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Slow smoking ribs

newbynewby Posts: 12
edited November 2011 in Pork
This is the first time I've attempted to slow smoke ribs, I set the temp just over 200 at 7 AM with the plate setter in the leg up position. I kept checking the temp until we left for church at a little after 10 and it stayed spot on. When we got home, I went out and the temp was down below 150. I do need a new gasket, I haven't been to the dealer to get one, is that the reason the temp dropped? I understand you aren't supposed to have to do anything once you get the temp where you want it for up to 24 hours. I was wondering if every now and then I should have opened the vents up to give it a little more air? I really am new to this, the ribs were fabulous anyway and hubby doesn't even like ribs!

Comments

  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 785
    I think the problem is that you tried maintaining too low a temperature.  I might be wrong but I would think that if the gasket was gone it would actually burn hotter because you would be allowing more air into the egg.  I have made ribs 4 times now and they always turned out great, I maintained the temp at 250º.

    Gerhard
  • FxLynchFxLynch Posts: 433
    I'd second gerhardk, either you had the vents closed too much, or you didn't have enough wood in the firebox to do a long cook.  If the gasket was bad it would have gotten too hot, not cooled down.  Only other variable would be airflow blockage in the firebox.  There are only a few things needed.  Air, fuel, and a fire.  You had all of those to begin with, one or more of them was taken away at some point.

    Frank
  • newbynewby Posts: 12
    Thanks, as I said this was my first attempt to smoke and I heard the 200 from someone else. I learned from experience about the plugged holes in the bottom of the firebox so that was all cleaned out and I filled it to the top of the firebox with hardwood, if you want a long term fire, should I have put more in? How about making jerdy strips, would I do the same temp? Thanks again.  Julie
  • AD18AD18 Posts: 142
    If you had a good fire and good charcoal your egg should have pretty much flatlined for you for that amount of time.  I think 200 dome temp is way too low since grate temp would probably be 20-50 degrees cooler.  To stay that low you may have had little to no air flow and any hiccups with the charcoal going out would have been exaggerated in my opinion.  I would try to check the difference between your dome and grate temp and aim for minimum 225-250 grate temp.  Some prefer even higher temps. 
    Large BGE, Weber 22.5 kettle, Weber Genesis
    Cobourg, Ontario
  • newbynewby Posts: 12
    Thank you, I also mis-spoke when I said I had my firebox filled, I only had it filled to the bottom of the top ring. Should I fill to the top of the firebox when smoking or other cooking? I can see that it only burned in one spot downward. I have a lot to learn!  Julie
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,304
    Over the years, many people have commented about fires under 225 dome going out. The general notion is that a fire that small may have only a few pieces of lump burning, and if there happens to be no path for the fire to move from one lump to another, it goes out. Not long ago, someone posted that they had good luck keeping fires under 180 (I think) going for many hours. The method required starting a small fire at the bottom, and then piling more lump on top.

    At any rate, unless you are doing a true "hot smoke," with the meat under 180 degrees, a regular rack of ribs will take forever at 200. Really, like maybe 12 or more hours. While the meat should be about 200 when removed from the cooker, the ambient temperature should be about 50 degrees higher.  Some people recently have been working with hotter, faster temperatures, up around 350. I've tried that myself, but there seems to be a small tendency for the edges to burn. Or, perhaps, the sugar in the rub to burn.

    Although I often have fires that maintain a steady temperature for a very long time, I usually check a few hours in to see if the temperature is not creeping up. That happens sometimes because as the meat shrinks, the airflow improves. Then I check at least once every 4 hours. While I have had temperatures that stayed completely steady for more than 12 hours, I prefer to avoid the ones that jump or drop.

    For lo-n-slo cooking, vent adjustments should be only in tiny increments. Just a tap on the lower vent to open or close a hair. Really, the difference between a dome temp of 250 and 290 can be less than 1/8"
  • newbynewby Posts: 12

    I really learned a lot from this experience and all the advice from you egg headers, thanks so much. I will be a little more adventuresome from now on and visit this forum often.  Julie

  • DCDC Posts: 2
    I set my XL egg at 210/220 all the time with great results.  You may be making the same mistake I did as a newby which was not letting enough time go by while setting the desired temp.  For my first smoked turkey I got everything set up for a cook of 210 degrees and after adjusting the vents for a few minutes and making sure the egg didn't get too hot (almost impossible to cool it down once it gets hot) I thought I had it dialed in and off I went to the store for more beer.  When I got home about three hours later I found that the egg was now at 450 degrees and my turkey looked like the one in "Christmas Vacation".  The lesson learned is that the egg full of meat takes about an hour of adjusting the vents to become stable.  Once I get it to this point it will hold this temp +/- 10 degrees for over twenty hours.  My usual two pork butts cook for about 22 hours at 220 degrees to finally reach 195 degrees and I never open the egg until I'm ready to remove the meat.
  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,101
    Wow .... 3 hours to get beer ... you must be a fair piece off the main road eh?
    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ...
    BGE Lg.
  • Wow .... 3 hours to get beer ... you must be a fair piece off the main road eh?
    Haha. I can only imagine the stories that can be associated with a 3 hour beer run!
    thebearditspeaks.com. Go there. I write it.
  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,101

    Don't ya just know it?

     

    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ...
    BGE Lg.
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 785
     The lesson learned is that the egg full of meat takes about an hour of adjusting the vents to become stable.  Once I get it to this point it will hold this temp +/- 10 degrees for over twenty hours.  My usual two pork butts cook for about 22 hours at 220 degrees to finally reach 195 degrees and I never open the egg until I'm ready to remove the meat.
    DC I stabilize the temperature before I put the meat on, lets say ribs and I want a dome temp of 250º so I adjust it so that the temp stays at 250 for at least 10 minutes.  Then when I add the meat the dome temperature may only show 220º for 30 to 40 minutes but eventually it stabilizes at 250º without any adjusting by me.  You just have to have faith that you had the temperature stabilized prior to adding the meat and all should be good.  If you make continual changes you may be out there for the entire cook.

    Gerhard
  • bugz on da barbebugz on da barbe Posts: 35
    edited November 2011

    I've found that if I load my egg with lump and then start an additional amount of lump placed in a charcoal starter chiminey, wait for it to all start and THEN add it to the top of the lump in the egg, it always works!  I then adjust my top and bottom vents as needed to stabilize to 230'.  I'll then place whaterver it is I'm smoking on the egg, insert a digital thermometer, close the dome, and don't open it up till the desired temperature is reached.  Like stated in a prior post, you have to make TINY adjustments at a time!!  Good Luck,

     

     

     

     

     

  •       Not all lump charcoal burns the same.  If you want to cook under 250Deg. I have found fireing up the egg to about 300 and establish a good fire for at least 1/2 hour and then start to bring it down. (a little more time consuming) Once your fire is well established, then you can bring it down to 200-225 range. I cooked a small pork butt this weekend  at 225 deg.  and I had only burned up about 1/2 my charcoal. Be patient, it takes a little time to learn how to "dial in your egg" Good luck.
  • bigdtdbigdtd Posts: 32
    true not enough fire was established if the temp dropped. other factors mentioned like charcoal being dry before starting and even the brand of charcoal, and its consistency. get the fire stablished with the temp above some then bring it down or monitor it for longer.
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