Failed Ribs. Second time...

Discussion in 'Pork' started by smokeyj121, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. smokeyj121

    smokeyj121 Fire Starter

    Hey everyone,

    So my mom bought this rack of ribs on sale, and I decided to smoke it since my first ribs attemp was a failure.

    This rack weighed about 3.3lbs there was not so much fat on the surface, it was actually pretty lean and I was a bit afraid it might come out dry.

    I seasoned it well and got the smoker ready at 275F.

    Since last time my foiled ribs were dry, I decided to not them this time.

    Ribs seasoned well

    Tried to maintain the smoker at 275 all the time.

    I checked ribs after 3hours or so for the bark. Then started spraying it with apple cider once every 15min. I tried my best to keep the ribs wet, but the surface looked dry (that was where lean meat was)

    After about 5hrs and a half,IT was 190 so I decided to sauce it twice ( once every 10min ) and let it stay in the CC unfoiled the whole time.

    Surface looked good. Ribs rested 15-20min and sliced them up

    JESUS...they were you all see...dryyyyyy
    And TOUGH...

    My worst nightmare after 6hrs baby sitting the fire.

    The ribs were thick in my opinion. But from the picture I think fat didnt render enough, so DID I UNDERCOOK the ribs? Could I still undercook a 1.5lb rack of ribs after 6hrs at around 250- 275?

    I thought it took wayyy too long...and Im just very disappointed now...

    Guys...please tell me what should I do next time...
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Been doing this 6 years and never had dry Ribs. Yes the thin ends get more done but overall great every time. I don't worry about IT, pull back, any of that. Keep the temp between 225 and 250, do a probe or bend test at the end of the cook time and relax...JJ

    Smoked Ribs as easy as 3-2-1

    A full rack of Spare Ribs will take about 6 hours at 225*F...The 3-2-1 smoked rib recipe is a good way to smoke ribs and tends to turn out perfect ribs every time whether you are using the meatier Full rack spare rib or the Saint Louis cut. Baby Back ribs use a 2-2-1 method. The ribs are smoked at 225 - 250 degrees for best results...
    The 3 stands for the 3 hours that you initially smoke the ribs with nothing but your favorite rub on them and some smoke with your favorite hardwood such as hickory, apple, pecan, etc. After the 3 hours you remove the ribs and quickly double wrap them in heavy duty foil.. just before you seal them up add some Foiling Juice or Apple Juice and close the foil leaving some room around the ribs for the steam to be able to flow around the meat and the juice to braise the meat which Flavors/Tenderizes it.

    The ribs cook in the smoker wrapped for 2 hours undisturbed. There is no need for Smoke at this point... After 2 hours remove the ribs from the smoker, unwrap, saving any juices in the foil, and place back into the smoker for the final 1 hour, with smoke if you wish.This firms them up, creates a nice Bark and finishes the cooking process. You can add a glaze or sauce at this point if you like. The meat will be pretty close to fall off the bone and be extremely juicy, tender and flavorful...

    Note: The longer the foiling time, the more Fall of the Bone the ribs will be. Just deduct time from the last stage...

    Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    Foiling Juice

    For each Rack of Ribs Combine:

    1T Pork Rub, yours

    1/2 Stick Butter

    1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

    1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

    1T Molasses

    Optional: 2T Apple Cider Vinegar. Add 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more of a KC Glaze.

    Simmer until a syrupy consistency.

    Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

    run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

    the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

    in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs as desired to keep moist and for presentation or service.
  3. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    190 is low in my opinion... 195-200 seems to be the general temps people like them at (200 being more fall off the bone, 195 being bite through)

    how did you know your smoker was at 275? with the thermometer it came with or with a trusted one? my Weber one reads over 300 when I'm at 250 at the grate
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  4. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    SJ121, I just did baby backs yesterday and did a 3-2-1  with my temps staying 200- to 240. One rack was done perfectly with pull back and one needed more time. Foiled for 2 hours with a few squirts of "I can't believe it's not butter'. Yours seem under done to me. Reheat the leftovers with BBQ sauce on the grill using indirect heat for 20 minutes or so with a flip at ten. This should make them tender !
  5. cksteele

    cksteele Smoking Fanatic

    well you cooked them for  6 hours thats your problem  they overcooked prob by at least 2 hours  ive never had a rack of ribs  go longer then 4hours at 275 
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I agree with 4 hours at 275 does a nice job getting bite off tender and 6 could cause the Drying. The Tough part makes no sense. That amount of time, they should have at least been falling apart...JJ
  7. I'm going to guess that you're undercooked.  I base my wild guess more on your first experience.  If you foiled the first time and they were still too tough, I'm thinking that the final meat (and probably the cook temp at the grate) is too low.  From my experiences, if I leave ribs in for too long in foil, they just get to the point where they fall apart and essentially become pulled pork, especially at 200*+.  

