Smoked my first few racks of baby back ribs this afternoon. As I intend to do with all of my posts, I try to highlight my smoking process and share lessons learned. For me it's all about progress, so any feedback would be much appreciated.
2016 Traeger Elite 34
Prep time: 12 hours
Smoke time: 6 hours
Rest time: 0 hours
Total time: 18 hours
Outside temp: 65F
Pit temp: 225F (start)
Target IT: 200F
Process (inspired and adapted from SmokinAl's recipe):
- Removed ribs from packaging 12 hours before start of smoke (did not remove membrane).
- Generously coated ribs with Carolina mustard sauce then applied a light layer of "house" rub.
- Wrapped ribs in plastic wrap and let sit overnight.
- At 12:30PM the next day, ribs were placed in smoker at 225F with Cookin Pellets Perfect Mix.
- Smoked ribs meat side up for 4 hours until IT hit 160F.
- Removed ribs from smoker and placed meat side down in foil atop butter and more "house" rub. Added 1/4c water onto bones of the ribs before wrapping tightly in foil.
- Returned ribs to smoker until IT hit 200F (6:30PM).
- Removed ribs from smoker and smothered one rack in Memphis-style BBQ sauce, one rack in Kansas City-style BBQ sauce, and left on unsauced.
- Placed ribs meat side up in hot (~450F) grill for 2 minutes to thicken BBQ sauce. No rest.
- Enjoyed with family!
Memphis (top) and Kansas City (bottom) sauced ribs
Kansas City ribs right off the grill - was amazed at the smoke ring
Unsauced ribs - these were my favorite
- Continued to experience large swing in pit temp (190-235F). Not sure if this is normal or if fire bricks/adjusting P temp (?) would help keep the temperature more consistent.
- Family didn't think the "sauced" ribs were worth the extra time. Will try no sauce/no grill and just sauce on the cutting board.
- Ribs weren't fall-off-bone at 200F. They were plenty moist and very flavorful, but took effort to tug away from the bone. Assuming a higher IT (205 or 210F) would lead to fall-off? Want to check on this.
- Also want to see if removing membrane leads to "drier" ribs and if apple cider brings additional flavor - will also test this next time.
- Is the smoke ring common with ribs?