or Connect
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Meat (and other things) › Pork › Ribs Too Tough? Help Needed!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Ribs Too Tough? Help Needed! - Page 2

post #21 of 32

Been thinking about this one a lot.  Read all the responses.  Lets assume the membrane was removed.  With ribs you basically get tough, tender, fall-off-the-bone tender, or dry.  "Tough" ribs to me mean they may be cooked but have not been cooked long enough at the desired temperature to get tender.  On the other end of the spectrum is dry.  If they were dry they typically still fall off the bone, just WAY overcooked.  Trust me, over the decades I've ended up with them all before I found what works for me every time.

 

I don't wrap my ribs any longer in my smoker, cooking ribs in the 225-235 range for roughly 5.5 to 6.5 hours for spares, at least 4 hours for BBs, using the 1/4" to 1/2" draw up on the bone as a visual check for doneness.  I've found BBs to be more temperamental and only smoke them when requested.  For the finished product I personally like 1/4" draw with a little tug on the bite.  My wife and kids like a 1/2" to 3/4" draw and fall off the bone.  I've had BBs take as long as spares to finish, but they are generally done in 2/3 to 3/4 the amount of time.  I only open my smoker 2-3 times during the entire smoke to spritz, then one final time to sauce.  I keep as much heat in the smoker as I can even when spritzing.  If you are opening more than that, I suspect your temp recovery time is impacting your final result. 

 

Decatur, GA is only at 1043 feet elevation.  That's only about a 2.5F difference in boiling point of water (water boils at a lower temp the higher you go above sea level).  Use 230 for a bit of a margin, 235F if you are higher up in the hills.   

post #22 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the great response noboundaries.  I was actually thinking about setting the temp to 230-235 when I smoke tomorrow. Initially I did remove the membrane, and I stand corrected, the ribs were more dry, not tough. My question to you is, why would you not foil?  What difference does this make in the outcome of the meat?

post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MGMsmoker View Post
 

Thanks for the great response noboundaries.  I was actually thinking about setting the temp to 230-235 when I smoke tomorrow. Initially I did remove the membrane, and I stand corrected, the ribs were more dry, not tough. My question to you is, why would you not foil?  What difference does this make in the outcome of the meat?

 

Ahhh.  Like I said, BB's can be more temperamental because they are leaner than spare ribs.  If you are going to have a dry rib it is most likely going to be the BBs and it is one of the reasons I prefer spare ribs. When cooked correctly, the fat in the spares will render out and the connective tissue will melt keeping the rib juicy.

 

Why do I not foil?  Control (mostly), it is easier not wrapping, and I like the taste and bark better unwrapped.  I count on 3.5 to 4.5 hours with BBs and 5.5 to 6.5 with SLC spareribs.  With BB's I use my eye and a quick temp check to measure doneness (165 min - 180 max).  My family all prefers sauced "wet" ribs.

 

First, always try and get rib racks about the same size.  I usually buy the largest in the case as long as they are all close to the same weight.  I never mix spares and BBs, doing one or the other but usually St Louis Cut spares 95% of the time.

 

When cooking BBs I spritz at 90 minutes and again at 3 hrs.  When I peek at 3 hours I get an idea how they are cooking.  I have sauced many a BB at three hours but they were usually the smaller racks.  If they need more time I get back to what I was doing for another 30-45 minutes.  I take another quick peek, spritz, and often sauce at this point depending on the internal temp and bone draw.  If they are good, I sauce and let them carmelize and cook for another 15-20 minutes usually, keeping the chamber temp 200 to 225 or so the sugars don't burn.

 

Now that is WAY more checking work in a smaller amount of time than the SLC spares.  I don't even look at them until 3 hours.  I spritz and leave them alone for another 90 minutes.  Spritz, and get an idea how they are faring.  Leave them alone for another hour or so, then check the bone draw.  I let them cook a little longer or sauce and let them carmelize for 30-45 minutes at 200 to 225.  I have never checked the internal temp of my spares and can tell just by the bone draw if they are like I want them.

 

I cook them bone down if laying flat on a grate.  If using a rib rack I put the meatiest part of the rib on top.

post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MGMsmoker View Post
 

...  Also, what is the best indicator of when the ribs are done?  Do I need to check IT of the meat, check by touch, or another way. Thanks for your help.

 

The most reliable indicator of doneness for pork ribs, be they loin backs or spares is the "Bend Test"

 

 

Pick the rack up from one end with tongs, the tongs should extend to the fifth or sixth rib, when they rack bends at a 45° angle(or more) they are done.

