Hello all, first post I have made on this forum but have popped in over time and read many posts.
The last batch of ribs I cooked gave me a problem I have never had before. I have been cooking them for years and never ruined a single rack untill last week, i ruined 8 racks at once. Same cooker, same rubs, same technique but the only difference was charcoal and temp.
In the past I have always used Kingsford hickory or regular with hickory blended in and consistently ran my cooker ( a brinkman crossroads trailer) at about 175 to 185 degrees. Since I bought a pallet of that charcoal and used it till gone. With that charcoal I easily could maintain my temps consistently between 150 and 185 ... anything hotter I would have to load the box up to get over 200 and keep feeding it .. with 240 is being the highest i could reasonably reach. Well, the pallet runeth out ... So i grabbed a few bags of royal oak and a whole new world of BBQ opened up.
With the royal oak, I can easily maintain 225-300 degrees with the same cooker but have trouble getting down below 200 and holding.
Everything tasted better with the royal oak and I had been cooking lots of pork loin, deer and chicken with it and its amazing. So on to the ribs...
I threw 8 racks in, normal prep, the same as I have done for years. On these forums it seames like everyone cooks them hotter than I always did, 225-275 was the range people seam to be using. I always did 175 average and would cook 8 to 12 hours as needed. Never had a rack that was not amazing, fall off the bone, tender, juicy and people fight over them. With the new charcoal not being stable at low temps I cooked these at a solid average of 245. I ran them till the bones started popping out (as i always do) then put them in foil with some liquids (as always). After checking on them a few times till they got to where the bones were all sticking out where i normall pull them, about 1/4 to 3/8" i found that the bones were SOFT and would break easily and you could bite right though them.
At the higher temp, do you need to foil them before the meat starts to pull away from the bones ... like i do at 175? I am going to build an adjustable baffle to help regulate the heat better in my box, and If i am not in a hurry I will continue to do them at 175 like always, but I would like to be able to cut the time down sometimes with the higher temp.
Has anyone else run into this issue with the bones getting soft? The meat was a little dry on the thinner end of the rack, but still very edible. Since they were hard to head with the bones soft I pulled all the meat and made rib sandwiches, it wasnt a total loss but I do not want this to happen again!
Any thought are appriciated!