How Long and What Temp?
These are probably the two most frequently asked questions when sharing a BBQ smoking recipe. They are very relevant questions but there are other important factors that play into the perfect ending and a pleasing dish at the end of the day.

A few rules of thumb that I use all the time, whether it’s in competition or just fun backyard BBQing are:
1) Temperature – What temperature am I going to smoke or cook at?
2) Color – What color do I want my product to look like: light, mahogany, dark, or a black finish?
3) Time – This is the key to doneness.  How tender, not raw or overdone, the cuts of meat need to be.

In my opinion, if you consider these three variables you’ll end up with a near perfect product every time. With so many different factors coming in to play when you’re BBQing meat, it’s important to always use these variables. There is a phrase that I like to use and that is “cook to color and finish to doneness.

Let’s take for example smoking ribs.  The recipe may say smoke uncovered at 225 degrees for 3 hours. Afterwards, wrap in foil for 2 more hours. Next, unwrap and glaze with sauce for 1 more hour. This, by the way, is the famous 3-2-1 step process that is commonly referred to when smoking ribs.

Smoke baby back ribs uncovered at 225 degrees for 3 hours.  That’s a simple instruction, but is it really? Here lies the complication, different smokers all cook differently. There may be hot spots causing the actual meat to cook at different temperatures. Your gauges may be inaccurate on temperature indication, your charcoal may heat fast but cool quickly. You get the picture. 

Another consideration for time is the cut of meat. Is it thick and large or small boned and light on the meat? Is it a prime or heritage cut? You see even the actual meat can vary your timer. 

So, we know the first part of the instructions deals with temperature.  The second part says smoke for 3 hours. This is where the color variable comes into play. If your smoker is cooking fast or hot and your meat is turning too dark, then you must react. Don’t get stuck on 3 hours if your meat is not looking good. It could be caused by not only heat but also the wood, charcoal or rub and mop/spritzer you’re using.  Sugar causes caramelization which can cause your meat to get dark quickly. So, before getting stuck on the 3 hours, realize that it may take longer or shorter.

Once your ribs are looking near perfect in color, which is usually a nice mahogany color, it’s time to move on to the next step. You have your perfect temperature, most of your timing down, and you’re at the color that you want.  Now you can move into one of the most important phases of cooking and that is the doneness. Wrapping usually helps speed up the doneness process and adds moisture to your meat. The instructions say wrap for 2 hours but after 2 hours your ribs may still be tight or tough. You will want to leave them wrapped a little longer until you reach the proper doneness by temperature and feel. 

Once you are satisfied with the doneness, the next step is to glaze your ribs and smoke uncovered for 1 hour. This is probably the most important time of all because you don’t want to be married to a clock and ruin your meat for the sake of 1 hour. It may only take 30 minutes. Take them off when you’re satisfied with your ribs.

By using these simple variables when cooking any recipe on a smoker, you will more than likely achieve much success. I always cook to color and finish to doneness and as a member of Porkosaurus we have won several championships. For the record, the best championship is the one that takes place in your own backyard.


Joffre “Guido” Disabatino

The Porkosaurus Three Pack

The Porkosaurus Three Pack comes from a longstanding World Champion Memphis BBQ Team who have crafted products that allow everyone to be their own champion of the backyard. 

A Memphis-style sauce that is sweet and tangy. Use it after you cook, or as a glaze after you cook on ribs (15-20 mins in a smoker so it does not burn). Our Sauce is fantastic on pork, beef, burgers and even as an ingredient in a vinaigrette salad dressing for a barbecue chicken salad. Our Sauce is a World Championship BBQ Sauce from the MEMPHIS IN MAY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BBQ COOKING CONTEST *Please refrigerate after opening

Use it before and after you cook on Ribs, Butts, Poultry, Sausage, and Grilled Vegetables, YES, we even put it on Eggs. Don’t forget to also sprinkle some on after you cook! THIS TRULY IS A JACK OF ALL RUBS, AND HAS CARRIED PORKOSAURUS TO MANY AWARDS, INCLUDING FIRST PLACE IN THE MEMPHIS IN MAY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BBQ CONTEST! 

A mouth-watering combination of spices and heat to give your steak a little kick. Use it before you cook, on steaks, burgers, meatballs, and veggies. Don’t forget to also sprinkle some while you cook!

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