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BryKMicK
01-01-2013, 10:20 AM
I have screwed up three sets of back ribs in the 1400. I just got the 1400 10 days ago and figured the back ribs were a simple meat to cook. Apparently I was wrong. Here was my latest attempt:
Pulled the membrane off of two racks and cut in half making 4 racks;
Rubbed liberally with a dry rub 30 minutes before smoking;
Used 4 oz of Hickory and smoked the ribs for 3.5 hours at 225F, meat side down...ribs looked good but clearly not close to being done...I could pick them up by a corner without the rack tearing apart and could not see the ribs;
Put the ribs in foil with 1/2 cup of apple juice and 1 tbsp of honey for 1.75 hours...unwrapped and clearly ribs not close to being done;
Smoked for another 45 minutes unwrapped.

The ribs were tasty, but not even close to being tender enough. When I have to use effort to pull the meat off of the bone, I feel like the ribs needed more time. However, I cooked the ribs for 6 hours...it should not take 9 hours to cook ribs. Any thoughts from the experts? Also, in case elevation has anything to do with it...my elevation is 700-ft.

Thanks,
BryKMicK (AKA frustrated amateur smoker)

bigwalleye
01-01-2013, 12:33 PM
BryKM,
While I'm no expert....First, a Couple questions. Since it's a new smoker, I assume it was seasoned properly first per directions. Did you monitor the internal cabinet temp? If so, what was it?
Once in a while some apparently have some temp issues that need adjustment.

I use some variation of 3-2-1 at 225, so 6 hours seems about right.

Once you get the temp clarified, I'd recommend another run. I'd recommend bone side down, seems like it helps the meat retain more of the juices. Sounds like the foil process is about right. The final "out of the foil" is only really to reduce some of the moisture created by the foil and stiffen the bark a little.

I'd also recommend experimenting with a 3 or 4 charcoal briquettes in with the wood.

All in all, I'm leaning toward a "temp" issue. You should see some pull back from the bone before you foil.

As to elevation, I'm midwest, so maybe someone else will jump in re: that.

Keep trying. Don't get discouraged. It's an experimentation process to get the results you want. We're happy to give suggestions, but trial and error is also part of the equation. It'll get better.

4 oz of hickory seems a little high, but that's more of a flavor thing. I usually use 2 to 2.5 oz of apple for a similar cook. I'd suggest rubbing the night before and letting them get happy in the fridge.

BryKMicK
01-01-2013, 03:50 PM
I did season the unit and tried the bone down once, but I did not monitor the internal temperature. I will test that out today. I will add a charcoal briq and reduce the amount of hickory. I will give it another run and post the result. Thanks for the advice.

BryKMicK
01-01-2013, 06:52 PM
sure enough temperature is approx. -20F off...so I have been smoking around 200F. Thanks, I will make the adjustment.

BillyBob
01-01-2013, 10:03 PM
BryKMicK...I would suggest you contact SmokinTex...we have had a lot of problems with the heating elements. I cook all of my meats at 230-250 and don't have any problems....also mine are 10+ years old.

BillyBob

applejack
01-02-2013, 05:09 AM
Hello BryKMicK and welcome,

I agree with both bigwalleye and BillyBob.

Just a comment about the added liquids to the ribs then enclosed with foil. Based on my own personal experiences, I do add any moisture when cooking ribs. Uncooked meat contains 70% water. The SmokinTex unit is very conservative of this moisture during the cooking process.

What I think may have happened with your first experience is that the sealed packet and the added juice/honey amounted to a boiling vessel and the temperature inside was being held to not exceed the boiling point of water. With your 1400 actually operating at about 200 f and the added water creating an environment where the maximum temperature could not exceed the temperature of boiling water, it would take for ever and never cook properly.

I personally set my ST 1400 temperature to a point where it cycles from around 220 to 255 and cook ribs for about 6 hours for fall off the bone goodness. I like to coat with sauce at about an hour before pulling. This gives a nice glaze and adds flavor. I too cook ribs bone side down.

Best Regards,
applejack

DReeves
01-02-2013, 08:26 AM
Hello BryKMicK, welcome to SmokinTex!

I've used both methods, as many here probably have. I prefer straight through, as applejack suggested. I prefer apple or cherry for pork ribs.

I do wish to add one note: We all have varied methods and procedures, all are good, and all will produce a variety of great results (the SmokinTex is THAT good).

Take notes, remember what you like best, and stick with that.

And please post back here and let us know what works and how it comes out.

Good luck!

Clarissa
01-03-2013, 07:41 AM
Hello BryKMicK, welcome to SmokinTex!

I've used both methods, as many here probably have. I prefer straight through, as applejack suggested. I prefer apple or cherry for pork ribs.

I do wish to add one note: We all have varied methods and procedures, all are good, and all will produce a variety of great results (the SmokinTex is THAT good).

Take notes, remember what you like best, and stick with that.

And please post back here and let us know what works and how it comes out.

Good luck!


Hi DReeves and applejack,
Just for clarification, do you mean that you just have the ribs straight on the rack and cook through for 6 hours without wrapping in foil at all during this process? Thanks for clarifying! Clarissa

DReeves
01-03-2013, 08:52 AM
Good morning, Clarissa,

Yes. That is correct. Pop them in, drink a beer, take a nap. 6 hours later, done.

I've done the 3-2-1 before, and they were good. I simply prefer a little more bark, and the 3-2-1 came out a little "wet" for me. Either method, you cannot go wrong.

applejack
01-03-2013, 04:15 PM
Hi Clarissa,

I used to coat the ribs after 5-6 hours then wrap in foil for an additional hour. I see DReeves used the term "too wet" which absolutely describes what wrapping in foil can cause. I want to avoid this and would rather the ribs be a little dryer. The ST really conserves the moisture present in uncooked meat. What may appear to be 'incinerated' more often turns out to be 'just right'. I now still coat the ribs with my favorite sauce at hour 5 and return them to the smoker for an additional hour unwrapped.

Best Regards and Happy New Year
applejack

Clarissa
01-04-2013, 07:40 AM
Hi DReeves and applejack,
Many thanks to both of you for your replies and very helpful information. Like BryKMicK, I completely destroyed some ribs a couple weeks ago. I then quickly followed that up by destroying some pork chops. I haven't had the guts to try again, and have instead retreated to the safety of smoking almonds. With your recommendations in hand, I'll give ribs another shot this weekend.

And BryKMick, good luck to you with your next smoke. Hope it comes out well for you!

Thanks and hope you all have a great day!
Clarissa

DReeves
01-04-2013, 08:11 AM
That's the spirit!

We will be here, should you need us. And if not, that's ok too ;)

Enjoy your weekend.

applejack
01-04-2013, 12:33 PM
Hey Clarissa,

Do not back off - just keep trying. Sweet success will happen quickly. Applying the philosophy of a great friend who is a superb mechanical engineer - when faced with a situation he always knew deep down that he had his opponents outnumbered. You will quickly outnumber any problem you will encounter. Just remember to have fun. It does help to keep a log of your cooking experiences and I find a dual probe digital thermometer is for me an absolute necessity.

Best regards,
applejack