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First time smoking St. Louis pork ribs...thoughts, tips, advice?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I am having some friends over for some BBQ tomorrow and thought I'd smoke some pork ribs (St. Louis style) and have a few questions before I smoke them:


1.  I have to probably smoke them the night before for I have to work the day of and probably don't have time to do them then, is this a fools errand or will they still be good doing the night before than warming up on the grill with some sauce? Thoughts? 


2.  Do you always need to foil ribs and if so when?  How can you preserve the crispy bark you worked on developing?  Also do you always pull at finishing temperature or can you let them go longer if for example the ribs still seemed a little tough? Thoughts?


BTW I own a Masterbuilt Double Door Propane Smoker (below)


Thanks in Advance! 


post #2 of 6
3-2-1 method (do a search( calls for wrapping in foil with apple juice or other sauce during the last hour. Some folks speed up the cook to 2-2-1 by wrapping after the first 2 hours. Foiling speeds the cooking time by holding in heat.

Doing them the day or night before will be fine. As for re-heating, just wrap in foil with sauce and pop on the grill or in the kitchen oven at about 300°F for a few minutes.

Yum m m m m m m
post #3 of 6

You can smoke them the night before and heat them up in the oven at a low temp.


You do not have to foil. Some people do, some people don't. It is a preference. If you want bark, don't foil. If you are going to foil you can do the 3-2-1 method for spares. 3 hours in smoke, 2 hours in foil, 1 hour back on the smoker. That is just a guideline though and not exact science. I usually foil spares for about 1.5 hours.  


Also, as for finishing, do it by feel and not by temp. There are too many things that can give you incorrect temp reading on ribs. You can do a toothpick test (poke meat with a toothpick at around 5.5 hours and if it slides in easily, they are done) or the bend test, which is picking up the ribs with tongs about half down the rib and if they bend at about 90 degrees and the bark starts cracking, they are done.

post #4 of 6

all good advice above.....spot on, actually. I never foil anymore, unless a wild hair needs satisfying. I did some recently in my pellet pusher and IMO were some of my best ever....250 degrees, meat side down first and flipped at about 3 hours in, no spritz, no foiling with just a dry rub. Another 2-2.5 hours they were done enough to split off near the end doing the bend test....outstanding bite through, slight tug and they came off the bone....you're gonna enjoy your meal......Willie


post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone, yeah I went 3, 2, 1 (minus the 1) just cause I had seen that being the "norm" and when I did pull them they were tender and moist but not falling apart which is what I like.  Like I mentioned I didn't do the 1 hour unwrapped for I will throw them on my grill (in the foil) for awhile to heat them up and then I am going to remove, sauce, and grill over direct heat for a final flame kiss...Mmmm caramelized BBQ sauce!


I will definitely experiment with no foil in the future for I feel being able to make good ribs without (the crutch) is important, same with brisket.  Anyways thanks again for the responses and I will post some pictures of the final product tonight at dinner...can't wait!


Happy smoking :icon_smile:


Additional Notes:  


Dry rubbed (Homemade...no store bought!) a few hours before smoke

Hickory chips 

Meat side up

Smoker temp kept between 225-235

Foiled after 3hrs with 1/2 cup of apple juice

post #6 of 6

Yeah, I used to slavishly follow the 321 but now it's unfoiled for 6 hours at 230. (5 hours with babybacks).


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