First attempt at smoking short ribs – a little disappointing, but they’ll be perfect next time!

UP EARLY – we need to pick up a load of wood from the forestry place at Aberfoyle and don;t have much time in an already jammed schedule.

Back at home after he first load, I need to get the smoker fired up for my first attempt at smoking beef short ribs. They should take eight hours or so…then need to rest in a faux cambo (ie: wrapped in a double layer of heavy tin foil and a towel then stuck in a cool box) for another hour or two.

Once the coals are list I unload the wood, quickly try and stabilise the temperature in the smoker, add the wood, heat deflector…and two big fuck-off ribs. Although they’re called short ribs, they’re not ‘short’..they’re from the ‘short plate’…These mothers are a good 16 inches long.

Of for the next load of wood and to pick up some shopping. When we get back, though, the temperature in the smoker’s up past 350°F…she-it…and there’s no quick way to bring it down, just gotta shut the vents down even more and wait.

No time to wait, tho’ – I dump the second carload of wood, have a quick bite to eat then off to the dentist. When done there, Margaret goes off to get her feet ‘done’ and I pick up the final load of wood, get ti unloaded then go back tot eh village to get Margaret.

The smoker temperature has come down to a more reasonable low’n’slo-friendly 230°F  but the meat temperature has risen a bit too much to quickly.

I make a start splitting and stacking the wood, checking the ribs every so often. They reach 197°F then next check it;s dropped to 185°. I get the frighteners and wrap them and put them in the faux cambo to rest until dinner time.

In the office I get a bunch of GDPR data protection stuff one and make a start on same for the local community trust website and mail list..not quite as onerous as my own stuff, but a fairly major job nonetheless.

After shutting up the office for the night I make some cornbread and some BBQ sauce, crack open a beer and then we eat. A giant caveman-sized brontosaurus rib each with coleslaw and fresh cornbread.

The ribs are disappointing…tough in (most) places and not all the fat’s rendered. Taste is pretty good but could do with a little more smoke. To be fair, it’s my first attempt and I know precisely where things went wrong…too high temperature (no time to let the fire settle before I put the ribs on and watch for the first hour or so), a few more chunks of oak required (my first time using oak chunks for smoking), another two or maybe three hours cooking time needed to take the meat temperature up to around 208°.

We’d planned on meeting some pals at the local pub but we’re knackered, skint and Catriona’s in hospital being induced..so there could be baby news anytime!

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