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Baby Back Ribs. One Chance. Newbie.

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello, everyone. I bought an Old Smokey Electric Smoker after much prodding from my friend. I really just got the unit and I've only done one smoke on some boneless chicken. That went just okay. Some were really tender. Others I dried out. I think the problem was that my meat was so thin. Now to my real question.

My friend is having a BBQ this weekend I wanted to make some baby back ribs in the smoker. I know learning this stuff probably takes some trial an error, but I would love to get some tips to get me hitting the ground running. To let you guys know, I know nothing about cooking including meat preparation. I have some rubs I got from a BBQ store, some BBQ sauce, and the house has the usual trimmings that I don't normally touch.

So if you can offer any advice on timing, temperature, when to season, or anything at all, that'd be much appreciated. I know there are mixed opinions, so I wanted to see people's experiences and advice to help me learn.

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 21

Electric Smokers

I have a Little Chief electric that's almost like a cold smoker. When I'm going over to a friends house for a BBQ i've been known to take 3 racks, remove the membrane, cut in half, slather and rub and smoke them for an hour in the chief. Then they are wrapped in foil and refrigerated. When I get to the party I make sure they are at room temp before cooking them indirectly usually on a propane grill. Depending on the heat I do a 2-2-1 and glaze 30 minutes before the come off.

I don't know how your smoker works but if it can maintain 230 to 250 I would just use 3-2-1.

post #3 of 21
Ribs be bout the only thin cooked by time round here. Fer babby backs either 2-2-1 er 3-2-1, that means two hours a smoke at 250 spritz each hour, 2 hours wrapped in foil at 250 an then 1 hour unwrapped at 250 to dry em a bit an finish the color. 3-2-1 same thin cept first smoke bein 3 hours long.

Open the package, rinse em off, pull the silver membrane off the back, a cake knife works well ta get it started then grip it with paper towels ta pull it off, coat with a light coatin a cheap yeller mustard, sprinkle with yer rub, light ta heavy, yer choice, wrap in foil an chill overnight.

Get yer smoker up ta temp, 225 - 250 is just bout right, get yer TBS goin, I use a 9x9 cake pan with chunks, covered with foil an 3 ta 5 holes poked in it, keeps the flare ups down.

Add them ribs, spritz each hour. Then just follow the 2-2-1 er 3-2-1 instructions. Ta test yer ribs grab a bone an see ifin it is sorta loose or bend up over an see ifin the meat starts ta pull away from them bones.

As fer sauce, ya can add that right after they come outa the smoker, either a traditional style red sauce er I use a honey/butter glaze which is equal parts a honey an melted butter brushed on an rested fer bout 30 minutes.

As fer wood, hickory is my favorite, apple is good on ribs as is maple.

There be others along with different idears as ta how ta do em. Yall have ta pick out what works best fer ya. Good luck an may the smoke gods smile upon yer cooker!
post #4 of 21
night before remove membranes, slather with yellow mustard and then apply the rub,wrap in saran and refrig. some say it dont help to put on night before but it certainly doesnt hurt. not to mention it splits it up and you dont have to mess with it the day of smoke. i use the 2-2-1 for bb's. maybe not the correct way to do but i dont use a therm on ribs. go by pullback and pick one end of rack up with tongs and if rack bends 90 deg just away from tongs i callem done. i like sauce on mine so at this point will brush some on and leave in smoker another half hr. brush more sauce on as needed. as soon as it starts to carmelize brush more or take out.
start a bit early, can always keep warm in smoker or foil and towel wrap to keep hot. enjoy!!!

and like travco says spritz every hour, or more...
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, guys. I'm way new to this, so I need some help with definitions.

I can get my electric smoker up to 250 no problem, so 3-2-1 is the I want to go it looks like. Can someone point me to more information on the 3-2-1 method?

Spritzing? What I am spritzing and with what?

Sorry. I'm new to this whole world, but I'm super excited.
post #6 of 21
This says it all along with others. Spritz with apple juice. The first 2 is the smoke, the 2nd is foiled with some liquid like apple juice to braise (make tender) last 1 is to set up and dry and color.

If you need more info just do a search on the 2 2 1 method. Here is a link for the 3 2 1 method. http://www.wyntk.us/food/3-2-1-rib-method.shtml
Good luck!
post #7 of 21
the 3-2-1 method is three hours on your smoker, take off your smoker , spritz them with apple juice ( spritz is taking apple juice and putting it in a spray bottle and spraying on the ribs ), wrap them in foil, and put back in smoker for 2 hours, and lastly take them out of the foil and throw it away and put your ribs back on the smoker for 1 hour to firm them up a bit.

if you look on the right side of the page there will be a column of how-to articles from jeff that describes in more detail if needed,, it also has a link to follow about rib preparation, that is a good read.

