This was my second cook with the Smokette and it wasn't bad. In fact some of it was very good, just kinda' mixed reviews. I think I partly understand what I did wrong, but just would like some input from the more experienced members.
I smoked 2 slabs of spare ribs and since I had a chuck roast in the freezer, thought I'd throw it in also. After defrosting the roast Wednesday night, I put everything in and started it up about 0900 Thursday morning at 225 degrees. I think part of the problem had to do with the placement of the meat. Since the chuck roast was about 2" thick, I felt it would take the longest, so I put it on the bottom shelf, with my remote thermometer probe in it. Nothing fancy, I didn't put it in a pan, I just wanted to see how it would come out if I smoked it like a brisket. I started to put the ribs in a rib rack on the middle shelf, but after playing with it, I changed my mind and laid them flat, with 2 slab halves on the middle rack and 2 on the top rack. I have to slice my slabs in half to get them in my freezer, so I had the slabs lying side by side on the middle and top racks.
I had read in the forum that I should take the chuck roast out in the 170's for slicing and 190's for chuck roast. I set my thermometer on 190 and let it go.
I had a temp probe from my multimeter just above the ribs on the middle rack and it seemed like the the temp. never got up much above 200 through the whole cook. I opened the door after 3 1/2 hrs. to check the ribs and they weren't even close. The roast looked pretty good, but the temp. was still about 170 and i was shooting for 190, so I left it in. I don't know if chuck roasts hit a plateau like briskets, but it seemed to stall in the 170's. Finally, about 1500, it hit 190 degrees and I took it out, but the ribs still weren't ready. They were taking much longer to cook than I expected.
I wrapped the roast in foil to let it rest, closed up the Smokette and let the ribs go.
Finally, about 1700, I took the ribs out to rest before everyone got home from work. Only one of the slab halves looked done to me, with the meat pulled away from the bones. They weren't falling off the bone for sure, but on that one slab, the bones did pull off easily. The other halves still were not pulling away from the end of the bones. They tasted good, but had to be sliced, or eaten off of the bone.
The roast was very good, but I thought it was a little dry and I should have taken it off earlier. That's how you learn.
About 2330, I put the remaining 3 half slabs back in the smoker, this time in the rib rack on the middle shelf at 225 deg. I had 2 temp. probes this time, one at the level of the bottom shelf and one at the level of the top shelf, just above the top of the ribs. The temp. difference was pretty consistent. The top probe was almost always around 20 deg. lower than the lower probe and the lower probe never got over 220, with the setting at 225.
At 0115, I checked the ribs and they were looking better, but I still couldn't pull a bone out without pulling the slab with it. Closed it back up and turned the temp. control to 250 deg.
At this point, both probes seemed to get pretty close to each other in temp. at around a high of 235 deg. At 0315, I finally took the ribs out and foiled them since I needed to go to bed. They looked better and I could pull a bone out cleanly, but the meat still wasn't pulling away much from the bone ends.
I'm at work now and just had some of the ribs I took off at 0315 for dinner. They were very good. The outside was thin, tough and chewy, but underneath that the meat excellent, very tender and juicy and the rib bones pulled away easily and cleanly from the meat.
Questions: Did having the large, thick roast on the bottom, block and absorb some of the heat from getting to the ribs? Would that be the reason the ribs took so long to cook?
I probably won't try doing 2 different types of meat at the same time again for a while, but would it have worked better if I had put the roast on the top rack, with the ribs in the rib rack on the middle shelf?
Is it normal for the temp. not to get to the set temp. with meat in the smoker, or should the temp. be hitting the set temp regardless?
Sorry this is so long, just trying to be thorough and wanting the thoughts of some of the much more experienced smokers before my next attempt.