Beef Ribs Puzzling Situation

Discussion in 'Beef' started by victorb17, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. victorb17

    victorb17 Newbie

    Hi, I have been smoking beef ribs for about a year now.  I have fined tuned my method and consider myself quite good ([​IMG] I am of course slightly biased! ha).  I have been purchasing a rack from a local store called the texas style ribs.  I am not sure what constitutes "texas style".  Maybe someone can inform me.

    I have recently found a local beef processing facility, and made friends with the butcher.  He will sell me the ribs for $5 a rack.  There are the same size or larger than what I currently buy and pay around $20 for.  They are also, of course, the freshest you can get.  So I have been very excited.  However I cannot seem to smoke them.  They never get up to the temp I bring the texas style ribs to (~200).  They dry out very quickly, even with me spraying them with juice and having the water pan full.

    I thought at first that I just had a bad day, but now I have done several and they have been turning out the same.  If I want them juicy, I have to take them off before they get to around 185 which means they are rather tough.  If I want them tender then they dry out.

    Is there some rookie mistake I am making?  Thanks for the help.
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My guess would be that the local facility is selling you grass fed beef. This will be drier and leaner than the store bought ribs which likely come from grain fed beef. Ask the guy what type, grade, breed etc... the beef is. If it's the beef, only thing I can say is even at $5 a rack it's not worth it.
    However, I do have a couple questions. You say "they never seem to get to 200°". Does this mean they just stall out at a lower temp and are dry, or does it mean that at 200° they are dry. This is kind of an important point. If it's the former, perhaps it's just a question of the connective tissue breaking down more slowly, causing your stall. You might try riding it out or bumping your smoker temp up to get to the 200° mark. At which point you might find the connective tissue has broken down and you have juicy ribs. For $5 a rack, it's at least worth a try.
  3. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    My thoughts exactly. 
  4. victorb17

    victorb17 Newbie

    It seems that they do stall.  I am familiar with stalls.  If I were to wait it out, I am not sure there would be any meat left.  The first time I did these, I tried to wait it out and thought it was taking significantly longer than any other ribs I had done.  At 195 I made the executive decision to take them off because they were obviously dried out.  And that was with many sprays of juice and a coating of rib candy, which usually seals in the moisture and makes them super juicy.

    I will ask the company those questions.  thanks.
  5. You may also want to try wrapping your ribs in foil, this will help retain moisture but you lose a bit of that nice bark everyone looks for
  6. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    With beef ribs I often foil with liquid for at least part of the time. I feel like it helps break down the connective tissue and render he fat to a pleasant texture. I agree also with the comments above about lean beef being a potential problem.
  7. victorb17

    victorb17 Newbie

    What makes it a "Texas cut"?
  8. jcbigler

    jcbigler Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Probably, if you are lucky, it means it's a beef plate short rib, or a beef chuck rib, rather than the back ribs which are more common. 

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