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Thread: First time smoking ribs comments & questions

  1. #1

    Default First time smoking ribs comments & questions

    Hello all,

    Today I did my first rack of ribs in my 1400. Bought a rack from Kroger of generic pork ribs (not the St Louis style). Did a hybrid of what SmokeRing recommend (3 hours then 5 in foil @ 220)and what the 3-2-1 video guy (3 then 2 then 1 @250) did (more on that later).

    1) cut ribs in half, rub and vacuum seal overnight in fridge
    2) Placed ribs in 1400, turned the temp to little less than 225 mark
    3) After 3 hours, pulled out and foiled (one set did the butter and brown sugar), little BBQ sauce on the bottom and top of ribs
    4) 4 more hours
    5) removed foil and placed back in for 30 min
    6) pulled and let set

    Now, these ribs were quite a handful, one side was meat and fat, other was mostly the rib bones. Meat and fat side was about half as thick as the rib side

    According to my chef alarm, temp ran from 190 to 240 (thats with the door closed reading)....unsure of the vast discrepancy.

    The half with the rib bone side got the butter and brown sugar

    Now...ribs turned out okay. I live in Memphis, some darn good ribs round here so I was a little disappointed...however it was my first batch ever and I'm hard on myself.

    The thinner ribs (meat and fat) were dry, the rib bones for the most part were pretty moist in the center mostly. I could never get a internal temp greater than 161.

    What did I do wrong or what can I fix for next time. Any and all help is appreciated.

    Questions.

    1)Discrepency...why?
    2)Was my temp to low to begin with...really afraid of undercooking and getting the family sick (although I'm not sure I could figure out if the ribs were undercooked besides being completely raw).
    3)Should I do some trimming next time for just spend the money fro the STL ribs where it looks like most of the "extra" is trimmed for you
    4)Should I adjust my cooking time?

    Thank you one and all and sorry for the long windedness

  2. #2
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    I'll take a stab at it.

    You will see some variance in cabinet temp, so I wouldn't consider it abnormal.
    Internal temp is generally not a good indicator on ribs, due to the proximity of the bone to the probe. It's tough to get a reading due to the limited amount of meat. I generally run ribs by time and cabinet temp alone, everything else by cabinet and internal meat temp. A good indicator on the meat doneness is when the ends of the bones are exposed and the meat pulls back from the ends.

    I would advise against trimming. It's the fat that keeps em moist. I generally look for ribs that have some streks of fat visible thru the packaging, and I typically use baby backs, only because I don't like St Louis style, but to each their own on that score.

    I used to 3-2-1 my ribs at 225, or some variation, but found that I was losing bark and the ribs would soften t othe point of falling off the bone, and the moisture created by foiling was diliting my rub. Salt based rubs seem to do better, IMO, with foil than surgar based rubs. I now typically run a straight 225 for 5 1/2 to 6 hours, using the last 30 minutes for saucing if I want to. Thinner ribs get 5 1/2, if i can find really nice meaty ones, I'll run 6 hours.

    I've found the Farmland brand to be a little thicker and meatier, generally.

    This is a decidedly different animal than grilling ribs on charcoal, and tend to be less greasy but still moist.

    I think my last foiling before giving it up completely went more like 4 1/4 - 1 1/4 - 1/2. It provided for less dilution of the sugar/salt combo rub I use, and gave a little time to firm up but not lose the moisture I created.

    Don't discount tossing 3 or 4 charcoal briquettes in the smokebox along with your wood....
    I believe in catch and release fishing. I don't want to EAT 'em all, I just want to GREET 'em all!

  3. #3

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    I'm going to try that today.. Thank you very much.

  4. #4
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    Please let us know your results!
    I believe in catch and release fishing. I don't want to EAT 'em all, I just want to GREET 'em all!

  5. #5

    Default

    Okay...

    Here's what I did and the results...

    3 oz cherry wood and 2 charcoal briquettes for two whole baby back ribs...these were so much better so I'm guess my first batch was lower quality ribs

    4 hours @225, turned every hour, then after hour 2 swapped racks around from top to bottom
    2 hours with foil apple juice brown sugar
    then remove foil and place back in for 30 min.
    now, I completely forgot that son had ortho apt so I placed them in the oven (off) and did that routine..about 90 min
    when we got home, warmed up grill @400 and did 4-5 min a side to warm the up

    Ribs were fantastic..only problem was they didn't fall off bone..more like had to use a knife to cut them...they were almost like pork chops on the bone. I think this was due to cooking time...maybe all the opening and closing and shifting around they didn't get a good set amount of time @225. These were some pretty meaty ribs...not super thick but normal I suppose.

    meat was cooked, good flavor...just not rip one off and chew, then rip another etc etc. Had to cut them individually and then cave man eat them.

    Any and all advice is highly recommended.

  6. #6
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    The timing of it probably was contributory, but I'd say opening and closing the door was definitely contributory. It's pretty rare where I open the door at all with ribs. I don't flip, and I don't rearrange, especially on a small cook. You may get closer to "fall off the bone" without the oven imprisonment and the grill reheat. Prob lost a lot of moisture there.
    If you've got an internal temp at or close to 225 for 6 1/2 hours, they were plenty done, regardless of whatever temp the probe says. I do not trust thermometers on ribs. Everything else, certainly.
    You could try a longer foil and a shorter "after foil" time. The foil drives up the temp and condenses the moisture, but reduces the firmness of the bark. The smoker time afterward reduces the moisture and firms the bark up again. It's something of a dance to find what you like.
    I believe in catch and release fishing. I don't want to EAT 'em all, I just want to GREET 'em all!

  7. #7
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    I would add something, but Jim is spot on here.

    I like foiling, but found that they fell apart after. What I prefer is to smoke 'em @ 225 for 5 or 6 hours, sauce 'em, then throw the ribs on a grill to set the sauce and get that saucy bark.

    Try different methods, you will find one that hits the mark for you.

    The fact that you are getting closer is a good thing. Besides "trying and experimenting" in ribs is a lot of fun
    Remember: If it weren't for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all

  8. #8

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    Well same thing happened again...I rubbed them, left out for 30 min to get to room temp, then 225 for 6 hours.....no foil or sauce or any opening...just place, set to 225, 6 hours later took them out and 30 min rest. Still pork chop like ribs. They are tender, juicy as all get out, and tasty...just not fall off the bone.

    I want fall off the bone. Is this how your's are? Am I doing something wrong? Higher temp maybe?

  9. #9
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    Sometimes it is just a tough piece or cut.

    The only suggestion I would have is not to leave them out to get to room temp. Just throw them in the smoker. You want them to get out of the danger zone as soon as possible.

    Really, it appears everything you are doing is textbook.
    Last edited by DReeves; 05-19-2015 at 07:28 PM. Reason: Bad spelling ��
    Remember: If it weren't for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all

  10. #10
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    Different folks have different likes, for sure. Some want to pull a little to get the meat off the bone, some want to be able to do it without dentures, some want to just twist the bones and have the meat fall off. "Fall off the bone" is certainly possible. Given mine and Darren's thoughts above, to get what you want, I'd go a little further.
    Perhaps try first the routine in your 4-16-15 post without the rest time and grill time, and delete the opening and closing and rib movement. That'll give you something close to the basic 3-2-1. The "2" in foil helps raise the temp, raise the moisture content, and soften the bark. The "1" component firms everything up again. Increasing "2" to 2 1/2" and decreasing "1" to "1/2" may help, since it'll drive the heat higher longer, and not pull off as much moisture once they're removed from the foil.
    I believe in catch and release fishing. I don't want to EAT 'em all, I just want to GREET 'em all!

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