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Old 03-31-2011, 08:26 AM   #21
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: W.KS
Posts: 417
If you haven't had much smoked meat, using all wood might be a bit much. I've done my share of oversmoked meat, it isn't too good. Charcoal/lump is great for fuel and add some chunks or chips for flavor. I have read many places that soaking in water does more harm than good, but I've made some good stuff soaking and same w/out soaking.(6 of one...) The smoke you want is thin and blue, not white or black that would not be "good eats".

Prep'n the ribs is important, too. Most important is to take the membrane off the bone side. Very thin membrane that doesn't break down during a long cook. There are vids on u-tube, many vids. Also for spares, to make look a little nicer, you can cut St.Louis style. Vids also on the net. I sometimes do it, probably more of a "healthy" St.Louis cut, just shy of a full rack of spares. BB's are done, just take the membrane off.

I would use the side box to put the heat and the body for the meat, indirect heat. If you can keep the heat above 210 or so and below 300 at meat level, you'll be fine. It is better to have a consistant heat, and I actually like 235-250 for ribs. Depending on temp, your look'n at a 4-6hr cook for spare ribs, a little less for BB's/loin backs.

Consider using a 3-2-1 method for spares and 2-2-1 for BB's. 3hrs bones down on the grate, indirect heat. Then 2hrs in foil, this is where you really gotta watch. Then 1 hr back on the grate, bones down, indirect, to firm up and add sauce. Don't sauce till the last 1hr or 30min before done due to the sugar in the sauce that can burn(if your sauce has sugar). Or keep them dry and sauce at the table. The time the ribs are in the foil you really gotta watch. I don't use foil much, but it takes longer w/out. I like to do spares at about a 4-.5-?(till done) My temp is pretty steady at 235ish, no higher than 250 and it takes about 5.5-6hrs.

I like to put in foil when the meat pulls from the bones about 1/4", then I foil for just a bit, then back out until they are done. Some like fall off the bone, we don't. We like the bite to come clean off the bone, but not pull all the meat off(fall off bone).

A good test to see if they are done is the bend test. Use your tongs and get a good grip up to about 3/4-1/2 way length wise and pick up the ribs. It will nearly droop 90* and you can see the meat pull'n away. Sometimes you'll have a good 1/2"+ meat pull'n from the bone tips, sometimes not, so it's hard to go by just that. I like to just pick them up and after a while you know just when to take them off. Each rack is different, too.(for me anyway)

Hope this helps

Good luck
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