Not happy with my ribs

Discussion in 'Pork' started by steamaway, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. steamaway

    steamaway Smoke Blower

    So I have been smoking for a while now. Sometimes I like the flavor sometimes I don't. I have recently bought a new electric smoker to better control my temps. And I bought Jeff's rub and sauce recipe. I am good at getting nice tender and juicy ribs now that my temp isn't all over the place. I know Jeff's rub and sauce are great and I normally need the sauce to make them taste good. So, I think my problem is my meat. I normally get my ribs at the big box stores like Meijer or Kroger. They are in that plastic vacuum packed stuff with the solution to keep fresh. I rinse them off real well before I do anything. So I guess my question is, is it because I am getting cheap meat? That is the only thing I can figure? I might go to my local butcher and spend the extra money and see if that makes a difference? I am my own worst critic and everyone always say they taste good, but I think they are just being nice. I know if they are lying if there are left overs.  
  2. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I get my ribs  (BB and spares) from Winn Dixie.

    They always taste good.

    I only use sauce.

    2-2-1 or 3-2-1  always.

    Apple juice in the foil.

    225 with pecan in the WSM.

    How  do you do yours?

  3. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

      What Craig said...   I really like pecan wood for pork. I also use Jeff's rub on most things I smoke. Those ribs should not even need sauce! If so, very little.

  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I've never really noticed much difference between Sam's Club (cases of single-slab packs), Smith's (single-slab packs) supplied by Kroger, occasionally Walmart (triple-slab packs)...all cry-vac packed spares or loin-backs, and I get similar results with the finished product, and never any complaints from the family or myself.

    I've tried a multitude of my own dry rub recipes, a wet rub (very nice experience with this), brining, marinating, 3-2-1 variants, and straight smoked. The prep/cooking methods seem to be the only area where I notice a change in the finished product.

    I only rarely sauce the ribs, just for a change of pace, and usually only if the wife asks for it, but I'm talking once a year, maybe.

    Not sure what you may have going on there, but, it's still got me thinking that your method is slightly varied from time to may be something you don't know you're doing, but may be just a miniscule thing? I'm puzzled.....

  5. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One mistake IMO that many make is selecting a lean rack of ribs.  You need the fat for flavour with the rub and most of it will render off during the cook leaving just flavor.  Only think I can think of that may make for inconsistant results if your rub and method are good.   
    hodgepodge likes this.
  6. I'm guessing this is your problem (my emphasis in bold). This solution changes the flavor, texture, and moisture content of the meat. If you are remembering the way ribs "used to taste" and you aren't getting it, try purchasing meats that aren't "enhanced". You can easily tell which meats have been treated and which ones haven't. Any meats that have been enhanced must be labeled as such. The only "enhancements" I want made to ribs are the ones I make by way of rubs, sauces, etc.

    I've had treated meats and I've been disappointed. I stick to ribs that do not have an ingredient list on the packaging. Here is an interesting article on the subject. It may help you to make an educated purchase.
  7. steamaway

    steamaway Smoke Blower

    Actually I have been doing mostly  babybacks. Maybe I should try more spares?  I have been doing the 2-2-1. I did try the foiling juice recipe last time which tasted great but didn't seem to help the ribs. I have also tried apple juice. I have used mostly Hickory and pecan but have tried cherry and apple. I normally start off with Hickory. Maybe I will go strait pecan?   I think we are looking a high of 20 degrees tomorrow and Sunday here in Indiana, but that won't stop me. I will hit the butcher tomorrow and smoke then or Sunday. Will try and document my smoke with q view. 
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  8. steamaway

    steamaway Smoke Blower

    Yes Hodgepodge this is an interesting article. Especially the section "why should you care"

