6 Racks of Ribs on Brand New Mini


Mark Felix

New member
Hello everyone! It's my first time posting, but I've been reading a lot on this site for the past few months and just finished painting my own mini WSM today! It was a really fun and easy project, but I'm sure it'll be even more fun to cook with and have some amazing meals.

I'd really like to use the mini on Memorial Day. We recently moved in and are having 12 family members over for the first time. Along with other food being served, I'd really like to smoke up 6 racks of baby back ribs and I had a few questions that I was hoping some of you could help me with. I'm really looking for a fool proof method of making the 6 ribs since it'll be my first time and I really want to impress everyone!

1) Based on other posts, it looks like coiling the racks of ribs is my best bet. If I coil them, I'm hoping I can fit three racks of ribs per grate and therefore fit 6 racks total throughout the upper and lower grate on my mini. Has anyone ever done this before? Would it be feasible as long as I keep the temperature right?


2) I was hoping you guys could give me an exact number on much charcoal I be adding to my charcoal basket so I could maintain a temperature around 225 throughout the cook? I'll be using Stubbs, I have a Weber compact chimney starter, and will probably go with the minion method.

3) Though it's not competition style, most of my guests prefer their ribs fall of the bone. I'd like to use a 2-2-1 or 2-1-1 method. I originally read about 2-2-1 for baby back ribs, but after some more reading it seems that people don't like to foil for so long since it ruins the bark and makes the meat mushy. Instead, a lot of people are insisting that you should only foil anywhere from 30-60 minutes max. Any recommendations for what specifically works great for the mini and baby back ribs?

4) If I coil the ribs for the first 2 hours and then foil for whatever duration you guys recommend, I know it's better to unroll the racks and foil them flat. If so, how should I arrange the 6 racks, each individually wrapped, in the mini? Can I just stack them on top of one another on the same grate? Or do I stack them on separate grates? I'm not sure how much of a difference that will make since aren't they essentially just getting "steamed/braised"?

5) Finally, what do I do after foiling? I'm assuming the ribs will be very tender at this point. Won't it be difficult for me to coil them back up the way for their last hour? If so, am I out of luck for finishing them in the mini? Would I have to finish them in the oven? I know at this point no more smoke would be entering the meat so I guess that would be alright.

Sorry for my long post and numerous questions! Here's some pictures to make up for it!





I'm looking forward to adding more pics of the many cooks to come!
Nice looking Mini-WSM you have there!

6 racks of baby back ribs aren't going to fit in a mini even coiled. You'll be lucky to get two on one rack. You'd be able to get 1 rack of spares coiled to fit.

As for lighting I can tell you that one of the best most efficient methods is to use the side light method. Outlined as follows:

1. Fill charcoal basket full, place (3-4) 2"-3" chunks of smoke wood on top
2. Assemble smoker
3. Light propane torch insert in one of the side vents. Leave running until you are 25°-30° above where you want your pit temp to be. Remove torch
4. Watch temp drop. If you fall way below your ideal pit temp torch again until you reach just above your pit temp. Remove torch.
5. Let temp settle in, adjust lower vents to maintain temps.

This method will give you the longest burn times and consistent temps. It will also eliminate the awful white smoke, and go straight to true blue smoke.



Nice looking Mini-WSM you have there! 6 racks of baby back ribs aren't going to fit in a mini even coiled. You'll be lucky to get two on one rack. You'd be able to get 1 rack of spares coiled to fit.
Agreed; good looking mini and no way are you going to get 6 in a mini, maybe 2 but even 2 is a stretch
Agree with Chuck I've done two on my mini which was fine, but I don't think you could coil the ribs tight enough to fit six and they can't be coiled together and even if you could I think the airflow would be to restricted with that much in there. I would go to plan B.
Ok well that's a bummer :( Regardless I still need to get 6 racks done for the party so what would you guys recommend?

What if I divided the racks into two batches and did two separate smokes? Could I start the mini with some briquettes/apple wood and then smoke the first batch for 2 hours at 225, and then remove those and smoke the second batch for 2 hours. Should I add a second piece of apple wood before adding the second batch of ribs or will there still be enough wood smoke to flavor the ribs?

How should I store the first batch of ribs while they wait for the second batch to catch up?

After that I'm guessing it would be alright to finish the ribs in the oven for the remainder of the 2-2-1 or 2-1-1? I'm planning on adding sauce so I can bring the ribs back outside and finish them at high heat on the gas grill.

I thought 2-3 ribs per grate was possible based upon this post, but he never updated later saying if he tried fitting 3 per grate so I wasn't sure.

I dont think 6 racks will fit in the mini together rolled. so here are some options:

Option 1:
Build a second mini! This will cost a few bucks and take some time but your guests will be super impressed when they see you using dual smokers! Definite style points. You can find a cheap SJ on craigslist, then your only cost is the new pot and some mounting hardware!