Checking the internal temp on ribs will not work because of the proximity of the bones make it difficult to get an accurate reading.

I find that pullback is not always a reliable indicator of doneness in ribs, I sometimes get good pullback a couple of hours into the cook and they are certainly not done, other times I get no pullback for the entire cook.th_dunno-1[1].gif

post #25 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the help guys, this has been very beneficial.  One last question...maybe.  I am doing three racks for my first go at this so I can try different techniques.  I am going to apply the same rub (billbos rub) because I really enjoy it.  I will spritz all of them the same as well.  The only difference is...

 

1 - Wrap in foil with 1/4 cup of apple juice.

 

2 - Wrap in foil with butter and honey

 

3 - Not going to wrap at all

 

Not too big of a difference, but I do want to see how much of a difference foiling makes.  So my question is, when I am doing the rack with honey and butter, I plan on putting the butter and honey on the foil first, but do I put it on top of the rack as well?  Also, bone side down in the foil right?  Thanks.

post #26 of 32
That's the Johnny Trigg method ( partially, anyway). ON THE RIB. ...squeeze margarine, honey, (or blue agave) some brown sugar, and Tiger Sauce. Then a few Tbs of whatever juice...apple, grape, ........
For new smokers the I believe the wrap method is easier for you.
An experienced guy like Noboundaries does them like I do a lot. But you have to have the experience to get a feel and know what you're looking for. I suggest the wrap method until you get a few racks under your belt. Just my opinion.
post #27 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks geerock, I have actually been told that by a couple of people.  Well give me some suggestions on my wrapping additives.  I was thinking about...

 

1 - 1/4 cup apple juice

 

2 - squeeze butter, honey, apple juice, and brown sugar

 

3 - just douse with my spritz juice

 

Any additions?  Any other ideas?

post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffcarter View Post
 

 

The most reliable indicator of doneness for pork ribs, be they loin backs or spares is the "Bend Test"

 

 

Pick the rack up from one end with tongs, the tongs should extend to the fifth or sixth rib, when they rack bends at a 45° angle(or more) they are done.

Checking the internal temp on ribs will not work because of the proximity of the bones make it difficult to get an accurate reading.

I find that pullback is not always a reliable indicator of doneness in ribs, I sometimes get good pullback a couple of hours into the cook and they are certainly not done, other times I get no pullback for the entire cook.th_dunno-1%5B1%5D.gif

 

That is a great method for doneness but does not work for those that have to cut the racks in two to fit in verticals. I guess my only other choice to go by pull back?

post #29 of 32

just something to balance out the sweetness.  something with some spice or tanginess or heat.  maybe a touch of cayenne or chili powder.

BUT stop thinking and start smokin'!!!

post #30 of 32
Thread Starter 

I have a vertical smoker and only 2 racks will fit on a shelf.  Is it alright to put a rack on a shelf above them?  Will the drippings affect the outcome of the ribs?

post #31 of 32

MGMsmoker - another great possibility as far as liquid in the foil is Chef JimmyJ's Foiling Juice (http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/110881/foiling-juice-chef-jimmyj), which I have used with great success. That said, over time I have mostly given up on the foiling. I'm using a Smokin-It #2 electric smoker, and have found that if I just check for done-ness (instead of going strictly by time), I am turning out great ribs. SLCs almost always take 6 or 6.5 hours, so I have learned to be patient, leave the smoker alone. (I do tend to pace like an expectant father while they are in there LOL). I start checking the ribs for done-ness about 5 or 5.5 hours or so into the smoke. This has been a huge exercise in self-discipline, but it has been worth it. I also cut my racks in half to fit them in the smoker, so can't do the bend test as shown in the photograph above - but you can accomplish pretty much the same thing by grabbing the half rack with 2 pairs of tongs, see how easily it bends. If the meat starts to separate when it bends, they're done. I no longer foil, or spritz - I don't even open the door, unless to add another little chunk of wood. They have been fantastic lately (and a lot less work, too). 

post #32 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MGMsmoker View Post
 

I have a vertical smoker and only 2 racks will fit on a shelf.  Is it alright to put a rack on a shelf above them?  Will the drippings affect the outcome of the ribs?

 

Vertical here also. Have to cut them in two but have had 4 racks with ribs on each. No problem.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pork
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Meat (and other things) › Pork › Ribs Too Tough? Help Needed!