Smoking ribs right now but having some problems

Discussion in 'Pork' started by shea1973, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. I am currently smoking some ribs right now, 2 full slabs, and started it about 3:00pm.  I am using Hickory Charcoal and Hickory logs.  It took awhile to get the temp of the smoker to about 220, but finally got it.  It is about 1 1/2 hour into it.  However about 30 minutes ago the temp dropped to about 160.  So I put on another Hickory Log with a few chunks of Hickory Charcoal.  However  the temp is still only around 163 and doesn't seem to want to climb.  I thought about putting on another Hickory Log along with some more Hickory Charcoal but it has been constant white smoke for the past 30 minutes.  I know white smoke is not good for a long period of time, so I am at a loss what to do.  I have the bottom vents, where you put in the logs and Charcoal at fully open and the top of the smoker close to being completely closed but not all the way.  Any suggestions as what to do to get down the white smoke and get the temp up  to around 220 again? 

    Thank You for your help!  
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You may consider just removing the ribs for a while and get your smoker under control.  Go ahead and get a hot fire going.  Not sure what kind of smoker you have but let the chamber temp get over 280 and get a good fire going in the firebox.  Once you have a stable fire and control of your temps return your ribs to the smoker, damper down the firebox and let the chamber temp get down to 240 or so.  From then on add small amounts of fuel to the hot fire so the white smoke burns off quickly and doesn't just sit there putting creosote on the meat.
  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Don't forget to leave the stack open all the way for now.
  4. Sounds like you have the same smoker that I do.  I have a Brinkmann Smoke n Pit and I ALWAYS  have to start my fuel in a seperate chimney.  I was having the same problem that you are until I started this process.  But that's what I stuck with until my 1 year old starts costing less! hahahaha  Mr. Al always has good advice so it sounds like you should pull your ribs for a few minutes until everythings under control.
  5. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You don't want to close your top vent. That will create and trap lots of creasote (white smoke), which will ruin your meat. Try using charcoal for heat and then add fist sized chunks of wood for the flavor.
  6. Okay I took the ribs out of the smoker and stuck them in the oven for right now, set the oven at 175 the lowest it would go.  I put another hickory log and a few more chunks of Hickory Charcoal on it and the fire is going right now pretty good.  The temp is starting to climb right now around 190 and I am sure it will go a lot higher for a little while.  I open the stack all the way for now like you said Alblancher.  Also for your question about what type of smoker it is, it is a Brinkman Smoke King Deluxe I got from Menards about 3-4 years ago for about $200. I made/Picture011-1.jpg
  7. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    how are your temps doing now
  8. smokinal

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

    Looks like the guys got you going in the right direction. Good luck!
  9. Okay got the ribs back in and got the temp down to 242 right now.  Not sure about the color of the smoke, looks like it is blue, but being night time it is hard to tell.  
  10. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Just keep the temps steady and add charcoal for fuel from here on out.  you probably have enough unburned wood in there for a while so just keep your heat steady.  If you want,  break up the logs a bit into chunks and add one every once in a while but you want to keep a steady fire and the best way is with charcoal for now.
  11. smokininidaho

    smokininidaho Smoke Blower

    Lots of good advice, especially keep your exhaust damper or stack wide open. Get yourself a charcoal chimney or 2 for your next smoke. Also do a search here for the minion method for maintaining a good fire.

    Hope everything turns out ok!
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  12. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    w/ my side fire box i kept the intake vent maybe 1/4 open and the exhaust fully open . It takes a lil playing with to figure out the optimum spots for the vents.
  13. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    With these small units I start out with a full chimney of charcoal (hot) add it to the firebox then I dump a good amount of unlit lump charcoal over the top and add 1 chunck of pre soaked wood from the day before in the middle of the hot coals with the firebox damper opened half way. This will give you the right amount of smoke TBS. About every hr  place another chunk in the firebox, It gives me a three hr smoke holding the desired temp......I see other members use this type of method also......

    Looks like these guys have you going in the right direction

    Good luck with the ribs.......[​IMG]

  14. At the 3 hour point I put both slabs of Ribs in foil.  One is a complete dry rub and the other is no rub but put BBQ sauce on it right before I wrapped it in foil.  I put some Potatoes in the smoker to have some baked potatoes when I wrapped the ribs up.  The Temp was back down to 160 a while ago, so added some Hickory Charcoal, has gone up to about 170 but dosen't seem to want to go any higher.  So I added some more Charcoal.  I normally don't have this problem with such low temps in the past, so not sure what exactly is going on?  

    Boykjo, you mentioned that with the smaller units that you start out with a full chimney of Charcoal being hot.  What exactly is about the amount that your talking about?  I have a ton of Hickory but it is all logs I bought about 2 years ago.  Looks like I need to get a ax and chop them down to chunks from what everyone is saying.  

    Thanks for all the help everyone has given tonight.  I will keep you posted on how the ribs are doing and make sure I get pics to show them all to you later when they are done!
  15. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Is it a cold and windy night?  Kind of like the opening scene of a bad science fiction movie?  That can bring down your temps    Just seems like you are have a lot of problems that you shouldn't be having.   Keep it out of the wind, maybe use more fuel. Now that the ribs are wrapped the quality of the smoke isn't a real issue.

    Good luck, hope they come out well for you.   You need to figure out the problem.  Maybe the firebox dampers are blocked or you have to much ash under the firebox grate.  If you are losing a lot of heat from the firebox you can always throw a couple of firebricks on top,
  16. I got done with the Ribs around 9:00pm.  They turned out pretty good, one slab was made with a dry rub and the other slab wet.  They didn't fall right off the bone like I have made in the past, but still were very tasty!   I smoked them for about 3 hours and then put them in foil for about 2 1/2 hours.  I was going to leave them unwrapped for about another hour at the end and smoke them some more, but everyone was getting hungry and giving me evil looks that it was taking so long!  [​IMG]

    Alblancher it was a cold night around 35 but it was not windy.  When I read your last post asking about the ash under the firebox it dawned on me that I didn't empty it from the last time I used it! [​IMG]      So this is probably why I was having problem's last night.  I always make sure I empty all the ash out of my firebox before I start, but for some reason I just forgot last night.

    Well here is the Pic of the one with the Dry Rub.

    Here is the one with the Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce on it.  I did not put any dry rub on this one.

    Thank's to everyone that helped me out last night!  All your help made my ribs turn out great!  Thank You!
  17. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Ribs look great,  hope the extra ash is the problem,  Maybe next time you give it a try it will be trouble free.  Glad we where able to help!

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