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Help !!!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I rubbed up a nice set of Spares last night and let them sit in the fridge overnight. This morning it took them out and let them come to room temp. Fired up the Smoker and let it reach 220F, then popped the ribs into the smoker. This was 10:20. I added my wood and began seeing a faint trail of smoke within just a few minutes.

Started tracking temps and times on a pad, since it was my first try. At two hours internal temp had hit 144F with a Smoker temp of 228F. I began spritzing with Apple/Cran and EVOO every 30-40 minutes after the two hour mark.

It has now been three hours fourty minutes and the internal temp is 169F and I am holding a Smoker temp of 228-230F.

so far all seems well. BUT. from what I have read I should have tender Robs at 170F. they look beautiful but there is NO pullback. I am sure they are not done. Maybe the probe is hitting a bone or something. I have tested the thermometer several times and it is always right on, so don't think it is failing.

I am not sure what to do. Thinking about just continuing at this Smoker temp and let it take as long as it takes to get a pull back, regardless of internal temp. then also thought of pulling, wrapping in foil and using oven to finish. the foiling would make them pull from the bone but not sure what to do.

Any advice to save them? and, any suggestions as to what I did wrong?

Thanks everyone,

post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
Here is a picture of what the Ribs look like at four hours.

Smoker is holding at 228F, and Internal is 168F

End of ribs are sticking out about an eighth of an inch and are black, but no real pullback yet.

post #3 of 17
Hey Skip, I read some where on here, not to use a temp probe on spares cause they are too thin. I used to have trouble with the pull back, then I just started letting them go longer and I started seeing pull back. I tried the 3-2-1 method last time but they were too, fall off the bone for me. I like some chew on mine. Terry
post #4 of 17
PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif forget the probe-eyeball it. use the force luke... feel your ribs & all will be well.
post #5 of 17
Okay it's 8 hrs later.... How did they come out? How did you decide to finish them off?

When you're cooking ribs without foil you gotta have some patience. Sometimes you won't get a big pull back.. you just got to ride it out til they get a good feel to em.
post #6 of 17
I don't think you did anything wrong.

I've found when I stay near 225 degrees I don't get the same pull back as I get when I'm nearer 250 degrees. Pull back is not always the same nor is it a perfect method of determining when they are done. Unfortunately it's very hard to get an accurate temp. in ribs due to the thiness and the probe is always going to be near a bone.

If you pull the ribs out from the middle of the rack and they bend close to 90 degrees they usually are done.
post #7 of 17
You did nothing wrong. I make no attempt to read temps in ribs. Just do the 3-2-1 to start with and if you find them 'too done' then adjust the time in the foil lower. I like fall off the bone, so does the wife. Of course, I have never met a rib I didn't like, no matter how they were done....well, maybe not par boiled PDT_Armataz_01_27.gif
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. You all had this thing pegged. I sure learned a lot. I decided that I had started out "Smoking" ribs, NOT 'Baking' them so decided to ride it out. When I picked them up with tongs, they hardly even bent or drooped. I knew from reading that this wasn't right. I sure didn't have the 'feel', but I knew what I was feeling, wasn't right. I just kept smoking and spritzing and hoping and worrying. Little by little, over the next hour and a half, I started getting some pullback and some droop to them when I picked them up. When I thought they were done, I put them in a shallow tin foil pan, covered them and plunked them in the over for a while until ready to eat. Funny thing, I was on the computer, IM'ing with Huey(salmonclubber) during much of this. He helped calm me down, too.

I am with BigArm, I like some chew, but, at first, it was rediculous. It finally started coming together. My first time, so sure don't have it down yet, but I am beginning to understand what Gypsy ment by 'eyeball and feel'. Pigs said basicly the same thing. And, I had to laugh at Flash saying he never met a rib he didn't like. I figured that even if they were a little off, I would probably like them.