    The ribs I get look just like the cryovac packaging on photo #4 under "How to identify enhanced meat"  12% Deep basted solution? That can't be good. Especially when there are ** marks and small fine print. I want ribs, not ribs and ** marks. Maybe I will just get my own pig and start from there.  [​IMG]
  9. I get much better results with Spares trimmed down than I get with BB. I also like the results from product from the local butcher shop (nothing cryovac there). My best are 3-2-.5 I usually use hickory and apple with apple juice. We love the fall off the bone that I get. I just keep trying out different rubs all the time.
  10. big andy a

    big andy a Smoking Fanatic

    Agree with the previous comments about spares vs. BB.  I think they come out better in my smoker, more flavor and just a better eating experience.  I use hickory + a little apple and a spray of apple and Capt. Morgans with the foiling method.  Always seem to turn out great and there's nothin' left but the bones.

  11. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    I like BB .But make sure it says min processed .Most meat at Sam's here is min processed at Kroger you have to look for it.All wally word meat is injected here.Hope this helps.[​IMG]
  12. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Babybacks or backribs do a little better with a 3-2-1 and I have found that a 3.5-1.5-1 to 1.5 works a little better. I do not apply any juice in the foil stage but I do sauce for spice and flavor during the last hour to hour and a half. You need to learn when ribs are done. Unfortunately pigs like to eat at the same time but they get done when they get done. If your temps vary or you just can't resist not to look at the meat, then your smoking time will not always be exact. 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 are good guidelines but they are just that, guidelines.

    Another thing that can have an effect is if you hang around the smoker too much. If you smell the smoke all day it may lead you to taste your meat as dry and sooty while your guests or friends think it's the greatest thing since white-sliced-bread. Just press on and try a few things different or just go with the natural variables and soon you will get the hang of your perfect ribs.

  13. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    You may want to try the ribs with a minimum of seasonings, maybe just salt & pepper so you get a baseline taste test. Then add ingredients from there. I use a very simple rub like Craig, I like to taste the smoky pork flavor.
  14. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I also use the ribs from Sam's and restuarant depoy and they are both the same Smithfield. Now I use the modified verson of 3-2-1. It's more like the 3-1 1/2- .45 and with a decent amount of rub and some spritz liquid in the foil and they turn out god not the best I have ever eaten but real good. Now the best place for ribs I hate to say is in New York City. The ribs at "Hill Country" are the best that I have ever eaten. Now they are prepared by a guy that was on Top Chef who's name is Ash Fulk and they do a really great job. You don't want me to start on the beef ribs. The Bomb. 
  15. steamaway

    steamaway Smoke Blower

    Can't find the acronym for SPOG is that salt pepper oregeno garlic? 
  16. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member






    I usually get spares.

    When BBs are on sale I spend lots of time looking for meaty racks that have fat.

  17. steamaway

    steamaway Smoke Blower

    So what is the ratio for SPOG? Any brown sugar in there? 
  18. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Nothing but spares here now. I buy the smithfield cryovac 3 pak and don't ever have a problem unless it's one i create.

      I use my rub the night before and extra brown sugar an hour before smoking.

      I don't do the 3-2-1 anymore just look and feel for doneness.

    My advice to you is write everything down each time you smoke .  Brand of ribs , seasoning ,times ,temps and results. that way if it is something you are doing you will see it and when you hit the ones that are exactly how you want them you will know exactly what you did and can repeat the process.
  19. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    No sugar....

    Sorry we dont do ratios for the SPOG here...

    I put it on in no sequence either.

    Here's what it looks like tho...


  20. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    IMHO ribs are the hardest thing to smoke with consistency. Even if you duplicate exactly the same procedure over & over they still will come out different. Once you get your procedure down by experimenting & writing everything down & repeating it over & over you will get to a point where they will be somewhat similar each time, but the time you make the best ribs in your life doesn't seem to happen all that often. At least that's my experience. You do it once & expect to follow the exact same routine the next time & the result may be excellent but not the best like the last time. The most important thing you can do is make detailed notes each time you smoke & try to understand why the ribs were the best ever or only very good. You can only hope they will be the best ever when there is a bunch of people coming over & they will just be good when it's just you & your family.

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