New to smoking ... not great success so far

NGC2359

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So ... I have a PitBoss Pro Combo. I have to say had I seen it before purchase I think I would have gone with the non-combo as each "side" is a pretty small area and hard to get to anything not near the front ... but that said, so far not so good luck. Ribs turned out VERY dry ... chicken has almost no smoke flavor to it (plenty of smoke being generated) ... tried burgers which actually turned out somewhat ok ... steak - gave up and just used the gas side.

On ribs, which is what I most would like to get right, I've tried spare ribs and baby back. Both ended up not all that tender and very dry. I tried I believe 3 hours on one and 6 on another (3-2-1). Same results.

HELP?!

I wasn't aware of the charcoal blend - I have to give that a try. We've tried all the regular stuff: apple/mesquite/hickory/competition - none of it really gave much of a smoke flavoring, not what I've had at good restaurants at least ... I'd guess Hickory was the best so far.

Also - on the group "what are you cooking this weekend" ... some videos and pictures there - if you would guys add details: how long, temp, meat type/weight, methods used/etc please. And if you spend 4 - 18 minutes on a video - show the results! Don't just end when the meat is about to come off the grate - you spent 10 - 15 minutes of my time - tell me how it turned out! Good? Not so good (being honest) ... what would you do different next time? Would you do it again (with that meat/rub/etc)??
 

Michael

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I hope this helps. I don't have a combo; I have the Pit Boss Classic, but I imagine the smoker part is the same. When I cook the ribs, which I'm doing right now, I also use the 3-2-1 method. For the smoking part, I make sure that the slide under the grates is covering the slats so the ribs do not get any direct heat only smoke. I leave the smoke on the default setting. On the classic it's at P4. I get a decent smoke on the ribs. for the wrapped portion (2), I put some honey on the ribs and some butter slices and a few cubes of ice, not too many. For the caramelizing portion, I turn the smoker to 250 and push back the metal slide under the grates so the ribs can get the direct heat. The ribs turn out nice. Hope this helps.
 

MikeInFla

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The best thing to do with ribs is spritz them every half hour with apple juice or water. It keeps them from drying out. Do a "finger" test on the ribs. If the rub sticks to your finger then it doesn't need spritzing. If it starts to set on the meat and not stick to you then you spritz every half hour. 3-2-1 works best. Cook for 3 hours on smoke or 225, wrap after 3 hours. Use plenty of foil and add apple juice in the foil. Put some butter on the ribs and wrap them up for 2 hours. After 2 hours cook them for another hour (the entire time at 225 or for the first 3 hours on smoke or 200). The last hour spritz them as desired and they should turn out good and tender.

I think you may be referring to some of my videos. Sometimes I do have the end results but sometimes I don't just because of time. When I take the meat off everyone is ready to eat and most of the time I forget to record more when slicing it up.

Choose a rub of your choice, there are thousands of them out there. Pellets are the same, there are many different brands and varieties.

Most of the things I have cooked have turned out great, some just OK.

On some occasions for more smoke flavor I use the A-Maze-N pellet smoker tube.
 
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NGC2359

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Hello Mike and thanks for the reply ... which was a "DAH" moment for me - OF COURSE it has to be that. I DO run it with everything wide open. Not sure why I didn't think about that. I've closed it down - I have some chicken breasts on now - will see how they do. I realize they're small and will cook faster so it won't, more than likely, be the same test as ribs or - what I'd love to try, a shoulder or a butt. I'll let you know. [cooking at P-7 to start but turned it up to 6... expect 90 mins - 2 hours more than likely]
 

MikeInFla

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I was looking thru my videos and I found this one, which does show the end results with smoke rings and juice.

 

MikeInFla

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As for P-7, I have used it a time or two and my grill flames out. I called Pit Boss about it and asked them why I kept losing fire on P-7. The temps got too low and they said humidity affects it. Since I am in Florida the humidity is always high. Since then I use P-4 all the time and will still get an occasional flameout so I really have to watch it. My vertical cooker doesn't have a P setting and that one is a champ, I never have to babysit it.

Here is a Boston Butt I did:

 
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NGC2359

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Thanks Mike - and I correct my first reply which said "Thanks Mike" to Thanks Michael" ... I read it in my email program but when I went to the forum Mike's was the last one I saw so I mistakenly attributed the comment re closing it down to Mike... so forgive my mistake there Michael, thanks - and also thanks to Mike for all his detail as well. I am encouraged!

As for the p setting - I don't have any problems even using P7. I used it on the chicken breast last night, did that for 90 minutes, the temp was around 155 - 160° and the chicken internal temp was ~115° ... I then went to 300° and browned them up. Nice smoke layer yet tender and juicy on the inside. Nicely done. I think we've got it. I'm going to try a shoulder or a butt to see how that works out. I do want to get the charcoal pellets as I love charcoal flavoring.

