A newbies moment of Truth is coming tomorrow!

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by gortiz, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. gortiz

    gortiz Fire Starter

    Hey everyone I'm smoking B-back ribs tomorrow and I getting a little nervous. I got a few questions that I know have been kind of been addresed in other posts, but I got a few that I couldn't find direct answers to.

    1.Do I keep the reserve wood chunks I"m not using in the water until I need them? If not where do I keep them? I'm thinking they will dry out?

    2. Its going to be around 50 degrees with some wind during the day where I"m at, how will this effect my cooking and how should I adjust?

    3. I have two sliding round vents/openings (about 2.5 inches) on the lid of my smoker (Meco 5030), will this be the primary way to regulate the heat/temperature, which I'm assuming should be in 225 range. Basically, what are they for? Directions say nothing! I'm buying an oven therm tonight.

    5. I'm doing 3 racks, so will that effect the 2-1-1? Since more meat will be in the smoker will that increase the cooking times?

    I love cooking and BBQing but I am so new to smoking, and obvioulsy a little intmidated! Answers to any of the above will be very appreciated. I'm big on details, so the little things are starting to get me a little worried.
     
  2. scott in kc

    scott in kc Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    g, I have no experience with an electric so I'll leave the questions about those to someone more qualified. Question #5 I'll take a shot at.

    The thermal load in the cooker will change cooking times without a doubt, although 3 racks of ribs isn't alot of meat as compared by weight to a couple of packer briskets, or even a couple of small butts.

    Keep in mind that when doing 3-2-1 or whatever variation of that theme, that the first # doesn't really mean much. There are too many variables (pit temp, fat content, ambient temp, etc) to carve that first # in stone. If you don't get the ribs done enough before beginning the last 2 phases, you're going to end up with underdone ribs.

    The first phase of x-x-x ribs is complete when the meat pulls back from the end of the bones 1/4-3/8 of an inch. If you wait for this to happen before wrapping a 1-1 finish should do very nice for BB's if you don't get below 225 pit temp.

    Best of luck!!
     
  3. gortiz

    gortiz Fire Starter

    Man thanks Scott, that is huge. I was thinking of sticking to the 2-1-1 time frame like gospel. . . now I know better. I'll keep an eye out for the "pull back" during the first stage.
     
  4. scott in kc

    scott in kc Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    g, 3-2-1 is a great starting point for rib cooking but failure to wait for that pullback leads to more ruined ribs than anything else I know. Regular readers are probably sick of hearing me harp on this detail, but it's so important not to wrap too early.

    Sorry if I give the following impression on the subject of 3-2-1.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    G- I'll give you my two cents on the other questions-

    1.Do I keep the reserve wood chunks I"m not using in the water until I need them? If not where do I keep them? I'm thinking they will dry out?

    If you choose to soak you wood, shake off as much of the water as possible before putting it on the heating element. Keep soaking the rest of the wood until your ready for it (BTW-Not all of use soak our wood-it's just a matter of prefrence).

    2. Its going to be around 50 degrees with some wind during the day where I"m at, how will this effect my cooking and how should I adjust?

    If you can, place your smoker in an area out of the wind. If it's a barely windy, I don't worry much about it- Steady and constant winds above 10 mph and the smoker gets some kind of a wind break.

    3. I have two sliding round vents/openings (about 2.5 inches) on the lid of my smoker (Meco 5030), will this be the primary way to regulate the heat/temperature, which I'm assuming should be in 225 range. Basically, what are they for? Directions say nothing! I'm buying an oven therm tonight.

    Keep your vents open, this allows fresh smoke to flow past your meat-closing the vents down will create stale smoke and an "off" taste. Most electric smokers that just plug in and have no other dials or such are designed to maintain a temp of around 225*. Those with a control dial with settings usually have been factory set.
     
  6. gortiz

    gortiz Fire Starter

    BBQ Galore has the thermeter I've been eyeing, and I got the answers to a few of the pesky questions I had, I so I'm feeling a lot better!

    Thanks fellas.
     
  7. scott in kc

    scott in kc Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    g, I passed your questions and Dutch's excellent answers on to a friend who has a Meco very similar to yours to see if he had any additional input.

    He emphasized the need to protect the cooker from the wind.

    His experience with wood in the Meco is that it needs to be soaked some to prevent it from instantly igniting and being consumed too quickly, 30 mins will do, longer won't hurt anything.

