Vertical Gas smoker help

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by ozdave, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. ozdave

    ozdave Newbie

    Hi guys, well I'm 3 smokes into my first smoker. Have got myself a vertical gas job and I am smoking ribs and wings and so far have been having mixed results so looking for some help.

    I'm just using a simple rub at the moment while I get my technique right

    1. The first smoke I did was average. The top rack of ribs was too dry but the rack below it was great. I figured this was because the smoke probably running hotter at the top. I cooked for about 4 hours until the meat came off nice and easily at the end (but it only did on the lower rack of ribs)

    2. Due to the experience the first time I put the ribs on the 2nd and 3rd shelves (there are only 3 shelves in my smoker) and the cooking consistency was much better and the flavour was good but the meat wasnt as tender. I was having trouble keeping the temps below 250 this time and still getting smoke so I figured that maybe it was cooking too hot. I cooked this time again for about 4 hours.

    3. On the third run I played around with my placement of my smoke tin and got my temps to run at a consistent 200 with smoke for the length of the cook. I also changed my technique to use the 2-2-1 method as I really want that falling off the bone result. I also used apple juice at 1 hour intervals to keep the meat moist.

    On all 3 cooks so far I also did not get any pull back of the ribs off the bone. Why do you guys think this is? do I need to cook for longer?

    I'm not convinced my door thermometer is accurate so want to get a rack hanging one to make sure I know the temp more accurately. I guess I really need to work out if i am running too hot or cold and eliminate this as the problem?

    The meat im getting is not that great quality so I am going to hunt down a better source. Getting baby back ribs here in Australia is proving hard and all I have been able to get so far a full size pig ribs.

    I've attached a couple pics of the last cook. I forgot to take the photos before I put sauce on them.

    One good thing is the wings I am doing are turning out great! I've been smoking them, taking off after about 2 hours and covering, then just touching them up on the grill before serving and they are turning out great!

    A pic of my smoker so you know what i've got



  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Chances are your door thermometer is not correct they rarely are accurate. If you want fall off the bone for full size ribs I would suggest 3-2-1 at 225 degree smoker temp. If you want to sauce the ribs I suggest doing it the last hour when you take them out of the foil to firm up and finish. 2-2-1 is for baby back ribs. I would get two thermos so you can check the differences in rack temps as well
  3. I agree completely. You should get different thermometers. Never trust the factory ones mounted on the door. When I first checked mine it was off by 70 degrees.
  4. ozdave

    ozdave Newbie

    cool guys. i'll get myself a couple thermometers and do another re-run.

    any suggestions on what one to get?
  5. chef jeff tx

    chef jeff tx Smoking Fanatic

    Looking at the pic of your pit it appears that you have the smoke box sitting directly on the burner instead of in the rack. That could be effecting airflow thus effecting your temp control.

    As others have mentioned the stock thermo's are almost always junk. Remove it from the door and stick it in a pot of boiling water to check for accuracy. Some of them can be adjusted, most can't. If it's not too far off you can still use it to give you a ball park temp. A good after market remote digital is your best friend.
  6. denver dave

    denver dave Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I was having simililiar issues when I first got my gasser. I soon figured out my door thermometer was off almost 30 deg. It was not adjustable so I started using a digital. Have ever since. I have also taken hard wood pellets wrapped in tin foil with a few holes punched in the wrap as a smoke source. It worked good for me.
  7. ozdave

    ozdave Newbie

    you're right I do have the smoke box right on top of the burner (almost) but that's because it's the only wAy I can get my temps low enough and still get smoke. If I run it in the rack it's too far away to get any smoke when I turn the flame right down so I can get the lower temps. I guess I need to verify my temps with a proper thermometer to see what they really are at the rack
  8. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    It sounds like you're getting there. Trial and error is always the best way to improve results. My only advice would be to stop worrying so much about time, and more about temps. You want to try to maintain a 225-250* smoker for ribs. The 3-2-1 is a good method, but those times are just a general guide. Ribs aren't done until the meat pulls back from the ends of the bone about 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Good luck and happy smokin'!
  9. kmmuellr

    kmmuellr Newbie

    Same smoker that I've got. I checked my thermo w/ boiling water and it was spot on. I had issues keeping temps down, called up Smokey Hollow and spoke w/ Chad. he sent me a new regulator and I was able to get temps lower than 275 (which is what I was previously limited too).

    Bird going on in 20 min or so. I need to test out my new remote thermo!


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