When I moved to Texas, I bought a smoker. I believe it was part of the ritual. For a year, it sat there, staring at me when I went in the backyard. So last season I tried a few times. Good results, but not spectacular. Until today. I dialed it in. I smoked some St. Louis style ribs and they were the best thing I've ever done in that smoker!
I started with two slabs of St. Louis style ribs, seasoned only with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
I seasoned them and slipped them into a vertical rib rack. Holds 5 half slabs. You have to have one of these bad boys.
The ribs went on the bottom rack (I also smoked a brisket on the upper rack, but that's a totally different story). The water pan was filled with Budweiser Platinum Light beer. I know. I know. But it was. As it evaporated it was replaced by water. About once an hour as needed.
The smoking pellets I used were made from Jack Daniels barrels. I also added some, but not a lot, of well soaked Mesquite chips. Mesquite is better used in grilling I think. It has a very strong flavor and if you aren't careful, it can be overpowering. I like applewood and cherry. Light woods. Light flavors. You have to really be careful that the chips do not actually burn. It can make the food taste like it was in a fire and not "smoked".
After 5 1/2 hours at 225 degrees, I removed them from the rack, brushed them with a vinegar and water based sauce we get from a tiny place called "The Pig" in Jacksonville, Florida. I let them go another 45 minutes and then removed them to rest before I was overcome and had to attack them.
These ribs have that beautiful pink smoke ring about 1/8" deep. They have a nice "bark" on the outside and when you twist the bone, they give it up and let go. Delicious.