Smoked my First Racks of Ribs..What Went Wrong? - BBQ Central

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Old 04-27-2008, 10:15 PM   #1
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Hey Mike.

You are going to have to get the chargriller working for you before you place blame on your cooking process.

Do you have the side firebox ?
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:23 PM   #2
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Are you familiar with what is known as the Minion Method ?
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:39 PM   #3
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You have one of the best smokers made for learning the art of bbq. Chargillers will work you to death straight out of the box.

I am going to link you to a couple of mods that will help you greatly.

The Minion Method was first used by Jim Minion who frequents this board. Captain Morgan, another member here says Jim stole the idea from him.

The only thing I know for sure is that they both answer to Jim.

Anyway, once you get a charcoal basket of some sort then you will be able to use this method to control temps much easier. I would recomend using this method over trying to burn all wood in a small firebox like a CG firebox.

Here are the links


http://www.bbq-4-u.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5179

http://www.bbq-4-u.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5316

There are a couple of other guys on the forum who have CG's also.
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:44 PM   #4
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Here is a link to the best way to control temp that I have ever used.

http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/fireup2.html
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Old 04-28-2008, 03:52 AM   #5
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Mike, just from what you are saying, Id guess the ribs were a bit undercooked. Do you know what temp your pit was at ? My ribs usually take the better part of 5 hours on the WSM with an average temp of around 230. Were the bones sticking out of the ends of the ribs in the end ? What did you use to guage doneness ? Also, as a sidenote, a pic or two of the finshed product would help also...
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:45 AM   #6
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Mike, did you foil your ribs at all during the cook? Also, I don't know if it matters or not, but, I always keep my ribs bone down...or in a rib rack. Are you familiar with the "3-2-1" method for cooking ribs?
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:32 AM   #7
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3-2-1 is a guide line for smoking spare ribs.

3 hours in ths smoke. 2 hours in foil and 1 hour unfoiled to firm the meat back up.

Give it a try.

The stock thermometer don't work at all. You need something much more accurate. You are going to have differences in temp from one side of you smoker to the other.

When you are well into the cook the temps will even out.
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:45 AM   #8
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With Baby backs think more around a 2:1:1 than the 3:2:1 for spares.

2 hours bone down meat up in the smoke.
1 hour bone up, meat down with some apple juice in the foil, (or less I often only use 45 minutes in the foil on baby backs).
1 hour back out of the foil, bone down, add finishing glaze 2 or 3 times building up the layers at 30 minutes, 45 minutes and 55 minutes into this hour.

The other things that will help are to buy yourself an oven shelf thermometer, they cost about $4.00 at WalMart, not very stylish or sexy but they do the job.

Then the next time you are setting up to cook, "map" the temperatures across the whole of your cooking surfaces, before the start put the thermometer on one of your grates, at one end and either in the front, the middle or the back, close the lid and fire up the pit, wait till the temps have had a chance to stabilize.

Pop open the lid, note the reading on the therm, move the therm to the next position at that end of the grate, close the lid allow to return to stabilized temperature, pop the lid take another reading, move the therm.

The simplest map on a “normal” sized grate will have 9 readings left (front, middle and back), center (front, middle and back), and right (front, middle and back). There may be variation between left and center and right and also between the front and back in all three, but this will give you a more accurate view of the way your pit behaves, and just how true the thermometer on it is!

If you have a longer than normal pit, you might want to take more readings to more fully cover the whole length of the pit, once you have the map, you have clues you can use to either tune the heat in the pit to reduce the differences or to learn to cook on the pit as it is and to use the heat differences as part of your cooking process, allowing you to move things that are cooking faster than you want to a cooler part of the grate, and move things that aren't cooking as fast as you want to a higher heat, to increase their cooking speed.

But the place to start with either is the temperature map of the whole pit.
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Old 04-29-2008, 05:58 AM   #9
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I use the "bones up" method that Bigwheel turned me onto. The theory is, that the juice collects in the curvature causing a "braising" effect. Also, I never had a rack of BB's done completely in four hours ,unless they were foiled. You will get it! My first several briskets had the texture of a mudflap!
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:22 AM   #10
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I hate to just jump right in here - but your story reminds me of my first cook. Please don't get discouraged. The primary issue to me as I read your post was that you need to keep a constant temp and you need to be willing to allow the ribs to cook longer than your gut tells you. I was always taking my ribs off too early for fear of burning them. I over came my fears by cooking a slab of St. Louis style ribs in an oven for 6 hrs on 230. This experiment showed me that it is pert near impossible to overcook ribs at that temp and that I was taking them off too early. Once you realize that there is a process by which the meat and the tissues break down - and that's what makes ribs so tender - you will stop cooking them as though they are steaks.

Keep it up!
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