Smoking meat in quantity

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Smoking meat in quantity

Postby Jenise » Sat Jul 08, 2006 9:10 am

For the 4th of July (American Independence Day for those of you on other continents) I made 40 lbs of babyback pork ribs. To get that much dealt with in the space of one day I pre-baked the dry-rubbed ribs for an hour at 300 (this also served to admirably defat the guys) then moved them to the smoker for two hours at about 165. My little smoker would handle four racks, each cut in half, at a time, based on the rack space. The ribs were then allowed to cool, cut into two-rib portions, dipped in a hot and tangy bourbon sauce and grilled off just prior to service.

The result was delicious, of course. But I would have liked them even smokier and the only way to do that--again, in large quantity--would be to fit more ribs in the smoker at one time. The racks in my smoker (2) are far enough apart that I could actually stand the ribs on their sides, vs. laying them down, if I had some kind of gizmo like an industrial version of one of those English toast racks. Something with vertical partitions that would prop up the ribs and yet keep them separate. Considering what must happen when ribs are prepared commercially, does anyone know of such a thing, or should this be my first project in the Creative Welding class I'm taking next fall?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Smoking meat in quantity

Postby Kim Adams » Sat Jul 08, 2006 9:51 am

Weber sells a rib rack and they may easily be found at most stores that sell grill supplies - like Home Depot, Lowes, etc.

Sounds like you were on your feet a lot on the 4th!
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Re: Smoking meat in quantity

Postby Howie Hart » Sat Jul 08, 2006 10:23 am

A Google search for "smoker rib rack" brought up some interesting links. When I cooked ribs for NiagaraCOOL I cooked them on the grill I bought at Sam's club. Its a large grill with 2 separate charcoal cooking areas. I kept a hardwood charcoal fire going on one side and put the ribs on the other side, so they weren't over direct heat and cooked them for about 5-6 hours. I didn't use a rack as I cooked rib tips (smaller pieces) instead of racks of ribs. This worked quite well. I also have a Brinkman electric smoker which I load up with apple wood from the tree in the back yard. I've never done that many in it, but I have arranged half-racks in such a way that stand on their ends and lean against each other. Just a thought - perhaps yopu could run stainless shish kabob skewers through 3-4 racks at a time to put them on edge and keep the apart.
One thought about cooking them before putting them in the smoker - perhaps they would have been better if you smoked them first - then finished the cooking in the oven. With the raw, cold meat, the smoke components would condense on the meat and soak in as the meat is warming up. By cooking them in the oven first, the outside of the meat is sealed before coming into contact with the smoke and it can't penetrate as well. Plus, they're already hot, thus reducing the condensation effect.
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Re: Smoking meat in quantity

Postby ChefCarey » Sat Jul 08, 2006 4:43 pm

Jenise wrote:For the 4th of July (American Independence Day for those of you on other continents) I made 40 lbs of babyback pork ribs. To get that much dealt with in the space of one day I pre-baked the dry-rubbed ribs for an hour at 300 (this also served to admirably defat the guys) then moved them to the smoker for two hours at about 165. My little smoker would handle four racks, each cut in half, at a time, based on the rack space. The ribs were then allowed to cool, cut into two-rib portions, dipped in a hot and tangy bourbon sauce and grilled off just prior to service.

The result was delicious, of course. But I would have liked them even smokier and the only way to do that--again, in large quantity--would be to fit more ribs in the smoker at one time. The racks in my smoker (2) are far enough apart that I could actually stand the ribs on their sides, vs. laying them down, if I had some kind of gizmo like an industrial version of one of those English toast racks. Something with vertical partitions that would prop up the ribs and yet keep them separate. Considering what must happen when ribs are prepared commercially, does anyone know of such a thing, or should this be my first project in the Creative Welding class I'm taking next fall?


Yeah, a couple of rib racks is (are) the answer. Mine did such a good job that someone stole them >:)
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Re: Smoking meat in quantity

Postby Jenise » Sat Jul 08, 2006 5:44 pm

Kim, are you back home now? I really enjoyed George's lonely howls. That man LOVES you!

Chef, I had to figure out that someone had already thought of it.

Howie, I hear what you're saying, but it did make some sense to defat them given the quantity I was doing. I slow cooked them, so they weren't done-done, just lighter.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Smoking meat in quantity

Postby Bob Henrick » Sat Jul 08, 2006 9:50 pm

Jenise, I am probably being redundant, but 40 lbs of ribs? You need a Kamado number 9! A 7 like mine would do, but you might want some pulled pork too and the 9 will give you more room for a 6lb butt!
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Re: Smoking meat in quantity

Postby Kim Adams » Sun Jul 09, 2006 10:39 am

Jenise wrote:Kim, are you back home now? I really enjoyed George's lonely howls. That man LOVES you!


Yep. I'm back. That George. What a card!
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Re: Smoking meat in quantity

Postby Kim Adams » Sun Jul 09, 2006 10:41 am

Bob Henrick wrote:Jenise, I am probably being redundant, but 40 lbs of ribs? You need a Kamado number 9! A 7 like mine would do, but you might want some pulled pork too and the 9 will give you more room for a 6lb butt!


Bob, you have turned into a Kamado monster!!! :P I don't blame you; those grills ROCK!
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Re: Smoking meat in quantity

Postby Jenise » Sun Jul 09, 2006 1:08 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:Jenise, I am probably being redundant, but 40 lbs of ribs? You need a Kamado number 9! A 7 like mine would do, but you might want some pulled pork too and the 9 will give you more room for a 6lb butt!


Oh, if only! But our smoker's only a year or two old, and it was a gift from good friends. I don't think the Huzz would let me upgrade yet. (But we're thinking about it, because it's soon going to be time to either spend a hundy or so fixing up our existing barbecue or spending more on a new one. If we can add features, the latter would make sense....)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Smoking meat in quantity

Postby Paul Winalski » Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:00 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:Jenise, I am probably being redundant, but 40 lbs of ribs? You need a Kamado number 9! A 7 like mine would do, but you might want some pulled pork too and the 9 will give you more room for a 6lb butt!


I guess perhaps the only advantage that my Brinkmann offset firebox, oil-drum-style barbecue pit has over a Kamado is capacity. :-) Using vertical rib racks, it could handle the 40 lbs of ribs, using vertical rib racks. But you have to watch the fire like a hawk.

When I retire I plan to move out of my condo unit to a place where I can have a Kaffir lime tree, and an herb garden, ... and a Kamado.

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