Option 2:
Brinkmann rib racks are cheap, ~ $10 at HD and when your baby backs racks are cut in half, they fit perfectly in the mini. You can increase capacity somewhat using them. Two Brinkman racks will fit 4 babyback racks (8 halfs 4 in each). Can you fit more...dont know but maybe.

Option 3:
The cheapest of all options, Cook in shifts.

If you cook hotter, say 275 you can get them done in +/- 3 hours (2 hours uncovered, then 40 minutes in foil. then sauce and cook 15 20 minutes unfoiled.

If you are doing 2 batches of 3: you cook and foil the first batch, but dont sauce. leave wraped in foild and then wrap that in a clean dry towel and place in a warm dry cooler. they will keep warm while you cook the second batch.

You can then unfoil and sauce all the racks and cook for a few minutes to brown the sauce and serve. If you have a second larger grill (kettle, gasser, doesnt matter for this point) you can do the last step on there way easier. 12 1/2 racks might be easier to manage then 6 at that point.

Keep us posted.
Haha though I'd love a second mini, one is enough for me and the mrs, and it won't be worth building a second one for the few times we have a larger party.

I'm going to smoke the ribs in 2 batches of 3 for 2 hours each at around 225. I'll then foil and bake them in the oven for ~45 minutes. What should be my next step:

A) While still foiled, hold them for 2 hours in the cooler. After the two hours, I unfoil the ribs and bake them for their last hour followed by finishing on the grill with sauce. I'm just worried that bringing them out of the oven after foiling, but still keeping them foiled during the hold will continue to tenderize the ribs too much. Should I let them cool off slightly or wrap them in new/dry foil?


B) After the 40 minute foiling, unfoil them and bake them for their last hour. Store them in the cooler for just an hour and then finish with sauce on the grill when ready.

Basically, if I'm doing a 2-1-1 method, should I stop them after the foiling (and hold for 2 hours) or stop them after the entire time is up and hold them for 1 hour, followed by finishing on the grill?
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This is Strictly my Opinion:225 for 2 hours is not going to be enough. You need to bump it up to 275.

I know many "purists" swear that slow and low at 225 for hours and hours is the way to do it, and that does work but i have found that the fat renders better at 275. If you read the wisdom of harry soo article here on the site he does 275 as does Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ. Higher heat = shorter cooks.

If you really want to cook at 225 then i would plan on a 2-2-1 schedule and do two longer shifts which can be done depending on your schedule and time constraints.

It sounds like you have a second grill to use as well. Once you are in foil you arent getting anymore smoke so foil time can be done on charcoal or gas, as long you have the proper temperature you'd be fine.

If you want to use a grill for foil time Here are two potential schedules you could try:


You will need to use your judgement once you get close to done time. They may need 10-15 minutes less or more one way or the other. Ribs are always a "cook to feel" anyway. Start checking for doneness using the bend test, the bone wiggle test or the toothpick test for doneness. Either way i would start cooking early so if you run into delays you can catch up.

You can always hold in foil and cooler longer if they finish early.
If you start your mini as I described above, you wont have to add any charcoal or wood for your double batch of smoke. If you are using lump make sure and pack your charcoal basket as tight as possible.

Keep in kind that those times are a guideline and often the foiling stage and finishing stage end up being shorter. You really need to check how done the ribs are after the first stage. Look at the pull back on the bone and do a bend test. Pick up the ribs about a third of the way up and see how they rack bends. When fully done the rack should bend 90 degrees, but not fall apart. At this stage they should bend a bit but not much. The bad thing about foiling is you can't do this test without removing from the foil and they often get over cooked.

I typically don't use the 2-2-1 method. I don't like the way the ribs turn out. I prefer to smoke my ribs without foiling, and usually don't sauce, unless someone requests it. I also run my smoker hotter than most do. I like to run the pit at a temp of 325°. This reduces the cook time and still produces a great rib. The only time the higher temp doesn't pan out is when there is too much sugar in the rub. It will over caramelize and you end up with a burnt bark.
If you make large spiral coil, coiling around each other you may get more of them on leaving 1/2 or so between layers, I dont have a mini but have done this on my keg, I have also put racks on top of the spiral, laying flat, using the coil as a rack
Wow thanks everybody for all the great responses. I've never smoked anything before so I really appreciate your help!

Ok, so I'll probably increase the temperature from 225 to speed up the cooking time since I'll be doing two separate batches. Since I'm doing 2 batches of 3 racks would you guys really recommend the brinkman racks or do you think coiling 2 racks to fit on the upper grate and 1 rack on the lower grate would be fine? My local home depot has them so I could pick them up this weekend if needed.

Also, should I rotate ribs from the top with the ribs from the bottom after their first hour smoking?

Since I won't be using the mini wsm for the foiling and the finish, I was thinking of keeping the mini hot and making some ABTs for appetizers as well. They look really delicious!

Finally, how many pieces of apple wood chunks should I be adding to my charcoal basket? I know adding too much could ruin the meat, would adding 2 or 3 pieces about 2"-3" big be safe?