So, you have just got your smoker, whats next?

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So, you have just got your smoker, whats next?

Post  TobyAnscombe on Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:11 pm

Hope that this might help someone, although having only had mine for a year I am still learning...

I've written this as a 'how to do ribs for the first time' although feel free to correct and comment....

Ribs - The best (most show off/easiest to do) are pork baby back ribs. You can get them from farm shops or I have seen them in Waitrose for about 5. My local butcher didn't have any so I got these from Waitrose.

First off, take them out of the packet and wash them in cold water. I then rub them in white vinegar (the dirt cheap stuff from Tescos) to clean any residual crap off them. Rinse again under cold water and put onto a baking sheet.


Then cover in American mustard, you can use other stuff but all you are looking for is something for the rub to stick to. I love the sweet mild taste of Frenchies so I tend to use that.


Then you need a rub - basically all a rub is is just a load of herbs and spices that you rub (see where it gets the name!) over the meat. For this first attempt keep it simple and in a blender mix:
3 tablespoons of Paprika
2 tablespoons of fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon of decent salt (Maldon or something - you need the lumpy texture)
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder

Mix it up in the blender so that its well combined. Taste a bit and see if you need to add anything else to it - its not rocket science...

Then coat the ribs in the rub - don't go too far overboard but make sure that there is enough to give cover - should look like


Meanwhile, outside...

I use coco shell charcoal; it burns hot and long.. The best (cough!) place to get it is from these fine gentlemen - http://www.smokingbbq.co.uk/product/5_x_5Kg_Cocoshell_charcoal_bbq_briquettes_4100641-5 currently with 20 off so get there quick! The second thing that you need is a chimney. I use a Weber, costs about 20 delivered and is the right size to fill the fire basket on a Frontier. Unfortunately, Mac doesn't sell them (although you really should!) but any chimney will do.

Fill the chimney most of the way to the top with charcoal, use a single white firelighter underneath to get it going and before too long you will have flames coming out of the top


Once the top bits of charcoal start to turn white (START TO TURN, Not have turned!) then tip it out into the fire bowl

Note that that amount of the cocoshell charcoal that I said to use earlier will keep you going for about 4-5 hours

Once they're in the bowl, put your smoker back together and add water to the bowl, set your thermometers if you have them and watch it get to temp. Once you get to 120C/250F then chuck in your lumps of wood or chips - the jury is still out on this and I have used both but for ease I prefer lumps of wood.

Stick your ribs on the bbq, meat side down, bone side up and leave for an hour. Don't lift the lid, trust that all is well. Your temp should stay pretty constant throughout, maybe close one or two of the bottom vents by 1/3 but no more than that. NEVER CLOSE THE TOP VENT!


Note that I have the Maverick and it is a good purchase!

After an hour, lift the lid and flip the ribs around and check the water/wood. You should be fine...as long as you followed my advise as to how much to chuck in..If you are using chips then you will need to add some more at this point - solid wood chunks means you don't need to.

A further hour and a half and you might be done - open, cut a rib off and taste it. If its too chewy then give it 20 mins longer. If not, carve up and serve up!

20 mins later, check again and repeat until you are done. There is no such thing as a set time; each time you cook it will be different. As an example, I like mine fall-off the bone done which tends to mean 2.45-3hours or occasionally 3.15-3.30 but I will always check...

Now for the money shots

Straight off the smoker, two hours 45min.


Cut - the pink stuff is not undercooked, that is the smoke ring that we are looking for...


Remember I said that the cocoshells work? this was over 4 hours into the cook, no refill....

Hope this helps people out who come to smoking for the first time.. I will do some more long posts if you are interested...

TobyAnscombe
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Re: So, you have just got your smoker, whats next?

Post  Mack on Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:11 am

Great post Toby, keep them coming!

We do sell a charcoal chimney starter, but it is slightly smaller than the Weber one. http://www.macsbbq.co.uk/bbq%20accessories%20shop.html

Nice looking ribs!

Ian
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Re: So, you have just got your smoker, whats next?

Post  mr_spin on Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:21 pm

nice intro - thanks for posting

are your ribs pictured the pork rack of loin ribs from Waitrose essential range Linky

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Re: So, you have just got your smoker, whats next?

Post  TobyAnscombe on Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:36 pm

Mr_Spin - exactly!

Came out bloody perfect as well...

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Re: So, you have just got your smoker, whats next?

Post  Lozart on Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:42 pm

Toby - nice step by step but you missed an important step: Before rubbing or slathering you need to remove the white membrane on the inside of the ribs. It's tough and chewy and will stop the smoke flavour penetrating from both sides. It's pretty easy to do, just tease up one end (the widest end of the rack is usually easiest) using a sharp knife then once you have enough to get hold of, grab it using a paper towel (it's kinda slippery) and start peeling. Trust me - your ribs will be all the better for it!
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Re: So, you have just got your smoker, whats next?

Post  TobyAnscombe on Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:34 am

Good point! The waitrose ribs have this membrane already removed..

Next time I go to the farm shop I will add some photos..

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Re: So, you have just got your smoker, whats next?

Post  Lozart on Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:15 pm

TobyAnscombe wrote:Good point! The waitrose ribs have this membrane already removed..

Next time I go to the farm shop I will add some photos..

The ones in your pictures still have the membrane on........?
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Re: So, you have just got your smoker, whats next?

Post  mr_spin on Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:02 am

Lozart wrote:
TobyAnscombe wrote:Good point! The waitrose ribs have this membrane already removed..

Next time I go to the farm shop I will add some photos..

The ones in your pictures still have the membrane on........?

the waitrose ones I got yesterday didn't have the membrane on. Also, they are not as big as those shown in Toby's photo.

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Re: So, you have just got your smoker, whats next?

Post  TobyAnscombe on Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:25 am

mr_spin - Size isn't everything ;-) just means you need to do more of them...

Lozart - Its probably the flash making it look whiter than it was or I have the wrong idea of what the membrane is supposed to look like... on other (costco) ribs the membrane is much more visible and obvious but will look at the next lot I cook just to make sure...

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Re: So, you have just got your smoker, whats next?

Post  Lozart on Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:16 pm

TobyAnscombe wrote:mr_spin - Size isn't everything ;-) just means you need to do more of them...

Lozart - Its probably the flash making it look whiter than it was or I have the wrong idea of what the membrane is supposed to look like... on other (costco) ribs the membrane is much more visible and obvious but will look at the next lot I cook just to make sure...

I think you've misunderstood what I was saying....if you look at the shot of your ribs in the tray with nothing on them, the portion of the rib to the right of the curved line - where it's all white and shiny - that's the membrane that needs removing. There is quite often a little of it to the left of that curved line but more often than not it's lumps of fat that equally need tidying up.

Once you've got the membrane off you can get at the fat underneath. I usually scrape a fair bit of that off, but leave enough on to keep things a bit moister.
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