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321 spare ribs under cooked

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I smoked up a batch of spare ribs using the 321 method on a Weber kettle. The temp at the grate read around 200-220 throughout. I used kbb and cherry to smoke. I think my problem was trying to smoke meat on a day when a cold front is moving in. I had the dampers wide open and a wind break set up in front of the grill just to maintain a T-max of 220. Any how, the meat was up to temp and had been on for 6 hours, but ended up pretty tough. The flavor was delicious, but it probably needed more heat and more time.

Rubbed with 2 parts bad Byrons butt rub to 1 part light brown sugar.

Getting foiled.

The final product, that needed more time. Live and learn.
post #2 of 14
I'm gonna guess your temps were closer to the 200° range. 3-2-1, by its very nature, brings ribs to the fall off the bone stage at 225°, so something is off.
Moving forward, get the texture and color you want set in your mind. Then use the first phase (the 3) to set the color, and the second phase (the 2) to achieve the texture. Then the last phase (the 1) is just to firm up the meat and set the sauce or glaze if you use it. The times are less important than achieving the desired results so adjust accordingly. It'll take a few smokes to dial in what you like, but you'll get there. It took me a year of ribs about once a week to get close to being able to repeat what I liked. Then someone from this forum pointed out that you can cook ribs to a specific temperature to achieve repeatable results. Look up a post titled "ribs the way I like them". Again, adjust accordingly to get the results YOU like.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Just finished reading the thread and as most on this site are, very informative. I really think I was fighting mother nature, a losing battle, to maintain smoking temps on a grill.
post #4 of 14
Practice makes perfect! Buy some more racks and get going!! Toothpick test probe between the bones it should slide in easily. Pull back of the meat from the bottom of the bones is a good indication along with the bend test. A little practice and you'll be making them the way you like them try no foil sometime.
post #5 of 14
a few questions... of coarse it needs to be asked.. "Was the thermometer calibrated (boiling water test)" ? by the looks of the last picture, it looks like there wasn't much charcoal used... and then it needs to be all piled up to one side (with wood chunks mixed in) of the kettle and ribs put over on the other side (indirect)... If last picture was finished product you can see that there wasn't enough pull back on the bones ...
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thermometer was calibrated, the charcoal in the pic is old and wasn't burning. The basket of burning coals/wood is out of the frame. I think the bottom line is it needed more heat & more time. The temp is objective and doesn't lie. But taste is subjective and these were tough.
post #7 of 14

definitely needed more heat, didn't even get to break down the brown sugar in spots.

 

also, if some ribs are particularly meaty compared to normal, or have more fat in the cut, cooking times, and even temps (if you want to render more of the hard fat) can change.

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdboatbum View Post

I'm gonna guess your temps were closer to the 200° range. 3-2-1, by its very nature, brings ribs to the fall off the bone stage at 225°, so something is off.
Moving forward, get the texture and color you want set in your mind. Then use the first phase (the 3) to set the color, and the second phase (the 2) to achieve the texture. Then the last phase (the 1) is just to firm up the meat and set the sauce or glaze if you use it. The times are less important than achieving the desired results so adjust accordingly. It'll take a few smokes to dial in what you like, but you'll get there. It took me a year of ribs about once a week to get close to being able to repeat what I liked. Then someone from this forum pointed out that you can cook ribs to a specific temperature to achieve repeatable results. Look up a post titled "ribs the way I like them". Again, adjust accordingly to get the results YOU like.

I've not heard this process explained this way!! It really made the lightbulb go on for me, what great advice! Achieving repeatable results is what we all want. I know how frustrating it is to have mother nature betray you with crappy weather. So in this situation the answer may have been to go ahead and smoke them outside but do the rest of the process in the oven?? Cuz after you smoke them it doesn't matter how you get them to temp, right?

Maddening to spend money on meat (its so flippin expensive anymore!!)that doesn't turn out how you want. But keep trying, at least every time you get a better picture of what your smoker can and can't do in whatever circumstances arise. So even mistakes are a win in the long run I guess, which is small consolation when the food you worked so hard on isn't what you wanted it to be.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by areallynicegirl View Post

I've not heard this process explained this way!! It really made the lightbulb go on for me, what great advice! Achieving repeatable results is what we all want. I know how frustrating it is to have mother nature betray you with crappy weather. So in this situation the answer may have been to go ahead and smoke them outside but do the rest of the process in the oven?? Cuz after you smoke them it doesn't matter how you get them to temp, right?

Maddening to spend money on meat (its so flippin expensive anymore!!)that doesn't turn out how you want. But keep trying, at least every time you get a better picture of what your smoker can and can't do in whatever circumstances arise. So even mistakes are a win in the long run I guess, which is small consolation when the food you worked so hard on isn't what you wanted it to be.

This is why I'm considering buying or building a controller for my OK Joe's. My propane smoker is so much easier. Cold night? Turn the flame up. Hot day? Turn the flame down. But I'm doing my best to get the same results with charcoal. I'm getting better, but I think a controller would make my life easier.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
I think even with propane you're in a manual fight against mother nature making constant adjustments. If you've got some sort of thermostat, it takes the guess work out of it.
post #11 of 14

some of you already know this but it bears   repeating . you MUST calibrate according to your altitude , for example where I live water boils at 199-200 degrees 

 ( I live at an altitude of 6500 feet )

post #12 of 14

200 is border line for 3-2-1 if it was closer to that than 220 for most of the smoke. Did you add liquid before sealing the foil during that phase?

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
I did not add any liquid when foiled. There was quite a bit of juice in the foil when I unwrapped it.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrbasher View Post

I did not add any liquid when foiled. There was quite a bit of juice in the foil when I unwrapped it.

 

If you add some before sealing the foil it will start to braise sooner. I like to use honey and squeeze butter but many people just use a little apple juice, some use a little Dr Pepper most any liquid will work

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