    The cause of your low temps?  I agree with @uzikaduzi  that you might be low at the grate if you are at 275 in the dome.  Checking or spritzing every 15 min after 3 hours may extend the cooking time as the temperature has to ramp back up every time the lid is opened.  I wouldn't mess with spritzing, mopping, and the like when you're first starting to learn ribs.

    If you're feeling like it's overcooking or just want to be more deliberate you could try a different troubleshoot.  Try to get an accurate temp at the grate.  Forget the meat thermometer and use the feel test to determine when they're done.  Basically some time after hour 3, foil them with any liquid and just check them every hour or half hour by pulling on the bones, bending them, etc.  All the extra checking will make the cook time longer overall, but it should also give you confidence that you haven't "missed" the point when they're very soft.  Once you've got a better feel for the time it takes on your setup, you won't have to mess with them so much on the next try.  And then you can add in other steps like spritzing, saucing, etc.  Good luck!  You're just one successful cook from that "Aha!" moment when you will figure it all out and start making the best ribs you've ever had. 
  8. smokeyj121

    smokeyj121 Fire Starter

    I have a trusted therm, and its attached 1.5inches above the grate level. As a newbie I spent a lot of time watching the fire and I tried to keep temp around 250-275

    Thank you I'll heat leftovers up that way

    I agree that was a long time. That was why ai pulled the ribs out after 6hrs. I actually poked the rack with a toothpick. The surface was a bit dry and I was ok with it since there was almost no fat on it from the start. But then the toothpick felt nice once poked through. But it wasnt "butter soft". Yeah but I pulled the ribs out because I didnt want to overcook it. Well, with that amount of time, there wasnt any bend. It was hard as a whole piece and I knew it was gonna be tough.

    It took me seconds to speitz with the temp dropping only like 5 degree or so so I dont think it was a problem. I remembered poking them once every hour after my first 3hrs and they were never butter soft. I have my therm attached about 1.5inches from the grate so I kind of believe it was accurate. My first chix attemp was kind of undercooked, my PP was actually very good (slightly dry but it was because the shoulder was very small), and now 2 got dry ribs twice. This joirney hasnt been so easy but yes Im gonna try again. Thank you for all the info
  9. I had a similar smoke once and the ribs were tough. I did the 3-2-1 method but had opened the door to the MES too many times. I found that Chef JJ said that every time the door is opened to add 20 minutes to the cook. They looked fine but were under cooked. I know that as we reheated them the next day wrapped in foil in the oven for an hour at 275 and they were great. The MES is a wet environment so I do not worry about drying out. 

    I have a ChefAlarm thermo with a meat probe and an air probe. The air probe mounted on the meat grate, but opposite the door, does not show much change from a quick door opening/closing. Mount it on the door side and I loose 30-40 degrees. So, the door side of the ribs cooks at a different rate. I now get it going and do not touch it for three hours. Later only open it if something is really going wrong. Ribs last Sunday were great. Several months ago not so much. Don't get discouraged and celebrate the improvements. Soon you will have your process locked down and it will get a bit boring. Keep notes and refer back to them before the next cook. Amazing how much I can forget from one weekend to the next.
  10. I agree with most everything said here.  Before finding this site I had many smokes of several types of meat that came out tough and seemed dry.  I thought I had overcooked each one of them. Wrong.

    Now, getting an accurate temp of where my meat is placed in the smoker (I do most everything at 225) and getting an accurate IT temp of the meat as it is smoking to know when it is really done is THE key to my success. 

    Rubs, moping, foiling in juice, etc only affect the flavor.  Temp and depending what you are smoking, resting in the cooler is everything for getting the tenderness you desire..

