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!