Having problems getting the right tenderness on SLC's

Discussion in 'Pork' started by lance916, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. Just bought the AMNPS for my MES 30 and decided to try a rack of SLC ribs last week.  I am a novice smoker and have been trying to tweak my cooking times and temps to produce tender, yet, not fall-off-the-bone ribs.

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    This was straight out of the cryovac (after rinsing and patting dry).  The best looking SLC ribs I’ve bought from Swift Premium at my local Food Lion.  I trimmed the skirt and removed the membrane.


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    My “tools of the trade” for my rub.

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    Just a tiny bit of mustard to act as a binder.

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    Right after I patted the rub in.


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    This is after the rub had set for about 30 minutes.  The EAT Barbecue “Zero to Hero” rub from Rod Gray of Pellet Envy really produces a nice color.


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    The AMNPS fired up like a champ!  I had TBS (thin blue smoke) almost immediately and it lasted for hours!  I set the MES to 230 and put the ribs in for 3 hours.  (Don’t mind the Pampers “drip mat”.  I have plenty of those boxes laying around with a 20 month old in the house!)


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    After 3 hours, I wrapped them in foil with butter, brown sugar, and honey.  I put them back in the smoker for 2 hours and bumped the heat up to 250.


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    After I pulled them out of the foil, the bones were so loose, they almost fell out.  I wanted to firm them up a bit, so I put them back in the MES for about 30 minutes at 275.  I brought them in and sauced them.  However, most of them were still really tough.  Only 2 ribs I tried were decently tender.  I know that you’re supposed to put ribs back in the smoker after being foiled to firm them up a bit, but it seems like the tenderization process almost reversed on me!  Any suggestions?  Thanks!
     
  2. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice...[​IMG]
     
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Not sure why they didn't get tender, my best results for ribs is to smoke them unfoiled the entire cook at 250°. Around hour 5 I check them with the bend test - pick them up approx 1/4 to 1/3 from one end and lift them straight up, if the rest of the rack bends and points straight down they are done, if not wait another hour. Ribs come out with that perfect bite tender finish - easy to bite and pulls clean from the bone.
     
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I salt and Montreal Steak rub the ribs.... wrap in plastic overnight.... Place in a 140 ish smoker with vents wide open and dry the surface until tacky or drier (forming a pellicle)... usually 30-45 minutes.... then start the smoke for 2-4 hours.... raise temp to 180-190 until the meat shrinks from the end of the bones... about another 5-6 ish hours.... The pellicle seals in the moisture.... the bark is bite through easy... add sauce if desired.... I used to use mustard or mayonnaise and foil.... Nekkid ribs are better IMO....

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
  5. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like they were done after the foil if the bones were falling out? Have you checked your smoker temps with another thermometer?
     
  6. Good morning. I smoke ribs all the time using pretty much the same method. I keep my temp at 225 º from start to finish. If the meat was tough and not dry it was probably just the rack of ribs, it happens. Usually when I smoke ribs I do 4 - 6 - 8 racks at a time I have had some falling off the bone, others that were not ready and needed to be cooked longer and some that had a pretty good tug to get them off the bone. Make notes of what you did keep a log and try it again.

    Gary
     
  7. Thanks everyone!  I'm trying a rack of loin backs today without foiling.  I'm going to cook them 4-5 hours and then start trying the "bend test" that people have suggested.  I've heard some people say they love the texture without the foil, so I hope I do as well!  Can't wait to try 'em!
     
  8. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    check the smoker thermometer with one that you know is right. It could be that it is off by a ways.
     
  9. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    The toothpick test is what I do. toothpick slides in like butter, done. You will love no foil ribs. I know I do.
     
  10. finished my baby back rack with no foil....did the toothpick and bend test. Great texture and perfect doneness. They sliced like a dream!
     
  11. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Way to go man. Those look great!
     
    lance916 likes this.
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Glad you liked them.... Good job on cooking them.... They look perfect.... Thumbs Up ...

    Dave
     
    lance916 likes this.
  13. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Look good! Glad you got the results you were looking for, there will be times where a rack doesn't co-operate but most of the time you should be able to repeat those results with no problem.
     
    lance916 likes this.
  14. learnin2smoke

    learnin2smoke Fire Starter

    Well to be fair, you aren't really doing a 1 to 1 comparison of foiling vs no foiling if you are using 2 different cuts of meat. Using baby backs with the no foil method may not give you the true results you are looking for as they are likely to be more tender and require less cooking time than the SLCs. You may try SLCs with no foil and end up with ribs that were just as tough as when you tried the foil method - you won't know until you do the exact same thing with the only difference being the removal of foil during the cook process. I'm glad you were happy with the way your baby backs came out without using foil, but you still don't know how not using foil will affect cooking SLCs.
     
  15. Very true!  I guess that gives me an excellent reason to go buy more ribs! [​IMG]
     

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