    Good luck to you, keep experimenting till you get it perfect like the rest of us.  Hope this helps get you there quicker.
  11. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You have to put them in foil with brown sugar and 1/2 cup apple juice after you squeeze some liquid butter and tiger sauce on them. Back on the smoker for 2 hours. Then unwrap and save the juice.. there is no way they will be dry.. put them on for another 45 mins uncovered to crisp them up.. you will have to beat off the neighbors with a stick!!!
  12. Separate from all the above suggestions ---- How much have you folks found cuts vary in "quality" - Tenderness, taste, etc.    from pig to pig ?????

    In like a beef rib steak, sure, we can tell alot looking at it, BUT still not EVERYTHING.

    A rack of ribs, maybe not as easily visible???      Marc
  13. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It depends if they were frozen , thawed out 1-2 times like the big box stores do!!
  14. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    3.3 pounds for half a rack of loin back ribs? Those ribs are huge, 3.3 pounds is more than I like for a full rack.
    IMHO they were undercooked and here's why-
    1. the size of the ribs
    2. you kept bathing them in cold liquid every 15 minutes for two and a half hours
    3. Temping ribs is at best tricky, 190° in one place may be 175° in another( I know this because I have done a few informal tests of my own).

    My advice- buy a full rack in the 2.75 to 3 pound range cook for 4 hours at 275°, no peeking and no cold bath spray and you will have a nice tender rack of ribs.Thumbs Up
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  15. smokeyj121

    smokeyj121 Fire Starter

       I can't wait till the day I get my process locked down and I'd love to feel bored that way haha. But thank you so much for your encouragement, I will keep on practicing.
      Comments like yours mean a lot to me. Thank you for all these helpful info.
      I actually had foiled ribs before and they were tough as well. A few folks suggested me trying unfoiled ribs as they had success with this method. I guess I messed up a lot this time, that was why my ribs were horrible.
      I'd say a little prayer everytime now before I pick up a piece of meat. I pray to be fortunate enough to pick the right ones. [​IMG]
       I agree. But yeah this rack of ribs was freezed and thawed only once.
      Hey Cliffcarter, the temp freaked me out a little as it was exactly 190 in one place and 170-180 in another. Then after letting the ribs stayed in the cooker for another 15-30min, IT could still be the same, or even dropped down the range of 170-180...So i thought my thermometer was going crazy. However, as the ribs were cooked for around 6 hrs, I just pulled them out. 

      I guess the problem was I spritzed it way too many times. I was afraid of it being dry as there wasnt a lot of fat on it. 

      I live in Vietnam so I actually had a hard time explaining the cut that I wanted. I even showed them picture of a rack of spare ribs and they still gave me this...It's just a bit different the way people butcher animals here. But as a cook, I should have been able to pull this off anyway. But I learn from my mistake.

      Thank you for all the helpful info.
  16. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    There are a lot of different ways to do bbq. A lot of people have found what works for them. I have found that every rack of ribs is a bit different. I smoke my ribs on a uds. It cooks pretty quick. A lot faster than my bradley. I don't pop the lid off until it's done. I dry rub and that's it. I have foiled before but found that it didn't make the ribs any more tender. If you like sauced ribs run with a good temp thermometer and sauce close to the end. I wouldn't pull until around 195. So I would sauce at 190 and let caramelize the last 5 to 10 degrees. I wouldn't keep opening the door. The meat doesn't go anywhere. It won't do back flips or somersaults. It just cooks and turns delicious. You will get it figured out. Don't be afraid to try some different things.
  17. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit

    Yep.....fool proof method! BTW....190 is, to me, a bit under done. I shoot for 200 to 205. The Mrs. likes the ribs fall off the bone!
  18. I respect that you are trying BBQ in the country that has the best food in the world.  If I were you, on my way to buy meat I would get distracted by the first quan oc I saw and would never make it to the store.
  19. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    They don't look dry to me!!

    These are dry

    Anyhow, I don't like to do my ribs that high, I usually stay around 225-250 max, Baby Backs will go 4-4.5 hours and Spares Trimmed will go 5 - 5.5 hours, untrimmed will go as high as 6 hours.

    If I'm doing them Fast and Hot, its about 450 degrees for about 70 minutes.
  20. smokeyj121

    smokeyj121 Fire Starter

       Thank you sir
      Yes sir
      Hahahaha that's a nice joke. Have you been here before? Seems like you did. And yeah although it's a lot different to BBQ here but Im positive I'll be able to pull this off.
      Thank you for the helpful info

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