Need help getting temp down

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by benayres, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. Hi All:

       I' new to all this but, my first time smoking (ribs) was a disaster...way too dry. I have an inexpensive vertical charcoal smoker (Brinkmanns Gourmet Smoke'n Grill).

       I hear a lot of threads about how to raise the heat but it seems that my heat is too hot. I followed the instructions (using lump charcoal). The thermometer stayed in the IDEAL range the whole time (I'll use a digital timer next time). I never needed to add charcoal or water. The charcoal seemed to last for ever. The ribs were way over cooked. I'm told that this is because the temperature was probably too high.

       It would seem way too simple to just reduce the amount of charcoal (but perhaps that is all that I need to do)? Or do I need to do something much more dramatic like build a collar to extend the distance between the heat source and the meat?

       Thanks for any feed back!

  2. mike in denver

    mike in denver Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    Get a good pit thermometer and practice your pit temps with it. Cook to when the meat is done not to time. Use time as a reference. I cook hot and fast which works good for me but I watch my for when it is ready to pull.
    There is a lot of good information on this site look around .
    Also welcome

  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now I hope that you aren't using the temp gauge on your smoker. They are never right I say that but I use the one that came on my smoke vault and it's right. Now you do need some good probe thermometers I would say two one for the smoker and then one for the meat. You might want to stop into Rol Call and then sign up for the 5-day E-course too. It's free and it will give you some the basics on smoking so you don't have any more poo poo ribs. So.........

    Welcome To Your New Addiction.
  4. Thanks for the tips. I think that I will sign up for that 5 day e-course (it sounds like a good place to start).[​IMG]
  5. new2que

    new2que Meat Mopper

    Did you foil them at all? or Spritz?  I do neither, but think I will do the 2-2-1 method next time, it seems after reading around here that a lot of people have great success with it... and that 2 hour stint in the foil really makes it tender.  Do you use a water pan?  I dont use a verticle (althought i'm about to buy a UDS, so I better get it figured out!) just trying to help you troubleshoot, cuz nothings worse than some ruint ribs!
  6. I don't know what the 2-2-1 method is (but I bet if I look around this website, I'll find out). No foil, no spritz. I wanted to find out what the bare basics of smoking turned out like. I wanted to know how much flavour the smoke imparts (before I started to add seasonings, rubs, marinades or sauces) as well as time and heat. I was hoping to cook low & slow for that  fall off the bone, tender thing. I guess that, not having checked my thermometer for proper calibration; I cooked high & slow (makes for realllly tough, dry ribs). I guess the trick to smoking is to test internal temp for doneness and forget about duration[​IMG]....who knew?

    I'll jump back on the horse tomorrow and see if I can break her.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  7. I just found an "acronym"s page for this website....I feel enlightened
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  8. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to the forum.  A lot of great people here.  Good  to hear you'll be signing up for the basics course.  Get a good digital thermometer that can simultaneously read your pit and food temperature.  There are a lot of good ones.  Don't forget to post Q-views when you can.
  9. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Yep, take the course and follow the 3-2-1 method for ribs and A good rub. The Wiki pages on this site are A godsend to us here. I use my brinkman all the time and have it dialed in now. You should also search the forum for modifications to your ECB. Some slight mods will increase the performance on your smoker by a lot. At the very least go get A candy thermometer and drill A small hole just below your top grate to insert it until you can get A good digital. Also it is beneficial to check the calibration of your thermometer in boiling water. Water boils at 212 degrees at sea level and you can google the proper temp for your altitude. Keeping your smoker from 225 to 240 degrees is key. Good luck and happy smoking. Your next ribs will be A lot better I bet.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  10. ECB....El Cheepo Brickmenn.....Ah Ha! 

    Thanks again. I have a good digital (I use in the house), that I know is calibrated properly. I just assumed (silly me) that I could trust the one on the smoker. Lesson learned.

    If I find that I am running hot, how do I quickly, drop the temperature? Do I pull coals out, spritz them with water.....?

    I will now spend some time on the Wiki pages and see what I can learn about modifying the smolker.

    You guys (and gals) are very helpfull around here!
  11. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Do a search on, "minion method" and try using that to get your coals going. Should help you keep temps down right from the start.
  12. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    I use 3-2-1 for pork ribs. That's three hours uncovered, followed by two hours wrapped in foil, followed by a final hour uncovered in the smoker again. That's with the smoker temp held pretty closely at 225 degrees and controlled with a closed loop temp controller running a stoker fan. 

    The times will vary by what temperature you are running your smoker and cooking at but you need to get and use decent thermometers. I only go by time and smoker temp for ribs but for pulled pork, briskets and other decent sized hunks of meat you need to get and use a decent meat thermometer and follow that primarily as each individual piece of meat cooks differently.

    Some take longer, some less depending on composition such has the collagen content. Two shoulders with the same exact weight can vary in cooking time by up to two hours or so. The best to use are the wireless models so you can wander around during the smoke but at least get something that will let you keep your eye on temps with the lid closed. 

    When you're lookin you ain't cookin as they say. Every time you open the smoker, it cools down and it takes time to get it all back up to temp. I don't open it for anything, no mopping, no spritzing or anything expect to pull ribs out to wrap or unwrap them, then stuff them back in right away. The other stuff like butts and briskets never see the light of day until they are done and ready to pull.    

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