follow the advise and you won't be sorry, everybody will rave about those ribs
post #8 of 21
Like it was said above the 3 2 1 or 2 2 1 just means cook them for either 3 or 2 hours in your smoker at no more then 250 then after that take them out wrap them on tin foil put them back into the smoker for 2 more hours wrapped. then take them out unwrap them (makes them more moist and juicy) then put them back in for one more hour to firm them back up and this is the time to put some sauce on them if you want.
I rub them the night before. If you have not take Jeffs course and buy his rub and sauce from his class. Its well worth it. The rub and I changed and everyone just raves saying I have the best ribs ever as for his sauce they love it. To me ribs are the easiest to do. The way I tell when they are done is different then most here its the way I was taught many moons ago. take the tongs on the ribs take one end and bend the ribs in half if they are done as soon as you bend them the meat will part off the bone.
Spraying I do religouisly ( how ever you spell it) some use just apple sauce some add Captain morgans spice rum. What ever rub you use if it calls for any hot spice ( caynenne or ) be very carefull not to add to much.
and practice a lot ( oh yeah more practice honey I need to get it right) LOL
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Are you guys using sealed units? The Old Smokey is a sealed unit. I put the lid on and don't open it. Do the instructions still stand?

I'm getting super excited. I definitely will need more practice, but I put myself into a corner, making my first run with ribs for a party. I guess the worst they can do is toss me in the pool for trying to poison them. biggrin.gif
post #10 of 21
All are I guess you can say sealed units I only open mine once an hour to spray the rib. And dont worry ribs are easy to do you go to have the faith and some times your ribs will be better then others your see. just have fun and read all the post here lots of good advise
post #11 of 21
Here's the spritz I use:

Slaughterhouse Spritz

8 oz Apple Cider
6 oz Water
4 oz Whiskey
2 oz Cider Vinegar

put in a spray bottle an spritz on yer meat. Gives nice color, flavor an helps keep it moist.

I use a GOSM vertical smoker, so I just open the door an give a spritz.

One thin I didn't mention earlier, a couple good digital thermos. One fer the smoker temp bout grate level an although not usin it on ribs, one fer the meat. DO NOT USE THE DIAL ONE IN THE SMOKER they are usually wrong.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Is the thermometer wrong because of the location or the type? I actually installed my own bimetal thermometer. My company has these units that are used for industrial applications are accurate to within a couple percentage points.
post #13 of 21
If ya got a good one that is fine, ya wan't it ta read from bout rack level as that be where yer cookin. The ones that come with a unit are usually wrong, not always but usually. I have a remote digital fer the box temps so's I can keep an eye on it ifin I'm workin in the house, just a nice safety feature case ya get a flare up er sumtin.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone, for your help. The ribs went decently well, especially for my first try. Everyone liked them, but I know there is room for improvement.

I may have an incorrect thermometer reading, because my temperature would not climb above 225F. Also, my ribs were done in 4.5 hours. Do they get juicier when you leave them in longer? They fell off the bone when picked up, but I felt like they could have been juicier. Here are some things I did/noticed. Maybe you can help me out.

1. I wrapped my grease dripping bowl in foil, because it was a hundred times easier to clean. Is that a bad idea? Do the dripping remoisten the meat if not on foil?
2. The ribs on the bottom rack seemed better, possibly because the top rack was dripping onto them? Is there a way to get the bottom rack just as juicy?
3. I didn't follow the 3-2-1 method, because I didn't have time to get everything together. This BBQ was a second birthday for a friend of mine that shares the same birthday week as me, and I was a wee bit intoxicated the nights before to try to get things together.

Still the ribs were delicious. Everyone was intrigued by the smokey flavor. I can't wait to spend all summer perfecting this craft.
post #15 of 21
IMHO the longer you leave them in the drier they will get. Just takes trial and error, sounds like you did good.
post #16 of 21
Wow....nobody beat you up for your lack of qview!

If you and your guests liked the ribs, you had SUCCESS!!! Baby-backs cook MUCH quicker than spares. The 3-2-1 method is usually used for spares, so a 2-2-1 method may be better. My last batch of BB's had awesome flavor but were a tad dry as well (I usually cook spares). Wrapping your drip pan or water pan in foil is mandatory in my book....I hate cleaning up. Be careful not to use too much smoke...thin blue smoke is all you need.

Now you're hooked aren't you?? Giddyup!
post #17 of 21
How does the cooking time change for 18-20 lbs of baby back ribs as compared to only 3 lbs ? (large Masterbuilt electric smoker - 30" high about 20" wide with 4 shelve/racks) using the 2-2-1 method
I deperately need help because the birthday party is this Sat. 6-28
so I appreciate your help!
post #18 of 21
You mentioned that you had trouble hitting 225 degrees, where was the thermometer in relation to the racks. My guess, based on what you posted, is that the ones on the bottom rack were the best because they accually got cooked (higher temp, closer to you heat element) where as the ones on the upper rack got more dehydrated than cooked if the temps up there did not get even to 225.

Just my 2 cents FWIW

But it doesn't really matter since no pics = didn't happen. (is that better WH?) LOL
post #19 of 21
No, time won't change..........that is assuming you can hold the temps up with the large mass of cold meat in there.
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, I will have to say it didn't happen this time. Taking pictures of my food isn't second nature...yet. biggrin.gif
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