It does matter on my verticalAbout to do my first smoking with a pellet smoker, and it's a vertical. Does it matter which rack I use to smoke 2 slabs of baby backs?
Thanks! Middle was my guess, but wanted to hear from someone with more experience.It does matter on my vertical
Check the temps at each level and you’ll see what I mean
With a set 225 target temp my middle racks are usually in the ball park, my bottom rack would be too hot and the top rack iffy depending on ambient weather conditions
When I have to fill all the racks I do a l of rotating
I use oven thermometers. I have several and set one on the bottom the middle and top racks.Thanks! Middle was my guess, but wanted to hear from someone with more experience.
How do you check the temps at each level? I assume the temp drops when the door is opened.
That’s a good example. Right now my middle racks at settled in to target temp zoneI did a test at 225 and 250 degs….here were my temperatures between the racks. The differences stayed very consistent. I used a 4 probe temperature meter. My third rack from the bottom is usually at my set point temp….because the probe is there. The lower u get, the hotter due to it being closer to the fire. Hope this help!
View attachment 4762
Since reading one of Private's earlier posts discussing the low "Smoke" start I have used this approach each time. It works! My Smoke setting is 130 degrees. The amount of smoke on this setting is very noticeable. Today I didn't have an unlimited amount of time so I ran with the Smoke setting for the first hour and then bumped up to 250. Spare ribs, mustard binder, Bear Mountain oak pellets. Even with only one hour on Smoke the results were amazing. Normally hickory is my favorite but thought I'd try something different today and Bear Mountain oak didn't disappoint! Thanks Private!Depending on what events we have on the calendar, we run up to 8 verticals most weekends and some weekdays, so we have a good base to do side-by-side experiments. We have our ways worked out pretty good - but we are always looking to improve. Golden rule of smoking - you have to find what works best for you.
That said, I suggest you start on the top rack (middle will work too, but...) and more importantly drop your temp by about 80 degrees (down to the smoke setting on your smoker) for your first few hours. As someone said above, you can fill the whole smoker (we do regularly), but it is good to rotate the racks a bit.
The reason to start off at a low temp is that meat pretty much stops absorbing smoke flavor when its surface temp hits about 130 degrees. So, we find that if we keep it cool to start, we get better results. If you want, you can also mop the ribs to help keep them moist and cool so they absorb more smoke for longer (there are holy wars about whether to mop or not, and if you do, what to mop with. I am not going to jump in on that one).
Not running cool will give you ribs faster, but the flavor will suffer. This is why lots of folks feel the need to add more smoke (with smoke tubes, smoke generators, etc.) - but if you just go "low and slow" you can get great results with the smoke you are already making.
Just my opinion - you have to find what works for you.