Biggest thing I learned today is that it is actually kinda difficult to ruin a slab of meat. I mean if the Smoker temp spikes for a few minutes, it might not have even effected the internal temp. Same thing when you add water or wood or spritz. The Smoker temp may drop but pops right back up and the meat is probably not even aware.

The end result turned out very well. To my surprise. I will never be as nervous and worried as I was with this because I also learned to roll with the punches and not expect things to be so exact. It is definitely more of an 'art form' than a 'science'.

Thanks again, everyone. I was a nervous wreck, but it all worked out OK. Thanks to your baby sitting.

post #9 of 17
glad i could help a bit - i was 1 handed typing w/ "her highness" in the other so i couldn't expand but it came out great. now- you will always be a nervous wreck if you are like me because,especially when feeding others, i strive to beat my last best or outdo perfection & always strive to give someone "the best i ever had"..... but it's a great journey. congratz on a great smoke.PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #10 of 17

that is so true i feel the same way when i smoke food it dont matter what it is i want it to turn out better then perfect
post #11 of 17
Yep that first one was a interesting affair for me as well...I was kinda freaking just like you. I wanted everything to be just right, and well...smoking ain't exactly a precision task, more like an art, or a slow dance. I thought that first batch was the best I'd ever had, and like gypsy said...I just keep trying to make 'em a bit better each time. Glad it all worked out for the best!
post #12 of 17
I always test my ribs by bending the two ends inward and if they touch I pull them. When I went to Buffalo Shelly aka BBQPitStop bent her ribs backwards and touched ends togther to test them. I guess it pretty much works either way but I don't like them to fall off the bones. I like to chew!
post #13 of 17
Skip, you're getting the right idea! Cooking tough pieces of meat isn't like baking a cake. Minor (10-50 degree) spikes don't affect the meats much. It's the average temps over long periods of time that renders the fat and collegen and makes these tough meats tender. Also, as the saying goes, "if you're looking, you aren't cooking". Use your temp probes as a guide line, but not as a bible. As an old timer (and many on this board as well) say, it's done when it's done, and nothing you do, say, or fiddle with is going to change that. There are different 'done' tests for differents types of meats. The fold test for ribs is great. I personally use the 'middle shake' test where I pick up the slab of ribs in the middle and shake it once. If it breaks apart cleanly from the bone, it's done. This works well for baby backs and mostly well for spares. Beef ribs are a little different and I use a pinch test, much like checking doneness on a steak. Briskets are a different game altogether as far as doneness is concerned and is covered ad nauseum in the beef section.

Any, grab a beer or your favorite beverages and settle in, it's a a long tedious (EDIT: Maybe Tedious isn't the right word... Rewarding?) process :)
post #14 of 17
thats a great process- anytime you feel the need to check the pit- take a swig...chances are that'll slow ya down after a bit lol....
post #15 of 17
as stars said.............

but its a satisfying one........there isn't NUTTIN like the feeling of pulling of a smoke and wow's everyone..........i have YET to EVER have summin end up to my likin..........but EVERYone else loves the food........but i have ALWAYS been my werst critic..........like what has been posted here.......i always try the next time to make em better.........its a vicious circle...and once it gets it hooks into you..........your toast.........its a 12 step process......like richtee said once.........just make sure your beer and snacks are no more than 12 steps away from the smoker

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Since all of you have "been there, done that", you know what I am going to say next. "I didn't get a single complaint". PDT_Armataz_01_11.gif

In spite of all my worries, thanks to what I learned here, I was able to work through it and turn out a deceant meal.

Funny how, as some of you said, the cook usually knows what they could do to improve. But fortunately, as I found out, the guests frequently don't know there was even anything wrong. Next time I will start a little sooner, have a little more patience and feel a lot more confident in what I am doing.

Speaking of next time. . . I just got things cleaned up and I am already thinking about next time.

Thanks again, Skip
post #17 of 17
there ya go bro- "mission accomplished"PDT_Armataz_01_34.gifPDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
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