Need help with my ribs

Discussion in 'Pork' started by mummel, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Darn.  My ribs failed again this weekend......

    I set my smoker to 225F for 6 hours and lit my AMPS, and immediately ran off to Costco to get some more meats.  I got back 2.5 hours later and my AMPS had gone out :(((((((((((  Not happy.  It must have died like 10min later because hardly any pellets were burned. 

    Anyway, the ribs came out with enough smoke flavor at the end (I was using hickory and just relit 2.5 hours in).  When I put my propane torch to the pellets inside the smoker, the flamed up immediately, I blew it out, and never had another issue (so WTF happened at the start?)  I went with Stubbs Original as a sauce at 5.5 hours and put them back in for 25min (so 5h 55 min total cooking time).  I didnt foil after 3 hours. 

    The Stubbs on its own tasted great but on smoked ribs I will probably reach for something else next time (not the biggest fan).

    The taste came out ok in the end, but the texture was an issue.  I think they were overdone.  The meat was tough and dry.  When I pulled them out at 5.5 hours to sauce them, I noticed the meat tearing a little on the bend test already.  I also foiled them for 30min after pulling them so maybe that cooked them even longer.  

    So do you guys agree they were overdone? 

    This is the 4th batch of ribs I've done and they havent come out like I like them (FOTB style, like they were slow cooked in a crock pot).  When I order steak to like it rare to medium (the bloodier the better).  My wife likes tougher, chewier, well done, less fattier type meat and gave these an 8/10 (she gave my previous ones a 6/10 and gave the previous foiled ones a 4/10 because they were softer and fattier).  But I seriously would give my last batch a 2/10.  Not good at all! 

    I think a lot of this comes down to personal preference.  Is there any way to get more FOTB style ribs (like SUPER soft, juicy etc) using an MES?  Or do smokers just not produce this type of texture when doing ribs?

  2. larosa94x

    larosa94x Fire Starter

    I was having the same problem on my first few sets of ribs.
    But the last 2 rib smokes I've done came out almost perfect using the 3-2-1 method. When you foil them for the 2 hours I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) it helps render a lot of the fat and lean out the internal meat so it's not as chewy. My mom hates fatty ribs but she tears through mine every time..

    Next time you throw some ribs on the smoker try that method and I promise you you'll love them..
    3 hours in the smoke
    2 hours fouled with a splash of Apple juice
    1 hour unfoiled sauced face down
    If you're doing baby backs just cut an hour off of the "3" so it's more like 2-2-1 for baby backs.

    Edit: and as far as sauce goes it is personal preference but I know a lot of guys on here like sweet baby rays and of course Jeff Phillips sauce recipe.
    i use sweet baby rays and cattlemans gold tangy Carolina (it's an orange sauce) and when I make ribs I do half and half and I always seem to have left overs of the sweet baby rays ribs. The cattlemans ribs disappear within minutes haha.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    For FOTB ribs, like Bride likes, I steam them after they have smoked and cooked for 6 hours at 190......

    Here is the sheet pan with ribs.... I added a cup of liquid and sealed the sheet pan with WIDE foil... you could use disposable aluminum pans..... In the oven at 300 for 1.5 hours... they WILL fall off the bone... 1 hour is probably closer if you want a little chew left in them...

    let them cool BEFORE you open up the foil... the bones fell out of the meat on these... literally.... Bride liked them... Not me... I like chew... but, on fathers day, please the Bride.... everyday, please the Bride...

  4. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Thanks larosa.  Re: the Sweet Baby Rays.  Costco is having a promotion at the moment.  I got 80oz for $4.99 which isnt bad.  The sauce thing is a bit of an addiction at the moment.  I keep adding to my arsenal every time Im in the store. 

    Thanks for the tips.  I did the 3:2:1 method three weeks back and foiled one rack at 3 hours.  I had two racks and didnt know which one was the foiled one, but one was definitely softer than the other, so I suspect that was the foiled one.  I also pulled them out after 5.5 hours so I think they were underdone.  The taste was also bland and the rack had other issues.   It sounds like I should definitely foil on my next rack, cook until the bend test passes, and fix up my taste.  Worth another shot!

    So you're saying if a have a rack lying on my dish, that if I pull at the bone, its going to slide out from the rack?  You're saying it can be done?
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
  5. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    So Dave, a total of 7.5 hours cooking time?  Wow thats a long time!  Im surprised the meat doesnt get tough because its overcooking?
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    So Dave, a total of 7.5 hours cooking time?  Wow thats a long time!  Im surprised the meat doesnt get tough because its overcooking?

    I form a pellicle first... The ribs are then smoked at about 120 for a few hours then cooked at 190.... below the boiling point of water.... then, when in the steam pan, they are steamed at about 212, even though the oven is 300..... you can't get water over 220 in a set up like that...

    This smoking meat thing, takes several attempts to get good food... then about a dozen more to get great food... all depends on your smoker and learning it... what happens to the meat at different temps etc... I generally smoke at 120-140,. then cook the meat below 200 ish... everyone develops different techniques.... that's why all BBQ is different....
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
  7. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Dave's method of steaming is basically braising the ribs at the end. When you braise meat the moisture and steam keep everything moist and breaks down every but of fat getting it really tender. 
  8. larosa94x

    larosa94x Fire Starter

    I have to cut my racks in half because my smoker is kinda small but, when I'm pulling my ribs from the smoker even cut in half they tear if I'm not careful.. So yes, It can be done. And you will do it..

    Yesterday when I pulled my ribs I slid it off the grate and one of the bones knicked the side of the smoker and the bone flew off.. I threw the bone in with the beans :) I really like using the 3-2-1 method because it's very turn key in terms of producing fall of the bone ribs..

    Oh and I'm not sure what kind of rack your using but don't forget with baby's it's more of a 2-2-1.. And make sure you keep your water pan full of water, I used to do ribs with sand in the pan but I feel that the water helps a lot with tenderness
  9. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    I'm using St Louis ribs from Costco.  I got to get these right :(  I love ribs!  I've read water is a big no no.
  10. larosa94x

    larosa94x Fire Starter

    I used to use sand in my water pan and the second I switched to water the final product ended being way more tender, less chew and you could literally slide the bones out of the meat from the sides.

    The 3-2-1 method is THE way to smoke ribs.. At least for my family and I.. There's a thousand different rib smokin' methods but this method produces some super tasty ribs and is fairly straight forwards 3 hours smoke 2 hours foiled with apple juice and 1 sauced with or without smoke
  11. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    If I get St Louis cut, there are more pieces of meat beyond the ones between the bones.  Is it possible to insert a temp probe somewhere?
  12. larosa94x

    larosa94x Fire Starter

    I myself, and from what I understand most people on here don't smoke ribs to temp..

    It's too hard to find a place to probe the meat because the bones heat up much faster than the meat so it's very difficult to get an accurate reading on the meat.
  13. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    I found this vid which is similar to Dave's technique.  But these looks like they dont have enough bark.  I think thats the key for me.  Decent back with FOTB inside.  Oh how to get it right haha!

  14. larosa94x

    larosa94x Fire Starter

    Bark comes with smoke if I'm not mistaken.. You can try that method in the smoker and I'd assume it would be just as tender and you'd get that nice bark you're looking for.. She does hers sauced for only 5 mins but that's because she's broiling. I'd do it maybe an hour sauced face down to finish them after the foil..
  15. larosa94x

    larosa94x Fire Starter

  16. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Thanks, great read.

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