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Super tender without the foil?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hey Gang,

Just completed my second rib smoke this weekend, much better than the first! I was overly worried about fussing with things the first time, and they were way over done...nuff said. This second time though, the ribs were really juicy and tasty. But, after almost 6 hours in the smoker, they were tender, but not falling off the bone.

Back in the dark days of my ignorance, I used to put raw ribs (yes, membrane still attached - ugh) into a roaster with a commercial bbq sauce and leave them for 5 or so hours in the oven. They came out really falling off the bone, and, funny enough, I got a lot of compliaments on them too! Anyway, with my MES (actually a Centro) and some decent prep, I've managed some decent ribs, and I personally am happier with the results.

My question of the day though, is there a way to make them that much more tender (pull them off the bone with your fingers) without wrapping them in foil? I can't imagine a bbq restaurant, responsible for hundreds of racks of ribs per day in some cases, taking the time to wrap them all in foil, but maybe I'm wrong. Some of you out there, like Ron P. for instance, are or were bbq 'professionals' or restauranteurs, or what have you, perhaps you could chime in on this. I know the 3-2-1, or 2-2-1 as the case may be, is tried and true, but if I can get away without that added bit of fuss I'd like to try it.

Thanks all, and happy smoking,

post #2 of 17
It is really just cooking them low and slow. I spray my ribs with apple juice every hour or so and never wrap them. They are always tender, and juicy. One trick I learned is to put the curve up. you get a nice little place for liquid to pool. It seems to help me keep them moist.
post #3 of 17


So it seems the new consensus is no foil. I have done both and did not see a great difference. I am still experimenting with the foil pan.
post #4 of 17
I'm still a fan of the old "texas crutch".
Especially when doing a smoker full of ribs, it helps with a consistant product. Gives me a bit more flexibility as far as time goes.
You can't dry them out by overcooking if they are wrapped.
If I were doing just a few racks, and I'm not under a time crunch to have them ready at a certain time, I might consider not foiling.

Really, both methods have their upsides..just like the way a little braising mid smoke works. Then I can slap on a little sauce if I want and dry them back out to the texture I like.

..to each his own
..wouldn't be any fun if there were only one way to make good BBQ : )
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
I guess I should leave them on a bit longer, or turn up the temp a bit right at the end? Sorry, 'put the curve up'? Not sure what that is...
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Experiment is the word, except I don't think scientists pack on the pounds the way I do! Try try again.... :)
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
I think the batch that I will do this coming weekend will be unfoiled since I have the time to babysit them anyways, and on the final mopping I'll add one part bbq sauce to three pts apple juice, then let the coating 'gum up' for a half hour or so...

BTW, you Foodies are an evil lot....thanks for the advice!

post #8 of 17
The ribs have a natural curve. Babies have a much more pronouced curve. How about this then, the membrane side (membrane removed of course) side up.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Conversely, meat side down, gotcha!
post #10 of 17
You could also marinade them in apple cider first.
post #11 of 17
We would stand them up by the case in a square head pan with some water and liquid smoke for the braise.icon_eek.gif

High heat for 1/2 hour then covered for a few hours at 250' till you could slip your finger between the bone and they were pulled back some. Refridgerated till served, then sauced and back in the salamander for heat, then under the broiler for a quick finish.

Hope this helps.
post #12 of 17
Amen, Brother!PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #13 of 17
when i do spares, i do them for about 7 hours at 225*, no foil. nice and tender with a good bark too!
post #14 of 17
True dat!

It's April. BBQ "season" is just starting. You've got all spring, summer (and fall) to experiement on your "secret" recipe.

FWIW, I used to wrap my ribs. I no longer mess with the foil.
post #15 of 17
There seems to be a lot of responses on this post, and I havent read them all, but I used to work at Texas Roadhouse when I was in High School.

Even to this day, I still think they have some pretty darn good ribs.

Anyways, there method is to scor the ribs, then apply rib rub to them. They then go into a "Full Pan" (Restaurant size metal pan), they then add liquid smoke and water and put 8 racks of ribs to a pan. They then covered them with a layer of heavy duty plastic wrap, and then two layers of aluminum foil.

The ribs cooked over night at a pretty low temp. I dont recall the exact times or temp. Thats what experimenting is for.

They hen get individually wrapped in plastic wrap and then thrown on the grill when a customer orders them.

They heat them until the bones are bubbling on the ends and then apply bbq sauce and turn.

Thats how they are able to do it.

Still like "foiling" but 8 to a pan.
post #16 of 17
My version of foiling is a large foil pan. Two to three slabs fit nicely. Add 1/4 cup of liquid of choice for steam and cover the pan with foil. Works every time and not nearly the mess of foiling each slab.
2 cents...
post #17 of 17
I tried the foil pan thing last week. I must say its not as messy and time consumming as individually foiling and unfoiling each slab. The fun part for me will the effects of various foiling times. 30 minutes vs 1 hour vs 1.5 hours (for baby backs).
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