Saturday, October 30, 2004

Barbecue Beginner

So I tried my hand at real barbecue last night in my Weber Smoky Mountain (WSM), a charcoal and wood burning smoker that I bought at my buddy Buddha's behest. He travelled from San Diego last weekend for the Los Angeles Chowhounds' fundraising potluck, and showed me how to use my WSM. There's a way to fire the charcoal so they burn steadily for over 12 hours while keeping the temperature in the sweet spot between 200 - 250 degrees. Last night at 1:15am, the temperature inside the smoker stabilized at 225 degrees F, and in went the ribs. Charcoal fires will spike up in temperature, but the temperature never went above 275 by the time I went to bed at 3:30am

The results you're seeing are overcooked. I should've pulled these out after about five hours, instead of the seven hours they cooked. Though they have a beautiful pink smoke ring and plenty of smoky flavor, they're dried out. You can tell the meat's shrunk too much by how much of the bones are exposed. Anyway, a positive experience in controlling the heat inside the smoker and a lesson learned about timing.

My first ribs of many, many more to come!


Blogger jeff lowe said...

Your WSM seems to still be burning hot. It took me at least 6-7 cooks to get the ribs down right and even now I still make blunders! The temperature usually takes about 1 1/2 hours to stabilize after it has been started. I would get it to 225 after 1 1/2 and then sleep on it. If the temp goes down during the night dont worry about it you can always finish them in the oven like we did before. The tear test is the most reliable way to test for the ribs being done. The bones being exposed varies as I have had ribs done with no bones showing and had them not yet done with them exposed. Every piece of meat is different, I guess that is why is it art not science.... Good learning experience and you will soon be a master Im sure............

10/30/2004 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger jeff lowe said...

One other thing........ You don't have to wait until the temp at the grill level gets to 225 before you put the meat in. Put it in right away...this makes a better smoke ring and absorption and also get the temperature stabilized easier.....

10/31/2004 07:43:00 PM  

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