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Sparerib questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
So I just wanted to run a few things by you guys and gals. Using the 3-2-1 method, my ribs hit 160 after about 2 hours. Do I continue for another hour before I wrap? What temps do you usually wrap your ribs? Second, I soak my ribs for 2 hours in apple cider before I rub them and let them sit for another 2 hours. Has anyone done it both ways, soaking and also not soaking, and did you notice a difference? Thanks a bunch!
post #2 of 9

Not sure about the soaking.... I have never soaked my ribs, just hit them with rub and toss em on the smoker.

 

As for the temp thing - how are you measuring the temp? I have never gotten a temp measurement off of ribs - to many bones and not enough thickness to get a reliable internal temp. off of. Ribs are the one meat that you go by eyeball and feel on - when the rib meat pulls back from the end of the bone by about 1/4" (usually around the 2 to 3 hr. mark), that is when you foil them (if you are foiling), only leave them in the foil for about 1.5 hrs. (unless you like fall apart tender), then put them back on the main racks to firm up a bit.

 

.... or if you are like me and prefer not to foil you just let them cook low and slow for about 4 to 4.5 hrs. Starting at that time do the bend test - pick up each rack approx. 1/4 to 1/3 from the end and lift it straight up off of the grates, if the end bends a full 90° and points straight down they are done - you should see the strands of meat just starting to separate at the bend point. Wrap them in foil to rest for at least 30 min.

post #3 of 9
I don't take temp of ribs either. It's look and feel, the general times of which will vary depending on cook temps.

I cook spares at 275. I don't foil until the bark has set. Foiling them before hand sacrifices flavor and juiciness being locked in. If you foil according to this method, your rib cooks will be consistent. If you foil to times, sometimes the bark will have set, sometimes not. You'll be chasing down that great rack of spares you made on a few occasions, but wont know why it happened if you look to time for when you have do certain actions during the cook.

This isn't to suggest there aren't general time frames. It just means, time isn't the dictator of when you have to take actions during the cook, ie. wrapping spares.

Bark has set when you can gently rub your finger over the ribs and the rub doesn't come off. (Harry Soo's trick that works great). Again, I cook spares at 275. Right around the 2 to 2.5 hour mark, the bark Tends to set. Good to check at the 2 hour mark. Do the swipe and, if the bark is not set, check in about 20 minutes or so. Don't wrap before it sets, and you will have consistent bbq spares every time. (Assuming you don't wrap too long!)
post #4 of 9

Its important if using the 3 2 1 method to establish the type of ribs. Unless you are cooking spares, its summer, its hot, with St.Louis or BB I would highly recommend you back off to at least 2 2 1, or maybe even 2 1 1 with baby backs. I agree with Rodriguez about IT, ribs are a touchy feely kind of meal. The rib bones will tell you. Watch the pull back and I will twist one every once in a while, if it will break out, you are done. I usually do ribs at 220 degrees when smoking at 275 when grilling.

 

I have marinaded but with the striation of the ribs meat I only saw where a long marinade would effect the ribs. But smoking is about personal preference. I usually rub down my ribs the night before, wrap in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge till I am ready to start the smoker the next day. I am a minimalist, I just like salt, pepper, garlic, and some paprika for color. Although there are some excellent rub recipes on the board. Just use the search engine.

 

You can add those other flavors during the foiling process, unless you go with the non-foil method. I use some apple cider, apple vinegar, a little maple syrup, and maybe some more rub. But not usually.

 

If you want to add BBQ sauce, its the last hour, when you are opened up and drying out the steam.  The ribs are really already done, but you just like that BBQ taste a couple of coats and its happy happy. That's where to add your sweet sugars, they can and do usually burn on a smoke. So best to stick them in the sauce or use during the last hour.

 

I think that's your questions, Its fine to marinate, dry and rub. I think the ribs like that over night penetration. Temp is nice but you are dealing with more sheathing material and bone than meat watch the bones or the bend back. Don't foil too long, seriously 1 to 1.5 hours probably. remember you can make it back up in the last hour if needed. Sugars the last hour is its your preference.

 

Folks are always happy to help here. Good luck with your smoke.

 

BTW thank you for your service as an EMT.

post #5 of 9
As for pre soaking, I have done both and find no difference, particularly with apple juice. There's just not enough acid in the apple juice to impart flavor beyond the rub. At least as I have found. I've also soaked in more acidic juices like oj. If your not careful, your ribs will taste like orange chicken. I've scrapped it altogether.

If your looking to enhance the flavor, look to more layering of your rubs. If your looking to the soak to make the ribs more juicy, forget it. The ribs have all the juice you need, and, if you cook it properly, ie not wrapping before the bark sets, you will have very juicy ribs every time on methods you can control. Just my two cents.
post #6 of 9
Im with J. I now do not foil.. I just let em go low and slow and wrap to wrest after 5 or so hours. I like alittle "give" to my ribs... its messy and thats good eat'n. Ive never soaked either... just remove membrane.. rub.. smoke. . Eat ;)
post #7 of 9

I don't take the temp just use my calibrated eyeball. I look at color for deep darkening on the edges and a cracking of the thicker meat. I don't soak the ribs but will put loads of rub on them (no mustard here) and let them sit for one or two hours in the house at room temp. I do use a sprayer and use an apple juice-water blend and spray from when the ribs are about 1/4 done up to the last 15-20 minutes when I put some homemade Q sauce on the ribs. I don't foil ribs, butts, steaks etc.

There are a variety of good ways to cook most things on the grill. It is best to experiment with different methods and find the one that you like the most then add your own touches to it. 


Edited by MountainHawg - 7/2/13 at 11:16am
post #8 of 9

I rely on the bend test and pull back. Usually don't foil unless I'm doing a Johnny Trigg rib.....somebody mentioned 'messy'? LOL.....but they're good & unusual that way. I'm sorta a 3-1.5-30 minute type on full slabs. I do pull the membrane (most times) and rarely trim the slab of rib tips and skirt. I gnaw on them knuckles dipped in sauce like an animal sometimes to the chagrin of the GF but hey, it's ribs! If it's on there I'm smoking it...but that's me.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Man, I think I might have screwed these up! I took the temp and pulled them at 160 ( and THEN I came inside and read all of the responses, ugh). I had to cut the slabs in 1/2 to fit them on my ECB so I'm not sure if there was enough weight to bring down the ribs a solid 90 degrees. Thanks for all of your help, I'll post some pics when they're done!
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