Water Smoker Problems
by Ian G.
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Water smoker problems with my newly acquired Perfect Flame vertical water smoker.
I have tried on 2 occasions to smoke some nice back ribs for the family and I am getting mediocre results at best.
My first attempt was not good at all, too many shortcuts, my own fault. The 2nd attempt was much more involved. I followed all instructions.
Temp was a consistent 230-240 F and I marinated the ribs overnight. Coated with a dry rub and let sit for 2 hours prior to smoking, membrane was removed and I wrapped the ribs in foil for the last hour of a total of 5 hours of smoking.
The ribs came out good. I say good, not spectacular, not fantastic, just good. non of us here can possibly settle for good so help me out....What the heck am I doing wrong?
The water bowl I have is at least half full after the smoking session and the smoker box does not seem to generate a large amount of smoke, even though I soaked the mesquite chips for 40 minutes before using. The ribs did get a nice smoky flavor though so that is the least of my concerns.
My biggest issue appears to be the drying of the ribs. If I had not wrapped the ribs for the last hour, they would have ended up drier than the Sahara! Any tips or tricks are well appreciated, especially if you're experienced with this model of Gas smoker.
Ian, I'm not familiar with your smoker so I'll bow to
greater knowledge if anyone else is reading this and has had water smoker problems and wishes to comment.
The first point I would make is not to worry about how long the wood chips last. After the first few hours additional smoke will have little impact.
Secondly, don't give up. My first few attempts we pretty bad so to be already producing "good" ribs is excellent going by anyone's standards.
There are a number of techniques you can try to improve the moisture retention:-
- Check your rub, make sure it's not too salty otherwise the salt will leach water out of the meat. I'm just wondering whether leaving the rub on for a couple of hours was the right thing?
- Lower your cooking temperature a notch. Try and keep it at 230F.
- Let your ribs sit for 20 minutes at the end of the cooking. This will allow the runny juices to settle so when you cut in, more of the moisture will be retained.
- Try using a mop during the cooking process. A thick sauce like this will form around the meat and therefore keep the juices in.
Keep on playing with it, be patient and hopefully your results will continue to improve. Just remember that if you change more than one thing at a time you won't be able to determine cause and effect. "Trial and error", "practice makes perfect" are two phrases that are so true when it comes to smoking.
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