Gary
 

Trelle

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Are you cooking fast and hot? I’ve cooked many ribs, chicken, butts (actually have one in right now) etc with no issues, good smoke and always moist. What is your cooking method? Let’s start there and see where we can maybe improve your technique. 3-2-1 is great for ribs, I cook my butts at 250 usually for 6 hours before wrapping and cooking at 275 until internal temp is good. Steaks and burgers usually smoke for 30 minutes on low then use the griddle to reverse sear them.
 

Trelle

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As for P-7, I have used it a time or two and my grill flames out. I called Pit Boss about it and asked them why I kept losing fire on P-7. The temps got too low and they said humidity affects it. Since I am in Florida the humidity is always high. Since then I use P-4 all the time and will still get an occasional flameout so I really have to watch it. My vertical cooker doesn't have a P setting and that one is a champ, I never have to babysit it.

Here is a Boston Butt I did:

Just had to throw this out there Mike hopefully I won’t get banned, Go Gators! Lol!
 

MikeInFla

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Just had to throw this out there Mike hopefully I won’t get banned, Go Gators! Lol!
Trelle, here is the odd thing. I am a Volunteer for life! My wife and I graduated from UT. But we are now in Florida and my daughter attends FSU now so I gotta pull for them as well. Most of my apparel is UT stuff but I have one FSU hat and shirt. You can bet your bottom dollar I will be wearing BIG ORANGE tomorrow when we play Mizzou!
 
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NGC2359

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Trelle, Thanks for the comment. I had been cooking with the slats open so direct flame which more than likely accounts for the meat getting dried out. The ribs I did this way just never were all that tender - not like for example ribs I can get at Texas Roadhouse which just fall off the bone with no force whatsoever. These had to be cut off the bone. Now it could also be the quality of the meat - don't know how to assess that. But I suspect it was the 'too hot' cooking.

So you do 6 hours on a butt at 250 - any advantage of say doing 8 hours at 200° re tenderness? My favorite rib place was in the small town of Weirton W VA, there on business - incredible flavor and tenderness. They said they cooked theirs for 13 hours. I ask this because I know with a beef roast in the oven the difference between 6 hours and 7 was remarkable re tenderness. It is like the fibers just had to have heat (low, 225°) for THAT much longer to just fall apart.

I've not found any of the PittBoss rubs to be "good" - at least to my and my wifes liking. Possibly we didn't do enough or did too much ... we have all of them and have tried most.

Gary
 

MikeInFla

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Pit Boss rubs are ok, I have most of them. As for the length of time on a butt it really doesn't matter as long as the internal temp reaches 205 and then a resting period of about an hour or so covered. I think my total time cooking and resting was 12-14 hours and that's why I started around 3:30 in the morning.
 
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NGC2359

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Hello - so - HOW does one get the outside of say a Pork Shoulder (or ANYTHING for that matter) the crusty burnt surface you see on TV or in Youtube videos? All I ever get is a hard 'skin' that just deepens in color! I am currently doing a 5# pork shoulder. I brined it over night - and I put it on 225 for 2 1/2 hours and then put it in an aluminum pan (uncovered) and am doing another ~6 hours until the temp is just over 200 internal. BUT the skin is just a darker redish brown! HELP!?
 

DaveXDm9

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Hello - so - HOW does one get the outside of say a Pork Shoulder (or ANYTHING for that matter) the crusty burnt surface you see on TV or in Youtube videos? All I ever get is a hard 'skin' that just deepens in color! I am currently doing a 5# pork shoulder. I brined it over night - and I put it on 225 for 2 1/2 hours and then put it in an aluminum pan (uncovered) and am doing another ~6 hours until the temp is just over 200 internal. BUT the skin is just a darker redish brown! HELP!?
NGC,

I hate to say it, but if you want that rich bark crust you will need to go to a stick burner not a pellet grill. Let me find this video of this guy who smoke a brisket and claimed it was done on a Traeger pellet grill and it was actually done and a gravity feed stick burner. His friend called him out as he was trying to get sponsorships and he removed the video from youtube. I downloaded it so let me find it and I wll upload it as you and everyone here can see that there is noway a pellet grill smoked that Brisket.

You can use a smoke tube as that will help out some, but the wood pellets actually do not produce that change in the meat. Pellets are made from saw dust so there is not that heavy chemical compound that is being developed when it burns.
 
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NGC2359

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REALLY!? Wow. That DOES make sense though. Interesting - and disappointing.

Gary
 

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