PDA

View Full Version : My first smoke


R_Mac_1
07-06-2011, 03:52 AM
Decided to give my Char Griller offset a go today so I got a couple slabs of pork spares from Fareway today and went to work. I trimmed them St Louis style and simply rubbed them with some Oakridge rubs (Competition pork and chicken on one and secret weapon on the other, from the sampler).

http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x269/rmac694203/IMAG0133.jpg
http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x269/rmac694203/IMAG0134.jpg

I had to fight the smoker a bit for the first couple hours. Whether it was figuring out how much wood to use or keeping the temp down (it spiked to 300 for a short while), I had to keep a pretty close eye on it. I used the minion method with Kingsford briquettes in a expanded steel box I made and just set hickory chunks on top as the smoke went on. After the first couple hours I got it to hold at about 250 for the rest of the smoke. While the temps were steady the smoker held within 10 degrees from side to side. When it spiked the right side would get 40-50 degrees hotter sometimes.

Anyways, enough rambling. Here's a pic of them....probably about 2-2.5 hours in, with the ABTs I made (which were delicious but seriously freaking HOT).

http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x269/rmac694203/IMAG0135.jpg

At this point I was debating on whether to use the 3-2-1 method or to just go. I decided to just cook them normally this time as a reference. They ended up cooking for about 5.5 hours before I pulled them.

http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x269/rmac694203/IMAG0136.jpg
http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x269/rmac694203/IMAG0138.jpg

I wish the pics were brighter/clearer, but I use my cell phone and with all the lights on in my kitchen that's as good as the pics get. The ribs tasted pretty darn good to me (and my buddy who happily served as a taste tester). Fairly chewy (in a good way) with a decent bark IMO. If anything, they may have been a bit strong on the hickory smoke flavor. Next time I may add a bit less wood (I think I stopped at the 3-3.5 hr mark).

Any tips or thoughts are appreciated. A bit long-winded, I know.

Sammy_Shuford
07-06-2011, 04:01 AM
Well, let me be the first. I do love ribs, and would have been happy to help eat those!

bluetang
07-06-2011, 07:26 AM
^^^^Me too! Those look great.

SmokinAussie
07-06-2011, 07:27 AM
They look good to me too!

Great effort on your first smoke!

Cheers!

Bill

Badgeman
07-06-2011, 07:31 AM
Ditto: Look wonderful!

Badgeman
07-06-2011, 07:32 AM
But what about the bacon wrapped peppers in the background!? How'd those turn out?

BBQ_MAFIA
07-06-2011, 07:49 AM
Congrats on your first cook.

Phubar
07-06-2011, 07:56 AM
Something tells me this ain't gonna be your last cook!

Randbo
07-06-2011, 07:56 AM
Look very tastey!

bigabyte
07-06-2011, 08:58 AM
They look good!

If they were a bit chewy, that just means they could have stood to cook longer. I don't know if you are familiar with the bend test, but it is a great way to know when ribs are done. While the ribs are laying on the cooker, pick up one end and lift it. If the other end lays flat while lifting it and forms an L shape, then it is ready.

As for that strong smoke flavor, that indicates the wood wasn't burning clean for too long of a period of time. When you add wood to the fire, you will see white smoke come out. White is not necessarily bad unless it is really thick. As the wood catches fire and starts to burn cleanly (has enough air to fuel the fire caused by the heat) then the white smoke will thin until it has a thin blue appearance. If you toss in too much wood so that the fire is not able to burn clean (not enough air can get in to burn all that fuel or the heat is too low) then you will see a thick smoke that is yellow colored. That is the worst and will make your food taste nasty. So make sure you have a small hot fire in your firebox, and add maybe 3 fist sized chunks at a time. With a good hot fire and enough air (don't be afraid to open that air intake and use less fuel to keep temps right), then you will light that wood up and it will burn clean giving you the smoke flavor you are looking for.

As a general rule, fire is a result of AIR + HEAT + FUEL. If any one of them is lacking the fire dies down. If there is a lot of fuel and one of the other two components are missing, you will get a lot of smoke, and that is where the smoke problems come in. So plenty of air and plenty of heat (in the firebox) are key. For those little offsets, control temps by the size of your fire, not by your air intake. If you can cook at your desired temp with the intake fully open, then you have mastered your cooker and will crank out great BBQ.

fingerlickin'
07-06-2011, 10:31 AM
Nice lookin' spares! Good work throwing in the ABT's as well, the perfect appetizers while you wait!

gtr
07-06-2011, 10:46 AM
Looks good from here! Great advice (as usual) from bigabyte, btw. :thumb: Looking forward to future cooks from you!

Gore
07-06-2011, 12:54 PM
I'd only add that for the small offsets, it is important to have your chimney vent opened all the way (can't see if yours was). This helps cut the bad smoke. Unlike Chris, I do control my fire with the firebox intake vent, otherwise, I'm tending the fire continuously. These small offsets tend to produce smokier food than others and I'm usually doing my best to try to cut the smoke. I do this (like you did), but using a charcoal fire and adding some wood chunks. I'd only suggest cutting down on the chunks. The amount of smoke is all a matter of personal preference. The ribs look beautiful!

SteerCrazy
07-06-2011, 12:56 PM
looks great and a few ABT's never hurt anyone neither :thumb:

R_Mac_1
07-06-2011, 02:12 PM
But what about the bacon wrapped peppers in the background!? How'd those turn out?

