First Baby Backs on 22.5 WSM

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by mickhlr, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. mickhlr

    mickhlr Smoke Blower

    Who doesn't like a good rack of baby backs? I always had problems doing baby backs on my stick burner, as I could just never get the temp to stay low enough.  So, I usually always smoked spare ribs, so I wouldn’t dry them out.  Now, with the WSM being able to stay right at 225* and using the water pan, I was able to smoke the best baby backs I’ve ever done.  I've mentioned on a couple of other posts how much I love this smoker...and the more I use it, the better it gets.  After smoking on stick burners for 35 years, I have nothing but good to say about a WSM.  I think it should actually be against the law to be able to even buy one prior to turning 50, and spending at least two years smoking on a stick burner.  It's just too easy to get great smoked meat, without all the hassle of chasing temps and loading wood in a stick burner.  I can use one of my normal stick burner splits, cut up into chunks, for anything I smoke on the WSM.  And, still get great smoky taste. 

    Personally, I like my pork ribs sweet. So, I smoke them at 225* for 2 hours, take them off & wrap in foil with honey, butter, and brown sugar on both sides, then back on the smoker for 2 more hours. Then, I pull them out of the foil, add a little barbecue sauce, and put back on the smoker for another 30 min on each side to glaze them. 

    And, personally, I like to cut each rack in half before I smoke them, because when I serve them I don’t serve them by the rib, as most people do…everyone gets a half rack.  And, you don’t need a knife to cut each bone off the rack, they will be so tender that each bone will pull right off the rack with ease.  I also serve them on butcher paper on a tray, like a lot of Texas barbecue joints do.  Just makes it easy. 

    I usually put down a small bottom layer of charcoal in the ring, and put 4 good sized chunks in it. 

    Then, I'll fill the basket with charcoal, and put 3-4 more, according to size, chunks of wood on top.  Usually post oak, red oak, or hickory.  Then, I just pour about 1/3 Weber chimney of lit charcoal in the little indention I make in the middle.  It takes 45 min to an hour to get TBS. 

    In the background, you can see my Old Country Wrangler stick burner that never gets used anymore.  Actually, I just sold it on Craig's List.  Lot more room on the patio now.

    The pic below is when I first put the baby back ribs on the WSM.  The color is just from my rub.

    After two hours, I brought them in and put honey, brown sugar and butter (or margarine) on each side to keep them moist and add the sweetness I like on pork ribs.  Then wrap tight in foil and back on the WSM for two more hours.

    After 2 more hours on the WSM, I unwrapped and put a coat of barbecue sauce on them.  All that melted honey, butter, and brown sugar keeps them moist and you will have a lot of liquid in the foil when you take them off the WSM to unwrap. 

    Coated with barbecue sauce and ready to go back on the WSM for around an hour to glaze.

    Back on the WSM, about 20-30 minutes on each side to glaze.

    Can’t tell by the pics, but they were very tender and baby backs I've ever cooked. And, I owe it all to the 22.5 WSM.  Like I said, I've been smoking meat for 35 years, have gone through a lot of smokers through the years...and this WSM by-far the best, and easiest, smoker I've ever owned. Don't know why I didn't buy one years ago.  I have to admit, I just didn't believe all the hype. But, I'm telling everybody I know...and have already sold 3 to relatives. My son and son-in-law both are getting rid of their stick burners, and going to a WSM.  And, my brother-in-law has never owned a smoker...always said he didn't have time to baby-sit one. But, with the WSM basically being a put it on and leave it alone smoker, he said he has time for that.

    And, I do enjoy spending time out here smoking meat and partaking in adult beverages. 

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
    tropics and smokinal like this.
  2. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]  Everything looks very nice!

  3. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Mich they look great I can't wait to get my 18.5 sealed and cooking,warm weather heading this way won't be long Points

  4. mickhlr

    mickhlr Smoke Blower

    Thanks Joe and Richie!  Smoking meat is fun to me...just glad to be from Texas and be able to do it year around.  Well, I say that, but I also did a lot of meat smoking when I lived in England and Germany.  My English neighbors back in the 80's really thought I was a crazy they thought you could only "grill" on sunny days, which were few and far between in England.  Then, the first time they tasted Texas brisket, they didn't think I was so crazy!  LOL!  So, they all wanted to learn...and we drank a lot of beer and told a lot of war stories standing over that old smoker.     
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great post!

    I'm so glad you are happy with the WSM!

    It didn't take you long to figure out how to use it.

    Awesome looking ribs!

    I like the idea of giving everyone their own half rack!

    By the way I like your patio too!

    Points to you my friend!

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
  6. mickhlr

    mickhlr Smoke Blower

    Thanks Al...yes, the WSM is the most amazing piece of cooking equipment I've ever owned...and by-far the easiest to figure out.  It's going to be a lot of fun, and a lot less work, when smoking meats in the future.  I used to never do ribs like that.  But, I was watching a Barbecue Pitmasters show about 5-6 years ago, and Johnny Trigg the Texas Rib King, did his like that.  I've been doing mine like that ever since. 

