surface and has little or nothing to do with the temperature shown on an external mounted thermometer.
Got it. The Maverick ET732 wasn't in yet when I got the WSM. Was too excited to put it together and get it going that I didn't want to wait for the Mav!
castlepines is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 08-26-2013, 07:08 PM   #13
wladrules
Full Fledged Farker
 
wladrules's Avatar
 
Join Date: 10-14-11
Location: Bryant, AR
Default

I learned a good trick on here that made my ribs better and way more consistent. That trick is this....ignore the 3-2-1 especially on babybacks. Wrap in foil when the ribs have the color you like (don't pay attention to Pitmasters). Knowing and maintaining pit temp is important.I use the bend test instead of going only by time. I am confident in my ribs every time at this point and that's thanks to learning on this site! Brisket....well that's another story,lol! Keep in mind that you don't have to wrap your ribs at all if the color isn't important to you.
__________________
UDS, COS
wladrules is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 08-27-2013, 07:10 AM   #14
castlepines
is One Chatty Farker
 
Join Date: 08-23-13
Location: Colorado
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by wladrules View Post
I learned a good trick on here that made my ribs better and way more consistent. That trick is this....ignore the 3-2-1 especially on babybacks. Wrap in foil when the ribs have the color you like (don't pay attention to Pitmasters). Knowing and maintaining pit temp is important.I use the bend test instead of going only by time. I am confident in my ribs every time at this point and that's thanks to learning on this site! Brisket....well that's another story,lol! Keep in mind that you don't have to wrap your ribs at all if the color isn't important to you.
Color I don't care much about, but don't most people foil ribs for tenderness? Thanks wladrules!
castlepines is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 08-27-2013, 07:14 AM   #15
Lake Dogs
Quintessential Chatty Farker
 
Lake Dogs's Avatar
 
Join Date: 07-14-09
Location: Lake Sinclair, GA
Default

Foiling definitely helps with tenderness, but it wont take leather and make it tender. I foil for color and to limit/govern the amount of smoke on it. Otherwise, on my smoker, the rib would be over-smoked IMHO.
__________________
Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
Lake Dogs is offline   Reply With Quote


Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


Forum Custom Search: Enter your Search text below. GOOGLE will search ONLY the BBQ Brethren Forum.





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:08 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
2003 -2012 © BBQ-Brethren Inc. All rights reserved. All Content and Flaming Pig Logo are registered and protected under U.S and International Copyright and Trademarks. Content Within this Website Is Property of BBQ Brethren Inc. Reproduction or alteration is strictly prohibited.
no new posts