Success... on a Smokey Joe?!?


Jason M. Park

TVWBB Super Fan
That's right, I had excellent results while camping, and using the only cooker that I could easily bring along... a Weber Smokey Joe.

My large kettle would not fit into the storage compartments of the motorhome we rented without totally taking it apart, or putting it inside the actual motorhome. Since we were travelling with our 2 cats, I figured it would not be a good idea to have the rather dirty BBQ inside with them. So we borrowed my wife's parent's Smokey Joe and I figured I'd give a rack of BB ribs a try on that.

The Plan: I had no thermometer for the dome, I forgot my polder, and forgot even a standard oven thermometer, so I had no way to accurately check the temps of either the cooker or the meat. Oops. I would have to rely on instinct. I figured that Joe would run hotter than 250 no matter what I did, so I would have to prepare for that. I decided to let it cook for a total of 4 hours, and foil the ribs after 2 hours or so. I also had to cut the full slab into 3 sections an slightly overlap them to fit them all in, used BRITU rub. Also had to make a makeshift water pan out of a foil pan that didn't quite fit.

The Cook: After 2 hours I basted with apple juice, the ribs looked like they were well on their way to being great BBQ, not drying or scorching at all. I may have actually had the temp in a good place up until then. However, after taking the lid off, the temp very obviously rose quite a bit due to letting in so much oxygen. 30 minutes later, I decided to foil them along with more apple juice, as they started to look a little dry. After that, the temp was even higher, but at least the ribs were protected.

The Results: After 4 hours total, I took the ribs off and added some sauce (KC Masterpeice Honey Smoke) right out of the bottle. The ribs were absolutely FALLING off the bone and extremely tender, leaving perfectly clean bones behind. It was a smashing success, despite having little equipment to work with.

My new motto... when in doubt, foil it.

Paul G.

TVWBB Emerald Member

What type of fire-up method did you use and did you add fuel during the cook. I assume you had to cook direct. How did you set the vents ?

Thanks, PRG

Jason M. Park

TVWBB Super Fan
No, I used indirect heat. About half of a Weber chimney of coals and pushed them all over to one side. It was enough to fuel the entire cook. Had the water pan on the other side, ribs above the water pan.

I had the bottom vent about 1/3 open the whole time and attempted to make adjustments with the top vent only. It was hard to judge wether or not the vent adjustments helped or hindered, due to the fact I had no thermometer.

Sam Goller

TVWBB Member
I did ABTs last weekend on my Smokey Joe. Same fire method - half a chimney pushed to one side. Had the bottom vent at about 30% open and top vent wide open. One wood chunk.

Works good.