This all started out innocent enough. I was going to try smoking my first rib tips and wanted to document it for other newbees. Let it be known right off the bat, this is a way not to do bbq.
My First Rib Tips
There she is, a bargain in the making and all ready to prep.
One thing I did after washing and prior to prepping was to dip each rib tip into a large stock pot of boiling water for only a few seconds. It may not be a needed step, but I feel it adds to the removal of stray bacteria that might have gotten onto the meat during the butchering process. Blame it on me being a little paranoid about what happens with discarded meat and how it’s stored until they accumulate enough to package it.
Tearing off the membranes (top) was made easy by inserting a butter knife under one piece and using the flat part of the knife to pull the membrane away from the meat. Doing this taught me a new appreciation for letting the meat rest at room temperature prior to placing in the smoker. These tips were super cold to the touch and could have caused uneven cooking in the smoker. Consequently, I delayed putting them into the smoker an extra half hour.
As you can see, not all the rib tips are of the same size. Some are scrawny and others are very thick with meat.. I used whatever rub I had sitting on the shelf, which turned out to be Stubbs Rosemary-Ginger Spice Rub. I’ll let you know how that goes. I tend to like the Stubbs brand and when my local grocery had a closing sale, bought up everything on the shelf.
The temperature outside is about 30 with a wind out of the north at 12 mph and gusts up to 18. The rib tips are in the MES at 250 with apple and hickory pellets. I also filled the side bin with a bit of cherry chips just as I added the meat. One adjustment I made for this smoke is to use the thick flat portion of a dining fork to keep the bottom door unsealed a crack, so as to allow a bit more oxygen flow into the bottom of the unit.
After one hour, the AMNPS is still doing it’s wonderful thing, so the fork to vent the bottom must be doing some good. The meat didn’t need it but since I had the door open, I basted with a mixture of 2 parts apple juice and 1 part bbq sauce. I’ll add a bit of rub to the mixture at the next basting at 6:00, which will be the two-1/2 hour mark and time to inspect the meat.
After 2 and 1/2 hours the internal temperature is averaging 120. The meat is starting to brown very nicely. Pull and wrap at 6:30pm, after 3 hours in smoke. Finish it wrapped in the smoker another hour.
At 6:30, two out of three thermometers have given out on me, due to the cold and due to weak batteries. I’m relying on the MES internal thermometer now and it registers 160 in the largest hunk of meat. I pulled, wrapped in foil, added the remainder of the apple juice and sauce (about 3 basters full), sealed the packet and placed it back in the smoker. The AMNPS did it’s job the total smoke. I pulled the ventilating fork out for the remainder of the time to see if it goes out . . . it already looks like it did. I got 1 and 1/3rd rows of great smoke, which is what I expected on this short smoke.
I pulled it too early.
- Total smoking time: 3 hours (1 at 250, 2 at 255)
- Total wrapped in foil in hot smoker time: 45 minutes at 255
- Total cook time: Just under 4 hours.
I didn’t cook them near long enough. I’ve read that rib tips don’t take as long as ribs so figured a total of about 4 hours would do the trick.
The meat was cooked to doneness but it wasn’t ready. I’m guessing it needed another 20 degrees internal temperature to be “pull off the bone” tender. What to do? Family is ganging up on me and demanding dinner ten minutes ago.
The Sin that Saved Dinner
The fastest way I know to cook is by boiling and I already had a stock pot of water on the stove. I brought it up to a full boil an added the almost done rib tips, periodically pulling one out until I found the first one that seemed done enough (about the 15 minute mark). At that point I plated the rib tips and didn’t bother adding more rub or sauce since they seemed to have maintained a goodly portion on them.
Final verdict? Meal salvaged. My son thought it was the best ribs he's ever had. No doubt he did, since he finished off the majority of them. Nobody at the table asked for more rub or bbq sauce. Everyone at the table had seconds and thirds. It still maintained a smoky flavor and you could certainly taste the rub. I guess it was okay, but in my mind it was just okay.