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Baby back ribs - here we go!!!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Ok, these are going to be great.

Based on the past 3 times I've smoked them and the great advice I've received here, this is my plan.

I promise, I'll post photos later today.


Pulled off the membrane.

Rub French's mustard on the meat side.

Rub McCormick's dry rub - it was my favorite before anyone suggested it here.


So, on the smoker at 225 for 2 hours.

Then into the foil pans, 8 ounces of apple juice in the pan, top sealed with foil, and back on smoker at 225 for 2 hours.


Finally, take out of foil - I'm really hoping the bones are sticking out of the meat and they are fall of the bone juicy at this point.

Back on the smoker grid at 225, slopping BBQ sauce on them for an additional hour.


Total time, 5 hours.


How does that sound?


Only question I have is, why does everyone use the mustard?  Is it for flavor, or to keep the rub sticking?

I'm wondering if there's some secret reason.  :)


Thanks everyone.

See you back here later today.



post #2 of 17

Helps you stick heavy amounts of Rub on the meat. You can also use Oil, some like Molasses but Honey burns too easily. If you are into a light coating, the meat is moist enough to hold it and you can skip the mustard...JJ

post #3 of 17

Sounds like a good plan Wayne!  End result is the prize.  Careful on the doneness, usually fotb can point to being over done which robs fullness of flavor but it's all about what you want and like :drool 

post #4 of 17

Sounds good so far!



post #5 of 17

I second Schlotz's comment. If they are FOTB done at 4 hours and you leave them for another hour they may be well overdone.

The bone may start to pull back during the foil but if they fall apart when you take them out I suggest you skip some sauce for a minute and get them firmed up over some heat and look to keep them there only 15 - 30 minutes.

Just from my experience....

Remember - times are only approixiamte - they are done when they are done.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Ok, it's 4 hours in.

I smoked on the open grate for 2 hours at 250.

Then, sealed in foil pan with apple juice for 2 hours at 250.

I just took them out of the foil.

They are not FOTB.  I cut the end one and it is very tasty, but still had to use teeth to get it off the bone (that sounds strange).  :)

So, now they are on teh open rack, smoked again at 250.

I have not added any sauce yet.


This is the point where I get confused.

I don't know exactly what to do next.

post #7 of 17
See my earlier comment re: toothpick test and bend test
post #8 of 17

W, It might take a while ,I've had BB ribs done in 5 hours and sometimes 6 hours, You can do dry ribs and add sauce at the table or slather the ribs in the last 1/2  hour or so. You need to figure out when that last 1/2 hour is.:icon_biggrin: 

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 


Well, I have to say, they were probably my best attempt yet, but still not exactly what I want.

To explain, it seems like I'm caught in the middle and don't know the answer.

What I mean is, I cooked them 5 1/2 hours, slathered the sauce the last half hour.

Although they were very good, the bones didn't just slide off the meat.

You had to 'bite' the meat off.

And yet, I could tell that the meat was already getting to that point drying out.  As if, if I left them on any longer they would have gotten dryer and not at all like ribs should be.


So, the FOTB rib eludes me once again.  UGh.

I thought for sure that leaving them sealed in foil with apple juice for 2 hours instead of 1 hour wouild be the answer.


Any last thoughts?


I'm trying to think of this logically.

My temperature was ranging from 240 to 260 for most of the process.

Do you think maybe that's too high?

I'm using a bluetooth digital thermometer to test the smoker temp, so I know it's pretty accurate.


My worst critic is my wife.  She ate dinner and didn't say a word - good or bad.

That's the worst.  Spending 6 hours smoking and get no feedback at all. 



post #10 of 17
If you came away with a clean easy bite then you got the doneness down. Since they were starting to get dry tells me the wrap time might have been a bit short. Another thing to be aware of is temp. At the same time you want to have them on long enough to break down and render without drying out. If preference is for most the meat to slide off with a single bite then I can think of a couple of things. Personally I would wrap them in foil tightly with some apple juice vs in a pan and then covered. Next would increase the time in the foil by approx 1/2 hour next attempt. You might consider doing two racks so you can experiment with the other remaning in the wrap closer to 3 hrs. Regardless, test for no effort to insert and remove with a toothpick and or the bend with break. Make sure you are monitoring grate temp with a calibrated thermo. I would test what you are using against ice water and then with boiling water (adjusted for your local altitude). No question satisfying mommy is the most important aspect of the smoke 😄
post #11 of 17

