Question on using rib racks with my FEC100. I cooked 18 racks of ribs yesterday and for the first time tried rib racks that I've had for quite a while but had not tried yet. Set smoker to 260 and cooked for a long time without ever getting them as tender as I would have liked, over 8 hours. Anybody with experience using rib racks have any ideas? Is it because they are so tightly packed in there? Thanks in advance.
is obvious to me that you didn't use the 3-2-1 method. That always gets
good results for us. Secondly, you had way to much heat loss coking with
the door open and I bet your pellet consumption was terrible.
For the more serious stuff, the rib racks should not have been a factor.
Did you use the same grade of ribs as you usually use? Did your temps stay
constant in the FE or were you opening it a lot to check progress. 8 hours
they should have been fall off the bone McRib style or burned to a crisp.
We used the FE for all of our comp meats and never had a problem. And yes
we took first place finishes in every catergory we cooked.
The lazy half of the former comp BBQ team AKA Hot Wire BBQ
You're suppose to shut the door! That might have been it. lol Don't use the 3-2-1 method and have had pretty good results. Just wasn't proud of what I produced this time.
Temps were pretty constant. Same grade of ribs I usually use as well. Never had a problem cooking 4 to a regular shelf. I put the ribs in and about 3 hours in rotated the racks and swapped locations. Don't normally open door to check too often. Definitely not fall off the bone but not burned either. Kind of at a loss, guess I'll have to smoke more and try again.
I do a lot of ribs in my AQ, but have never used a rib rack. From your pic, my uneducated guess is too little heat flow between the rib racks. I'm betting that more time would have produced great results. If it were possible to suspend a thermometer between the racks, I'm thinking the temp during cooking would have been considerably lower than the smoker overall temp. The meat acts as a strong heat sink. Did you check or monitor meat temp in any way?
I did not check the temp because of the amount of time I had already been cooking, looking back I probably should have. I kept going by feel like I usually do and couldn't get what I wanted. The hungry people of course didn't want to wait any longer so they got what they got. Just wasn't the best I've turned out.
I've got a rib rack for my AQ as well, only used it once but everything came out fine. Could have been that I had the two racks too close together.
I've loaded up 3 full rib racks on several occasions. Cook at 275 and done in about 5 hours. They've always turned out great. The only thing I can think would be different is the amount of moisture in the FEC due to the amount of meat but as said I've never had a problem.
Thanks for all the replies. I'll have to give it another try.
I would take all the pellets out of your hopper and clean the dust out of the bottom of it and the bottom of the auger. I would guess that that may have been your problem on the temps. I know I'm bad about not doing that in my pg500 and that has happened with the temps not running hot enough.
Thanks Cal, I will give that a try. I had scrapped off the stuff from a long winter and cleaned up everything but didn't pull the pellets out.
A couple of things. I have four rib racks for my FEC 100 and have cooked 40 racks about a half-a dozen times and have done many more loads with lesser racks. Two suggestions 1) Rotate your ribs mid-cook. Top to bottom and then spin the racks around to where the front is to the back after the rotation. 2) Also, With heavy loads, it is very important that the grease slide (big ss sheet directly under the bottom rack and above the firepot) is centered between the back of the smoker and the front door. If you push it all the way to the back, it can change the heat flow.
I did rotate the racks and spin them around mid cook but I think your second point centering the grease slide might have been my problem. I remember pushing it all the way back for some reason. Thanks for the tip ChaplainBill!
I have cook with 3 full rib racks a couple of times. It going to take more time due to having more meat load. Rotate top to bottom and end to other end. A bit more heat and more time. If just using 2 rib racks I separate more, maybe top and bottom. Let the heat flow around the racks more.
I run @ 275 and rotate. As Cal said, clean hopper and use fresh pellets. I'd also remove your vent cap so air flow isn't restricted. I generally use 3 rib racks so a case (18 racks) aren't all jammed up. If you only have 2 rib racks, you could lay 3 on a flat rack.