They turned out great. I made them once before, but just grilled them. This time the bacon was much better and the peppers were nice and soft. The only bad thing was the fact they were seriously super hot. My buddy and I ate all 6 of them while we were waiting for the ribs, and we were hurting for a few minutes. I made them about a week ago with jalapenos from the same store. I'm not sure if these were just hotter, or if the slow smoking process intensifies the heat.

They look good!

If they were a bit chewy, that just means they could have stood to cook longer. I don't know if you are familiar with the bend test, but it is a great way to know when ribs are done. While the ribs are laying on the cooker, pick up one end and lift it. If the other end lays flat while lifting it and forms an L shape, then it is ready.

As for that strong smoke flavor, that indicates the wood wasn't burning clean for too long of a period of time. When you add wood to the fire, you will see white smoke come out. White is not necessarily bad unless it is really thick. As the wood catches fire and starts to burn cleanly (has enough air to fuel the fire caused by the heat) then the white smoke will thin until it has a thin blue appearance. If you toss in too much wood so that the fire is not able to burn clean (not enough air can get in to burn all that fuel or the heat is too low) then you will see a thick smoke that is yellow colored. That is the worst and will make your food taste nasty. So make sure you have a small hot fire in your firebox, and add maybe 3 fist sized chunks at a time. With a good hot fire and enough air (don't be afraid to open that air intake and use less fuel to keep temps right), then you will light that wood up and it will burn clean giving you the smoke flavor you are looking for.

As a general rule, fire is a result of AIR + HEAT + FUEL. If any one of them is lacking the fire dies down. If there is a lot of fuel and one of the other two components are missing, you will get a lot of smoke, and that is where the smoke problems come in. So plenty of air and plenty of heat (in the firebox) are key. For those little offsets, control temps by the size of your fire, not by your air intake. If you can cook at your desired temp with the intake fully open, then you have mastered your cooker and will crank out great BBQ.

I did the bend test, at least to the best of my ability. I picked them up and when they cracked on the top I pulled them. I also poked a toothpick in and it seemed to go in easily. Just something I'll get better at with practice I'm sure.

As for the wood, I generally was adding 1-2 pieces at a time. I did get thicker white smoke a few times, but nothing too serious (so I thought). The majority of the time I had TBS. Another thing I'm sure I'll get down a lot better as I use it a few times. I made a 12" x 12" x 6" expanded steel box for my coals that is floating in the SFB and that was mostly full of briquettes, with just half a chimney lit in one corner to start. I did use the intake vent to try to control the fire, though.

So, you think using less coals and I guess adding more as you go along would make a cooler fire without having to close the vent so much?
I'd only add that for the small offsets, it is important to have your chimney vent opened all the way (can't see if yours was). This helps cut the bad smoke. Unlike Chris, I do control my fire with the firebox intake vent, otherwise, I'm tending the fire continuously. These small offsets tend to produce smokier food than others and I'm usually doing my best to try to cut the smoke. I do this (like you did), but using a charcoal fire and adding some wood chunks. I'd only suggest cutting down on the chunks. The amount of smoke is all a matter of personal preference. The ribs look beautiful!

I did in fact have the chimney all the way open during the whole cook.

Thanks for all the comments guys. Next I'm going to do a Boston Butt I think.

Now, I have some leftovers to eat.

fingerlickin'
07-06-2011, 02:58 PM
[QUOTE=R_Mac_1;1699586]They turned out great. I made them once before, but just grilled them. This time the bacon was much better and the peppers were nice and soft. The only bad thing was the fact they were seriously super hot. My buddy and I ate all 6 of them while we were waiting for the ribs, and we were hurting for a few minutes. I made them about a week ago with jalapenos from the same store. I'm not sure if these were just hotter, or if the slow smoking process intensifies the heat.



Next time try cutting them in half first then wrap each half individually. It's easier to scrape out all the seeds and veins to cut down on the heat. Plus you'll have twice as many. I've also heard of people soaking them in sprite or 7up to cut the heat or you can also bags of mini sweet peppers and do them the same way. They sell them in my area at BJ's. The red and yellows in this pic are sweet for those who don't like the heat.

http://i1217.photobucket.com/albums/dd392/shellddy/IMG_1169.jpg

R_Mac_1
07-06-2011, 03:40 PM
I split them down the side and removed the seeds and whatnot. Next time I probably will just halve them. I didn't know if that would make a mess with the filling (which was just some jack cheese this time) oozing out while they cooked.

fingerlickin'
07-06-2011, 04:22 PM
I split them down the side and removed the seeds and whatnot. Next time I probably will just halve them. I didn't know if that would make a mess with the filling (which was just some jack cheese this time) oozing out while they cooked.

Just using Jack may have been messy. I use cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar, crumbled up fatty and some rub in my filling. I only use 1/2 a strip of bacon and as long as you don't over stuff them and handle with care till they cool a bit the stuffing stays in there pretty good. Although my wife's favorite part are the bits of stuffing that fall off the side.

kcmike
07-07-2011, 12:43 AM
You did a GREAT job on your first smoke! Those ribs look like they were done just about perfect to me based on the amount of draw they have. However, sometimes an extra half-hour can do wonders. For what it's worth, I typically cook my spares (St. Louis cut) for around 6-6 hours.

Thanks again for using Oakridge BBQ rubs!

Big A
07-07-2011, 03:13 AM
looks tastey:thumb:

Johnny_Crunch
07-07-2011, 07:46 AM
Looks good from here! :thumb: