Can I foil bottom grate/what can I put under ribs to make them fit?


Jason L. T.

New member
I have a WSM 18.5” and had a couple questions. I like to use water in the bowl, is it OK if I foil the bottom rack to help keep drippings out of the bowl for easier cleanup?

Also, we prefer spare ribs untrimmed, but they can be a tight fit on the 18.5” when laying down. I curl them with skewers for most of the cook, but I like to lay flat when saucing and finishing. What can I put under the ribs to give them an “arch” to help fit laying flat? Anything obvious that most grillers have that im overthinking?

Thank you


TVWBB Platinum Member
Wood chunks under the rib rack center will “dome” the ribs so they’ll fit across the grate. I used to do the same with a brisket on my WSM 18.

Daniel Cárdenas

New member
If you use water in the water pan the drippings are not a big deal to clean, i supouse you can foil the lower rack but because the foil would create a flat surface the drippings would end falling in the waterpan anyway, but it would worth the try.

John K BBQ

TVWBB All-Star
If you're not using the bottom grill grate to hold food, I would take it out. Covering the whole thing in foil would probably mess up the air flow in the WSM. You could leave it in and put an aluminum pan in there to catch some of the drippings and keep your water pan a little cleaner. Better yet, put some beans in there and let em get smokey and flavored with drippings.


TVWBB All-Star
There's nothing wrong with cutting your ribs in half, or even taking a little bit off the ends that's going to end up dry and hard anyway. You might lose one rib meat to the overcooked end effects cutting them in half.... Small price to pay.... Even though it is one of your best ribs that you end up cutting in half and losing.

I spent some time using racks and I don't ever plan to use them again they hassle. There is only one way to cook ribs and that is laid flat.

I have three grates spaced about 3" inches apart at the top of my wsm 18. I can cook three whole racks of ribs and another three cut in half for six racks of ribs laid flat, theoretically. I've never had to cook that much so I just cook the 3 laid flat. If they have to be squeezed in a little bit that's okay.
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Jim C in Denver

TVWBB All-Star
There are two good ways to cook ribs on the wsm 18.

Flat like Martin described above. A third grate is a plus.

Second is hung like a pbc, which is what I do. Works best if you don’t do the wrap in foil.

Agree that rib racking is kind of a pain.

Joe H

New member
Martin - Would you be willing to post a picture of this? Thank you.
Perhaps it is the one shown here?



TVWBB All-Star
Perhaps it is the one shown here?

Yeah that's the top one there's also one under it. Nowdays. Just keep as close together as I think I will wanted to try and keep the temperature the same .

I'm fairly happy with my WSM however I am constantly looking at gravity feed smokers and I have recently become fairly focused on an assassin 17 for my needs. Pretty sure by the end of next year they'll be one on my porch