    Yeah, I spend a lot of time on that patio.  When I first get home from work everyday, I just go out there and have a drink and unwind...normally listen to a little music.  I won't miss any college football games while smoking this year, now that I finally mounted my TV out there.  But, with the WSM, I could really go in the house and not worry about it.  Still not used to that part!  LOL!!  When I started the ribs Saturday, I told my wife I had to run to Lowe's and pickup some stuff, and that I'd be back within two hours to take them off and foil them.  She was even shocked..."You're going to leave home with meat on the smoker??"  As she looked at me like I was a lunatic, or something.  I just said, "Yeah, WSM, remember?"  And, I made it back just in time to foil them. 

    Thanks again!
  7. lancep

    lancep Master of the Pit

    Ribs look fantastic, and what a view! I've had a WSM for a few years now and it's been rock solid. Even stayed locked on at 225 with twenty lbs of pork and an F4 tornado passing a block away from the house. I'll have to try that brown sugar thing for the wife sometime.
  8. mickhlr

    mickhlr Smoke Blower

    Thanks Lance!  Now, that is awesome right there!  Wonder how many smokers can say that?  LOL!!  Maybe a BGE that costs 3X the WSM
  9. savupoika

    savupoika Smoke Blower

    I see you have added wheels to your wsm, that is nice mod especially since you have that flat and hard surface.

    Did you use any locking wheels ?

    And offcourse the ribs are looking fantastic[​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
  10. mickhlr

    mickhlr Smoke Blower

    Thanks Savupoika!  Yes, I did put locking wheels on it.  These are the ones I used from Home Depot.   I just found the center of the posts by rubbing them on concrete to see where they were scuffed, drilled holes, and bolted on...simple and easy.  I really don't know why Weber doesn't include wheels on the 22.5.  And, they do really come in handy, so I can roll it around to move it, even when it's hot.
  11. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice looking ribs! I have always thought a stick burner was for retirement!Thumbs Up
    mickhlr likes this.
  12. hdbrs

    hdbrs Smoke Blower

    Not to hijack your thread but I started one a week ago about oversmoking. I cooked a pork loin on my 22.5 wsm and used what looks like half the amount of wood that u showed in that pic. Is that a normal amount of wood. I used pecan and apple chunks. If that is a normal amount of wood to use on say a pork loin I can't be oversmoking and maybe have a different issue. Thanks
  13. mickhlr

    mickhlr Smoke Blower

    No problem hdbrs.  Not sure what you're talking I use the same amount of wood on everything I cook.  For me, and my smoker, 7-8 good sized chunks is perfect...but all smokers are different, and people have different tastes.  You just have to go with what you like. 

    However, it sounds to me like you may be putting your meat on too early, while still getting thick white smoke.  You must wait for TBS.  If you've never smoked on a stick burner, you may not understand TBS...but, it stands for "thin blue smoke" and is something everyone who smokes on stick burners learns very quickly, because of the bitter taste the thick white smoke can give your food.  And, that is a common problem for people new to smoking meat, and not learning everything about using wood to smoke with on a stick burner.  Normally, for my 22.5 WSM, it takes about an hour after initial startup to get to TBS.  The first time I started it up, it took about 45 minutes...and the cook above took about 45-50 minutes.  But, normally I just plan on an hour.  With TBS only coming out of your top vent you should never have to worry about over-smoking.  And, without good airflow you could possibly get the thick white smoke anytime during the cook...which is why the top vent should always be all the way open...same as the exhaust on a stick burner. 

    See my third can still see a tad of white smoke, and I still haven't put my ribs on at this point.  That was about 40 minutes in, and I knew it was going to be ready soon, by the look of that smoke.  I was using red oak for this smoke.  To me, red oak and post oak are good smoking woods because they both burn hot, and put off less thick white smoke.  Red oak seems to even burn hotter than post oak, but provides a little bit sweeter taste.  I mostly use it on pork.  Pecan and apple are both very mild smoking woods, so I can't figure out how they would over-smoke your pork loin, except for maybe putting your meat on too early, or possibly trying to smoke it at too low of a temp.  Where do you get your wood from?  And, is it seasoned?  Some of the packaged woods seem to put off a creosote taste to me.  That's why I only use my own post oak, red oak, and hickory splits that I had for my stick burner...and then just cut them up with my miter saw.

    I have been amazed with the WSM not reverting back to thick white smoke even when adding charcoal on the 14-17 hour overnight cooks I've done.  After putting the meat on before going to bed, I go out the next morning, stir up the coals with a fireplace poker, and add several handfuls of unlit charcoal.  Three times I've done this, and waited, thinking each time I'd start seeing thick white smoke and trying to figure out what to do.  It never happened...once it got to TBS after the first hour, it has stayed there every time.  I've never added more wood, as I'm sure that would cause thick white smoke, but adding unlit charcoal doesn't seem to bother it at all. 
  14. hdbrs

    hdbrs Smoke Blower

    U know what, I just read your reply and all day I was thinking "maybe I am putting my meat on too soon". I'm usually putting things on in 20 to 30 minutes as soon as it gets u p to temp. I close off the lower vents a tad and on goes the meat. I never do see alot of white smoke coming out of the top but I do see a little at first. I would just attribute that to the wood chunks starting to get going, which I always figured was a good thing. And yes I do usually get my wood from lowes or home Depot or something. I'm gonna try not putting food on for at least an hour next time I cook. But now that I think about it I always just see the heat waves coming out the top towards the latter part of cooking and I just figured the wood chunks we're gone. U may have gotten me on track here mick. Thanks alot
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016

Share This Page