Tom's BBQ Log
August 12, 2001

A rack of beef back ribs (chopped into 3-4 rib bits by the store, unfortunately) and two picnic shoulders. Also, a two pound package mild italian sausages, which I hung up and we ate as a snack while waiting for finish.

Rubbed and kept overnight. Pork skin was scored to allow fat to more easily drain. There was still plenty of it left basting at the end of cooking. Cooked with lump charcoal and pecan wood. Went for a low temperature at first, and then allowed it to drift up a bit later in the cooking.
        Time    Outside Temp    Door Temp       Beef Rack       Pork Rack
        0:00    60              125             123             110
        0:30    62              245             225             210
        1:00    64              255             224             222
        beef in at 1:15
        1:30    65              390             223             257
        2:00    66              355             227             260
        2:30    74              330             229             254
        3:00    NA              NA              NA              NA
        3:30    82              290             222             226
        4:00    84              325             247             276
        beef into foil at 4:10 and held
        4:30    82              350             248             256
        5:00    76              325             250             261
        5:30    74              300             265             251
        sausages at 5:13
        6:00    NA              NA              NA              NA
        6:30    70              300             244             250
        7:00    70              300             244             250
Overall, was quite good. Didn't use a mop or sauce. I think the beef could have been more smokey, but was very tender. One of the shoulders was smaller than the other and didn't come out as tender. But they both pulled well.

August 4, 2001

Today's BBQ was two rack of pork spareribs and two racks of beef back ribs.

The night before, the ribs were prepped. Beef ribs had the tough membrane peeled. Spareribs were trimmed to "Saint Louis" style (removing the extra flap of meat, the ridge of chine bone, squaring the tip, and peeling the membrane). Both were rubbed mildly with my standard BBQ rub (salt, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, ground oragano, chili powder) and held overnight in the fridge.

Fired up the Bandara around 9 AM, anticipating about 5 to 6 hours of cooking time with a targeted temperature range between 220 and 250. Used a combination of hickory wood and pecan wood. Started coals via Kingsford briquets which were allowed to burn to entire ash, then logs added. While the fire was getting started, I let the meat come up to room temperature.

Installed a double-probe remote read thermometer (Polder style), with one of the probes on the lower rack and one on the upper. Beef ribs went on the lower rack and pork on the upper. The pork ribs were expected to take less heat, plus I figure that the fat from them would drip down on the beef ribs. I cooked the ribs with the meat side down for the duration of the smoking, and flipped them up only for the finish sauce at the end.

About two hours through the cooking, it became clear that the lower rack was too low and was getting too much heat, so I moved that rack up two notches and the pork rack up one. You'll see that the temperatures evened out a bit as a result. Here's the time and temperatures I recorded for the run. The last two hours were fairly even, and I was having an easy time keeping the temperature within range.
        Time    Outside Temp    Door Temp       Beef Rack       Pork Rack
        0:00    64              0               69              69
        0:30    65              175             153             98
        1:00    66              300             270             200
        1:30    68              275             299             231
        2:00    68              250             221             199
        2:30    72              250             221             215
        3:00    74              330             261             230
        3:30    86              310             255             238
        4:00    82              310             237             237
        4:30    76              325             243             244
        finishing sauce went on at 4:40, mop every 5-10 minutes
        5:00    76              210             210             205
        pulled meat at 5:13
During the part of the cooking where I felt the heat was a bit too high, I misted the interior of the smoke chamber with water about every 20 minutes or so. Other than that, I tried to leave the door shut and go based upon interior thermometers only.

For the finishing sauce, I made a brown stock from the pork trim. I added to this some vinegar, a bit of the rub, some Tapatio hot sauce, about 1/4 of a cup commercial BBQ sauce, and about a cup of honey. Sauce was watery, and repeatedly mopped onto the side of the ribs that was down for the first part of the cooking.

Used about 5 logs of wood for this run. Pre-heated them on top of the firebox, which seems to allow them to catch quicker and produce less initial smoke. Pecan wood had bark, which I peeled as best I could. I couldn't get it all so I started the logs with the bark side down and cooked off as much as I could with the firebox lid open before closing for continued smoking.

Meat was tender even prior to finishing sauce or resting. Both beef and pork had a nice chew but pulled away from bones easily with no knife. Sauce had a good sweet/hot balance but did not overpower the meat. Overall, I'll consider this one a sucess.
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