Babyback Day

I decided last Sunday (July 12th, 2015) to smoke two racks of babyback ribs on my Kamado Akorn. I was going to use the 3-2-2 method, but once again had some issues with overshooting my temperature. I am going to honestly say for me anyway the smoker has been a learning process. I did add double the coal and double the wood this time around. Spacing the wood chunks (hickory) in various areas so they would burn during different times. I was shooting for about 250, I ended up at 375. I shut the smoker down by closing both air vents and waited. An hour later or so I was down to around 275 and I just went with it, it seemed to stay stable. But by that time most of my wood was burned up, and with the bottom grate, water pan / diffuser, main grill and meat it made it difficult to just add more. The idea behind this smoker is mainly to hit your temp and stick there, burning lump charcoal and allowing it to “slowly” spread so you can easily get 10-12 hours out of one batch. Since I hit 375 it caused the charcoal to burn faster and it ate up all the wood.

So I had no choice put to pull out the setup (the boiling water pan was the hardest) and add more wood, I also moved the charcoal around trying to become Mr. Wizard and fix the burn rate. It seemed to work, and when the meat was much farther along I pulled it out to wrap it and I still was getting smoke.

 

This is obviously a positive, and I was fairly happy. So I wrapped and spritzed it down with this combination I randomly came up with. Mostly because I thought we had apple juice but did not.

Some of the serious guys do not spritz at all. They say it can ruin the bark and it ends up kind of chewy instead of a slight crunch. Others have noted it helps keep it moist and adds an extra kick of controlled flavor. All I know is it smells absolutely wonderful when it hits it. I didn’t notice the bark being ruined Of course I am not a pro at this.

I ran the ribs over a bit on temp, its suggested to take them off at 180. Ribs should NOT fall off the bone, obviously if you have ever had them you know you kind of chew them off. There is this fine line of staying on the bone and being tender. I jumped over that line. I am so use to pulled pork butts and beef chuck roast that I didn’t consider a lower final temperature. So instead of 180, I took them off close to 195. They full completely off the bone, you couldn’t even pick the rack up without it breaking apart.

 

OK so maybe someone is wandering does it taste OK? Yes, honestly staying on the bone is a style guideline on how they should be. My ribs were moist the fat was all rendered by the higher temps, and the bark exactly how it should have been. However I pretty much made pulled pork.

I learned a lot from this rib journey. However my old vertical smoker was so damn easy, it made me question why I would put myself through this stress. Well I will tell you why, this is real. It was one of the main reasons I went with a Kamado. There is a huge debate over what type of smoker is the best in the community. When I watched guys smoked there was something about hand lighting up the fuel (and setting it up right), placing logs on top and feeling the accomplishment of no switches, feeders or gas. The hands on if you will, a craft perhaps. Not putting down all you guys flipping switches and turning knobs, lol. Smoke is smoke and hell if it isn’t delicious using any setup.

 

So anyways it turned out OK, not to the style, not to the best it could have been but it cooked and worked out. I also as with each time learn a little more from my mistakes and I am eager to go again.

A second topic, my beer is ready for bottling. I plan on doing it this Sunday. Brad was over a couple days ago and we took a FG (final gravity) reading. I don’t have the number with me but it got fairly close (4.5 ABV), a little off but I had added a gallon of too much water for the boil. In the past I had always added a gallon and it boiled off. But I finally realized it was because I mostly brewed in cold dry weather. This is one of the first times I have brewed during the summer months and I believe that caused less boil off. I plan on brewing up a one gallon batch of barley wine next week out at Brads place.

Cheers!

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