    He also added that in less than ideal conditions (cool and breezy, like you're expecting tomorrow) that both top vents open may let too much heat out. Try one full open and the other you can adjust as needed to maintain cooking temp.
     
  8. gortiz

    gortiz Fire Starter

    What can I say Scott in KC and everyone else that helped me out, if I screw this I'm never smoking again! jk.

    I'll keep an eye out for the weather forecast and adjust accordingly.

    I feel tons more confident about doing this, Thanks again! :D
     
  9. bwsmith_2000

    bwsmith_2000 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    So OK Gortiz,
    How did it turn out??? Hero or goat??
     
  10. I'm curious too, let us know what's up.
     
  11. gortiz

    gortiz Fire Starter

    Hey ya'll,

    false alarm yesteray, I got a late start in the morning and it would have pushed my finish time to the eveving and I didn't want to screw around in the dark, it started sprinking in the afternnon as well, and the temp dropped below 45, so I held off till today. Yes, I'm paranoid. But I want to do these things right! Also, the baby backs would only been "marinating" in the rub for 1 hour.

    I got thermometer issues though, I could only find the one that has the pointy probe that goes in meat, couldn't find the one that measures pit temp. Dutch gave me so good tips to modidfy my smoker to add a therm, but I didn't have time!


    I'll make sure to post an udate today or tommorw.
     
  12. scott in kc

    scott in kc Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    g, the same probe type thermometer will measure pit temp. Just place the probe through a small potato or the edge of the meat (exposing the tip of the probe) on one of your racks of ribs (making sure to keep the tip of the probe off the metal of the grates).
     
  13. gortiz

    gortiz Fire Starter

    Thanks, scott in KC!

    I get the meat tip, but I'm confused withe the potato tip . . .is the potato just severing as a buffer to keep the probe in the air and off the metal grates?

    thanks again
     
  14. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes the 'tater is serving as a buffer. Cut a 'tater in half, but the tater cut side down and push the probe into the tater until the probe is sticking though the other side a couple of inches.

    Good Luck-
     
  15. gortiz

    gortiz Fire Starter

    I feel like I let you guys down! I'm about two hours into the smoking with an electric model and the temp is not cooperating. I'm using a meat therm probe to gage the pit temp (see above) and that is at a contstant 165-170 range, and the therm on my cooker is about 1/2 between the "Warm" gauge. "Ideal" is the next stage, so I haven't got there yet. I'm getting smoke, but not the temp. I also had a few chunks flare up in fire.

    not sure what the deal is?

    I"m using wood chunks
    3 racks of BB ribs.
    the water pan is lined with alum. foil
    the temp outside is right a 50F
    I'm also using a fairly long extension chord

    Any ideas before I pull the plug!
     
  16. gortiz

    gortiz Fire Starter

    Well, I finished off the racks on a grill using indirect heat, and wrapping them foil. I was really surprised how "good" they ended up. But I'm still very dissapointed.

    I started off with 2 large wood chunks and the heat was not getting up to the 225 range. I was trying to be paitent and the smoker hovered at 180F for awhile and finally I added a bunch more chunks. The heat then skyrocketed, and a few chunks caught fire. Not sure why the chunks caught fire, but I'm sure this is why the heat got up so high, so I'm still not sure how to get the heat up with out causing a fire.

    Possible problems - not enough chunks to get the heat up, I was using a heavy duty albeit,long extension cord, the outdoor weather temp was a chilly 50 degrees. Was I supposed to get the smoker up in temp before adding the racks to the smoker? I had two racks on the top grate and one on the bottom grate?

    any help would be appreciated!

    thx
     
  17. larry maddock

    larry maddock Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    yo gor dude,
    what kind or smoker are u using??
     
  18. gortiz

    gortiz Fire Starter

    I feel like Ralphy from "A Christmas Story" giving the specs on his BB gun! :lol:

    Its a Meco 5030 Electric Smoker with a Water pan, 2 grilling racks, damper vents on the hood, adjutable heat source (High/Med/Low) and thermostat that reads, Warm/Ideal/Hot. The manual requests wood chunks.
     
  19. cheech

    cheech Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Gortiz- We love pictures here. Can I talk you into posting some for us to look at?
     
  20. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just don't let anyone "Double Dog Dare ya" into licking the flag pole in the middle of winter!! :shock: :D 8)
     

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