Skip to main content

Hello everyone. After a month of talking the wife into allowing me to buy a smoker after I just spending 500 dollars on a gas grill was not easy. I am new to grilling and have never owned or smoked anything. The final reason I taked her into a smoke is we both love BBQ but the two times I tried to cook baby back ribs on the grill they were nasty. Ended up feeding them to the dog both times. Not even sure he was happy with them. So, I purchased my smoker online today. I have read on the sights where you have to fine tune your cooking rubs, etc. At this point I am at a do or die if the brisket or ribs do not come out right. I have not decided yet if it will be ribs or brisket the first time. But can someone who has tried different things and fined tuned it give me there step by step best way they found so my first cook on the smoker does not get me shot by a mad wife?
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Break the smoker in as suggested by Cookshack with 2-3 oz of wood and a pan of water on the middle shelf at 225 for 4 hours.

Then go get yourself a pork butt - it's the easiest thing to cook right and will really "seal up" the smoker. A simple rub of

salt, pepper, some paprika, some ground corriander and cumin and brown sugar will do. Then rub it ALL over the pork butt, let it rest 1/2 hour while you set up your smoker with another 2-3 oz of wood. Smoke at 225 until you get an internal temperature of 190 - 195 degrees. Rest the meat, then pull apart, splash on a little sauce and serve on a roll and watch your wife and famliy SMILE.

Then do your ribs and brisket. Read the 101's for all of them, including pork butt... You're gonna love it - so don't be paranoid. Just start the smoker up and have an adult beverage with your wife. Or better yet take her shopping for some clothes. So she knows you appreciate her being so cool with you getting the smoker. It works, it worked for me twice.


By the way welcome to the forum
Welcome to the forum. I would start with Pork butt. You will learn to find and read SmokinOkies 101's. Here is the one you need for Pork Butts. I will only tell you that Pork Loves Vinegar. Shred the Pork Butt, serve it with a good Coleslaw on top, and your wife will love you. You didn't say which smoker you have. They all have their own little oddities.
Originally posted by Tom65:
the two times I tried to cook baby back ribs on the grill they were nasty.

I'm guessing they were over or undercooked. A gas grill requires a certain amount of rib expertise...luckily you have a smoker now, which will take a lot of the guess-work out of play.

As Bigmike suggests, read Smokin's 101's found HERE

In a nutshell...
Look for meaty ribs...loinbacks in the 2.5# range; St Louis Spares in the 3# range. Fat striation is good.

Remove the back membrane, season with rub and hold in the fridge for an hour or two.

Set your smoker to 250 - 275. Once your smoker is well seasoned, you only need an ounce or two of wood. Load the smoker and disappear for 3.5 hrs. Have a toothpick in hand when you return. Insert the pick between the bones and test for doneness. EZ in & out is what you're looking for.

Once done, you can hold them in foil or have at 'em. If you're a sauce guy, paint them with sauce, turn off the smoker and let them "tack" for 15 - 30 minutes.

Keep notes including weight of ribs, rub/seasoning used, lenght of smoke time, temp, etc. Make minor adjustements should you feel they're needed.

We're here to help so let us know the results.
Originally posted by Tom65:
... At this point I am at a do or die if the brisket or ribs do not come out right...

Okay, with a new smoker there IS a learning curve. Tell the wife I said that.

HOWEVER, with that smoker comes a support system (us) that I GUARANTEE will make her happy. The guarantee is that Cookshack will take it back if she's not happy.

But you'll keep it.

First, Brisket should be the last thing you cook. It seems to be the most difficult for newbies.

Start with a Pork Butt as discussed. It's THE most forgiving and if you follow simple directions, then get a good thermometer and shoot for a target temp, you'll be on the way.

Ribs are next and when you're ready for that, we'll help.

Keep DETAILED notes as you learn. There will be mistakes along the way and you want the notes so you remember both those and your successes. There are some posts here with forms for note taking.

Read the "lessons for new users" at the top of the open forum.

My suggestion?

Get good at one thing. It's easy to try to "learn it all" but by learning one thing, when you need to cook, impress your friends, that helps you impress them.

Oh, and NEVER do a first cook for friends. As the timing is never perfect, you'll be better off with a little practice first.
Link copied to your clipboard.