First Cook on the new Smoker

January 30, 2011

The weather was beautiful this weekend; a great time for the inaugural cook on my new Mak 2 Star General smoker. I set up 3 racks of St. Louis cut ribs which I bought at Cash and Carry; I also did 8 brats from New Seasons of various styles. I normally do baby back ribs but thought I’d try the meatier St. Louis cut this time.

Saturday afternoon

The cooker needed to be “seasoned” which I think really means burning off all the machine oil from manufacturing. So, I loaded in some pellets; turned it to high and let er’ rip about 45 minutes.

Next, bust out the ribs and apply the rub.

The rub is Meathead’s Magic dust, the recipe for which can be found at here at If you are interested in barbecue this is an excellent place to start.


After church and swimming, I came home, loaded the smoker with apple pellets and turned in on to 225 degrees. Once it got up to temp at 12:30, on go the ribs for 3 hours. This was so much easier than using the Weber kettle grill with the smokenator. I didn’t have to fuss with adding charcoal, wood, water, stirring the goals; sweeping the ashes out. I just set the temp and went in the house to start the barbecue sauce.

A view from the couch through the window.

Time to build the barbecue sauce; this is my favorite tomato based sauce. I got the recipe from Cooks Illustrated magazine; my take on it can be found here.


A cool part about this recipe is you make your own onion puree. You chop an onion into quarters, put it in the food processor with a little water and whirl it until it looks like an onion slurpee.

The press it in a wire mesh strainer to get the onion water.

Heat a little oil in the bottom of the pan, bloom the spices for about 30 seconds then add all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Back to the ribs after a couple of hours.

After 2 hours of smoking,  I add the links; they show up on top here, but I put them on the side first and moved them upstairs after they cooked a bit.

After 3 hours of smoking, I put the ribs in foil with a little apple juice and back on the heat for 40 minutes. Then they came back out of the foil boats for another 40 minutes to firm up.

Then I fired up the gas grill to high, moved the ribs over there, painted them with sauce and sizzled the sauce for a few minutes on each side. Here they are when all was done.

The smoke ring doesn’t show through here; need to work on my picture taking skills


Dinner is served.

They were easy to make, but they weren’t my best ribs ever. They had a nice mild smoke flavor, but were a little tough and didn’t have a rich meaty pork flavor. The smallest rack was the best leading me to think that they should have cooked longer. But that’s part of the fun; figuring out what works and what needs work.

Rating: ★★  2 Stars

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