I finally decided to fire up my smoker for the first time yesterday. I decided to start with ribs, because the cooking time would be less, and I could fine tune my skills. My friend and I sat around drinking beers and had a great afternoon. We did make some chicken on the propane grill, because there was no way we were going to be able to wait until the ribs were ready.
I made a rub the night before. First I put some fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt on the ribs. The rub was made up of 2 parts dark brown sugar, 1 part paprika, and equal .5 parts of black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, Old Bay, with a dash of cinnamon. I patted down the ribs, and wrapped them in foil to marinate over night in the fridge.
When my friend came over about noon, we took the ribs out of the fridge and started the fire. For fuel we were planning on using a combination of Kingsford charcoal, Hickory wood chips, and peach wood, from a tree in my backyard that we cut down last year. The first thing that I learned was that the charcoal alone was not enough to bring the temp inside the smoker up to 200 degrees. So we began adding the wood before we even got the meat in.
Once it was up to temperature, we put the three racks (13 lbs) of spare ribs into the smoker. We kept the temp around 200 most of the time, it did get up to 250 once or twice, but for the most part we cooked them very low. After 3.5 hours of anticipation, I couldn't take it anymore. So we decided to have a chimney full of charcoal ready to add to the fire, and open up the lid so we could take a look and flip the ribs.
This is when we realized we had done something wrong. We had placed two racks on the left side running across, and the third rack on the righ running front to back; right above the opening to the side chamber where the fire was. The thrid rack was charred! It looked like a burnt tire. We flipped all three and moved the burnt rack away from that side of the grill. Decided it was tasting time as well. Using the tongs, I pulled a small piece from one of the other racks.... Oh man! Explosion of flavor in my mouth.
We decided to give it another hour. At 4.5 hours, we opened the smoker up for good. Basted the ribs lightly in a sauce that had been made out of ingredients in my fridge, including teryaki, spicy garlic, a smokey bbq, some mustard, and other random sauces.
Here is the finished product.
And the one that got away.
There is also a pie plate of kosher salt on the grill, that I smoked. It didn't get as dark as I would have liked, but it did pick up a good smokey flavor.
I'd say that the ribs came out phenomenal. By far the best thing that I've ever cooked myself, and quite possibly the best ribs I've ever eaten. But that might just be a pride thing.