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Tough Ribs

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi there - this was my second attempt at smoking pork ribs and I tried the 3-2-1 method but the ribs were still tough - tasty, but tough. After wrestling a couple ribs away from the rack, I gave up and put the rest in the oven to see what would happen if I just cooked them longer. After about 2 hours at 250 degrees, they were much more pliable and even tastier. So did I have the temperature on the smoker a little too low? It was between 200 - 225.
It seems to me, and perhaps I'm wrong, that you need to have a temp. that slowly bakes off the fat, which gives the meat flavor and moisture, without overcooking the meat.

If I may be so bold to ask another question : my wife doesn't care for ribs so 2/3 through the smoke, I put a thin fillet of salmon on for her and switched the chips from Hickory/Mesquite to Apple/Maple. I thought that it not only was good for her salmon, but also seemed to work well for the ribs. Any special tips when cooking multiple, diverse foods on a smoker?

Many thanks.
post #2 of 9
Your temps were a bit low. 225-250 is what to shoot for typically. And apple rules on ribs is my opinion.

Salmon/ribs on a smoker would be tough...salmon/fish in general typically likes to be done at a bit lower temp. Beef and other meats work well together. Chicken is a bit tough too..because you will want to cook that upwards of 300 to avoid the "rubber skin" syndrome. Also, if ever doing poultry and other foods together, keep the poultry on the lowest rack to avoid contamination the other meats with raw poultry fluids.
post #3 of 9
Pretty good advice Richtee!cool.gif
post #4 of 9
I would say that you smoked the ribs at too low temp. I remember with one of my first batches of ribs experiencing a similar problem. Back then, I was using an analog thermometer that proved to be off by about 30 degrees. I'd suggest a digital thermometer that you have checked for accuracy via the boiling water trick. This is for the pit temp. You can use one of those instant read therms (that has also been checked) for the meat ..... although it's a little hard to get a good read due to the bones. After a few sessions, you'll get to where you can tell when they are done by the way the meat pulls back from the ends of the bones. Good luck!
post #5 of 9
Hi Guiness, next time, try ditching the foil and see what happens. I find that baby backs on the smoke at around 225* are very well done in around 5 hours. Spare ribs will require either a little more heat or a little more time. Individual results will vary - that's just a guideline I use for my particular smoker. Check out this thread I started since it kind of outlines what I did as far as rub, times, temps, bastings, etc. Maybe it'll give you a starting point for your next ribs sans foil. Foil works real well for a lot of people but it's not for me. Also, keep reading up on the subject here on the forums. You virtually have a never-ending supply of knowledge at your fingertips here.


Happy Smoking
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Got it.

Thanks for the suggestions - they're all helpful and will use them next time around.

As important as having the right temperature apparently seems to be, it's odd that there seems to be a general mistrust of the temperature gauges supplied wit the smokers. You would think that the manufacturers would not skimp on such an important component. The Vault I have seems to have a decent thermometer, but as suggested, I'll check it against another one.

Thanks again - looking forward to giving it another try.
post #7 of 9
I would check your gauge again also. I know one of my smokers was off by -65º. No wonder I always liked smoking at 180º PDT_Armataz_01_07.gif
post #8 of 9
Most smoker thermometers are inaccurate. The Camp Chef Smoke Vault seems to be the excpetion. Mine was accurate to within 2 degrees which is pretty good.
post #9 of 9
Welcome Aboard lots of great and wonderful resources here willing to help each other out. Sorry 'bout those ribs, better luck next time
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