Few methods of pork rib preparation create a more tender, flavorful rack than Texas-style pit smoking in horizontal barrel-style grills with offset firebox attachments. The Brinkmann Cimarron grill-smoker combination keeps the charcoal heat source below and to the side of the meat, allowing for long cooking times at low heat.
Things You'll Need
10-pound bag of natural lump charcoal
Electric charcoal starter
5 pounds hardwood smoking chips of choice
2 racks pork spare ribs or baby backs
Dry rub seasonings of choice
1 bottle grilling sauce of choice
Long-handled grill basting brush
Large plastic bowl
Large metal cookie sheet
Heavy-duty aluminum foil
Vegetable oil grilling spray
Advance Prep of Ribs and Hardwood Chips
Completely cover the inside of the cookie sheet with a piece of plastic wrap.
Lay the ribs in the covered cookie sheet and generously rub the dry-rub seasonings into all surfaces of the meat. Place another piece of plastic wrap over the rib racks and refrigerate the meat overnight before the day of smoking. This allows the seasoning to soak into the meat, forming a barrier that keeps in moisture during the long smoking process.
Pour the hardwood smoking chips into the large plastic bowl and fill the bowl with water until the chips are fully covered, allowing the wood to soak for at least an hour before cooking.
Grill Prep and Smoking
Open the lid to the grill's main smoking chamber and spray the cooking grates with a thin layer of vegetable oil grilling spray.
Place four or five handfuls of natural lump charcoal in a mound in the center of the coal grate inside the Cimarron side firebox. Maintain this size of charcoal fire throughout the smoking process.
Bury the electric charcoal starter up to the handle in the charcoal before plugging in the device. Ensure all grill vents and chimneys are open wide for maximum airflow.
Leave the starter in the coal for at least eight minutes. The charcoal should smoke and crackle for several of those minutes, and some small visible flames should appear toward the end of the ignition process.
Unplug and remove the starter, placing it in a safe place up and away from pets and children for cooling before storage. Close the firebox hatch and allow the coals to smolder for another 10 to 20 minutes until a layer of gray forms on the outside of the charcoal.
Place the rib racks, bone side down, on the cooking grate inside the main grill chamber and close the lid.
Open the firebox and drop two handfuls of wet hardwood chips atop the lit coals to produce smoke. Close the hatch.
Adjust grill vents, depending on wind and outdoor temperature conditions, to maintain a grilling chamber temperature of between 200 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add one or two handfuls of charcoal every hour and one or two handfuls of wet wood chips every 30 minutes throughout the cooking process. Most rib racks finish smoking in about five hours.
Baste the ribs with the grilling sauce for the final hour of smoking.
Pork ribs are complete when the meat easily begins to separate from the bone with minimal tugging. Keep the main grill lid closed as much as possible, resisting the urge to constantly check on the meat during the smoking process. Opening the lid releases heat and smoke, interfering with consistent heating.
To avoid burns, always wear protective grilling mitts when handling hot grill lids or when adding coal or chips to lit charcoal.