What should be on the top rack ....the brisket or the baby back ribs

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mfalto, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. mfalto

    mfalto Fire Starter

    I have an ABS all star smoker with three racks.  I was wondering if it makes a difference whether the ribs  or the brisket are on the top rack.  The top is the warmest.  Should I be concerned with the juices from the one dropping down on to the other.  Should I not cook brisket  and baby backs at the same time if one is over the other in the smoker........ or does it make any difference.   thanks mike
  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Makes no real difference and there's no problem doing them at the same time
  3. superdave

    superdave Smoking Fanatic

    In a vertical smoker, you don't think the heat or smoke concentrations are different throughout the smoker column?
  4. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    From a technical standpoint, both are different throughout the smoker, but there are a lot of variables to take into account.  For example, hot air rises, so the top rack would be hotter.  BUT, if you have a nice sized brisket on the lower shelf, it will act as a bit of a heat baffle and take more "direct" heat  This is less of a concern if your smoke chamber is 4 foot tall or so and you are using the top 2 racks.

    As for smoke circulation, that kind of depends on the airflow in your smoker.  Does it just vent straight up from the bottom, right out the top ?  Or does it waft around a bit and eventually make it's way to the top?  Also, is there anything sitting between the smoke pans and the first rack that meat is on (such as a water pan), which would diffuse the smoke to some degree and even out  the smoke concentration?

    With all that said, there are numerous other variables that will affect how a smoke session progresses, and how one smoke session might differ from another.   Ambient air temp, wind conditions, humidity, etc.   For example, say that you have 2 racks of ribs on the top rack of your smoker, one in the front and one in the back.  Are the both the exact same weight/thickness (which will affect the cook time)  ?  Does the front and the back of the rack get the exact same amount of heat  ?   Is there a 5mph breeze blowing that will affect the thermal flow in your smoker and affect cook times?

    All of these are reasons why you smoke your meat until it is done, versus following a specific time chart.  Stacking more meat in will affect the cook times, but as shown above, so will lots of other things.

    to mfalto:

    Personally, I'd never smoke a brisket directly over ribs, or ribs directly over a brisket as I wouldn't want the flavors to meld.    I want my ribs to taste like ribs and my brisket to taste like brisket.    If I could arrange them to where one wouldn't drip onto the other, that would be different.
  5. mfalto

    mfalto Fire Starter

    thanks     I was concerned about the juices of the brisket on the ribs or vis versa effecting the taste.  So it sounds like like I shouldn't put different meats on the three levels of smoker racks if the juices are going to drop on a different type of meet. Does everyone agree.  This really limits what I can cook in my three rack smoker at one time.  More feedback please!!!
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  Many of us smoke multiple meats at one time. I would not do Fish and meat together but any thing else is fine and in some cases beneficial. Fatty meats dripping on lean meats help keep them moist even the ABS site has pics in their Pit Boss gallery of Turkey Breast, Pork Butts and Hams. The rotisserie guarantees the meats drip on each other.

    With the Rub and Smoke there is no way a Rack of Ribs is going to make a Brisket taste like Pork. I throw Parties/Picnics all the time I have an MES40. 4 racks with 2 Chickens, 2 Butts, a Packer Brisket and 4 Racks of Ribs. The Chicken goes on top because that is the hottest rack to get crisp skin with the Butts, Brisket and Ribs in that order. No one has ever said, "This Pork and Brisket taste like Chicken. Not to mention if I am doing 4 meats, I have no time to smoke 4 consecutive days and then reheat! Load that thing up in any order and enjoy the meal. Everything will taste like what it is...JJ
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  7. gomez93

    gomez93 Meat Mopper

    Fat = flavor
    Brisket juice dripping on your ribs will likely affect the appearance so I would put the ribs on top and let 'em cook.
    Now, are you planning for these to be done at the same time? Will you foil the brisket? If so, your brisket will be foiled by the time the ribs go on and it won't affect it at all
  8. mfalto

    mfalto Fire Starter

    Thanks for the feed back Chef Jimmy.  I was starting to think I made a bad choice of getting a smoker with three different verticle levels to cook on. 
  9. superdave

    superdave Smoking Fanatic

    Or 2 meats with a pan of beans between them would put drippings in the beans.
  10. gomez93

    gomez93 Meat Mopper

    There are lots of FEC100 smokers out there including mine, depending on what I'm cooking there can be up to 7 layers dripping down. It's all good
  11. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm normally in general agreement with you Chef JJ, but my own personal experience has been to the contrary on this one.    I once smoked a Sirloin pork roast above a turkey in a little Mr. Smoker and that turkey came out tasting like a hybrid pork chop.  :)

    Don't know if it was just a one off thing ?  Or maybe it depends upon the relative intensity of flavor with the meats involved?

    Anyways, you have given me food for thought and I'm going to have to test it out now.    Funny thing is that I just recently did two separate smoke sessions in order to do some ribs and briskets.     :)
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I did not intent to say you were wrong just that in general, with the majority of guys that smoke multiple meats, there is no noticeable difference. For instance for many years my MIL roasted the holiday Turkeys with a layer of Bacon strips across the breast. Talk about pork dripping on turkey! Anyway the Bacon basted the breast but the Turkey tasted like Turkey with only a hint of Bacon flavor on the skin. I have a very sensitive palate, pretty much a requirement to be a good Chef, but there are guys out there that can taste Parts Per Million on some foods. You may just have a super sensitive palate...JJ
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  13. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I could see no difference?

    If I really thought I could taste the difference?

    Pork fat rules.  Put the pork on top.  [​IMG]

    Good luck and good smoking.

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