Guest Post: Shmokin' Ribs

It's time for another BryGuy blog takeover. So without further ado...

Ah, and this time I have some deliciousness to share with you guys and gals, so gather 'round so Papa B can drop some knowledge bombs of epic and irresistibly tasty proportions. This post is about BARBECUE. If you don't like barbecue, go apply to Mars One because this world doesn't need you.

My mom purchased me a Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker for my birthday and I have been holding off on using it for months. Barbecue takes time and the summer was just too darn full of fun to find a day to smoke. My mom was also on my tail about using it, so I decided to break this bad boy in.

Amazingribs.com is a great resource for barbecue knowledge and they suggested I season my smoker first to clean off any manufacturing residue. Also, these Weber's have a tendency run hot so doing a few dry runs mitigates that risk when cooking with real food. The seasoning process is not really fun to explain - just smoking sans food really, so instead I’ll just talk about my first smoking experience.

I picked ribs as my introductory smoking meat. From what I’ve read they have a pretty fast cook time (only about four hours). Plus, I figured even if I managed to royally screw them up, they’re still ribs and someone will eat them slathered in barbecue sauce! I headed to Wegman’s and picked up two packages of spare ribs. The day before I planned to cook the ribs, I applied the rub (using Marissa's rub recipe.)
I let these sit in the fridge in their rubby goodness for about 24 hours. Whilst sleeping, I had dreams that I was Walter White and was executing the most perfect cook ever. This helps. Dream this.

The next day I woke up, put on some Pusha T in the backyard and got my coals ready. I filled the charcoal basket of the smoker with about a full basket worth of unlit coals, then lit half a chimney starter and once those coals were bright red,hot and ashed I poured them on top of the unlit coals. The lit coals ignite the unlit coals over time and allow for a long and steady cook. I adjusted the bottom vents to about halfway open and the top vent fully open. I opened the side lid and placed in 2 chunks of hickory wood on top of the coals, and filled the water pan about 3/4 full of hot water and put the smoker back together.
Before you start the charcoal process, take your ribs out of the refrigerator to bring them to room temperature. Place the ribs on the top grate and let the ribs cook for about 3 hours at just under 250F. I checked my smoker every hour on the hour to make sure it was not getting too hot. The temperature stayed pretty constant, but when it did exceed 250F I would adjust the vents to lower the temperature (close vents to lower temperature, open vents to increase the temperature.) After 3 hours, I checked the internal temp of the ribs and they were about 170F. Folks say reading the temperature on your ribs is not entirely necessary and you can also tell by seeing the meat pull back from the bones and the ribs bend easily.
I then wrapped each rack of ribs in foil and placed them back on the grill for another 30 minutes or so until they reached an internal temp of around 190F.
I unfoiled each rack and placed them back on the smoker for another 20-30 minutes. One rack was sauced and the other finished sans sauce. For BBQ sauce, I just used Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet n' Spicy and added some cider vinegar to thin it out.
Once they were done, I foiled them and let them rest for about 15 minutes. Finally, I cut them and enjoyed!
For my first smoker experience, I was very satisfied. They were tender and tasted delicious. However, there are a few things I would do differently. One, I would probably ease back on the chili powder. A few spots of the rub were a little spicy. Also, I think I will add a little less water to the water pan and skip the foil step. While I enjoyed the bark on the ribs, I think these dryer conditions will enable better bark production. Any other barbecuers out there have some recommendations? Next, I will attempt the pork butt, stay tuned.

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