Ribs With the Smokenator
I had mentioned on a past BBQ thread that I plan on getting a Smokenator to go with my Weber kettle grill, which I've been using mainly as a smoker without a Smokenator. It arrived a couple weeks ago and I used it for the first time yesterday. We had friends coming over and I made a couple racks of pork spare ribs and one rack of beef back-ribs as a main course.
As the reviews I read indicated, the Smokenator did indeed make it easier to keep the grill temperature fairly steady than it often is when cooking with indirect heat, but no Smokenator. I have a remote thermometer so I can monitor the grill temperature from inside my home, and I didn't have to run outside to adjust the vents nearly as often as I usually do.
The biggest drawback to the Smokenator, in my opinion, is that the round holes on top are too small to fit decent sized chunks of wood through during the cook. You can load some wood in before the cook, but I had to keep damp smaller pieces (bigger than chips still) ready for adding. I used Kamodo Joe natural lump charcoal, which has become a favorite of mine, as well as a mix of hickory and cherry wood. It was my first time using cherry wood, and I wanted to try it because I had read that it gives a nice color to the meat.
Here they are just after going on the grill, after sitting in my refrigerator with a dry rub for about 36 hours:
Here they are about an hour and a half into the cook:
Two to two and a half hours in:
Going into foil for an apple juice and cider vinegar steam bath:
Finished (with a coating of sauce added before putting them back on without the foil):