I make FOB baby backs all the time and do it about 4 hours at 240-250.  I think and just a guess, but when you foil you said you put in a pan with liquid, I think this is where your going wrong, I wrap mine tightly with heavy duty foil after I put squeeze butter on the meat side in a cross fashion and cross the other direction with honey, then sprinkle heavy layer of dark brown sugar., this will make FOB for sure, they go meat side down wrapped for only 1 1/2 hours then,  unwrapped and back on bone side down just 30 mins mob with BBQ sauce or leave dry, sometimes I'll do one dry and one wet.  If I go 2 hours wrapped, they end so FOB that they break in half just trying to put them back on the smoker, since I cut back to an hour and a half, they come out perfect.  So my .2 is your foil wrap isn't doing the FOB job the way your doing it.


edit:  forgot to mention, during the first two hours I spray them every 20-30 mins with apple juice, keeps them moist.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

Ok, you could be right.  I was taking the easy way out and putting two rib pieces (1/2 slabs) in an aluminum pan, then covering the top with aluminum foil.

There definitely is a lot of air inside the pan, maybe you're right.


Next time, I'll wrap them individually like I've read many people do.


Thanks for the tips!


Here's a few pics of the process, although I forgot to take a pic of the finished product, they looked good, but definitely did not have bare bones extending out of the meat.  That, to me is usally a sign that they are FOTB and ready.  I've yet to achieve that success.  But I will keep trying.


Next time, I'll wrap in foil instead of putting in a pan.


First photo, I covered them in yellow mustard.  It was a nice touch and dfinitely better to hold the rub on.



Next, the McCormick dry rub.


This is after 2 hours on in the smoker on the metal rack,

Then 2 hours in the aluminum pan with apple juice.

I covered the pan with aluminum foil, but now I'm thinking that there's no way to seal the pan effectively with the foil.

Maybe that's part of the problem.

As you can see, there's no bones sticking out, and that's after 4 hours (2+2).

After this step, I put them back on the grill for an hour and a half at 240 to 260.

Last half hour I put the sauce on them.

I could tell that I was almost there, but I was afraid of leaving them on any longer for fear they would dry out.


So thanks again, today I'm on my way to the campground 'Pymatuning Park, PA'.

There's 18 hungry relatives of mine waiting to eat smoked chicken wings tonight.

I'm going to take the advice I've gotten here and smoke them at a higher temp in order to crisp the wings.

I'll try 300 and check them every half hour.

post #13 of 17

I cook my ribs to temp.


You need a good instant read therm, like a Thermapen.


195 is tender & juicy, 200 is FOTB.


Here is the way I do them.





post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks Al.

I checked your link and it looks great.

You have an interesting argument to leave the membrane on.

It sounds logical that leaving it on will increase the moisture content.

I think I'll give that a try next time.


Someone else had suggested that the next time I do ribs, try a few different variations for each rib section and see which one turns out the best.

That's an excellent idea, and so simple, I'm mad at myself for not thinking of that!  :)


I'll also try the internal temp monitoring.  I have that Thermapen with the necked down tip.  I didn't think ribs were thick enough to get an accurate temperature in the meat, but I'll try it.


Thanks again.



post #15 of 17

That's the fun part about this hobby Wayne!


Experimenting with different methods & determining what works best for you & your family & friends.



post #16 of 17

And, you get to eat all of your mistakes...........................

Waste not.....want not.


Caution though - just when you think you have everything perfected to just how you like 'em...........

the wind will kick up for the entire cooking time

the meat will be a little firmer (possibly even still a little frozen)

they won't have whole shoulders; only a small boston butt

it starts to rain while you attempt to keep the fire up to temp.

Your favority smoking wood is out and now you must choose a different one

beer ran out before meat was done.

etc. etc. (And I am positive that everyone on this forum can add some of their own 'gottchas' that have at one time ruined a perfrct plan......


You will find we are a bunch of helpful, fun-loving kind of guys....................

Keep 'er smoking........................

post #17 of 17
You might have better luck if you wrap your ribs tightly in foil. I've not tried them in a pan like that, but can tell you what I've had success with. I throw mine on for about three hours at 250. I check them around 3 hours to see what the color looks like. I don't want them to get too dark. At that point I use squeeze butter and brown sugar on the meat side. Then tightly wrap in foil. It basically steams the meat. I usually let sit in foil for an hour, then put back on the smoker and sauce them once and let setup for 15-30 minutes.

In my opinion, if they are fotb they are over done. I mainly don't like them because they are harder to eat, and make more mess when they fall on your chin when taking a bite . I think they are best when you can take a clean bite off the rib.

Good luck. If you keep at it you will find what you like. I've probably cooked 15 different times before I found what I like. And I feel like they keep getting better as I go.
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