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Old 08-23-2010, 01:33 PM   #1
atz413
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Join Date: 08-16-10
Location: Westbury, New York
Question My first Smoked Racks (more or less)

Well,

I finally fired up the smoker this weekend and made a couple of racks of Baby Backs.

NOTES
  1. I have not yet installed the extension to the smokestack
  2. I have not yet obtained a "real" charcoal box
  3. I did turn over the cooker box charcoal pan (as a diffuser, as suggested)
  4. It was raining on and off all day

These are the two racks I prepared with my dry rub.


The racks in the cooking chamber. I put a water pan on the inverted coal thingie. Also notice the probes from my new Maverick E73 thermometer!

OK, at this point you have to realize that I had a lot of trouble maintaining the heat in the cooking chamber. When I put the racks in, the chamber was a hair over 200 degrees, but I figured it would get hotter.

Then, of course, it started raining, and I had the devil of a time keeping the temp over 200. I added more hot coals (about two chimney's worth, over the course of a couple of hours).

After about three hours in the smoker with the heat fluctuating between 190 and 220, I decided I'd had enough for the day.

I fired up my oven (to 250° F), sprayed the baby backs with a little water, wrapped the baby backs in foil, put some foil and a water pan in the bottom oven rack and the baby backs on the top oven rack and left them there for another 2 hours.

After that I unwrapped them and let them "finish" in the oven for another hour. I basted one of the racks with BBQ sauce for the last half hour of cooking time.

I was so eager to try them out (and so was my fiancee) that I forgot to take pictures until after we'd had our way with them.

I did take pictures of the aftermath:

The ribs on the left were basted for the last half hour, the ones on the right were left dry.


Close-up of the "wet" ribs


Close-up of the "dry" ribs

They WERE delicious and fell off the bone...

I realize that this wasn't a "full" smoke, since they were only in the smoker for about 3 hours, but they did pick up a lot of flavor (I used mesquite chunks, which is all I have at present) and a lovely pink color to the meat.

QUESTIONS:
  1. How do you keep the racks from falling apart when you take them off the cooking grids?
  2. I had the upside-down charcoal pan right next to the hole to the firebox. If I moved it further away, would that increase the heat in the cook chamber? (I should probably try to smoke without that mod and see what happens, eh?)
  3. Did I do OK, or am I just kidding myself?
Thanks for your suggestions and I can't wait to try again!

Andy

OH, and wonderful as the Thermometer is, it wouldn't pick up a signal when I was inside my house: about 30 feet away, but the garage is in-between. Ah well...
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:41 PM   #2
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Nice job! Sometimes we all have to use the "oven" but don't want to admit it. At the low temps initially you at least should have gotten some good smoke in the ribs. As far as falling apart on the grill, you may have gotten them a little overdone, therefore too tender but if that's the way you like 'em put the ribs on flat rib racks and they'll be easy to move around. Enjoy and welcome to BBQ !!
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:36 PM   #3
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Yeah they fell apart they were overcooked but probably still real good.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:49 PM   #4
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The ribs look good in spite of all the smoker issues, congrats!

As far as the CG goes, it's a bear to tame for low and slow, that's for sure. I would recommend that you forget about using the charcoal pan as a diffuser. I know a lot of people claim that it works but every time I have tried it, temps just don't get above 200 F, even when I use it with the end near the SFB higher than the far end.

Make sure the charcoal in the SFB is sitting up higher than the air inlet vent. Open it wide open and open the vent on the stack all the way too. Use plenty of charcoal and expect to use 12 to 15 pounds of charcoal for a 6 to 8 hour cook to keep temps in the 250 F range.

The wind is a BIG factor for the CG. Either position the CG so that the wind is blowing into the inlet vent on the SFB or position it so the wind is blowing parallel to the inlet vent.

As far as a diffuser goes, I have had success using a pan (sometimes filled with water just to provide more heat sink action rather than for the steam) that fits just under the grates against the SFB opening in the smoking chamber. I forfeit a little cooking space and only use the last 2/3's of the grate to cook on. Half way through the cook, I swap the location of the meat so that each is sitting closest to the SFB for only 1/2 the cooking time.

One other thing, make sure the CG is sitting level. Heat wants to rise not move horizontally through the smoker. A level smoker can help move the hot air where you want it.
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:24 PM   #5
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Personally I think they look fantastic!

Nice work!
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:28 PM   #6
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Those look mighty tasty. The ET-73 has a range issue, which for me is not a problem personally but...there was an excellent thread in the last week or so on an antenna mod if you have decent soldering skills.
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:31 PM   #7
atz413
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boshizzle View Post
The ribs look good in spite of all the smoker issues, congrats!
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boshizzle View Post
As far as the CG goes, it's a bear to tame for low and slow, that's for sure. I would recommend that you forget about using the charcoal pan as a diffuser. I know a lot of people claim that it works but every time I have tried it, temps just don't get above 200 F, even when I use it with the end near the SFB higher than the far end.
I had a feeling that's what threw the heat off in the cooking chamber. Good to know that I wasn't imagining it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boshizzle View Post
Make sure the charcoal in the SFB is sitting up higher than the air inlet vent. Open it wide open and open the vent on the stack all the way too. Use plenty of charcoal and expect to use 12 to 15 pounds of charcoal for a 6 to 8 hour cook to keep temps in the 250 F range.
I used almost that much for the "3 hour tour" my ribs took!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boshizzle View Post
The wind is a BIG factor for the CG. Either position the CG so that the wind is blowing into the inlet vent on the SFB or position it so the wind is blowing parallel to the inlet vent.
I think I have that covered, as the CG is located at the side of my garage, and the wind just whips around the corner and into the SFB. I had too much heat (almost) when I seasoned the thing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boshizzle View Post
As far as a diffuser goes, I have had success using a pan (sometimes filled with water just to provide more heat sink action rather than for the steam) that fits just under the grates against the SFB opening in the smoking chamber. I forfeit a little cooking space and only use the last 2/3's of the grate to cook on. Half way through the cook, I swap the location of the meat so that each is sitting closest to the SFB for only 1/2 the cooking time.
I'll have to try that out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Boshizzle View Post
One other thing, make sure the CG is sitting level. Heat wants to rise not move horizontally through the smoker. A level smoker can help move the hot air where you want it.
It's definitely sitting level.

Thanks again for the info!
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:39 PM   #8
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They look good from here, I'd certainly dive in.
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:56 PM   #9
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Good job, they look tasty. You will find that it is better to go by feel than internal temp sometimes. When they start getting really pliable, they are getting close. I am by no means an expert, but that is how I do it with mine. As a matter of fact, I could not even tell you what the internal temp should be when done
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:20 AM   #10
atz413
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Well, I'm still learning, for sure!

Thanks to all!
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:26 AM   #11
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They both look very tasty! Nice Job.
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:48 AM   #12
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Looking good
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:57 AM   #13
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gives you an excuse to practice again next week! Maybe try a different rub or sauce, see what tastes better. lots of info here, keep the pics coming.
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