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First Cook was great 2nd cook was bad

NJRobNJRob Posts: 4
edited 1:46PM in EggHead Forum
Tried my first cook on my new large BGE on Saturday. I figured I'd start off with an easy recipe to get the hang of controlling the temp and get familiar with the BGE. I used the Dizzy Dust Recipe that came with the BGE and some sample rub. It was the recipe for the chicken wings, thighs and drumsticks. This turned out fantastic. I could not believe how juicy the chicken was. I was able to maintian the temp of 275-300 easily.
Feeling good about myself, I decided to try baby back St Louis ribs on Sunday. I used the Plate Setter legs up and filled the firebox just above the air holes. I found it difficult to get the temperature hot. I finally got it at about 250-275 with the lower vent wide open. After about 5 hours the ribs were black. The meat was tender but the rub was burned and charred. I thought maybe the dome temp guage was wrong so I tested it in boiling water and it is accurate. I'm thinking I may have used the wrong run (too much sugar) or too much smoke (about 1 coffee can full of mesquite and hickory).
So the questions are:
1) Did use the wrong rub?
2) Too much smoke?
I know i have alot to learn and I'm sure there are some things I didnt mention but is anyone has any initial ideas of where I went wrong that would be great. Thanks....NJRob


  • That's a lot of wood unless you let it burn down a long time before putting on the ribs!
    Yes, too much sugar is a problem, too
    Temp a bit high for starting out unless you are going for a shorter cook.
    Have you done much research on the links provided by The Naked Whiz, Thirdeye, and WessB? Check out Grandpas Grub links on 2FatEgghead's footer B)
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,890
    cut the wood back to about the size of a tennis ball, even smaller for a cook or two. mesquite is incredibly strong in the egg, dont use any for a while. never had sugar burn at those temps and ive tried ;)
  • FSM-MeatballFSM-Meatball Posts: 215
    I like to use Sugar Based rubs on my Ribs and have found that the parts of the ribs that get more direct heat will get burnt. Be aware of the holes along the edges of the platesetter and you may need to put some foil on the grate to block the direct heat. I have a medium so with less space I have to be more careful.

    I have not tried misting with apple juice/cide vinegar mix bu that may also help with the burning.

    When I build a low and slow, I have found that putting the biggest pieces of lump on the bottom helps airflow and makes it easier to get it hot. Pay attention to airflow, lump wont burn without oxygen.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,881
    Agreed that there was more wood than necessary, especially the mesquite.

    I usually do not use the platesetter unless I want the Egg to be more like an oven. A few weeks ago, I did a test burn just to see how hot a pan with 2 cups of water got after 1/2 hour direct, with a dome of 250, and 1/2 hour with either a drip pan or platesetter underneath. I had to wait nearly 45 minutes longer for the dome temperature to reach 250 with the platesetter underneath. According to the IR thermometer, the 'setter was 375 by that point. When I just used a pie pan, the heat came right up, and the pan was only 210, not even enough to boil water.

    My take on it is that the platesetter makes the cooking environment hotter overall, which is not the best thing for lo-n-slo.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    What size coffee can, if 5#, too much.

    Was the blackened rub equal all over the ribs? What was the burn pattern?

    Lower vent wide open, depending on the DFMT settings, you could easily reach 600° - 1000°.

    Check out the sites DOW stated above to include thirdeye's site which has Car Wash Mike's Rib Class.

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,890
    here is my sugar rub experiment :laugh: just white sugar and 275 dome, no burning ;) its the wood, you used enough to cook ribs 6 different times


  • NJRobNJRob Posts: 4
    I did check out the Nakedwhiz site...lots of good info.
    I will try again next weekend but only cook one rack so I dont waste it.
    I think I may have discovered what may have happened.
    I used a rib rack that is pretty tall and I'm thinking maybe one of the racks of ribs was touching the thermometer, thus giving me a false reading. This could cause the temp to read low when in all actuality, the dome temp was much higher. Just a thought. Thanks for the advice!
  • ShedFarmShedFarm Posts: 499
    That would DEFINITELY do it. Thermo touching meat = temp of meat. For a reading of approximately 250 on a large, you're looking at a bottom vent opening about the thickness of a credit card, and the top daisy pedals opened about wide enough to slip a toothpick through. Much wider, and you're looking at either having an airflow problem, or a thermometer problem.

    The lump charcoal itself is going to impart a little bit of a smokey flavor to your ribs. Mesquite is pretty harsh stuff, and it doesn't take much to overwhelm the flavor of the meat. Go very light on any added wood flavoring for your first few tries, until you get the hang of how it affects things. I use hickory and apple for ribs, and was already suggested, the total amount is about the size of a tennis ball.
    BJ (Powhatan, VA)
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    Interesting, thanks for the post.

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,890
    sugar ribs are lousy :laugh: ive seen so many burning sugar posts saying this and that, dont use white, use brown, only use raw sugar etc, i just needed to know :whistle:
  • When loading up with meat, make sure you're clear of the thermometer. Also, Shed Farm described the vent opening accurately. for 250-300, this is what I have for an opening in the draft door
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    When I saw the picture I didn't expect them look like that. I usually don't use sugar other than what is put in the different commercial rubs.

  • BENTEBENTE Posts: 8,337
    thank you finally i had been wondering the same thing i have read so many rub recepies that i know sugar is a "good" ingredient but see so many people being "sugar snobs" i had always wondered if they were cleaning out their cabinet or just trying to make me go buy more :laugh:

    happy eggin


    Anderson S.C.

    "Life is too short to be diplomatic. A man's friends shouldn't mind what he does or says- and those who are not his friends, well, the hell with them. They don't count."

    Tyrus Raymond Cobb

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,890
    looks like when i cooked them i used a direct raised grid, if there were to be problems with the sugar, that should have done it
  • This mirrors my setting for about a 230-250 cook. I'm new this summer to the BGE and have had no issue holding any temperature regardless of the amount of lump in the egg. Will a larger amount of lump limit the ability to hold low temperature? I dont see how that would happen since limiting the oxygen should control the burn.
  • Exactly right. More lump will not change your ability to keep low temperature. It will allow you to keep it longer. And eventually you may plug your air holes with ash cooking low. I always use a wiggle stick before I go to bed or out when doing low and slow, just a little insurance against that happening.

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